“I’m sorry,” Umi said. “It was my fault everything changed so quickly. No one ever asked what you wanted.”
“Why be sorry?” Shiori tossed her curtain of hair free—the rules of propriety between siblings were unique. “I’m happier here than I’d ever be out there.”
“Out there,” Umi repeated, mystified. He relaxed his soldier’s posture and folded down into an armchair. “Out where? I’ve been everywhere; I was happy some places and unhappy in others.”
“Anywhere.” The priestess’s veil landed in Umi’s lap when she flung it. Shiori and her silks landed in the other armchair, wafting the scent of many flowers from the brocade.
Umi caressed the careful stitching of petals in his fingers. Would life have felt like pink embroidery if he’d gone the path meant for him? For her, he denied. Not me. Yet here he sat in the priestess’s tower.
-The Stars Went Out
The main challenge to this story’s readability so far is the absolute chaos that is the pronouns. Umi’s personal preference goes back and forth depending on the mood, and Shiori is male to himself but female to most people around him. Since this story is a lot about reconciling identity with societal roles, the mechanic is important, but boy howdy. I have to handle it just right.