Power’s Shadow: Chapter 10, Part 4

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3As Foxessa mentioned, Satin and Steel.

Chapter 10, Part 4

The king stroked his beard. “Indeed. These events grown more interesting by the moment.”

“See, Majesty, nobles, it is as I have said!” Okandis’ smile was pure triumph. Marta chose to ignore him for the moment as she got her first good look at King Elion V of Conmyre. He was younger than she had assumed, perhaps about thirty, a very hale and vibrant-looking man. His black hair and short beard were peppered with white, but no more than that. Aside from an ornate crown, his clothing was of fine quality but more simple than Marta would have expected from her previous experience with the court at Lythos.

“May I speak?” Marta asked.

“Of course,” the king said, “though we would advise you to speak well. Duke Okandis has made some very serious allegations.”

“Most of which, Your Majesty, are likely to be true.”

At Marta’s words the assembled nobles, silent before now, began to mutter to themselves, and the king held up a hand for silence. Marta continued.

“It’s true, I am a witch. My mother was Black Kath of Lythos, and as you’re no doubt aware she visited Amurlee on several occasions. Yet to my knowledge there was no instance where she worked against Your Majesty’s interests. If I am mistaken, I humbly accept your correction.”

“We are not aware of any such incidents,” the king said, looking thoughtful.

“Until now!” Duke Okandis said, but the king shot him a look and he fell silent. He did not appear, however, in the least bit chastised. Rather, he appeared to be a man on the verge of fulfilling his fondest dream.

“Again, what the good duke has stated is so, I have brought a representative of the Five Isles to Amurlee. Boranac wishes an end to the hostilities between the Five Isles and the mainland kingdoms. What better place to begin than Conmyre?”

“We do not think we should negotiate with pirates,” the king said, to more muttering. Softer, this time. Continue reading

Reprint for WCSFA

WRITING 02Starting off the new year, I’ve just sold a reprint to the World Chinese SF Association (WCSFA). Reprints in general are a good thing. They get your stories out in venues/areas that might not normally come across them, and the WCSFA certainly applies. I’ve had stories translated into Japanese, French, and Russian, but this will be the first time for Chinese, so I’m looking forward to it.

Strictly from the business side of things, reprints are money for work already done. That is, stories you would have—and did—write anyway continue to pay off for you. Sort of an investment in the future. Even those of us who don’t earn most of our income from writing can appreciate that.

The story is “A Hint of Jasmine,” one of my Eli Mothersbaugh series. This was originally published in Asimov’s SF back in August 2004. WCSFA has also bought reprints from Ken Liu, Aliette de Bodard, and Caroline M. Yoachim, among others. I know the story will be in good company. I’ll likely mention it here when it’s published. I’ll go look at it myself. Won’t be able to read it, but that’s all right. I know where to find a really good English translation.

Power’s Shadow: Chapter 10, Part 3

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3Into the lion’s den.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 10, Part 3

 “Are we ready?” Sela asked.

Marta studied her reflection in the mirror. “Ready or not ready, it’s time.”

Count Maton’s guest quarters were opulent by comparison to anything else Marta was familiar with, including the king’s palace at Lythos, and their wardrobes for the scheduled audience were beyond anything Marta had ever worn in her life. Sela had almost balked when she’d seen her own court dress until Marta explained that it was customary for the women of Amurlee to wear daggers on formal occasions. In some circles they were merely badges of status, often made of ivory or whalebone and highly ornamented. There were a few such provided, but Sela found one of layered steel.

“Not as good as my father’s work, but still of very fine make,” she’d said as she examined the blade. “It also has the virtue of being real.”

“Then wear it, if it makes you feel better.”

Now Sela was wearing it, in a jeweled sheathe on a jeweled belt. It added a sort of rakish look to her court dress of blue satin. For her own part, Marta didn’t bother with weapons. In her considered opinion such things were either not going to be needed, or if they were, inadequate for the task.

There was a knock at the door.

“We’re ready,” Marta said. “Come in.”

Count Maton entered. “Lady Callowyn is ready…finally.”

Marta almost smiled. “Was she very difficult?”

“Madame Tarea said that she wasn’t…enthusiastic, shall we say, but felt a little better once she was told she’d be allowed a knife.”

Marta did smile then. “That was pretty much the consensus here as well.”

Count Maton took a breath, let it out slowly. “We will precede her, as discussed.”

Marta frowned. “Is something wrong?”

“No…well, yes. I want to compliment you both on the way you look. I know you don’t care, and considering our relationship I feel very awkward doing so, but to me failing to do so is rude.”

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t care,” Marta said. “A lot of this is new to me, and I wasn’t certain if we were appropriate to the occasion.”

“You both most certainly are.”

“That’s good to know. Very well, we’ll meet you at the gate.”

Count Maton bowed and withdrew from the room.

“That was almost sweet of him,” Sela said. “To the extent that I recognize such things.” Continue reading

And the Shiny Thing Goes to….

Yamada_BTG_cover-V06b-PrimeIt’s awards campaign season again. I dunno. I’ve done work that I’m very proud of, but that’s pretty much true every year. Award worthy? I don’t get to decide that, so I feel pretty justified in just staying out of it. That’s not a “morally superior” position, by the way. I don’t ding anyone for campaigning. I have friends who are good and natural at doing that sort of thing, and all I can do is watch in amazement and, yes, a little envy. If I were someone else I’d probably be doing it too, but I’ve never had the knack for being someone else. Which is a shame in a way–it’s hard enough to get noticed in the crowd as it is and if you don’t stand up for your own work, who will? I do what I can but  I recongize that, compared to many, what I can ain’t much. A failure in me, probably, but that’s how I roll.

Darling du Jour:

“War chopped Pestilence’s head off and kicked it like a soccer ball. It was a good kick. Three hundred yards across the blighted landscape, easily. By the time Pestilence’s headless body managed, scrabbling across the dust and debris, to feel its way to where the head had rolled, we were pretty sure he wouldn’t try that again. A pity, really. I hadn’t laughed so hard since the Apocalypse.”

Power’s Shadow, Chapter 10 Part 2

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3It’s been more of a Monday than most Mondays, but finally here is Part 2, the post-mortem on the kidnapping/assassination attempt on Callowyn. Plus, Dena gets an idea.

 

 

Chapter 10, Part 2

 

“You believe it was Okandis?” Marta asked.

“Okandis,” Maton confirmed. “Or I really must pay better attention.”

“That was my understanding as well, but why did they come here rather than to the ship?”

“More to the point, how did they know Callowyn wasn’t on the ship?” Sela asked.

Marta looked at Sela. “I think we both already know the answer to that one.”

Callowyn frowned. “Well, I don’t.”

“Neither do I,” Maton said.

“I’m sorry, but matters will have to remain as they are for now. Count Maton, can you get members of the city guard stationed at your door until tomorrow evening? It’s too risky to move…your guest, again, before the audience.”

“Easily done,” Maton said, and took his leave of them to make arrangements.

“I have to apologize to you, Callowyn,” Marta said. “I made a mistake, and put you in danger.”

Callowyn just shrugged. “I was already in danger,” she said. “Fortunately for me, you chose your allies well—Count Maton is not the effete courtier he sometimes appears.”

“Oh, he’s that too, when he needs to be. But yes, a good man to have on one’s side.”

Would that I could say the same of all my servants. Continue reading