“I felt Mother’s eyes on me, the familiar and unpleasant heat of judgement, of unspoken anger. Did I fall from her expectations?
I stared beyond the fireworks. I wished I were onboard Starfang and away from all this pretense and posturing.
One of the ceremonial lions, rimmed with thick black faux fur, danced before me, bowing its head. Lion fur colors had meaning. This black lion wasn’t the Guan Gong lion. This one signified youth, like a headstrong teenager. What was Mother trying to say with the lion? That I was headstrong and had to be restrained, chastised.”