Narrated by M.K. Hobson.

Hilaj fears victory today, Nehan knows, as much as she fears defeat. The Buskruten terms would leave the Watuk a corner of their nation, a fragment of their former glory. Copper, tin, and silver mines would fall within the borders the Buskruten viceroys had drawn for themselves. With a stroke of a pen, Nehan might guarantee today that no more lives would be lost. With the same swift strike of ink, a proud people of traders would become beggars.

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Read “A Song for the Leadwood Tree” by Aimee Ogden, in Issue #285

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Aimee Ogden is a former science teacher and software tester; now she writes about sad astronauts, angry princesses, and dead gods. Her work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Analog, Fireside, and multiple times previously in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. With fellow BCS author Bennett North, she co-edits Translunar Travelers Lounge, which features fun and optimistic speculative fiction. Her first novellas, Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters and Local Star, debuted in 2021 from and Interstellar Flight Press respectively.

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