Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 2017

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Issue 41
Stories
The Two Kingdoms Woman
by James Beamon
The Time Mechanic
by Marie Vibbert
The Temptation of Father Francis
by Nick T. Chan and Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
The Fiddle Game
by Alex Shvartsman
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Vintage Fiction
Voice of the Martyrs
by Maurice Broaddus

Writing Fantasy

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The Two Kingdoms Woman
    by James Beamon

The Two Kingdoms Woman
Artwork by Andres Mossa

Listen, Chiang Jiang, as I speak my life poem. Upon these words I wrap deeper spells, in the tao shown to me by Zhuge Kongming when he unveiled the mysteries of the Book of Changes, the divinations and secrets of I Ching. Seven is sacred, the auspicious number of togetherness, and so I hereby distill the many people I've met, the innumerable places I have seen to this counted few. Seven are the names I will divulge to you, mighty river, to bind them to your waters. I will couple these names with seven sites, places forever rooted though the boundaries of the Three Kingdoms will surely change. May you carry their meaning and memory forever.

Sun Renxian

A brat and a fool is Sun Renxian. Once so proud of her bloodline, she boasted her heritage to visiting dignitaries. "Sun Renxian, daughter of Sun Jian, son of Sun Zhong!" and so on, inviting the dignitary to listen as she traced her family line back seven centuries to the Spring and Summer Period and the great Sun Tzu. As a maiden she practiced wushu daily, learning five Southern styles, becoming skilled with the single-edge dao sword and double-edged jian. She was fierce in combat, even fiercer in her arrogance. Now, Renxian is tired. Pride has drained from her as water through a sieve. She seeks to restore her qi.

She is I, this woman dressed in her grandest silk, whose make-up runs, and presently sits on your banks to share with you her life poem.

Sun Quan

My older brother's smile warms the room as his decrees cut the heart. He is revered as King of Eastern Wu, Holder of the Nine Bestowments. To me, he is simply Zhongmou, left to rule when our father fell in battle and our older brother succumbed to an assassin's arrow nine years later. Zhongmou was only eighteen at the time, and I sixteen. I remember him holding me as I cried into his shoulder even as his own body racked with sobs.

Zhongmou's strength lay in listening and in knowing he could not do everything alone. He chose excellent advisors, many smart, dutiful men whom I cannot name because I promised to speak only seven. Now Zhongmou is forty-three, and Wu has grown strong under his hand. His eyes sparkle like jade, signal lanterns of the fire that fills him.

What else can be said of my brother? I loved him, then hated him.

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