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Rider Bray leans forward on her hands, a cat before a bird. “I could kill your gang of sixty in a minute,” she says. “I could snap their bones with my bare hands and run them down as they fled. I could do the same against six hundred. I am invested with the might of so many, Marantic Lind. No number of men lit by one solitary fire can match me.”
I will earn no glory here, Rider Bray wants to shout. I will still be Rider. I will still be a woman with a name that spreads its legs across a horse.
The South-East Wind had not blown through those hills since becoming the guardian of the temple for this period, but the South Wind blew there / where the bones drift into gullies like the snow that falls in other lands and I can call through them in a hundred voices, like lizards, like foxes, like men /
\ the woman speaks names into the winds: Kesty and Mirtun, the sandstone figure's, and her own \
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Blood is salt, like seawater; the heart moves an ocean in miniature.
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I didn’t reply. I knew her words were part of the test.