10 i) Behind the green glow of Shyan’s eyes, a lush jungle

Behind the green glow of Shyan’s eyes, a lush jungle. Broad, waxy green leaves reach out for her as she moves through an open clearing, each of her movements a closely considered act of martial prowess. Front step, parry turn, open palm, spider fist. Rhythmically she boxes shadows in the oppressive, wet heat of the Waiiaz. Insects buzz in the plants around her, but all she hears is her own hammering heartbeat and the whip-strike movements of her arms and legs.

“Good,” says a voice from the clearing’s edge. A man in his middle years, clad in simple linens that match Shyan’s own, observes her with his arms folded. “Mantis kick,” he adds, and it is no sooner said than performed. Shyan arcs off the ground, landing gracefully a couple of metres away. “Well done,” the man says. “Your training is nearly complete.”

On the ground of Old Mossy’s cabin, Shyan’s limbs twitch with vestigial memories of her youth in Waiiaz, her wide-open eyes glowing that weird green.

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