“Henceforth,” the official in the embroidered blue robe was saying, “the Imperial Palace is your home, the Emperor’s protection and pleasure your guiding purpose.” Lida leaned heavily on the crutches she had been given. She could almost feel the eyes of the palace doctor who had inspected the wound in her leg. He had practically [...]
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Lida suspected that her fourth match was not going to be won as easily as her first three.
She didn’t recognize more than a handful of the swordsmen there, and it seemed that few of the Imperial City’s most elite fighters had chosen to enter…
Every time she thought about it, she could see those worried expressions on their faces, the looks they exchanged when they thought she didn’t see.
Merolliay brooded all the way back to the house, sick with longing for all that had been left behind in Liban. He wasn’t sure his countrymen even realized all the ways they had been corrupted by the Imperial City. He knew all the men at that meeting employed paid servants for menial work in their [...]
The conspirators were all upstairs, six of them, in a small stuffy room smelling of sweat, dry rot, and kerosene. Three blazing lanterns provided plenty of light…
Zuvius left them soon after the parade had passed by. From that point on the afternoon passed in a blur of drinking, snacking on street food, and being accosted by Saulius’s relatives, friends, and ex-girlfriends. Towards evening, Saulius and Alzadin left to attend the Swordsmen’s Guild feast in honor of the Emperor’s birthday, leaving Lida [...]
At one point the woman turned to Lida, looked her up and down as if she were a goat at the market, and sniffed disapprovingly before speaking again. Lida crossed her arms and scowled.
She woke, lying on her left side, the hilt of her naked sword under her right hand. There was someone in her room. Not Alzadin. Not Saulius. Definitely not Merolliay. The door was closed, the window open. Moonlight flooded the room.