Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 16
Return to Sender
by James Maxey
Through the Blood
by Mette Ivie Harrison
Odd Jobs
by Josh Vogt
by Kat Otis
Mean Spirited
by Edmund R. Schubert
Folk of the Fringe Serialization
by Orson Scott Card
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InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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Through the Blood
    by Mette Ivie Harrison
Through the Blood
Artwork by Anna Repp

The day had been long and loud, with the constant roar of the crowds outside the palace cheering for Elwell. Now it was dark and the man himself was inside, with the king he had deposed, carrying a heavy crystal decanter and a white powder in a bag.

"There's not enough powder here to kill you, but enough to make you forget who you are and how you will end," Elwell offered gently, as if with real compassion.

Haber, no longer King, stood at the window, looking out on his last sunset.

Elwell shrugged. "It's your choice. The end won't come any sooner or slower for it, but I wanted you to know that I do have some scrap of mercy left for you. We were once friends, were we not?"

"I was your friend," said Haber. "But I think you've been planning this for a very long time indeed. Revenge for boyhood slights? You have capitalized on every misstep, on the queen's death, on the rebellion I put down so bloodily, on the raised taxes after the drought. I trusted you."

"Trust is a fatal flaw in a king, sadly." Elwell put another log on the fire.

The room was plenty warm. Elwell was making it hot enough that Haber's robes would become acutely uncomfortable. But to take them off -- no. They were the last sign of kingship, the last thing he had left that Elwell had not taken, and he would die with them on.

"What is the price, then?" asked Haber, gesturing to the powder though he had no intention of taking it.

"Gifting your son with the magic," said Elwell. "Of course. What else do you have to offer?"

The magic that protected the kingdom from outside attack. It did not extend to civil war, nor to drought or plague. But so long as the king held the magic and the king held the throne, the kingdom of Triborn could not be taken by an invading army from another land.

In his youth, Haber had twice been tempted by his friendship with Elwell to tell him how the magic passed from one king to the next, but both times had stopped himself. It was perhaps his only wisdom in all those years. If Elwell knew, how different this scene would be.

"No," said Haber. "Giving the magic to him would be the same as giving it to you." Elwell would use Berick worse than he had used Haber.

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