“Deliver the gem to Nushaba,” Soqqith whispered. “Break my chains, and you shall be a mother again.”
By Austin Worley
A native of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Austin Worley writes speculative fiction and poetry. His published stories include heroic fantasy, Weird Westerns inspired by the rich history of his home state, and genre-bending tales starring the vigilante Whippoorwill. When he isn't writing, Austin enjoys amateur astronomy and astrophotography, reading, video games, and spending time with his family. You can follow him on Twitter @AMWorley_Writer.
When Hawwa bint Huda el-Zaidi spied a column of smoke rising against the rosy sky, the voice in her head spoke for the first time all week.
She stiffened at the desperation dripping from his voice. Before now, Soqqith only ever addressed her with sibilant whispers. Soft. Gentle. Almost a lullaby. Nothing like his latest command. Why would smoke worry a creature mighty enough to grant her powers beyond imagination and promise even more?
Anxiety fluttered in her chest. The smoke…wasn’t it rising from the northeast? And didn’t her maps say the ancient ruins of Nushaba stood off that way? Oh gods! Someone threatened the temple, and if his acolytes fell before she delivered her cargo—
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Beautiful ladies dressed to the nine in colorful lace and silk gracefully dance their way down the stairs; the guardsmen are still, captivated. The dancers were as real as day, brushing up against the guards, enticing them to dance. And they did.
“No, you fools. Cover your ears!” The silversmith presses his hands over his ears, his smarter sons doing the same… The boy shakes his head and rests the music box on his knees, slapping his cheeks with his hands to wake himself up.
By Kizzie Le Carpentier
Kizzie Le Carpentier is a graduate of Plymouth University in the U.K. She published her first book, "The Walk Back Home" in June of 2021.
I love books, movies and stories that unravel a new world with new creatures. I love it when a writer makes up something completely new and unreal - but I love it even more when a writer can convince me that their fantasy world could be real.
Kizzie Le Carpentier
A room. A cold room but a lively room, a cluttered room but an exciting room. A silversmith amongst his silverware sits on a stall hunched over his silver desk, his feet not touching the ground, his eyes fixated on his liney hands. He’s screwing the last screw.
Nubbly fingers holding a nubbly box, what kind of a box?
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Then there was a soft spitting noise, like a match flaring to light. Evelos glanced between his fingers, and there was Keelath, the wuyon’mar’s angular face twisted in rage, holding his sword in one hand and a ball of furious Light magic in the other.
“Take your claws off my son,” his father growled.
The Will of the Whip
By A. Broadhead
“…this life, witho-o-out you.”
Mirium drew the final note to a careful quaver, then bowed as her small audience erupted into clapping. Face glowing, the wuyon’mar stepped down from the Halfmoon Tavern’s stage and sat down between her two adult children, Medi and Evelos.
“What did you think?” she whispered.
“It was beautiful,” said Evelos. “I think you’re getting your talent back.”
“Oh, you think you could do better?” Medi quipped, nudging Evelos in the ribs.
“Well, I do have a story I could tell,” said Evelos thoughtfully, as the crowd settled again and Lana took to stage to call out for the next participant. “It’s from when I was a child.”
“You were a child once??” Medi goggled.
“Erm, yes,” said Evelos. “It’s about when we first moved to Thalas’talah, away from the Dawnmist manor. It was years before you were born, though.”
Medi leaned back in disappointment. “Really? That sounds bore-ring!”
…the next morning he was on the road again with his ram and the imp and a large supply of beer basted boar ribs…
The delivery was made and the fee for it paid. Still he was a little short, so Seryth agreed to look into the local kobold problem for the dwarves. He did his best to ignore the imp supplementing his fire bolts with some of its own… Continue reading “Conversion: Chapter 5, Part 5”
“The humans are coming, and there are too many of them. We need to negotiate peace with them. We need them to see that we are more than just beasts.” The shaman paused. “This is why, from this day forward, you will not carry axes when there is no enemy present. Blood duels are banned!”
Axes and Lightning: A Leader’s Path
By Greg Rowson
A crowd of hoghers gathered in a large circle in the center of the village, which primarily consisted of huts made of animal skin and bones of large beasts. Their attention was entirely on two hoghers in the center, who glared at each other with deadly intensity, each gripping their axes that gleamed in the midday sun.
“You… you killed my brother. You will pay, Tangarth!”
“Your brother killed my father, and you can join him in hell, Gartan!”
“Your father shouldn’t have stolen from my brother’s farm!”
“Your brother should have paid my father! Your entire family are scoundrels with no honor.”
He returned to Kharanos with the trolls dead and the meat and shimmerweed in tow. The dwarves gave him a feast in thanks, and Seryth went to bed with a bellyache and a sore head. He dropped off quickly into sleep, reflecting that he could always tell his father that the harvest had taken longer than usual to sell, hence his being away for a few days instead of the couple he had promised… Continue reading “Conversion: Chapter 5, Part 4”
This was a continuation of the scene started in Part 2, so I just had to complete the thought.
One thing I will have to watch in the future is how I describe rukh-shami. These ones at first act like moving boulders, but then Sirith notes they feel smooth and malleable like mud. Earlier in Chapter 1 he noted they bled sand. So which is it? Are these different sub-races? Or does it have to do with how these ones were burned to death instead of stuck with swords? Does normal fire even work on them? My world-building has a lot of unanswered questions…
It was nearing sundown when Sirith approached the hills where the rukh-shami were supposedly encamped. He expected to see smoke rising in the air from campfires, but it was dark and silent all around. He pulled his ram to a stop and hesitantly dismounted, leading the riding goat into a brake of shrubs that he hoped would conceal it from sight.
Though the ympe clung impatiently to his shoulder, Sirith chose to approach the camps quietly, in a roundabout route up the shoulder of the hill rather than straight-on. He had an eerie feeling as he climbed Continue reading “Conversion: Chapter 5, Part 3”
The cat continued to follow him like a silent shadow as he walked through Ironforge. The tunnels seemed considerably smaller now than they had when he was a kid.
The gryphon master was uninterested in lending him a gryphon, and so Seryth hired out a dwarven riding ram instead. The beast snorted as he stepped it down onto the snowy cobbles of Dun Morogh. He looked back and saw the cat still standing behind him, watching.
Seryth sighed. “Oh, fine! Come along if you want, but don’t cause any trouble for me.”