WIP: 99 Statues

Picture of a statue

Fen pre-empted any observation he could make about the weather. "The statues will be done by midsummer, they say. Later than anyone had hoped for, but still enough time to get to the coast before winter sets in."

Another Tabat story is brewing, this time explaining one of the city’s architectural features: the ninety-nine statues of figures from the history of Tabat, commissioned by a Duke to be placed along Salt Road. A mystery arises – what is it about the 99th statue that sets it apart from its fellows? Here’s a snippet from the beginning:

It was one of those rainy days that make up most of Tabat’s spring, a day when the clouds hung so low that the city’s upper terraces were shrouded in fog. When Nicolas started up the foot of Salt Road, it was clear, but as he ascended, the white mist around him thickened and he found himself breathing in cold moisture that made his lungs feel as sodden as the thick wool coat he had imprudently chosen that morning, thinking it would snow and he’d want the warmth.

He shivered and glanced sideways and slightly down at his companion. Feniker marched along with his hands in his pockets, smugly dry in his oilskin cloak and waxed leather boots, both brand new. An elaborate cockade was pinned to the black fabric’s breast.

“I see the Duke has chosen to outfit you,” Nicolas said.

Feniker glanced down at himself. “This is what all the expeditions are equipped with. Nothing but the best.”

“Still planning on going?” Nicolas asked. He regretted the words as soon as they left his lips, but Feniker didn’t reply, just nodded and kept on walking.

Nicolas kept his pace in step with his friend’s, despite the discrepancy in their heights. He hunted for a safe topic of conversation but everything seemed fraught, tinted with departure.

By now, they could barely see the street, surrounded by a wall of meaninglessness, robbed of any sign of wall or fence or street-sign. The cobbles underfoot were slick with moisture. Tonight when the temperature dropped, Nicolas knew, they would become black ice, and most of the city would come to a standstill, with only the lines of the trams moving up and down the terraces.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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