Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 2017

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Issue 24
Stories
Under the Shield
by Stephen Kotowych
Old Flat Foot
by Ross Willard
Whiteface Part I
by Jared Oliver Adams
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
The Floating Statue
by David Lubar
Orson Scott Card - Sneak Preview
Shadows in Flight - Chapter 1
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

Writing Fantasy

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

Whiteface - Part I
    by Jared Oliver Adams

2nd Place - Best Story - 2011

Whiteface
Artwork by Anna Repp

Before Otter-in-the-grass, nobody among the Ka-akin peoples had ever chosen more than one color. When he was ten moons old, he was presented to the chiefs like any other baby, and like any other baby he was placed on the ground of the meeting place in the middle of a circle. Around the edge of the circle were dry piles of different-colored dyes, each hue mixed carefully to be pure in color. Some of the piles were big and some small, but they were all placed with precision, according to tradition.

Infant Otter-in-the-grass (and this was before he was given his name), sat still for awhile and looked around, not at the dyes but at the people crowded along the outside of the ring. He considered them with great wonder, for everyone in the front row of onlookers had their faces covered in reddish mud to obscure their identity to the child, and each shook a rattle so that the babe would not be distracted by any sudden noises. Otter-in-the-grass watched them as many babies had done before, but then he did something unheard of. He turned completely around, crawled over to the back of the circle where all the rarest colors were, and flopped down across three separate mounds of dye.

Neither the chiefs nor the sages knew how to interpret this, for at that time the color a baby chose determined what his role in society would be. If he had plunged his hand into the pile of red dye, then he would have been a war-chief; if yellow, a peace-chief; if purple, a sage -- but as far as any observer could tell, he touched all three colors at once.

The decision was made to train the child in all three disciplines, and he was given the name Otter-in-the-grass, for an otter has three natures: it swims like a fish, has fur like a squirrel, and interacts with its fellows like a man.

Otter-in-the-grass was a clever boy, and this training bore much fruit. As a peace-chief he became skilled at rationing food, smoothing over conflicts, and directing trade. As a war-chief he became a master of weapons and tactics. And as a sage he learned not only the lore of the Ka-akin, but that of the surrounding tribes as well.

Such was his success that the other clan chiefs of the Ka-akin began to fear that one day he would set himself up as the sole ruler of the tribe, becoming like the oppressive Chieftains of the neighboring peoples. Seeking to lessen his influence while still respecting his colors, the chiefs decided to make for Otter a unique position, that of an ambassador, for in this way they could use his great skills, while at the same time keeping him from the village for long periods of time.

At this too Otter excelled. He opened many paths for trade, halted many wars before they started, and his name was known among all the surrounding tribes. His absence from the village had little effect on his popularity. Though the Ka-akin said they respected all people the same, in truth they respected him the most.

Now, it came to pass that Otter married and had a son, and this is where the true story starts, for this was the great crisis in Otter's life, the thing that made him the man he is today.

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