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QUEEN OF THE DESERT

QUEEN OF THE DESERT, by Alex Marshall: Throughout the endless afternoon he walked the trackless waste.  With his coat held above to shield him from the sun’s brutal rays, Derwent toiled — his shadow and his hopes stretching to the empty distance. Near sunset, dark clouds boiled up overhead and rain fell briefly but the […]

THE WORSHIP OF THE LORD OF THE ESTUARY AND THE WAGES OF HEROISM

THE WORSHIP OF THE LORD OF THE ESTUARY AND THE WAGES OF HEROISM, by James Frederick William Rowe: It came from the sea, a thing of cold, slime, and teeth. Declaring its presence through murder, it took the lives of three men fishing on the open water before it claimed as its home the estuary […]

DEATH AT THE PASS

DEATH AT THE PASS, by Michael R. Fletcher: That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial. -Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Somewhere there was a Necromancer. Of that there could be no doubt. Brushing a thousand years of dirt and rot from his robes, Khraen marvelled at how well preserved […]

THE DOME OF FLORENCE, PART II

DOME OF FLORENCE, PART II, by Richard Marsden: Mahir continued to berate Filippo, both in heavily accented Italian and in his own dialect as well as a few choice curses from long-dead languages as they meandered through the winding streets of the city. Whereas Mahir had followed Filippo into Cosimo’s lair, head downcast, now their positions […]

DEMON-FANG

DEMON-FANG, by R. Michael Burns: Having no means of crossing this life, I make swordsmanship my hiding place. –Yagyū Muneyoshi, Heihō Kaden Sho, 17th Century   Somewhere in the deep of night, the Fang whispered, and Shadows stirred.  The samurai Hokagé — Shadows-from-Firelight — opened his eyes on darkness, bitter voices crawling over him like […]

OF CASTING PITS AND CAUSTIC SALTS

OF CASTING PITS AND CAUSTIC SALTS, by Scott  H. Andrews: Turusha squeezed the draft-scarab’s reins and fought the urge to scrape her itching wrists against the seat of the cart.  The line of creaking wagons stretched to the dusty city gate, yoked beetles lumbering forward, the ammonia-and-sugar scent fuming from their glistening carapaces.  Andar, seated […]

DEMON SONG

DEMON SONG, by A. R. Williams: Kenshin Nobuyashi knew the ring was important, but he could not remember why. An onyx stone formed its crest, and within that stone a diamond caught the disappearing light from the sun. The reflection swirled in shadow and light the longer he gazed at it. “It’s just a ring,” […]

THE BARONESS DREFELIN

THE BARONESS DREFELIN, by David Pilling: The knight’s name was Brian Fitz-Count, and every step of his horse was taking him farther away from where he wanted to be. Or, to be more precise, the person he wanted to be with. The Queen of England haunted his waking moments and stalked his dreams, so he […]

THE DOME OF FLORENCE

THE DOME OF FLORENCE, by Richard Marsden: Mahir had to admit to himself The Dome of Florence, even though incomplete, was easily the largest building he had ever encountered. The dome’s arcing columns of slate-gray stone towered over the red-tiled roofs of every building in the city. Even Florence’s impressive walls, designed to fend off […]

LORD OF THE BRASS HOST

LORD OF THE BRASS HOST, by Dariel Quiogue: In the stillness of a moonless night, the final sounds of picks breaking through stone sounded as loud as armies.  Five grave robbers knelt muttering eagerly around the hole they had made through the roof of a buried tomb, shining torches into the yawning vault below.  Glints […]

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