“In the Gardens of the Night,” by Siobhan Carroll
The General is apoplectic. He would yell, no doubt, and strike me, but he cannot afford to yell, and if he strikes me I might betray him, through my bruises if not my words. I see him realize also, with the shock of a man who is not used to being in this position, that he has no choice. If he wants Nakshedil dead, he must agree to my requests.
“Ink and Blood,” by Marko Kloos
Wilhelm doesn’t know what he will say to her if he catches up. He isn’t even sure that he will try to speak to her again. All he knows as he makes his way across the busy market square is that he wants to keep her in his sight just a little while longer, because her smile made him feel like someone other than pudgy Wilhelm from the paper store. He knows that once she slips away, life will become boring and ordinary once more.
He only had one shirt. One pair of pants. No shoes. He brushed his hand along one wall. The parchment was soft with age. He closed the door, walked down the hall, down the stairs, and into the street.
Oh, poor Enanatuma! We had been estranged long before my banishment. I had seen her only once since the day ten years ago when I had given up dancing and devoted all my energies to magic. I had done her a favor in return for the thousand kindnesses she and her father had shown me and had intended never to see her again. But she was still my sister.