"Scuttling of tiny claws on scratched and cracked paving,
the stench of damp stone,
sewers and shadows and pits
and people as slippery as the underground walls.
How Luca hated it.
He remembered the scent of spices and perfume, where everything was gold, when his mother wore starlight in her hair and on her breasts, and held him close,
and he hated it.
He remembered the clang of iron and silver from a distant window,
remembered rushing and tripping down stairs,
saw the blood on the ground,
smelled death in the air,
and he wondered why any of it had to be that way.
He hated, and blamed, and a cold seed was planted in his heart.
When he was small, smaller than he was now, Luca rolled a ball in a garden.
The flowers dripped honey, birds whispered things to him, he looked up and from a great height heard a familiar laugh
and the sun shone.
Now, he wakes up, swathed in stolen and bargained silk,
wondering when his family will tire of him
and chastise him into hopeless oblivion until he runs, like they did
like they did to her.
Cordell brings him tea made of foreign roots instead of those flowers, and he pretends he is home."
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