When Winnie was thirteen, her settlement taught her how to fire a rifle. Her school practiced drills in case raiders came, and the town grew crops in their greenhouse-adapted homes, which were the only places warm enough during the worldwide nuclear winter.
One day the Lakiran empire marched in—a corporate-born nation overseen by their corporate-born queen, Victoria Paladino. They rode silent planes whose repulsion fields veered bullets away. After they conquered the town, they brought in the exemplars—Victoria’s personal oversight committee who are rumored to read minds. It was they who decided who got dragged away.
Three years of occupation later, an exemplar visits and tells Winnie she may have a flair—a unique mental power. He whisks her away to the empire’s capital in South America to learn from the Victoria herself, who is a master of flairs. The queen will help Winnie reach the full potential of whatever power she may have.
Meanwhile, in post-war Nigeria, a streetwise teenager named Naema sees a different side of the empire. Between corruption and oppression, everyone lives in squaller. People fight over rationed food tokens for assembled pastes. She too is told she has a unique flair, not by the empire, but by fugitives who are the last vestiges of an ancient witch coven. They have similar gifts, and they know a dark truth about the exemplars, and what they do to people like Winnie and Naema.
The Glyph Queen is a mixed fantasy / sci-fi web novel which updates every Monday and Friday.
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