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ONE

The Army’s Return The day dawned clear and bright on the city: as the Fifth Sun emerged from His night journey, He was welcomed by the drumrolls and conch-blasts of His priests – a noise that reverberated in my small house until it seemed to fill my lungs. I rolled to my feet from my sleeping mat, and made my daily offerings of blood – both to Tonatiuth the Fifth Sun, and to my patron Lord Death, the Fleshless One, ruler of the underworld. This done, I put on a simple grey cloak, and headed to my temple – more for the sake of form, for I suspected I wouldn’t remain there long, not if the army were indeed coming back today. As I walked, I felt the slight resistance to the air, the familiar nausea in my gut – a feeling that everything wasn’t quite right, that there was a gaping hole beneath the layers of reality that undercut the Fifth World. I’d been living with it for over three months, ever since the previous Revered Speaker had died. His successor, Tizoc-tzin, had been crowned leader 5

Master of the House of Darts - Aliette de Bodard  
Master of the House of Darts - Aliette de Bodard  

The year is Three Rabbit, and the storm is coming… The coronation war for the new Emperor has just ended in a failure, the armies retreatin...

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