The Roots that Clutch by A.E. Bross
Theia is an unforgiving world, one of sand and heat. There are no rains, and what water there is trickles from dying springs and wells. Those who control the waters control all. They are the god-kings. These tyrants of the last remaining city-states have shackled their subjects and depleted world, enslaving all by the might of their false divinity. Above all, they control thaûma—Theia’s magic. For anyone on the desert planet unfortunate enough to possess the ability to wield thaûma—called thaumaturges—only indoctrination and servitude await them at the hands of the god-kings. This is Tirzah's curse. Tortured by a sadistic older sister and kept locked from sight by her sycophant father, Tirzah’s life is one of shame and cruelty. Even the awakening of her thaûma brings her no respite, and she is soon used as a "gift" to curry favor with the nearest of the god-kings. She narrowly escapes her bonds with the help of a member of the insurgent thaumaturge order known as the Shadow Collective. After the rescue, Tirzah finds a new life among the outcasts of Theia’s wastelands. Yet the deserts are no place to hide, and before long the brutal realities of Theia threaten to shatter her fragile freedom, and drag her back into the shadows of the god-kings themselves.
Content Warning: This work contains depictions of abuse, violence, and death/dying.
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