Narrated by Marie Brennan.

Men from her kureç came; men from elsewhere in her clan came; men from all the clans of Vraszan came, and some say even foreigners from beyond the lands watered by the Dežera. Her father the kureniç fretted to himself, for Clever Natalya had given them a year and a day—and if no one passed her test, who would lead his people after him? But to his daughter he had given his word, that she should be the one to choose, and Natalya disliked losing.

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Read “Constant Ivan and Clever Natalya” by M.A. Carrick, in Issue #373

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M.A. Carrick is the joint pen name of BCS authors Marie Brennan (author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent) and Alyc Helms (author of the Adventures of Mr. Mystic), who together are the authors of the Rook and Rose epic fantasy trilogy, beginning with The Mask of Mirrors and continuing with The Liar's Knot. The two met in 2000 on an archaeological dig in Wales and Ireland--including a stint in the town of Carrickmacross--and have built their friendship through two decades of anthropology, writing, and gaming. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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