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

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

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

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

Archive for the ‘Eyve Aerial’ Category

The Truant’s Tale

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

“You walked away,” said the tracker, putting his big boots and skinny ankles up on the desk. “Broke your apprentice contract with just months to go.”

“Yep,” said Eyve Aerial. “So?”

“So, I want to know why. So does the Central Square Sorceress. She says you were her best student.”

“What’s it matter? You found me. You’re going to take me back.”

He waved his hand like a leaf fluttering down. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”

She figured this was some game he was playing; she wasn’t sure she had the patience to see what it was.

“I’m good at knowing why people do what they do. That tells me what they’re going to do next.” He stared at something on the toe of his shoe. “With you, I never figured out why, so your what-nexts never made sense. So it took six months instead of six days to catch you.”

“Time flies,” said Eyve Aerial, “You know, tempus fugit…”

A year later, she came back. The timeslip spell had faded enough that he’d stood up. Another three months, he’d reached the door. He blinked his eyes slowly as sunset; he probably wouldn’t understand her if she spoke and she hadn’t found an answer yet anyway.

Another year, and Eyve Aerial, returned to the scaffolding-palace that was the Central Square Sorceress’ headquarters, made amends, did her penance, and resumed her journeywomanship.

The tracker showed up one morning, trailing cobwebs as he strode across the creaking plywood.

“Maybe you don’t know why you left anymore than I do,” he said, the drawl in his voice showing he was still a bit behind time. “Maybe that’s why you came back. To figure it out.”

“I knew exactly why,” she said. “When I figured out that the nightmares were premonitions, that I was supposed to become some grand metropolitan wizardess who did all kinds of good things, but couldn’t stop this one last, huge evil thing from happening.”

“So why risk resuming your studies?” he said. “What’s different?”

“You,” said Eyve Aerial. “If I’m going to be powerful enough to do the things I’ve seen, I should be able to keep myself from getting into impossible situations, unless some part of me wants to fail.” She tossed the tracker a gold coin. “I’m hiring you to spot that part of me, to know why it wants to destroy everything before it does.”

Eyve Aerial’s appeared a few times before, in The Courier’s Tale, The Apprentice’s Tale, and The Sorceress’s Tale.

The Sorceress’s Tale

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The acolyte knocked before going in. He didn’t hear a response, but he knew she’d heard him.

The air inside was thick with the reek of rotting fabric and rich with the sound of hundreds of crickets. The Grand Metropolitan Sorceress hadn’t left this small room in over a decade, but still she kept the peace throughout the city and the suburbs beyond.

“Mistress?” said the acolyte. “Your dinner?”

“Keep it,” said a husky voice from the darkness.

The acolyte hadn’t heard her speak more than a murmured “leave it on the table” or “less pepper next time, please” in months.

“I’m doing a great working tonight,” said the sorceress. “My last, if it works.”

“You need to keep up your strength madam.” The acolyte felt around until he found an empty chair, and set the tray on the seat. “When you skip meals, you always feel it the next day…”

“If this works,” said the sorceress. “Tomorrow won’t happen.”

The acolyte stumbled back into something that jingled like crystal.

“That was too dramatic,” said the voice from the darkness. “There will be a tomorrow; it just won’t happen for many years. I’m turning back time.”

“What? You can’t.”

“I have to.” The sorceress’s voice had dropped its usual commanding tone. “I can’t hold back the hungry realms more than another few weeks. We can’t win against them.”

The acolyte swallowed twice. “But everything might change. And we still won’t be able to stop them.”

“We would have been safe, if I’d never done the Spell of Cold Knife.” Her voice was right in front of him. “It’s my fault.”

“But,” said the acolyte, “without that spell, you couldn’t have stopped the apocalypse meme. Thousands would have died.”

“I’ll find another way.”

“My parents,” said the acolyte,” they met in one of the refuges, while the knife spell ran.”

“They might still meet,” said the sorceress.

The acolyte swung at the voice, felt his nails scratching her cheek.

“Mistress! I’m sorry…”

“Blood,” said the sorceress. “The final ingredient, and I couldn’t shed it myself.”

The acolyte tripped as he stumbled back. The darkness was going out.

“Thank you,” said the Grand Metropolitan Sorceress. “I hope we meet again.”

Then the room was gone and Eyve Ariel was a girl again, neither a sorceress nor grand, standing in a vacant lot with mud on her journeywoman’s gown, no one to see or hear her as she shivered in spite of the heat.

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