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Cehrazad

Figures play before the shimmering curtain, and in Cehrazad’s eyes their limbs are fluid: swords, then tentacles, then the crested heads of birds.

Shimmering. Curtain. Fire. She wakes in a choking cough. Her sisters are screaming, but they’re moving: she gets them outside and barely remembers to throw on Dunyazad’s mask.

Guards in black move grimly through the bucket-line. Cehrazad needs no help composing her face in terror, but even keeping her eyes on the blaze she can see them converging. No. No. How?

Idiot, she thinks, you’re wearing the only sootless face, and then their hands are on her.

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