[Fiction] According to Chinese mythology, the goddess Nugua formed the first mortals from yellow mud. An artist, she carefully sculpted each limb, pressed closed each fingertip, contoured each nose, creating individuals. But at some point she became impatient with the demands of craftsmanship and dipped a vine in darker soil, flung it every which way. Lumps of mud fell from the skies, and became human.

And so the land was divided into two races: the hand-formed pale-skinned nobles, and the darker commoners who had never known the goddess’s touch.

Chinese people, Annabel’s mother said, shaking her head. Such snobs. But in the lamplight, her mother’s face shone paler than the moon.