Featuring new cover art: “Empire City Vista” by Andy Lee.
Traitor-kin indeed. At what range could the Imperator's sorcerers snatch away his man-shape? He imagines himself shriveling into the lowliest of creatures: an eel, a snake, an eyeless worm, to be delivered to the Imperator's justice and crushed before her marble throne. Inside him, he is sure, there is no proud and beautiful bird to stretch its wings and join his three precious eagles in the sky. Time is the greatest sorcerer, and eventually it will force him into a new shape: a sea-bloated corpse, a sun-leathered mummy. Let him only make it across the sea, first. Let him see his birds take wing over newer, kinder lands.
The beach had narrowed to a sliver, but there was still space to sit and watch the fisherman skiffs. Fewer and fewer returned with troughs full of silverfins these days. It had been sixty moons since I had last tended to the sea. I hadn’t done it since the day Deniz was born. I had no intention of ending up like my mother, and I wasn’t going to let Deniz waste his life, either. If the sea expanded, so be it. Let it be angry—I had my son.