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“The Legend of Anahata”

The woman at the stream caught Kirtti’s eye. He was riding along the road, listening with half an ear as Tami-e-tsume outlined her plans, when he glanced to one side and saw the woman. She was kneeling on the bank beside the water, a basket at her side, washing clothes. She held a tunic submerged in the stream; it looked like a rich man’s tunic, dyed a deep red, but she herself wore a peasant’s rough clothes. Kirtti wondered if she had stolen it from a nobleman, or from a nobleman’s corpse. There were certainly enough of those around.

In the same year that “Calling into Silence” won the Grand Prize, “The Legend of Anahata” took an Honorable Mention in the Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. It’s the story about the deposed prince of a conquered kingdom trying to take his country back; unfortunately, I can’t say more about it without giving away bits of the plot that shouldn’t be spoiled. Suffice to say, I suppose, that I wrote it on Hallowe’en night my junior year of college, as the great bell of my residential House tolled thirteen strokes for midnight, which no doubt had some effect on the mood of the piece. The story is set in Sahasrara, a flat region of plains dominated by three branching rivers; in my mind, the landscape owes a little something to the plains of North Texas.

“The Legend of Anahata” is now available in my short story collection The Nine Lands.