WORD LISTS

"A Thousand Steps into Night" by Traci Chee, Part II: Chapters 16–31

October 26, 2022
After receiving a curse that causes her to slowly transform into a demon with a deadly touch, Miuko embarks on a quest to find a cure so that she can return to her normal life.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Part I: Chapters 1–7, Part I: Chapters 8–15, Part I: Chapters 16–33, Part II: Chapters 1–15, Part II: Chapters 16–31
gesticulate
Gesticulating wildly, she pointed the knife at the other girl, who took the opportunity to screech even louder than before.
tryst
Perhaps Hawi and the loud girl had been engaged in some sort of midnight tryst when Senara had interrupted them.
illicit
Like Miuko, Senara's options had always been limited—to marry, to manage a household, to bear and raise children—but her illicit romance with Hawi had narrowed her opportunities even further.
undulate
They both cried out as Naisholao's emissary twisted upward again, away from the undulating waves, as Miuko struggled onto his back.
rejoinder
"We have nothing but time."
To this, Miuko had no rejoinder, so she told the girl her story, and as she did, she found herself remembering who she was and who she'd been—a girl, just a girl, who wanted to be human again.
hummock
Rocky and barren, the island was about the size of the guesthouse at Nihaoi, with nothing but a few dips and hummocks marring its otherwise gentle slope.
tributary
Time is a river with many tributaries, Otori Miuko.
temporal
Upon Afaina's body, there now appeared hundreds of eyes, all of them opening and closing as they looked upon temporal variations only the God of Stars could see.
proximity
"You're not volunteering," Miuko pointed out.
"Yes, but I'll be in close proximity to the volunteer, won't I?"
macabre
To the south, a macabre crimson glow cloaked the horizon where the Awaran mainland lay.
placid
They remained immobile on the shore, placid as cattle.
swath
Below them, great swaths of devastation marred the landscape: fields and forests burning, smoke upon the mountains, cities like cinders, crawling with fire.
outstrip
They soon outstripped the destruction, pausing briefly so Miuko could check Geiki’s wounds, but they dared not linger long.
ensorcelled
For a moment, she wished she could blame their fear and anger on Tujiyazai's powers, but the demon prince was too far away to affect them, and besides, those ensorcelled by him did not speak.
accrue
It seemed her demon body recovered swiftly; though, at the rate she was accruing injuries, not swiftly enough.
impending
Grimacing, Miuko limped back to Geiki, who could evidently sleep through anything, including the threat of impending demise.
admonish
That's not going to help, the little voice admonished her.
chastise
They had a doro's soul to find, a malevolence demon to stop, and Geiki still had to evacuate his flock in the Kotskisiu-maru. Sufficiently chastised, he departed soon thereafter and did not return until afternoon, when he came plummeting out of the smoky auburn sky in magpie form, alighting on Miuko's shoulder with only minimal snarling in her hair.
foreboding
A haze lay upon the fallow fields, dense with foreboding.
ramshackle
Peering past the gate, Miuko looked longingly toward the ramshackle houses and broken-down shops of Nihaoi.
flotsam
Twilight fell as they crossed the dilapidated bridge, but the waning moon was bright enough for them to see flotsam in the Ozotso River: barrels, baskets, charred scraps of wood.
motley
Swallowing, Miuko looked from one of their motley assembly to another: the forest spirit, two murderous girls, a dapple gray mare, and Geiki, who winked at her.
dignitary
Darting past the cloven pine, she raced through bedchambers, kitchens, and sitting rooms, where visiting dignitaries had once gathered to discuss politics, philosophy, and the dowries of their daughters.
gullet
Beside him, another of the soldiers roared, revealing a gullet ringed with spines.
ruse
"She is a teapot! Missing its—"
Miuko sighed. The ruse had been a long shot anyway.
slaver
As if sensing his old enemy nearby, Pareka rounded on the doro's soul, snapping and slavering.
inexorably
His spirit thinned and shrank, sinking inexorably into the stone.
teeming
He pointed to the fields beyond the storeroom, now teeming with yasasu, the twisted forms of the Ogawa soldiers clashing and bellowing as if the malice that had sustained them all these centuries had erupted as suddenly and violently as water from a geyser.
overture
In similar circumstances, a lesser man might have refused the overtures of a woman and a demon. Indeed, if she'd made such an offer only a few weeks before, Omaizi Ruhai might have rejected both her proposal and her assistance.
swathe
Tujiyazai's head arose from the side of the doro’s neck, his face swathed in flames.
rancor
In an instant, Miuko was reminded of the forests above Koewa: the first hunter, advancing with his pitchfork, Tujiyazai catching him by the chin, all the rancor draining from his body, leaving him bewildered at the edge of the ravine.
measly
I’m the one who kept us alive. I'm the one who killed Tujiyazai. And this is all I get? One hand? One measly hand?
effusive
There, upon the Old Road, were the rest of her friends: Kanayi, with half her face bandaged, and Roroisho (completely unharmed and utterly splendid); Senara, limping beside them but smiling effusively; and Nogadishao, who carried upon his back several villagers in varying states of consciousness and shock.
transpire
But whatever she was, after all that had transpired, she knew one thing for certain: for the first time in her life, she was finally, wholly, unabashedly herself.
sundry
Perhaps, in other times or to other eyes, such a sundry gathering might have been unseemly, but the doro, much to everyone's delight, had always had a transgressive streak in him—and, after his strange journey through the spirit world, he found he had less and less patience for the rigid conventions of Omaizi society.
copious
Roroisho, who had become rather accustomed to the copious amounts of adoration lavished on her by the villagers (and by Geiki in particular), was at first a little peeved to share any attention at all with the doro's fine horse, but she was an adaptable creature; and besides, both Kanayi and Geiki adored her more than enough to make her the best-loved horse for many miles around.
balk
They did not balk when Kanayi rode by on Roroisho. They did not try to prevent Miuko from walking about unescorted.
crude
These were soon joined by several crude wooden statues, each of an old man with a long beard, hands pressed together in a posture of utmost serenity.
affability
Given her affability, she soon found herself the center of considerable romantic attention and even entertained the affections of one or two suitors, although as she confessed to Miuko over a steaming pot of jasmine tea, she hadn't really given the affairs much thought.
limn
Over the wild blue countryside they flew, like a pair of heroes from some ancient tale or a constellation limned in stars, and not once did she look back, for she did not need to—she had the support of her loved ones behind her, and the big, beautiful world ahead.

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