The Forest of New People – Thom Connors

When winter comes to Vakning Forest, nothing changes. The evergreens, packed tightly together, don’t wilt or become bare. Nor does the smell fade. As the winter deepens, the snow covers the canopy like a blanket, and the scent of pine needles and pine cones follows the only path worn out of the darkness. Outside the forest, where the path begins, is the cottage of Abi and Odo Tremord. It has a red roof, brown walls,…

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The Stars Don’t Lie – R.W.W. Greene

The Dean of Admissions took off his spectacles and polished them on his dappled lower shoulder. “You will be the first man to attend Chiron Classical University, you know.” “I’m a woman,” Lesa said. “A female of my species. I know the situation is unusual, but—.” “I used ‘man’ in the inclusive meaning of the word.” The Dean’s rear hooves shifted on the thick grass. “Unusual. Yes, it is unusual. You should not expect special…

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The Tapestry – A.C. Worth

Terce—Three Hours after Dawn Sister Alice was glad of the rain. A steady patter of raindrops displayed a landscape to her sensitive ears and helped her find a path. Without hesitation, her feet followed a line of paving stones across mossy grass inside the courtyard. It was so early that the sun had not cleared the high monastery walls. The air smelled of damp stone and new wool and brown bread. Around her, she sensed…

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Nobody’s Daughters and the Tree of Life – L’Erin Ogle

The sun is just bellying up above the skyline and light filters through the world. I turn Star away from the Deadlands, where there aren’t any trees or shrubs and the sun has scorched the ground into big puzzle pieces. A long time ago, there used to be fertile land here, like our farm a mile down the road, but Nobody happened and now nothing grows. Nobody’s story is sort of like The Nightmare Man,…

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The Foaling Season – Samuel Chapman

Reynard aux Chatillon delivers a gryphon foal the morning Lucia Camoreux comes to visit. It comes out squealing, eyes shut and wings folded, sticky with placenta. Within an hour its wings open, beating softly, as it stands to take food from its mother’s beak. Reynard sees Lucia as he returns from leading the foal and mare into a paddock isolated from the pasture. The mare cannot be kept from flying, of course, but she will…

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On the Scales of Dragons – Kathryn Yelinek

High above the island of Dreden, the wind roared in Tala’s ears, chilling her despite the warm bulk beneath her, and she wished humans could mindspeak as dragons did. Instead, she rapped her knuckles against one of Kendriley’s incised neck scales and spoke magné, a minor Word of power that amplified her voice. “I don’t think the people of Dreden want visitors. Any chance those Xs are bones?” Kendriley dipped her green head to survey…

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