Fathie pulled her headphones over her ears. The noise of the city, the thrum of the cars and the rhythmic thudding of footfalls were drowned out in an instant.
Breathe, she told herself. Everything would be okay, after today. Everything would be just as it should be.
She turned on her music, and the sound of gentle guitars drifted into her ears. The singer, Mariele Ravet, began to hum in a tune that Fathie had listened to a thousand times before.
She focussed on the words of the song, humming to herself as she pulled her cap low over her eyes. No one took notice of her, here she was another woman from the starport looking for fame and riches in the lights of Old Raten. They walked past her, completely obvious that she carried in her veins the proof that their government had been lying to them all along.
Fathie dug her hands into her pockets, hiding her veins. She would keep them hidden until she got to the Temple at the top of the City, then she would show all of the Governors what the truth was.
The world, the space system, was full of magic. Fathie had found it, absorbed it, and now had returned to claim what was rightfully hers. A walking, alive heretic right in the middle of the city.
Fathie looked up at the huge spires of Ara’banthe that towered into the sky. Once a home for those like her and her mother. Taken over by the government in their purge of magics from the system.
She pulled out her pod, flicking through the songs until she found something she wanted. Something upbeat, something to put a spring in her step.
This, Faithe stopped on a song with a heavy beat to it. She fingered the gun on the inside of her jacket. In some ways, she hoped the government put up a fight, it would make it more of a spectacle.
She rounded the corner of the Ara’banthe plaza. It was just as she had remembered it, all those years before.
But this time it was empty, no worshippers came here anymore. Now it was just lined with the flags of the Governors, with their promises for peace and prosterity.
Lies, Fathie thought. She pulled out the pistol from her pocket. The magics reacted instantly, flowing down her arm and filling the gun with a mechanised form of power that had not been seen in centuries.
Now it was time to reclaim her birthright.
This flash fiction was first posted in 2020
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