A Century of Princes
by H.L. Fullerton
Read by Alethea Kontis
Listen to the audio version
Briar and Rose sit at a table in a cozy nook of their tower room, snacking on jam-smeared
scones and playing cribbage. Briar is winning; she always wins. Mostly, because Rose believes it
bad manners to trounce a guest and, although they've been together many summers, it's
technically Rose's tower: she was here first.
"Muggins!" Briar calls, pirating points Rose should've claimed to finish the match. If she
ignores them, games last forever and, while they may have that long, Briar would rather not
spend it on cards.
"You're so good at this game," Rose says and Briar scowls. Replies, "Uh-huh. Right.
That's me. The Countess of Crib."
"Play again?" Rose's gaze drifts to the loop hole--a narrow slit wide enough for arrows
but little else--that serves as their window. Half her face bathed in light, she squints towards the
horizon, searching . . .
"Beautiful day," Briar says. "Let's walk to the lake, have a picnic." Ever since Briar
disturbed Rose's slumber, grabbed her shoulder and shook her awake, she's tempted Rose with
tales of outside. Briar is a very good taleteller, so Rose can't be sure there is a lake. And what if
she couldn't return? Magic can be tricky. Briar can come and go, but Briar isn't cursed. At least,
Rose doesn't think her friend is.