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Fantasy

Medieval


For whatever reason, fantasy and medieval Europe are so intertwined in the popular imagination that a story need only feel medieval sometimes to evoke the proper reactions to belong in the category.

by Tara Barnett
When the first soldier came to taste of Ana's wine, I asked Mama when a man would first taste mine. "Patience, my beautiful daughter," she told me. "Let the wine age, and it will become richer, and stronger than its oak cask." But the first soldier who tasted took my sister Ana away, although her wine was still young and sweet, perhaps because he liked the taste. It was many years still before a man came to taste of my wine. I had many long days to think, read, and become skilled for the man who would drink of me fully. Every day I seasoned that barrel, breathed in its heady aroma, and adjusted the heat of my father's cellar to best temper my powerful brew. It was my full-time obsession.
Published on Dec 13, 2010
by Frank Dutkiewicz
James wondered what kind of idiot he had become. Here he was, mere feet from the entrance to a dragon's lair, and not just any dragon's lair, the dragon of all dragon's lair. They didn't call Cirole "terrible" because of a pleasant disposition. "I changed my mind."
Published on Sep 12, 2012
by Laura Anne Gilman
"My lady, I dislike this place." She smiled at me, not amused, and yet amused nonetheless, a tender smile no man had ever seen. "I know."
Published on Jul 16, 2012
by Laura Anne Gilman
"I was thinking it's maybe time we had a change of scenery. Maybe do things different around here." It was an idle comment, just the kind one might flick off between washing one ear and digging between his fore and third claws for a bit of sand somehow lodged there. But nothing Oliver ever did was without reason, however distant or obscured. The sailor paused in coiling the rope, feeling the oiled fiber slide under his calluses. "Captain's not going to like that kind of thinking."
Published on Apr 20, 2012
by C.L. Holland
After he brought the Emperor back to life, they cut off his hands. "Now you can never use your gift for anyone else," the Emperor's most loyal advisor said. Blinded by pain, Sora barely heard him. The physicians continued their work, spreading salves over the wounds that made it feel like they were on fire. He was barely conscious even before they tipped honey-sweetened laudanum down his throat.
Published on Apr 4, 2012
by M.K. Hutchins
Silence is the canvas. That's what my sister always said, right before singing a broom to life to do the cleaning. When her baby cried, the broom always fell over. No more canvas, no more spell.
Published on Oct 5, 2011
by Andrew Kaye
Published on Oct 9, 2012
by Mari Ness
They stole my name when I was quite small, too young to understand the loss. For a time, no one even noticed. Such is the way of childhood, where I could be called the baby, or the girl, or the child, or handed to an aunt or uncle who needed no names to know how to feed and scold me. I knew the others had names, and learned them as I learned the names of every tree and plant about the huts, and which were good for eating and which good for playing and which we might steal as toys, and the names of the moons and the stars. I drank words and tales with every breath, but never thought to take a word for myself.
Published on Apr 6, 2012
by Kat Otis
There was a footbridge on the road leading into the town, but its troll was small enough that Hans only had to sell a woodcarving memory to gain passage. Afterwards, he prodded at the blank space in his mind, like tonguing a missing tooth, even though he'd sold enough memories to know that it was gone forever. He reached into his pocket and felt the reassuring shape of his latest carving. After five decades of working with wood, surely he had memories to spare. And even if he didn't, the price was still worth it. Another chance to find his daughter, his Inger, was worth any price.
Published on May 29, 2014
by L.L. Phelps
Mei Ling sat beside the living room window and listened as the firecrackers echoed across the city. They had been going off for days, and she was sure by now that the dragon was getting as cranky as she was from being woken up so often by the loud pops and bangs. She was sure it was only a matter of time before it took flight and she was not going to miss it this year like every year before. Mei looked down at her red dress and matching shoes and smiled. She wondered if the dragon could see how well she had dressed today and every day in the month long celebration. She was sure that if the dragon was awake, it would not miss her bright red clothing, the braids that her mother carefully plaited into her hair, and the bright oranges and festive candies that she gave to her friends in the streets.
Published on Jul 13, 2011
by Cat Rambo
Marcus hadn't thought marriage would be like this after three months. He had expected to love Pippa, but he hadn't thought she would love him so much, that she would follow him from counter to till in his tiny shop where he sold souvenirs and curiosities: stuffed mermaids, filagree jars, and great shark jaws set with more teeth than a carved comb. Was it that he was all the treasure that Pippa had? Would her need diminish with time, as she felt more secure?
Published on Apr 19, 2011
by Kenneth Schneyer
Petros cowered, well hidden in the stinking alley. He could not, did not deserve to avert his gaze as three Watchers in the street wrenched a girl from the grasp of her weeping parents. Even then, her desperate father put a foot forward to stop them; but one burly Watcher drew his black-and-silver sword and raised it to the old man's chin, grinning as if he were about to enjoy a fine meal or a game of dice. The father backed away, burying his face in his woolen shirt. The girl couldn't have been more than fourteen. At best, she'd spend a half-moon as a plaything for some Noble or the Watch themselves, then be thrown back into the street barely alive--if alive, if not mutilated. At worst--Petros closed his eyes and swallowed, trying not to think about the King and his Royal Feasts, the roasts and stews carved from the flesh of children.
Published on Feb 10, 2012
by John M Shade
This was a small thing. In the midst of empires and grand armies and armadas it was something you could have easily overlooked if you weren't careful.
Published on Oct 20, 2011
by Amber D. Sistla
Grikl paced in the clearing surrounded by bekel trees, their boughs overflowing with delicately waving blossoms that filled the sultry air with a sweet scent. She took care not to stop lest she sink into the mud. It was bekel bug season and she couldn't even seek the steadier ground near the roots of the trees. One bite from the bug would paralyze her so that it could burrow inside and lay its eggs. The thought of the danger nauseated her, but it was the perfect spot to wallow in her shame; no one would think to look for her in the groves. The Elders said true spirits rejoiced in the accomplishments of others, but she was sure they'd never had to live in the shadow of the Chosen One. Archery, hunting, running, singing, dancing, shouting... Ekkli's list of talents was unending and Grikl was always a distant second. Only beauty, that is my undisputed domain. The thought wormed in her mind like a bekel bug. Of what use was beauty? The boys cared little for such a transient, unskilled thing when they could bask in the glory of Ekkli's bright accomplishments.
Published on Dec 27, 2010
by Eric James Stone
You tend to remember the face of a man you've sworn to kill. As Groshen hoisted a rundlet of wine into the wagon, he spotted the crimson-robed prophet strolling along the village's main road. Groshen had only met the prophet twice, but he recognized those copper-colored eyes divided by that bulging nose.
Published on Nov 8, 2011
by Eric James Stone
The Empress Uvay dismissed the physician with a trembling wave of her hand. What could he do except tell her she would soon join the late Emperor in the halls of Paradise? Terrified of being charged with regicide, he would not even give her a concoction to ease her passing. No matter--the poison needle hidden in the ring on her right middle finger would quickly end her life if the pain became too great.
Published on Feb 9, 2012
by Debs Walker
Eventually the stranger reached her. “Hello and welcome. I’m Ezra.” “I know.” The girl’s voice was sullen. She was performing an unwanted duty. “What do you have for me today?” asked Ezra, pointing to the leather bag slung over the girl’s chest. “Goat’s cheese, bread, dried fruit. The same things that Danelly always brought you.” “And you wanted to bring them to me today?” “Danelly made me do it. She wants to talk to Gordon. She says she has better things to do than. . .” “Than visit an old hermit?”
Published on Sep 7, 2010
 
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