Plugs

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Uther and the Mirror

by Rudi Dornemann

Uther Pendragon, high king of all Britain, looked into the mirror, and a face that wasn’t his looked back. He stuck out his tongue. The face of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, did the same.

“But when will I change back?” said Uther.

“Soon,” said Merlin.

They sat together in a roofless, nearly wall-less hut, abandoned years before by whatever hermit had built it.

“How soon?” said Uther.

It had only been a few hours since Merlin had worked the spell and Uther had ridden off to Gorlois’ fortress.

“Remember when I said I couldn’t give you the likeness of the Duke for a night so that you could have your way with the duchess?”

“You did say that,” said Uther, “then you did it anyway.”

“No,” said Merlin, “No spell will change you for a single night.”

“You’re saying I’m trapped like this?” Uther threw the mirror to the mossy ground. “I’ve traded my kingship for the beauteous Ygraine?”

Merlin picked up the mirror, polished it with his sleeve. “It lasts a month.”

“Eh,” said the king. “I might not even tire of her by then.”

“Looking like Gorlois,” said Merlin, “only lasts one night.” He turned the mirror.

“Who’s that?” Uther stared at the teenager in the reflection.

“A stableboy of the duke’s. I believe the other servants call him ‘Onions.’”

“Onions!?!”

“I have no idea why,” said Merlin.

“You cast the spell!” The king who looked like a stableboy looked like he was going to burst a blood vessel in his pimply forehead.

“No, I mean, I don’t know why they call him that.” Merlin tucked the mirror in his cloak. “About the spell–of course you’ll keep changing. It’s a moonspell. You’ll change nightly until the moon is dark again.”

“Why?”

“It was the only spell that would give you what you asked for,” said Merlin. “Magic can be complicated.”

“I suppose it will be an adventure,” said the king. “Life is boring at court…”

“Indeed,” said Merlin. With luck, Uther might learn something, might rule a little less unwisely before Britain dissolved back into squabbling dukedoms. “You need to get to the stables by dawn.”

“Adventure!” said the king/stableboy.

With even more luck, the king might become Ygraine, might gain some sense of consequences, some appreciation for life in its faintest flickerings. Or at least experience the adventure of morning sickness.

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