The second of two special double-issues for the month of our tenth anniversary, featuring four stories, a guest-narrated podcast, and new cover art: “King of Ruins” by Mats Minnhagen.
The Poet Laureate was fetched from his retirement in a lighthouse on the far shore of the Founder Mer to compose a song of eighty-six interlocked stanzas like steps on a stairway spiraling down into a cool dim quiet. But on the forty-seventh stanza of its recitation, the Governor squinted into the space over the Poet's shoulder and said, "listen, any deeper and we shall hear the words those beasts sing as they pass" and demanded that the previous stanzas be read in reverse; "back to the surface," he said.
On one of her rests, Ser Wynn checked the banyo tree; the Lady Loreen had taken an ax to its mouth, destroying its ability to tattle on her evening disappearances. It was then that Wynn knew that Loreen held inside her a rage like that she herself had experienced in her fight with the king father’s bear. The kind of rage that she knew would burn her up if she let it.
The magistrate thinks he will go mad. What does it matter what exact angle his wrist must be turned at? But Grandmother Seung scowls at him; opens her mouth to start repeating herself about the need to be present, for the awareness of his intentions in the potion, and if he cannot be aware of his own body’s workings in this last crucial stage of the magic potion, then how will he rein and discipline his mind for the task?
With that she swept her cloak around her and walked smoothly to the door. All eyes watched her. She opened it, sending a skirl of sleet across the threshold, and stepped out into the blizzard. The assembled crowd waited, more than one of them expecting her to pause in the doorway to make some last dramatic pronouncement, but she only drew her hood over her face against the wind and disappeared into the dark. But the story spread...