Teaser: The Threadbare Magician

Illustration for a blog post with a teaser from "The Threadbare Magician".Still revamping this, since it insists on struggling from novelette length towards novella. Here you go.

Friendly Village loops and winds, tiny roads scattered among the trailers. Every patch of landscaping is different – cacti surrounded one mobile home, followed by a forest of rhododendrons, then dahlias that might have originated in my own garden.

Up along the creek ran a little road, unlined with homes. It led to a trailer of a peculiar pearly hue that might have been mistaken for grime at first. It was a Nordic style, almost, simulated white pine beams, rough wrought ironwork on the walls. Its landscaping was bare: a line of rocks, two tiny fir trees, one slightly larger than the other.

Outside, a massive rock crouched beside the mailbox.

In Greek mythology, such stones were sacred to Aphrodite. But I didn’t think a Greek God lurked within.

A man stood on the front porch, watching me approach. His attitude was expectant, perhaps even impatient, as though my visit was overdue. His gray beard hung down to his belly: woolly as a blanket. His eyes were blue and a few golden strands showed among the silver on his scalp to attest to his Nordic heritage.

I stopped a few feet away, looking at him.

“You’ve come of your own accord,” he said. “It would’ve been easier if you just let them bring you.”

I acted unsurprised, and maybe I was. Occam’s razor again. One) move to a new place. Two) be attacked by a powerful magical adversary. More than time connected that chain.

“I’m Forseti,” he said.

I searched through crumbs of mythology. My knowledge might have only the depth of a Wikipedia article, but it was wide. You learn the names of all the gods, once you realize most still exist in our act in acting out their own plans, few of which are constructed to dance humanity. Or even take into account, really.

“Justice, right?” I said.

He dropped a slow nod.

“What justice is there in killing me?” I asked.

He said, “Perhaps you should come inside for tea.”


Reminder – both the Electronic Publishing class and the first Editing 101 online class run this Sunday. You’ve still got time to sign up! To find out more, click on “Take an Online Class with Cat”.

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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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