Category: Stories

The Mystery of the Disappearing Queen

‘You missed a good story in the inn last night.’ Helm shrugged. ‘I have little time for storytellers. They’re all liars.’ Tolg sat down beside the shepherd, both watching the sheep. ‘Oh, this storyteller is new. He hasn’t visited our village before.’ Helm muttered his thanks as Tolg passed him the wine bottle. Helm drank deep; watching sheep was a thirsty business. ‘Anyway,’ Tolg said. ‘This storyteller told us a new tale - about the Queen of Amboria.’ Helm stopped drinking. ‘Where?’ ‘Amboria.’ ‘Never heard of it.’ Helm swallowed, even though he was clutching the bottle in both hands where…

Continue reading →

A Real World Out There?

This world is not the world I remember. It has been some years, how many I do not know. But it goes beyond that. Changes over the time I’ve been away I could expect and understand. But this – these changes – go beyond mere alterations made by the passage of time. Something fundamental is different from this world to the one I left behind. It should be a matter of subtracting the year I left this world from the current one to give me an idea of how much time I lost while I was… away. But the calendar…

Continue reading →

No More Stories

It used to be so easy. I would find the women. I would discover their closely-guarded secret. Then I would weave a story around that one thing they desired more than anything else. I would tell them the story I’d made for them. They would show their gratitude, happy someone had come along into their lives and shown them something beyond their small world. It was easy travelling from village to village, making up stories to tell to those who needed to hear them. Being a mere storyteller meant that the outlaws ignored me, at least until they needed someone…

Continue reading →

The Shadow Dancer

Sadjil was a Shadow Dancer. We met – if met is the right word – one night back in the Year of the Green Death. I was walking the streets unable to sleep. I’d lost my ability to dream after a bout of the sickness that bought the Green Death. Without my dreams to sell I had no money left to buy a place to sleep, and since the Green Death had taken my wife and children I had no wish to call any place home. I walked both the days and the nights in that part of the city…

Continue reading →

Tears of Sadness, Tears of Joy

We did not know why it happened. It felt like any other time. The years rolled on much as they always had, and – we assumed – always would. The young were born, they got older, and if disease or other misfortune did not tear them from us, they married, had children of their own and then the gods called them back to the Old World. Or, at least we thought they did. Now we know. Now we know that the stories told about the gods, the stories passed down by the elders from generation to generation were not true.…

Continue reading →

A Dirty Mind

‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘I’ll think of something.’ ‘Oh.’ She shuffled her feet and gave me one of those looks. ‘What’s that mean?’ I said. ‘What’s what mean?’ ‘That look.’ ‘What look?’ ‘The sort of look a woman gives a man when she’s expecting him to make an arse of himself, or worse an arse of her.’ She was watching me carefully. I thought about naming her. I should have done it before I’d started writing her, so I could have begun with identifying her as a specific person. ‘A sensible one this time.’ ‘What?’ I was beginning to wonder…

Continue reading →

Magic in the Air

‘There is,’ she said, ‘magic in the air.’ I looked up at her. I was lying in the bed, sheets thrown back. Giella was sitting up, naked, looking down at me with a serious expression on her face. ‘What?’ ‘I mean it.’ ‘Of course you do.’ I smiled. Ever since I’d arrived in the South Islands I’d heard people talking of magic, what it could do and who could do it. Of course, back in the Sun Empire we had people who claimed they could do magic, real magic that is not the conjuring tricks of the court entertainers. It…

Continue reading →

That Look in her Eyes

She had that look in her eyes again. Helt was worried. He remembered the last time she’d had that look in her eyes. It had not ended well, at least not for him. What is more to find out she had that look in her eyes meant that Helt had to be close enough to her to see the look. That proximity brought him within range. Not that Shemul was dangerous as such. After all, Helt was the king, and he ruled his lands with an iron fist. Dukes, barons and earls trembled before him. Shemul, though, was his queen.…

Continue reading →

Introducing the Secondary Characters

‘Hello. All right?’ ‘Hello. Yes… I’m fine.’ James looked around.’Er… excuse me?’ ‘Yes, mate?’ ‘If you don’t mind me asking, who are you?’ ‘Me?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Oh, sorry. I thought you knew. I’m one of the secondary characters.’ He extended his hand. ’I’m Pete.’ ‘Hello, Pete. Pleased to meet you. I’m….’ ‘Oh, I know who you are. No need for introductions from you, James. After all, you are the protagonist.’ James stood up taller, his chest out. ‘So, you recognised me, then?’ ‘Of course.’ The other man got to his feet. ‘As soon as I saw you introduced in the opening…

Continue reading →

The Authorial Voice

‘Well?’ She stood, arms folded, staring at me. ‘Well, what?’ ‘You’re the author. You tell me.’ ‘Do I have to?’ ‘Yes. I would have thought you would know that.’ She looked around at the blank page behind her. ‘Could you describe a chair for me? I could do with a sit down.’ ‘Sorry. Yes, of course.’ I quickly described a deep comfortable brown leather sofa. ‘Ooh.’ ‘What?’ ‘The leather is a bit cold. Could I have some clothes as well?’ I began typing… then stopped. ‘What sort of clothes?’ She shrugged. ‘I don’t know. Anything would do really.’ A knowing…

Continue reading →