Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Our Lady Of the Snows

by Susannah Mandel

“Her house is everywhere where winter is”; but this turned out not to be true, as I learned when I went away to school and, for the first time, met people from other parts of our country. I learned then that it is full of places — wooded valleys, and windy inlets, rolling farmland or monastery country, indeed, even the occasional bustling city, as big as or bigger than Kardery — places, in short, where the people live not too differently from us. They speak the same language; they read about the capital, and the Empress; children trudge to school to study the same lessons we learn at home.

And yet, despite all these similarities, there is one house inside which these people have never been.

Corinne (she was the first girl I had ever met with bangs; they rippled over her dark eyes like a sheet of water) said that where she comes from, winter means only that the sun is obscured by a new, low sky of cloud. She said, when one goes walking across the pasture to the cows, one’s body casts no shadows on the grass; no, nor the tall stones that hold up the sky; and underfoot the green is wet and brilliant enough to replace – almost — the hidden sun.

Bruno, brown and blond, said that in the plains, winter means no rain, and that means fire. (It makes a noise like an angry army in the mountains, he said.) While in Kuchko’s home city – Kuchko is thin and pale, with a scarred hand — the trees only turn gold (she said), and the water noisy, and white mist rolls in from the bay and makes silver oceans in the air.

But none of them – none! — had ever seen or walked with the Lady.

I told them that, when the first cold comes, I will take them out into the hills behind the school. There we can get used to the corridors, the galleries and halls, while they are still upholstered in autumn. And then, when the time comes, we will go out again — dressed for visiting — and I will show them into her parlor, and we will go to her among the silent trees, and render her what we have brought to give, where she waits for us in her receiving room: Our Lady of the Snows.

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One Response to “Our Lady Of the Snows”

  1. Sonja Says:

    October 24th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Beautiful images in this story!