It is the nature of empire to calve new words, and Mattar has walked ruined roads and suffocating marketplaces to find them. She knows the word for how a Kilin-kasa woman turns a wax-melon in her hands three times before she asks a price—tsa-tsa-tsa. She knows the name the now-dead Enokoans had for her, diabi-sai, witch-mother. She knows, too, the syllables of the arrows of the Hasha as they fall, tulbuku, on Korondi shields and Korondi flesh.

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Read “Stone Prayers” by Kate Alice Marshall, in Issue #177

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Kate Alice Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and several small agents of chaos disguised as a dog, cat, and child. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres, and other venues, and she is the author of the YA survival thriller I Am Still Alive from Viking Children's. You can find her online at

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