Cathay was a Chaos Mage and didn’t care who knew it. Fear and envy were fine emotions to set someone spinning into a roil, and Cathay could sip from that cup as easily as any other. She dressed sometimes in blue and other times in green or silver or any other color except black. Her sleeves were sewn with opals and moonstones and within their glitter here and there another precious stone, set in no particular order, random as the stars.
A love of gambling was part of Cathay’s definition, and so she often wandered through the doorways of Serendib’s gaming houses, whether they were the high-tech machines of the Southern Quarter or the games of chance and piskie magic played in the alleys across town, in one of the neighborhoods where magic reigned.
Cathay stumbled into Serendib through a one-time doorway, like so many others. She was walking in a wood one moment, and then her foot came down and she was in a city. It made her laugh with delight, the unpredictability of it all, and she soon learned that she had come to the best possible place for a Chaos mage, the city of Serendib, which was made up of odd pockets and uncomfortable niches from other dimensions, a collision of cultures and technologies and economies like no other anywhere.
When she arrived in the city, she had three seeds in her pocket, and so she found an empty lot, precisely between a street where water magic ruled, in constant collision with the road made of fire and iron, so daily fierce sheets of steam arose, driving the delicate indoors and hissing furiously so it sounded as though a swarm of serpents was battling. She dug a hole with her little finger, and then one with her thumb, and a third by staring at the dirt until it moved. Into each she dropped a seed, and covered it up, and sat down to wait.
It was not long till the first inquisitive sprout poked through the dirt, followed by a second. She waited for the third, but it was, by all appearances, uninterested in making an appearance. She shrugged; two were enough for now.
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