"To lead people, walk behind them."
-Lao Tzu

There was something truly ineffable about the mornings.

So many mornings that were cold and misty, where the aqueous fire rang early from the ports, guiding the Starfarers home. The city seemed to breathe like an animal, exhaling in the morning, making its sorts notice all that it had within its bounds, the clergy padding along the road and speaking among themselves in hushed theological debate, the markets, slowly alive in speech and quiet song, and the gardens which seemed to spread from every home, every space left untouched by oath of the law. It was somnolent and sweet as it was expansive – but that’s simply how the mornings were.

Nin awoke as she was known to do, lazily opening her eyes to herself and ruffling her hair, and the rest of her awoke shortly after. She thought to herself a simple morning greeting, and like the ripples of a small pond, she felt greeting back.

Nin got up, and went to the high tower. She climbed and thought of that time when she was only a few suns, and she’d first shown a poem of hers to her mother, it was a memory that she frequently called, but it brought on a great deluge of memories which brought her mind to life in the early mornings nonetheless; and as the beacon was lit, she took a small leap back down. She strode through the edge of the port, sitting among the flowers which gleamed like opal in the early sun. It had been some time since she had last found herself in this position, not since her flight at the atrium.

Nin found herself soon on the street, as she gathered her wares, small idols were gathered in a box which felt soft, but still irritated her whenever she had to touch it for too long. Some had been knocked asunder in her travel, and so she gradually began to right them as she went. One of the robed figures sparked and ran itself through her hand. She knew nothing of miracles — that was something for the lamplighters and city-witches, but she found herself made curious of this particular piece, and so she examined it for some time, stopping by a small fountain which was the threshold to an altar. She left the idol with the altar’s keeper as she departed. The spark had made it clear that it was not to be sold.

Nin was fearful, as she was on most days, and she hid herself on the terrace of another of the hidden buildings of the secret streets. blood seeped from her pores and her bruises were growing to sting in the cool air. Her mind rumbled like a storm she could not simply stumble from, but regardless, she was running like she always had. She felt herself flickering as the cracks from the shape so lovingly embedded in her drew cracks and cried loudly out in chaotic light. She knew not what to do from this, but hiding, delving into the crevices of the deep felt the most right while she tried to consolidate her thoughts. She didn’t mean what she had done.

There was a long yawn outstretched from Nin as she came back into herself, and she got up. She had much to do.

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