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“Dancing the Warrior, Pt. I,” by Marie Brennan
By sheer force of will, Sen forced herself upright. She hadn’t won; that much was clear. If that had been the Grandmaster’s test, then she’d failed, and this had all been a waste of everybody’s time. She couldn’t look at Kerestel, at Criel, at anything other than the Grandmaster’s feet. The silence stretched out, harpstring-tight. And then he spoke, his mild voice betraying nothing more than it had before.
“The Fairy Gaol,” by Heather Fawcett
I do not want his scrutiny now, with the cool blade of the dagger pressing against my thigh. On the nearest dance path, a woman laughs as a fat prince covers her ears and throat with wet kisses. I feign interest as he spins her across the path, through the starlight that pours into the atrium. Unbidden, I picture our last dance together, on a night so similar and so different.
“Mr Morrow Becomes Acquainted with the Delicate Art of Squid Keeping,” by Geoffrey Maloney, from BCS #64
They couldn’t be serious, Morrow thought, could not possibly be...but then the Major allowed the squid to slip from his fingers and into his mouth. Miss Twickenham stifled a horrified gasp. Morrow’s heart quickened its beating. Surely, there had been some sleight of hand in the Major’s actions. What he had witnessed was impossible, and he wondered just how strongly the professor’s tobacco had been tinctured with laudanum.
“Stormchaser, Stormshaper,” by Erin Hoffman, from BCS #14
His tone filled her with a strangeness. Some of it was pleasure at his diffident compliment, some of it was fear, and some more elusive tendril buried in the emotion was something unsettling, like watching a shark drift up out of the depths and vanish again. Sternly she told herself that all of this was normal, and Mother wished her to learn from this creature, who, certainly, above all other things, would be strange! She would not let fear master her.