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A Careful Fire

I.

Every night from her room in the master’s house, Mabella listens to the calls of the wingèd women as they soar through the smoky evening air. Outside, their wings cut through the sky’s haze, allowing one to see the stars. Mabella never sneaks outside to see, unlike some of the other women working for the master, for there is always work to be done in the morning, and without a good night’s rest Mabella is foggy-minded and slow. The…

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