Rana read the woe that wrapped the man—a swarm of blood scorpions that writhed beneath his flesh. Woe was a reciprocal thing. The more you inflicted upon others, the more you gathered. The Goddess’s judgment was quick. This time she imagined a sewing-needle half long as her forearm. Reaching into her satchel she withdrew a fine opaque thread of woe and sewed it into the man, weaving it between the scorpions.
Reilitas clutches tightly her wrought-iron railing as the city guards throttle the thieves and rioters. Wherever she looks she finds destroyed the things she has made. The ambassador's tiled vases are smashed; she had spun them wide to hold his banana trees. The golden automaton in the shrine of the god of prophecy, which she had helped a foreign machinist assemble, has lost all four of its arms, and its topaz eyes have been plucked. A dress that must be her work, woven for a virgin consecrated to the temple, is ripped and fouled in the street.
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