Issues
Issue #271
Blood, Bone, Seed, Spark

She wasn't the first to observe and draw the germinative animalcules inside a man's seed. But as with any field that did not serve the greater goal of abatement, studies into reproduction had fallen by the wayside. And Anell intended, after all, to do more than merely observe and draw. This way lay greatness, the kind that could not be scraped out of a lifetime's long work tacking minutes onto the sunset days of her head of House.

Adrianna in Pomegranate

She was quick to anger, her hands tightening around the book—this book of all books, this book was what he huddled over in his madman’s cave—but she did not yell. She had always kept a better leash on her emotions, and her composure was more upsetting to him than her rage. She knew it, and gods help her, she used it.

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Adrianna in Pomegranate
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It was unfair, the way he summoned her here for these tense bimonthly appointments. It was unfair, the way she persisted in showing up rather than sending an apprentice.
From the Archives:
The Sweetness of Honey and Rot
Jiteh lets her hand hover a breath away from the Boundary. Somewhere beyond, there are people who do not watch their brothers devoured by the Life Tree. There are people who do not praise.
Issue #270
To Stab with a Rose, to Love with a Knife

We used our mating knives to wound them, then married them for the year and nursed them back to health. They told us that people in their homeland mated forever. They had no use for wounds, no fear of healing. When they were strong enough to walk back home, a few of our own left with them, lured by that promise of wound-free love, that strange idea of permanence.

Do Not Look Back, My Lion

Eefa looks back. Talaan is bed-tousled and half-dressed astride a yellow mare, her hair a tangled mane behind her (how many times has Eefa combed that hair, gently, in the glow of the fire?), her robe fallen open to the chest (the laundry Eefa washed the previous day, folded with lavender and cloves). Her feet are bare. She does not seem to feel the white-toothed wind nipping at her flesh.

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To Stab with a Rose, to Love with a Knife
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Then the night comes when the Lady summons me to her room and I go, I do.
From the Archives:
She Who Hungers, She Who Waits
Mei Huang repeats the rite so many times it becomes indistinguishable from breath, and still every iteration ends with the soldier dead.
Issue #269
The Deepest Notes of the Harp and Drum

I killed my sister with my own two hands. I am not sorry for it; she lied and cheated and stole, and if it had not been her it would have been me. Blood does not mean only one thing, the same across all boundaries. For my sister it meant nothing until I spilled hers, warm and wet and surprisingly copious, up to my elbows in it. Though I loved her, I killed her; though I loved her, she did not love me.

La Orpheline

Look: she is here, asleep in a row of plush seats in the Grande Salle. Above her soars the painted ceiling and the many chandeliers of the Opéra le Peletier, which is, in the brief time of this story, the national opera of France. Around her stand the members of the production company—the angular Costume Mistress, the rotund Directeur de Théâtre, the seamstresses and the members of the orchestra and the many brawny stagehands—all peering at her intently and holding their breath, as if she is a princess in a tale.

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The Deepest Notes of the Harp and Drum
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I killed my sister with my own two hands.
From the Archives:
Suite for Accompanied Cello
I won on my first attempt when I was fourteen; so long ago it seems meaningless.
Issue #268
The Blighted Godling of Company Town H

"Take a look. I have them here with me. Please, godling." The girl's fear seeped into the words—as did her faith that Dreya would make everything right again. Dreya was unworthy of such devotion, but she drank it in nevertheless.

The Beast Weeps with One Eye

I touched my cheekbones. Was that how I looked after a single offering? How would I endure this for two more times? I washed my face and crossed the village to Mkiwa’s hut. Her face still paled, but her strong body had stifled the pain. Did her heart’s pain fare any better, though? I couldn’t tell.

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The Blighted Godling of Company Town H
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"Take a look. I have them here with me. Please, godling." The girl's fear seeped into the words—as did her faith that Dreya would make everything right again.
From the Archives:
The Shark God’s Child
There had been seventy islets when Mei came to Deleur six years ago.
Issue #267
A Martyr’s Art

I wiped red blood from a white arm. Scars knotted its lines. Some pink, some white. Here and there the skin was near to bone, where flesh had long ago been torn away. The legacy of a dozen clients. “I don't fight any more.”

A Circle of Steel and Bone

Singling out the watch would keep suspicion focused outward, Meinrad hoped, to the woods and the wild Prussians who had not yet submitted to the order and the church. With so few knights and half-brothers under him, infighting would leave them defenseless fast. Fear of the outside was manageable.

From the Archives:
Eyes Beyond the Fire
Lys frayed a rope with her knife—choosing one which would not harm the sails but would send an iron pulley tumbling into the sea.
Issue #266
Forest Spirits

He'd wanted to show her this place—this forest where he'd been a boy and hadn't been back since. He'd expected to find it changed. Not like this. The storms had uprooted whole trees. The brook roared, churning with debris, fighting to drag it all down into the valley. "Tell me," she said, watching him. He loved her. He didn't know where to begin.

Frozen Meadow, Shining Sun

An old fox greeted us at the edge, three-tailed and red like fire. I was so small that her snout reached my neck, smelling of the cloying musk of foxes, thick and odd, like dirty metal gripped in my hand. She came to Aimi like one of the village dogs, completely unafraid, and kissed her cheek.

From the Archives:
Y Brenin
The knight glanced up at the tessellated sky, clear blue behind the shifting leaves, and did not answer.
Issue #265
Feral Attachments at Kulle Bland Bergen

Harald and Solveig were academic heirs apparent, favored disciples of Asbjørnsen and von Linne, the two great authorities on Anthropomorpha. Even before graduation, their joint study of field goblins, based on existing literature and new observations, showed that Homo monstrosus vulgus practice exogamous mating; Professor Strindberg had to retire his popular lectures on goblin promiscuity.

How the Mighty

"Come here with you," Boden calls, as he retrieves his son, Tallow, from amongst the crowd's rushing legs. He lifts the boy onto his shoulders, but the weight makes him gasp, makes his lower back twinge, and Tal's mucky brown boots smear the front of his tunic. He can hardly tell the boy off for that, though, can he? Not when he only sees him for the odd day here and there.

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Feral Attachments at Kulle Bland Bergen
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They lost Bragi—Harald lost him—in late spring, when the snow was mostly gone and meadows were livid with velvetbells, ogre-thistle, and mountain orchid.
From the Archives:
The Land of Empty Shells
Dziko shaped their son, and Terra shaped their daughter.
Issue #264
In the Ground, Before the Freeze

He hadn't put out place settings, this time. Instead he'd gone inside, by the cabinet near the hearth and the concertina that lay in a little heap on top of it like a discarded shawl. From the looks of him, he'd been there a while. Katrin dumped rabbit and greens on the table. "Leave it," she said, and he turned, his eyebrows peaked together in concern. She sighed. "Leave the concertina alone," she repeated, this time in a sweeter voice. It was the tone that mattered, not the words. "Don't you ever touch that," she cooed, and he smiled at her.

The Hollow Tree

She retreated with my gifts back into the Hollow Tree. With another shiver and groan, the trunk snapped shut, swallowing her up. When it opened again, there was something there. I went to retrieve the item and recognized it immediately. It was my father's favorite mug. Exactly his, down to the chip on the handle from when he fell asleep with it on his knee and dropped it; down to the worrying on the lip from where he always rubbed it with his thumb; down to the bottom, where etched were the words: "Love, Lunan." Lunan was my mother's name.

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In the Ground, Before the Freeze
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Katrin had known since she was a little girl what her husband would look like, ever since she was old enough to understand that Aunt Gunna had deeded her farm to Katrin.
From the Archives:
The Sweetness of Honey and Rot
Jiteh lets her hand hover a breath away from the Boundary. Somewhere beyond, there are people who do not watch their brothers devoured by the Life Tree. There are people who do not praise.
Issue #263
The Oracle and the Sea

When she plays, it’s the old songs—not her heavy concertos but brisk two-fingered melodies, folk tunes and old hymns, the first songs her youngest students would master. Every month when the soldiers bring her supply of flour and milk, they also bring waterproofed parcels of manuscript paper and cool bricks of ink. She always refuses them.

The Bodice, The Hem, The Woman, Death

I had long since tired of my mother’s lessons: these polite assaults, this bastard corsetry. But what was I supposed to do? Tell her no? I was her only daughter. My mother would have fought her little war for my appearance, her weapons silk and silver and the voices of our family's dead, even if we’d known that our world was already over, that the armies of the underworld were slipping through our walls through broaches and hatpins, necklaces and bangles, boxes and bags, using the city's favorite things against it.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Oracle and the Sea
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Every month when the soldiers bring her supply of flour and milk, they also bring waterproofed parcels of manuscript paper and cool bricks of ink.
From the Archives:
An Aria for the Bloodlords
I’d already put my score past the censors, spending weeks of my time and more money than I had.
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