Rating: PG-13, for things unspeakable.
It was burning season in Rashid. Again.
Even in the shop, I could smell the smoke. Can you believe I used to like the smell of burning paper? With my eyes closed, I can still see pages glow red before they burst into flame and curl into ash until they crumble.
I clerked at a small sundries shop in Commercial. The owner was a Duchies woman, one hand peach-pale, the other brown as her shop counter. She had no love for the All-King, who had toppled her Grand Duchess, but you don’t need love to run a business, just enough money to buy mercy. After that expenditure, though, she couldn’t afford to hire a licensed Translator. Coincidentally, I couldn’t afford a license, so she paid me a little extra to quietly broker transactions from the non-Duchies customers and shippers she couldn’t understand.
I am an Omniloquist. Some say we’re a curse the last true Rashidan king put on his enemies before he died, so that we’ll never flounder helpless under a conqueror. More say we have no true power, just an uncanny ability to pick up foreign sounds quickly. Until the All-King came, I was inclined to think the latter. We were a skill with a guild, like any other. And then he came, with his Collectors. There’s nothing natural about them. Maybe there’s nothing natural about us. (Continue Reading…)