City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennet

By Robert Jackson Bennet

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Are we willing to be so small-minded with our brief time upon these shores? – PARLIAMENTARY ADDRESS BY PRIME MINISTER ASHARA KOMAYD, 1721 She awakes in the night and tries not to scream. The scream rattles around in her throat, a hot bubble of air swelling up inside of her, and she flails around trying to find purchase on something, anything, her right hand twisting the bedsheets into a knot and the balls of her bare feet pressed against the stone wall. She pushes and strains as her brain insists she’s still there, she’s still at the embassy and it’s still five years ago, her arm trapped under the rubble and the sky thick with smoke, the whole world ruined and gone in an instant.

Normal conductors they understand: this they most certainly do not. ’ Mulaghesh grimaces, because she absolutely does. If this material possesses astonishing properties, and if those properties can’t be explained, then it’s possible those properties are miraculous: the product or direct creation of one of the ancient Continental Divinities. Between the actions of Shara and her great-grandfather, the much-revered Kaj of Saypur, nearly all of the original Continental Divinities should be dead, and all their miraculous items completely dead and nonfunctional with them.

It’s a recording. ’ Mulaghesh squints at the box. ’ ‘Well, it’s . . The sound’s carved, I suppose, into that little black disc bit . . At least, I think it is. They had a bunch of graphs when they explained it to me . . ’ says Pitry. He smiles again and slips out the door to the balcony, leaving Mulaghesh alone with the box and the file. * ‘I hope you’re well, Turyin,’ says Shara’s voice. ‘And I hope your time in Javrat has been comfortable. I apologise for approaching you with this task, but .

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