Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 44
Look After Your Brother
by Holliann R. Kim
by Jakob Drud
A Good Mother
by Andrea G. Stewart
The Crow's Word
by Stephen Case
The Last HammerSong
by Edmund R. Schubert
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At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Bring Out your dead
by Chris Bellamy
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
A Place for Heroes
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The Oath-Breaker's Daemon
    by Rob Steiner

The Oath-Breaker's Daemon
Artwork by Scott Altmann

I had many challenges being the only real magus in downtown ancient Rome. One of the biggest was drawing the attention of powerful patricians. So when you're trying to get back to the twenty-first century like I am, you can't be too picky when it comes to jobs.

I was walking back to my flat on the Aventine Hill through the cramped, close, and crowded streets of 6 BC Rome carrying my dinner for the night: a circle of emmer bread, some dried pears, and a small wedge of cheese. When I got to the rickety wooden stairs to my second floor flat/office, I saw a man standing there waiting. I'd been stuck in ancient Rome for a year, so I was pretty good at identifying patricians. He was young, clean-shaven, with close-cropped black hair. While he didn't wear a toga, his tunica was white and unwrinkled, his sandals recently oiled, and a sheathed gladius hung from his leather belt.

He certainly wasn't an off-duty Legionnaire. Those boys never dressed that well. This guy was an officer or a patrician's lictor. And he was looking right at me.

My gut churned. I hated getting involved with patricians and their political games, especially when they tried to recruit me into their patronage. But patricians had the money to pay me, and I hadn't had a job in over a week. The urge to run gave way to my yearning for home, so I continued walking toward him.

"You are the one they call Natta the Magus, correct?" he asked in the accented Latin of the upper classes. He glanced at the baseball cap I was wearing, which stood out in this century, to say the least. Not only did it have the yellow-on-black colors of my favorite professional baseball club, the Detroit Wolverines, but it was also lined with copper threads and enchantments to keep nasty spirits out of my head.

"I am. And you are?" My Latin had improved over the last year, but sometimes my modern English accent made me sound like a German to Roman ears.

The man frowned slightly, probably because I did not address him with the customary dominus that patricians reserved for themselves.

"I am Vitulus. I represent . . ." He looked around at the crowds. "Can we speak somewhere private?"

"Sure, let's go to my office."

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