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“The Pirate Captain’s Daughter,” by Yoon Ha Lee
Pirates of the highest tier, the ones whose names and exploits were discussed avidly even in inland cities like those of conquering generals and master calligraphers, raided poetry itself. To understand her trade, a pirate must be a poet herself, and could not take a name until she had scribed a poem in the language of her sea-yearning soul.
“Songdogs,” by Ian McHugh
She turned her back on him to reach for her pack, shielding her hands with her body so he wouldn’t see her fingers sketching the words of the attack spell that she mouthed under her breath. She licked her fingertips, holding the spell on the tip of her tongue, and turned round to face him while she dug in the pack for food. He opened his mouth. “Could...” was as far as he got.
“Six Seeds,” by Sara M. Harvey
Of course, this was very nice for all the other women of the world, but not for me. For me, Dollies were the chore of my life: winding them, bathing them in oil, mending gears and joints, and keeping good care of their pricier parts which pleasured the men. I cannot say that I hated it, nor that I was fond of it, only that it was my task every single day to care for these immortal metal beauties.
“To Kiss the Granite Choir, Pt. I,” by Michael Anthony Ashley
The gallery erupted with the roar of a thousand voices—laughter, questions, taunts pouring down in a torrent of Silici that would have put any market auction to shame. Living swords grown from the bones of dead men were shaken. The ground beneath Imre’s feet shook from the force of stone fists and sandaled feet pounding throughout the amphitheater. His head remained bowed.
“Of Shifting Skin and Certainty,” by Justin Howe, from BCS #26
Such is our addiction. Living formless is its own refuge—our skin-shifting a means of escape, to always have a new identity waiting in the tank for when the one we wear becomes overly tiresome and persistent. But the King no longer wearies of change, and has but one face now to show the world. And though it resembles candle wax, it remains. “That is my difference,” he says.