Genre: New Adult Fantasy, Steampunk Adventure
The crowd several stories below us in the metal and green courtyard fidgeted as they watched the queens high above them and the pyre setting center stage.
Nix walked to the front of the balcony and raised her black gloved hands. “Gentle people of Sky City!”
Silence filled the air.
The guards pushed me to my knees beside her.
Her voice soared, bouncing from the smooth metal buildings that surrounded the courtyard, amplifying her words. “We have before us a grave situation. People from our city have rebelled against us, speaking words that endanger the well-being of the Hands.”
The people stirred.
The Queen of Coins sat up straight in her chair, brushing her rumpled dress.
“We have done everything in our power to protect you, to keep you safe, to allow you the freedom of discovering new and wild technologies. We kept you alive, offered you a new life.”
Two individuals were pushed through the crowd toward the pyre.
The crowd stayed as far away from them as they could.
Nix’s expression relaxed, a gleam of cunning victory in her eye.
My heart raced. “What are you doing?” I asked quietly. “They said words? And for that you’re going to burn them?”
She turned to me, cupping my chin where I knelt at her feet. “You will learn, Synn Primus.”
I clenched my jaw and pulled my chin out of her grasp.
My arms were twisted behind me as the men behind me forced me to my feet.
I let out a roar, trying to shake them off.
“Look what I have brought you today, people of Sky City. The greatest, most powerful Mark we’ve ever seen.” She ripped my shirt from my body, baring my Mark to any who could see.
A gasp echoed through the crowd.
“He does not yet understand why he should follow, why he should obey.”
What was she doing? Dread filled my chest.
“He fought me to protect a handful of Umira children. Umira,” she scoffed, raising her hand, her eyes gleaming as she watched me.
The Umira children were brought out to the square.
Fear fluttered through the crowd.
“Don’t do this!” I watched in incredulous horror. What kind of monster was she? Who could do this? “They’re innocent!”
“Now, yes, but they are pawns, Synn.” She turned to me. “Submit and I will save them.”
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