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The Broken Chain - PrologueThe elves of the Azure Sea had always lived with the land.
Sun dappled the lush jungle floor, mottling their mahogany skin as they sat under the Mother’s canopy, cross-legged and swaying in genuflection. They sang, their voices braiding together – a vocal quipu for the Mother. The druids stood before them in red beaded shawls and feathered headdresses, shaking feathered staves and beating on capybara skin drums, leading them in the Morning Salutation.
Quispe knew every word and every melody of every song of the Morning Prayers better than she knew the paths of the forest. She breathed deeply between the verses, taking in the scent of the sacred kapok trees and the earth. On the very edge of her hearing, Quispe recognized the calls of the macaws and toucans, the gibbering of the gibbons. The Mother sang with them.
She sat next to her elder sister, Cusirimay. Like their father, Cusirimay was tall, regal in comparison to the other females of the tribe. Her hair was as dark and
Crown of ThornsShe wakes up with red staining her pillow
and the taste of blood like iron in her mouth
It stains her teeth and leaks from her lips, and as she
rinses her mouth out, she can’t help thinking that
it’s better than dirt and ashes
it feels like she’s wearing a noose
of broken promises and shattered glass
that tightens around her throat with every day that passes
She nails a smile to her face
and doesn't let herself think the word dying
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