Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 2017

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Issue 22
Stories
Love, Cayce
by Marie Brennan
Exodus Tides
by Aliette de Bodard
Exiles of Eden
by Brad R. Torgersen
The Long Way Home
by G. Norman Lippert
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
The Bus Stop
by David Lubar
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

Writing Fantasy

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-   -   -   -   P   r   e   v   i   e   w   -   -   -   -

We Who Steal Faces
    by Tony Pi

1st Place - Best Interior Art - 2011

We Who Steal Faces
Artwork by Jin Han

January 4, 1588

Mafeo Premarin, my eyes and ears in the shadows of Venice, was dying of poison.

I knelt by Mafeo's bedside and took his trembling hand. His flesh felt cold, patches of red mottled his skin. He tried to speak but fell into a fit of coughs instead. I looked for blood in the sputum on his beard. None yet, a small relief.

The assassin had left a trail of bodies: intelligencers in Amsterdam, Paris, and Lisbon. They were good men, all, loyal to England. Whoever killed them was blinding us to the intrigues abroad. In these times when Spain sought to overthrow Elizabeth's reign, we needed the vigilance of every spy. I refused to let the killer take any more of my operatives, least of all my top man.

"Who did this to you, old friend?"

The point of a stiletto grazed the side of my throat.

"The poison's robbed him of his voice," Luca said in his father's stead. "If you are Flea, you know how to earn my trust. Show me his face."

His caution was wise. In these times of looming war, spies like us had to take every precaution to know friend from foe.

"I'll need that mirror in the restello frame."

Luca allowed me to stand. I took the mirror and slid open a secret compartment along its top. Inside lay the handkerchief Mafeo had hidden there when I first taught him how to thieve. I felt the prickle of Lightning magic dancing within the silk threads. Mafeo, last to touch the kerchief decades ago, had left an impression of his younger self trapped in the silk like a fly in a spider's web.

I willed the Lightning to enter my flesh, letting the magic shape my body into the exact image of my apprentice as he had been in his prime. My brawny physique thinned and shortened, and my skin darkened to a sun-bronze. Pain blossomed in my left hand. Teethmarks from a mastiff's bite, still scabbing over, reminded me of our first burglary together as master and pupil.

Luca gasped at my transformation, but Mafeo managed a faint smile.

"Proof enough?" I asked with Mafeo's voice as it had been.

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