The yard behind the atrium was empty of the harem children and their carers. Only half of the parakeet cages swung outside, empty of birds. The only noise between the evening gusts was their metal hooks, clicking and creaking on their lines. A single white-robed woman stood in the yard’s center, standing on a block to pull the cages down.
Her name was Zoya Nia. She was a foreign slave of an aristocrat who had ended the service for her crime a long time ago, and her owners paid her well. They trusted her with tending their babes and selecting the best of Árai’s horses for the warriors they sponsored.
Golden cages in the shapes of hourglasses hung along the shore of the river in the months of the solar spring, hooked to golden lines. Emerald parakeets with black chins chattered inside their pendulum homes, using their ruby beaks to scale the bars. It was the job of the harem’s children to carry the cages from the atrium to hang, and the job of their carers to make sure they did not drop them.
Three siblings divided by social class--honored war hero, pampered gentry, and outcast slave--navigate the immediate aftermath of a magic war that drastically warped each of their lives. However, all of Lumis must obey a decree to erase any memory of the war within one year.