“Wolf’s Clothing,” by Renee Stern
We settled in a semicircle, me facing the others, just far enough outside the ravine that the smell of wolfsbane and their sweat covered all traces of sheep’s blood on me. I knelt on one knee, ready to leap away. The shepherds clustered behind Nydor, all but one of the men, who stood apart, an arrow nocked and ready. “What are you?”
“Thistles and Barley,” by Kamila Zeman Miller
I get up and go to my old war chest. I wipe down the carved top once a week, but when I open it dust wafts up from the inside. My weapons are all well put away, but the metal looks dull from dust sticking to the oil. I kneel. The scent reminds me of an attic, of things forgotten. I pull a sleeve over my hand and wipe the dust away. It leaves a shiny spot and a greasy stain on my cuff. It’s just a work shirt but the stain bothers me.
“System, Magic, Spirit,” by T.D. Edge, from BCS #17
But experience had taught me that dissertations on magical systems are incredibly dull for all save the oblivious nincompoop who actually believes anyone wants to listen. No, when people ask you what you ‘do’, all they really want is a snappy line or two they can repeat over dinner later. Well, to hell with that.