The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile

Published in Subterranean, Spring 2014 issue.

In the old days, the phoenix, the vermillion bird, was a sign of peace and prosperity to come; a sign of a just ruler under whom the land would thrive.

But those are the days of the war; of a weak child-Empress, successor to a weak Emperor; the days of burning planets and last-ditch defences; of moons as red as blood and stars as dark as bile.


When Thien Bao was thirteen years old, Second Aunt came to live with them.

She was a small, spry woman with little tolerance for children; and even less for Thien Bao, whom she grudgingly watched over while Mother worked in the factories, churning out the designs for new kinds of sharp-kites and advance needle ships.

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