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In exile since the civil war, former spy and turncoat Marta Childress wants to quietly live out her remaining days in the West. But then her manipulative brother arrives with one final mission: Transport the daughter of a hated inventor deep into the East. Forced to decide between safely delivering the girl and assassinating the inventor, Marta is torn between ensuring peace or sparking a second civil war.
To her surprise Carmichael blinked uncomprehendingly at the name. It had been rattling around Marta’s head like a Breath in a bottle for the last three months, but to him it seemed meaningless. Then the corners of his mouth curled up, Carmichael finally remembering.
“This is about our older sister? I forgot about her entirely.”
His dismissal of her months of misery infuriated Marta all the more, the girl fighting harder against his grip. Her helplessness stoked her anger further, fanning it into blazing rage.
And with the rage came clarity, Marta suddenly aware of each Breath within her body. There were the usual three all humans were born with, one in the center of the chest to representing the Body, the second in the middle of the forehead for the Mind, and the third at the crown of the head signifying the Soul. But in that moment of clarity, Marta could feel a fourth Breath nestled deep in her chest next to the Body. Were she not so angry, she might have been surprised to find it, to feel it thrumming with its own frequency. It had a resonance, a musical identity all its own that only she could hear.
So she inhaled, filling that Breath with both her air and anger.
The fourth Breath stirred, summoned by Marta’s will and obeying on her exhale. Though its base remained firmly in her chest, she felt it elongate as it stretched through her throat and out towards her mouth. The appendage was entirely new to her, but it felt natural as she experienced each sensation through this fresh limb: the light scrape as it edged over her teeth, the sudden coolness of the air outside her body; the crunch of her brother’s bones as it collided with his nose.
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