Featuring new cover art: “Monument of the Warrior King” by Veli Nyström.
When she plays, it’s the old songs—not her heavy concertos but brisk two-fingered melodies, folk tunes and old hymns, the first songs her youngest students would master. Every month when the soldiers bring her supply of flour and milk, they also bring waterproofed parcels of manuscript paper and cool bricks of ink. She always refuses them.
I had long since tired of my mother’s lessons: these polite assaults, this bastard corsetry. But what was I supposed to do? Tell her no? I was her only daughter. My mother would have fought her little war for my appearance, her weapons silk and silver and the voices of our family's dead, even if we’d known that our world was already over, that the armies of the underworld were slipping through our walls through broaches and hatpins, necklaces and bangles, boxes and bags, using the city's favorite things against it.