First Lines Friday | 09/07/2021

EVERY MORNING ANNIT woke at dawn, while the two moons were still low against the horizon. Alone, she built her fire from the wood she’s gathered the evening before. Alone, she ate her meager breakfast, scraped her plates clean, dressed. There had been a time when she’d worn steel, a time when twin swords had dangled from her leather belt. If her men had doubted she had the strength to don her surcoat and arms, they never mentioned it. Speak ill of the Emperata, they whispered to one another, and she’ll cut off your tongue.