An Anthology of Speculative Fiction
Published by Fox & Raven
In this debut anthology of speculative fiction short stories, Fox & Raven Publishing presents a smorgasbord of delectable tales. In an eclectic mix of horror, fantasy, dystopian dreampunk and all-too-real thrillers, ravensmoot exhibits some of the best new writing in the genre.
With a cartel of South African, Ugandan, British and American writers, ravensmoot promises to delight readers looking for powerful writing that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of their respective genres.
Ravensmoot includes my story The Triarchy’s Emissary. The gods have destroyed the Empire of Shebal, and the world is in chaos, at the mercy of warlords and tyrants. Edralit arrives in the city of Faiz with orders that she’s to infiltrate the household of the dowager empress Novesh, who has plans to restore order—but orders from whom? Is she an assassin sent by the vicious Triarchy of the Mountains, or does she have another agenda? The young emissary is captivated by the charismatic empress, but will it stop her fulfilling her task—whatever that might be?
Excerpt from The Triarchy’s Emissary:
The young woman walking beneath the window caught her attention at once. She made an exotic sight: short and pale-skinned like the old stock of Marenth, she wore the travel-stained leather jerkin and leggings common in the Highlands, with a heavy staff tied across her back. Her face, when it turned up for a moment, struck Novesh as vivid and unusual, even though not especially beautiful. Although so different in appearance, dress and station, the girl’s air of calm determination reminded Novesh of herself when she was younger.
As Novesh watched, three men ran out of the shadowed alley opposite. The blue and yellow kilts and the tattoos on their bared upper bodies told her at once that they were from the faction called the Royals, a fine name for what was little more than a criminal gang. Each carried a long, curved dagger, and Novesh realised that they were converging on the girl.
Their quarry must have heard the running footsteps, because she had the staff off her back and on guard by the time they reached her. The fight was a brief maelstrom in which the whirling staff seemed to be everywhere at the same time. Then the three men were on the ground, one lying motionless with blood seeping from his head, the other two barely conscious. None appeared to have got in a blow at their intended target.
The young woman looked up. It was as if their eyes met, though Novesh was sure she remained unseen. Her face, flushed from the action and dripping with sweat, was still and calm.
Novesh turned and called, “Morrold.” The guard was in the room almost before she’d spoken the second syllable of his name, his expression set in its usual impossible mixture of alertness and emptiness. “Your Majesty?”
“Come here.” She pointed down to the street where the girl stood over her conquests. “I’d like to speak to her. Bring her to me.” As Morrold nodded and turned to go, Novesh added, “Gently.”
She glanced back at the girl. At the very least, they had to meet.