It was surprising how quickly it fell down to dark in the lower city with the walls reaching for the sky. They blocked the sun far sooner than the light left the ridge where the mansions and estates of the wealthy were perched. Her thoughts were down there in the darkness and the squalor, not here where she stood surrounded by garlands and ribbons and light. The Midwinter fires were lit and people frolicked in the street, laughing and sharing warm drinks and food. She moved among them, exchanging the traditional greetings as easily as she breathed, despite the rage that filled her. How dare they. How dare they have a week of festival while people died in the slums? Did they even know about the pox? They would soon enough, even if they didn’t now.
She approached the largest of the bonfires, gazing into it for a long moment. Then she produced the small clay pot she’d carried this whole way and rolled it into the flames. She could see it still for a moment, then the flames began to eat at it. The smoke changed then, turning a sickly green. She had done her work. Covering her mouth with the cloth she carried, she turned away before she could inhale any of that smoke. Soon enough, they would learn their lesson.


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