|Author||E. M. Kinsey|
|Other Characters|| Zarina (secondary character)|
Risku (tertiary character)
Fall From Grace is a prequel of sorts to Empires of Sand. Only portions of it have been publicly released so far; the bulk of it is to be found in the short story collection the author is said to be working on.
At the suggestion of Risku, Usodai takes Zarina out to go see the falls but doesn't see the point in it nor does he pick up the suggestive hints she's dropping. His interest lies in the poisonous crested rats that he can collect for his studies, something Zarina balefully assists him with. When she almost goes over the falls in pursuit of one, he saves her, and she gains a new appreciation for him and his oddities.
At Yai's insistence Usodai takes Zarina out on a picnic, with an assortment of rare and odd food as well as necklace of lavender flowers he's made for her. Afterwards, he makes it known that he wants her as her mate, that he loves her in his own way. Though flattered, Zarina sadly declines and says she has already been arranged to marry Nomvula and regardless of her wishes, it is going to happen. Usodai then grows angry, shouting that since he outranks both Nomvula and her father, Ehioze, he can and will break the arrangement as soon as he is able. Zarina soon loses interest in the food, desiring the prince sexually, but before anything more can happen an imperial guard informs the prince that his mother, Empress Moswen, has been found dead.
With Risku's sudden and crippling bout of illness, the responsibility of heir falls on Usodai's shoulders. This means he cannot marry her, but must marry Ayana, who was to be Risku's bride. And she must go back to Nomvula, a lyon she hates, but will be forced to marry and breed with anyway. She attacks him in her rage, but Usodai is still stronger defensively. He holds her until she is spent, she gives him one last fiery kiss to show him what could've been, and then she is gone. Later that day, Usodai destroys all his research, his specimens, his everything. But afterwards, he is as cool as summers night, no evidence of his rage as he treads the path he has set for himself.
The path he has set for them all.