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“Dancing the Warrior, Pt. II,” by Marie Brennan
Anger gave Sen cold focus, but it made Leksen crazy. She sidestepped his first wild blow and got in a solid kidney punch that made him howl; he grabbed her arm and slugged her in the stomach. Sen snarled that away and clawed his face, leaving bloody furrows down his cheek. It wasn’t a Dance of any kind, but she didn’t care. It was her sacrifice to the Warrior. Either he was going down, or she was.
“Memories of Her,” by Greg Linklater
I take one stone hand in the other and unscrew it. Inside my hollow wrist is a padded pocket. A mantis scuttles out, tethered to me by a chain as fine as hair but stronger than anything I could name. It scurries up my arm, across my cheek, and props on the tip of my nose. “Time now,” it clicks. “You go.”
“Love, Resurrected,” by Cat Rambo, from BCS #65
This half-life dragged at her. She felt weary all the time, a chilled-bone sluggishness of motion that belied the quickness of her thoughts. It was not painful to breathe, but it was tiring, and she began to eschew it when alone and unworried about frightening the living.
I like to carve. I like to sculpt. But the ironwood trees in the forest shatter even the finest blades. Father says that the war has changed them, that the magic of the battlemages has infected the land, and I have no cause to doubt him–he has been my educator and my window on the world. Bone is easier to shape.