Issues
Issue #295
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Every Tiny Tooth and Claw (or: Letters from the First Month of the New Directorate)

I hope you haven't been too worried! What an odd letter Yudit's advisor must have written. I don't know what they were thinking, we're all quite well. Here's what happened: on 3 Cider, the past Directorate was consolidated. Now instead of seven elected Directors, we'll have three permanent ones. This will be much more efficient and will benefit every citizen. Certainly I can't think of anyone who is not happy about this opportunity!

I don't want to make all our letters about shrews, love, but... I've attached a table I'd like to see filled out with different properties of the shrews and their venom. Thank you!
The Candle Queen

They bring me to the Underground Palace. The current reigning Candle Queen is there. She is sixty-seven. She has served her purpose. They lift the Candle Crown from her elderly neck and place it onto mine, with a strap to secure it under my chin. Three large candles sit on the plate, and it is heavy, but this is what I have trained for. They sew me into the dress I will wear for the next fifty years, and there is singing that fills the chamber like bells.

The Candle Queen must always carry the sacred candles on her head; otherwise the world will end.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
Every Tiny Tooth and Claw (or

Podcast: Download (Duration: 25:17 — 17.37MB)
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I don't want to make all our letters about shrews, love, but... I've attached a table I'd like to see filled out with different properties of the shrews and their venom. Thank you!
From the Archives:
The Oracle and the Sea
Every month when the soldiers bring her supply of flour and milk, they also bring waterproofed parcels of manuscript paper and cool bricks of ink.
Issue #294
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Featuring new cover art: “Ice Road II” by Rytis Sabaliauskas.

These Wondrous Sweets

Could I trade in that favor for Tiger’s help? I carefully blew a caramel bubble and made sure that it was inflated enough to serve as the tiger’s body. All the while keeping the image of the Pale Tigress in mind, I pinched a wide mouth and two ears, then pulled four strong legs for it. With a quick bite, the thin sugar pipe that I blew through became its long tail.

I carefully blew a caramel bubble and made sure that it was inflated enough to serve as the tiger’s body.
Claudette Dulac and the Devil of the North

There were no tracks in the snow. If it weren’t for the ice melting in my fur collar and the dogs shivering on the line, you’dve called me a liar. What creature had the Devil been? Couldn’t have possibly been a wolf. Or a bear, after all—I’d hunted bears, and that Devil was surely somethin’ worse. And why had it cleared out so fast? I’d been prime prey, and it’d had me pinned.

If it weren’t for the ice melting in my fur collar and the dogs shivering on the line, you’dve called me a liar.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
These Wondrous Sweets

Podcast: Download (Duration: 51:27 — 35.33MB)
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I carefully blew a caramel bubble and made sure that it was inflated enough to serve as the tiger’s body.
From the Archives:
On the Transmontane Run with the Aerial Mail Express
Why in perdition were the pirates after the blimp on the return trip, after the payroll'd been delivered?
Issue #293
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Scapegoat

Boz did not want to ask Trace what had happened back there. It had all been so strange—the unreasonable whip-sawing of thoughts and emotions through his head and guts. He knew it was Trace, and yet he’d seen him as a stranger, and a despised one at that. Had read all the worst motives into his words and actions. Had hated him, in fact.

Boz had a feeling all this chatter was smoke for another conversation they weren’t having. “You see anything?”
The Only Way Out is Through

True horror settled over Dagn when Rille's distinctive heavy tread scuffed on the hall’s stone floor, drawing nearer. Just her luck. On the eve of the invasion's final stroke, of course she’d be standing inside a dark room with the Boar’s eldest child dead on the floor. Stupid and predictable.

Dagn backed away a step, mind racing. Suddenly, death by starvation in a snowy mountain hut seemed almost desirable.
From the Archives:
Swallowing Silver
John Halpern knew it should be a heavy weight on his conscience, to wake up and know that he was going to kill a thing that used to be a man.
Issue #292
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Nameless in the Winged Court

I can fly now, a little. I still cannot use my wings well, not like the flower-people who have had them from childhood. I shiver to think—the babies fresh-born in unfurling buds, the small children who are yet wingless, pattering over the petals on their tiny feet, paddling in the ponds created at the base of the tulips when it rains—that they will face that ordeal.

The day I was married they gave me wings and took my name.
The Petals of the Godflower

My mother smiles as my brother kills himself. She cheers as he jerks his birth knife sideways; she claps as he opens his throat. The priests haul him out by his ankles and drag him across the square. They toss his body into the grave I refused to help him dig. The others crowd my mother, and her face goes rapturous under their praise: Mother and her golden womb, Mother and her dutiful children, Mother and her many, many sacrifices.

My mother cheers as my brother kills himself.
From the Archives:
The Sweetness of Honey and Rot
Jiteh lets her hand hover a breath away from the Boundary. Somewhere beyond, there are people who do not watch their brothers devoured by the Life Tree. There are people who do not praise.
Issue #291
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Swimming Apart

Deania appreciated the apology, but it was as heavy as everything else about this meeting. Where was their laughter? She knocked her shoulder lightly into her friend’s. “I’m sure you’d have fooled the humans even without the watcher and the—waistjacket and coat, or whatever those were called.” Not nursing at the time, Seriola had gone as a man, as that was who humans would tell about machines, apparently.

Deania appreciated the apology, but it was as heavy as everything else about this meeting
The Forge

And I was sure that Lyric didn’t want me to look. I could even guess why: if the knife had been made with knowledge from the Archive, that would reduce our suspect pool to members of the House of Fen. And Queen Endra would be the first name on the list. I could imagine Endra killing her own father. I could not imagine her being this careless about it.

I could imagine Queen Endra killing her own father. I could not imagine her being this careless about it.
From the Archives:
In the Gardens of the Night
If the General wants her dead, he must agree to my requests.
Issue #290
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Featuring new cover art: “Tower of the Winds” by Alexey Shugurov.

The Gods Come to Sredna

The captain pursed her lower lip, though I wasn't much younger than she was. Thirty-nine soldiers escorted the new Mother to Imparum. That's tradition. There's no traditional retinue for escorting a Mother home, as the Incarnation of Dev-Gemot, Beast of Heaven, Lord of Horn and Frill, generally outlives his dam, but I expected more than three. The captain shrugged. "Where's your horse?"

Like the log stockades of Sredna, it would hold a ceratopsid until she decided to leave.
The Two Sides of Home

Niamh truly looked offended that Joyce would even insinuate that was her meaning. “Of course not. But all this magic coursing through me, all the Bull’s power? It’s no good if I can’t channel it into the larval god. Your cousin is going to be my channel, transferring my magic. He’s the means by which the Bull will be born into this city. He’s the only one in Twixt who can.”

The dull annoyance in the men's eyes frightened Joyce more than open hostility would have.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Gods Come to Sredna

Podcast: Download (Duration: 43:23 — 29.8MB)
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Like the log stockades of Sredna, it would hold a ceratopsid until she decided to leave.
From the Archives:
The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles
One, two, three eggs into her mouth, one sharp bite, and the clear, viscous glair ran down her throat.
Issue #289
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The Star Plague

There is no lamplight inside the chapel. Bragi tries to fill in the shadows with what he remembers of the room. He knows there’s a wide open space, where the priests kneel, and beyond it the gold-gilded altar where no blood is ever spilled. The staircase to the bell tower is off to the left. Bragi sees no crouchers in their path. He motions for the priests to pass him. Something moves in front of the altar.

Bragi tries to fill in the shadows with what he remembers of the room. Something moves in front of the altar.
The Butcher, the Baker

“No, no, I’m honored by your love, and you had to defend yourself. You’re lucky that oaf you killed was too ignorant to recognize what you are.” Trukos found that statement strange. He knew exactly what he was: a thing Auntie Mayya had made. The pain, though, he needed her to unmake.

Frowning at the hole left in Trukos's chest by the Goldbrook man’s knife, Mayya said, “Come with me.”
Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Butcher, the Baker

Podcast: Download (Duration: 27:53 — 19.15MB)
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Frowning at the hole left in Trukos's chest by the Goldbrook man’s knife, Mayya said, “Come with me.”
From the Archives:
The Study of Monstrosities
Ethan looked at the sepia photograph again. A man? No, it was anything but.
Issue #288
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The Edges of the World

Today it’s the moon that has him thinking of long ago, but lately anything might do it: leaves blowing over the river, the goosegirl driving her angry geese along the road, the clatter of hooves on the bridge. The turtles. He built the turtle pond in the first month of his exile, a gesture of defiance: you will not make me other than I am! As though anyone in this district would understand the pond’s significance to an alchemist, or care.

Today it’s the moon that has him thinking of long ago, but lately anything might do it.
Under Their Wings, These Starving Ghosts

The first thing he feels after being brought back to life are the gentle strokes of wispy fingers trying to touch him. They clamor around his body—weak voices in his ear imploring him to describe every delicious detail of what he can see and feel, when he breaks through the surface of the world gasping and sputtering for air.

The first thing he feels after being brought back to life are the gentle strokes of wispy fingers trying to touch him.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Edges of the World

Podcast: Download (Duration: 18:41 — 12.83MB)
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Today it’s the moon that has him thinking of long ago, but lately anything might do it.
From the Archives:
Magic Potion Behind-the-Mountains
But the magistrate firmly believes that this pursuit will pay off. He will learn the secret magic potion, and he will be vindicated.
Issue #287, Eleventh Anniversary Double-Issue
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A double-issue to celebrate our eleventh anniversary! Featuring new cover art: “Athlerrod” by Ferdinand Dumago Ladera.

Portrait Of The Artist

It all comes down to such tiny differences; if I was one inch taller, then by standing on tiptoe and really, really straining, I could reach the apple on the branch. But when you lack it, one inch, half-inch, quarter-inch is the same as a mile. Depends where you're standing. In my line of work, we call it perspective. A quarter of an inch is all it takes to separate heaven from hell.

“I paint by the inner light,” I said. I tried to make it sound like I was being facetious.
Sankalpa

Starvation felt familiar. In my past life I had known how to endure it, how to live for months without the taste of food. I would not call on that knowledge now. My fixed intention was to die. Until a voice spoke from the air. It misunderstood the purpose of my fast, thinking I sought through austerity to accomplish some other end. It offered to grant my desire.

Again and again I died. Better to cut my thread short and start again than waste lifetimes on a path that would not lead me to my goal.
One Found in a World of the Lost

Desire exploded in the girl's heart at the mention of safety and stability, rest... She quashed it. What would she do in such a world? She was a hunter. But these were gifts that would benefit her pack, gifts worth taking risks for. Even if they came with a large sense of foreboding. "Can you make me invulnerable?" she replied, giving in to the image of her death, the boar's tusks sinking into her and what it would mean for them all if she did indeed die.

The girl shivered at the mention of that name: Pavitra. As if that were someone she should know.
The Witch of the Will

Too late did the witch understand what sort of comfort the boy had sought in having his free will removed. He had not wished to know his future but to become bound to it inexorably. In this way, he felt himself absolved. He stood helpless before the sorrow given to him and blameless in the wake of the sorrow he gave to others. Neither guilt nor grief had any power over him now. It left her speechless.

She embraced the one option left to her: not breaking the fate of another but bending it.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
Portrait Of The Artist

Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:14:32 — 51.18MB)
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“I paint by the inner light,” I said. I tried to make it sound like I was being facetious.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
Sankalpa

Podcast: Download (Duration: 27:34 — 18.93MB)
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Again and again I died. Better to cut my thread short and start again than waste lifetimes on a path that would not lead me to my goal.
From the Archives:
The Thought That Counts
For once in my life, I could walk down the street without looking for places to run to if I heard someone yell my name.
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