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I'm not a war hero. I'm a pacifist.

I'm not even a Man, or they told me when I wrote my name on the list. "Conscientious Objector." They might as well have labelled me "war villain."
I took the paper into my hands and caressed it, felt its texture. It was the best I had ever used. I took a few moments to frame my desires in my mind, for I had to be confident in the first fold. It was the spine, from which(more)
In the darkness, a light. Through the trees it shines, penetrating window-glass and crossing the vegetable patch until it just touches the edge of the trees, the boundary of our little interruption of the forest. It lightens my skin a little as I kneel there, catching my breath. (more)
Once, people had carved their livelihoods from these cliffs, a traders' town within the rock. They were long gone, their town a prison, the houses cells.

It was here the slavers brought us, to serve those below. My people were scattered amongst other slaves, to suffer alone, but(more)
They were rarely seen at first. Black figures, not the brown-black of skin but the black of coal dust, covering their skin, clothes and boots.

As the weeks passed they were seen more often. There were men, women, even a few children. They were of many different heights,(more)
It was a select gathering, as all feasts were with the Secret King. In ones or twos, the nobles emerged from hidden passages to eat, drink and plot in the King's hall.

It had been this way since the Breaking. The crown was the key to the Kingdom;(more)
All was going to plan. From my nook in the sheer wall, I had watched the caravan retreating into the canyons from the desert, fleeing the coming sunrise. I had given the sign. In the half-light within the warren, my comrades had moved to block the canyon that led(more)
What fortress is made of glass?

I see you, child. You think you are shattered. You have fought and cowered, chased and fled, stood up and been run down.
In the streets were chaos and calm. Kaneta's men roared with each charge, each clash of katanas; the commander's, discipline embodied, stood in solid, silent lines blocking the way.

Or so they thought. As Kaneta's men pushed them slowly back, they didn't notice me, creeping over the rooftops.(more)
They took us south, past the green coasts of home, the port of Saradon, and the sea light at Arthon's Horn. From my cage on deck, I watched the tapering pillar of granite grow smaller, its great fire shrinking to a red star before it disappeared.
I was a contented child. The world was not cruel, not to me. I played, I laughed, I learned. One day, my father would hand me his ledger and not look over my shoulder while I wrote; one day, I would haggle with the ship's captains alone; one day,(more)
Tik's watch was always the last. He usually spent it on the outrigger, sitting with his arms around his knees and thinking, occasionally scanning the horizon. Some days he would bring the pitted board and stones with him, and think through some problem of the stone game. Others, he(more)
The road, alone. It's an uncomfortable life: walking, riding, stowing away. Sleeping in the open, or under the trees, or huddled around the fire. But you miss it.

An urchin's journey. It's a hard life: walking, running, fleeing. Sleeping in haylofts, or under hedgerows, or on the street.(more)