Iron spear tips brushed the bound captives’ necks. Battle scars still bleeding, they knelt in mud at their guardsmen’s feet. Most of Pempamsie village stood gawking at the captured slavers held just inside their walls.
The sight of the prisoners’ ragged armor and chains made Ralo’s stomach clench.[…]
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Joreth knew when Maia entered his father’s smithy, despite having his back to the door. Her honeysuckle scent wafted through the smoke and curled like a fist in his gut. He yanked the rope to squeeze the bellows, but the rush of air couldn’t block out her voice.
“Good day, Halbor,” she said, addressing the master smith.
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I stopped counting two hundred and thirty-seven days in. That was the day the magistrate told me that I only had eight more hours of community service to earn my freedom. Magistrate also followed that up with “I’m going to see to it you never get those eight hours, filthy orc”.
The jail cell was getting smaller.[…]
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It was an occasion of truce, as King Hubert of Xonia and his retinue attended the annual ceremony hosted this time by the Kingdom of Yostec. A number of other kingdoms were also participating, but the focus was on Xonia because they were the closest and fiercest rivals to Yostec, with a decades-long border dispute, and their king was young and untested. Would he make his mark here—or fail to?[…]
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It is not easy to live backwards in time, even when you are Merlin the Magnificent. You would think it would be otherwise, that you would remember all the wonders of the future, but those memories grow dim and fade more quickly than you might suppose. […]
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“Rise, oh God of Creation,” they sang, and so I did. I rose and called the sea. The waters came and washed that place clean as I swept my arms east to west, delighted at the bewildered sounds they made. I bore the tiny priests no ill will, despite the inconvenience their little ceremony had caused. Troublesome vermin are never worth one’s enmity, though one does not abide their gnawing presence when it can be helped. So I washed them away, smiling. […]
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“She’s not in,” I say. “She probably forgot all about it, I told you she’s flaky like that. Come on, let’s go. We can get something to eat on the way home. Pizza would be nice.”
Alan looks at my hand, which is gripping his elbow, and then at his finger, which is still on the doorbell. “It’s usually traditional to wait until the bell stops ringing before you decide nobody’s going to answer it.” […]
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Cinderella has been leaving her right slipper in the stairwells again. Please make sure to pick it up and return it to her when you find it; we’ve already had one staff member fall and we don’t need a repeat of last year’s run on hip replacement surgeries. We’re not sure how she keeps getting out of her ward, so please keep an eye out for her fairy godmother or any talkative mice. […]
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“Jesus taught me how to ski,” the kid in the bright orange ski pants said to the middle-aged lady next to me on the chairlift.
She barked a sharp but friendly laugh. “You mean Haysus, don’t you? Didn’t know they had a Latino ski instructor up here.” She waved a hand toward the day lodge, the bright lights for night skiing casting shadows on the run below us. […]
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Elijah’s hands worked the cool clay until the little girl’s eyes reflected innocence, and her lips formed a smile. The figure, half his height, mimicked a child of seven or eight. Sculpting had shaken off the dread brewing since the call an hour ago. […]
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Long-fingered grips and narrow, jag-joint wrists. Heg coiled around her brother. Coiled in close until he breathed the flavor of her thoughts. Unlovely. Unbelonging. Out! Out! Out! […]
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The heap was in the usual order—dangling above chaos as if by the tree branch of vague categorization. My apprentices (or unpaid interns now, blast the “synergy seminar” that Mr. Lexius had given) had them in piles. The snowbank of envelopes was mostly (and mercifully) white, though a few red and green ones peeked out and promised unwelcome entertainment. […]
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My foot touches the platform and it hits me, a plunging sensation in my gut-I feel light and the lightness is wrong. Merciless, the impatient momentum of the crowd pulls me the wrong way. All wrong. I check my pockets: Gum. Keys. Ticket-stub. […]
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The pond was stagnant, sickly. Globs of yellow foam floated on the surface, while cattails lay flat on the ground along the water’s edge, as though expired from the effort of trying to crawl free of the horrible scum. “Betcha five bucks you won’t stick your foot in,” said Brandon Styles to his new friend Jarvis. […]
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Gender: Female. Relationship status: Single. Area: Welsh mountain, but willing to travel. […]
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Einar Jónsson wasn’t the first to see the ship entombed in the rocks, but little did I know then, he was one of the few Icelanders who could actually do something about it. “If I only had enough time,” he said to me, as we stood on the black sand and stared at the tell-tale stones, “and sharp enough chisels, by God, I think I could really bring out the shape of it.” […]
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They say he was there when the gods made the world-and he would have offered to help, except that they looked like they had it in hand. So he sat in the absence of reeds and played on the absence of a flute, and where he dawdled those things came to be. […]
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Khallan righted his bicorne hat and trudged up the muddy slope overlooking Taliomar. Half a day he’d waited, so fewer people would spot him at this late hour. Evening fog snaked through the city as lantern-keepers on stilts lit street lamps with torches. Noble carriages scurried to their requisite abodes as red-coated Bravos patrolled the curbs. If he was successful, he’d ride in a carriage of his own soon. […]
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