Authors: A.E. Marling
Copyright © 2011 A.E. Marling
Cover illustration by Eva Soulu
Graphic design by Raymond Chun
Editors: Dean, Sarah
Special thanks to: Christina, Eric, Jack, Nancy, and Stephanie
First electronic publication: October, 2011
Third Edition eBook
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Meet her humble scribe:
for those living
with sleep disorders
I never learned the knack for waking. Consciousness hung over me like a sodden rag, weighing on my eyelids and muffling my ears, yet even my stifled senses did not spare me the indignity of hearing my name screamed across a public place.
The reckless shout could not refer to me, I decided. Another lady of the same name must peruse the Bazaar, someone who would consider replying to the immodesty of a raised voice. Why, I was not even in view but safe behind curtains.
Regardless, I trembled in the dimness, my head ringing with remembered shouts. “
Hiresha walks like a sleepy monkey.
Hiresha, you’re slower than a drunken sloth.
How could she ever raise children? Hiresha sleeps more than a newborn.
My neck burned and flushed under layers of silk and velvet. Gowns that had comforted me in the frigid climate of the Academy now smothered, and I began to pant, sweat running down my back like a millipede with a thousand tickling feet.
I had to disperse the heat building inside me, though deep breaths only drew in more hot air. My lungs smoldered, and my chest refused to move altogether when the worst happened: A woman screamed my name again.
Don’t leave me to die!”
My drowsiness ground against a heat headache, and I could make no sense of the shout. The disjointed words tumbled in my mind, holding no meaning either together or alone.
Don’t Hiresha die me leave to.
Leave die to Hiresha don’t me.
The carriage in which I was riding slowed to a standstill. A door opened, spilling light over the drifts and folds of my gowns. Jewels covered the landscape of fabric that draped over the seats, and the interior of the carriage glittered like a geode.
My maid bustled within and unhooked my arms from their harnesses of silk. The crisscross of cloth was used to hold me upright while traveling, to prevent me from falling forward in my sleep and hurting myself.
I asked, “Why ever has Deepmand stopped the carriage?”
Maid Janny tugged on my gloves. “Maybe hereabouts women cry for enchantresses to save them every hour, on the hour.
Must amount to a proper nuisance.”
“I hardly think the woman meant me. Only Sri the Flawless is expecting my arrival.”
“Might be she recognized something about your carriage.
Its four white horses.
Or the eye-blistering
Janny dabbed the sweat on my brow then scuttled out again.