Featuring new cover art: “Bandits Assault a Stagecoach,” by Ignacio Bazán Lazcano

The Heart of the Rail

“Is that all you have?” Henry yelled at the locomotive. He kicked its hot firebox, and its whistle screamed at him, steam shrieking from the full boiler. “That’s right!” he shouted back. “Shake me. Come on, you ugly bastard. Shake me!” The train, spitting a thick spume of greasy smoke, hurled itself down the far side of the mountain.

The trouble with single-engine trains, as Olyphant had warned him, was that they developed strong personalities.
The Tale of the Aggrieved Astrologer

Shortly after midnight, his vigil bore fruit. A star detached itself from the firmament and began to streak down towards the western horizon. Ho snatched up his celestial sphere, rotating its silver rings to record the stolen star's position. It disappeared into the west: beneath the House of the White Tiger. Above a prefecture a half day from the Imperial City. Ho's heart sank, although the blow was not unexpected. It was the prefecture run by August Advisor Chuko Tsin.

No, Ho was the Imperial Astrologer now. His position was secure. Certainly secure. What reason would the Emperor have for revoking it?
Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Three Feats of Agani

Podcast: Download (Duration: 32:49 — 22.53MB)

I had hoped to tell you the first story in the summers to come. It is my sorrowful task to tell you all three, instead.
From the Archives:
System, Magic, Spirit
There's nothing better than low-ranking, fad-following royalty for extinguishing any last desire to even bother fighting for one's life against other wizards in the Ring.