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A WHISPER IN ASHES

A WHISPER IN ASHES, by Charles Gramlich: Down from the death-lands of snow came a warrior with eyes like scars. No one knew his origins. None could foresee his end. He had no name. The barbarians called him Krieg.   I. The Black Tarn The northern wind was quiet for once. The polished surface of […]

THE NATURE OF DEMONS

THE NATURE OF DEMONS, by J. Kathleen Cheney: The town elders left the corpse untouched for us to view, now more than a day dead.  That the demon had fled the town already, I didn’t doubt.  Even so, the elders refused to enter that small house on the edge of the woods, retreating with murmurs […]

JIRO

JIRO, by Peter Fugazzotto: Boots poked out of thick undergrowth within a stone’s throw of the heavily rutted country road. What was visible of the armor – a bronze plated lamellar jacket – was congealed with blood. Jiro – hungry, cold, and tired – saw the armor as the means to fill his aching belly. […]

LORD OF THE TATTERED BANNER

LORD OF THE TATTERED BANNER, by Kristopher Reisz: By the time they took Orsten Keep, the pretender had already escaped over the mountains with half her army. After the battle, the smell of blood and smoke lingered. It was a strangely fertile smell, like fresh-tilled earth. Fengr Tall-As-A-Mounted-Man felt his war-rage cool, leaving him with […]

NICOR

NICOR, by Matthew Quinn: Crows cawed in the distance. The Danes sitting in the longship began muttering ominously. Geiri Jorgenson, a dark-haired beardless boy of thirteen summers, leaned forward to listen. “Is that the other ship over there?” he asked his friend Halvor Skallagrimson, a big red-bearded man who sat across the aisle. Halvor nodded. […]

THE LION AND THE THORN TREE

THE LION AND THE THORN TREE, by J.S. Bangs: My husband’s voice came through the door of our house in the night. It was a ghost voice, muddled with the baying of wild dogs, and so I knew he was dead. I was four months pregnant. I followed the echo of his voice for half […]

DUSTS OF WAR

DUSTS OF WAR, by Ben Godby: The cart creaked, its wheels full of summer dust, as the peddler pushed it gently up the slope of the road, past the first houses, and onto the main street of the village. It was late afternoon, nearly dusk, and the sun had a lazy warmth to it. It […]

SHADOWS AND HELLFIRE

SHADOWS AND HELLFIRE, by R. Michael Burns: “Dive heedlessly into death, and you will wake up.”                              — Yamamoto Tsunemoto,                              Hagakure All around him, the dead drew closer, faces ash-pale, sunken eyes blazing with hatred. Hokagé’s hand went instinctively for his sword — but of course he wasn’t armed, not in the dead of […]

KINGDOM OF GRAVES

KINGDOM OF GRAVES, by David Charlton: Plague had come to the lands west of the river Elakk, and so Rakhar the Half-Orc came, too. He came to their towns with only his spade slung over his shoulder, taller than any man and uglier than most. His brow was heavy and hung low over dark, sunken […]

DAY’S END AT THE THREE EELS

DAY’S END AT THE THREE EELS, by Al Onia: Daryan the Bold lurched into the tavern. He hadn’t thought he could sink lower than the last waterfront dive but The Three Eels appeared to be a large step down in his spiraling night of debauchery. Well, at least, he likely wouldn’t be thrown out of […]

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