The last Tale of the Rose Knights, “Desert Peace,” went up on Daily Science Fiction today. It may not be the last forever — I still have a few I started that Jay Lake never had a chance to contribute to. I’ll have to take another look at them and see if I want to whip them into shape by myself.
This is the ending:
He stands there, the soldier, in a uniform so floral and pale pink that many armies would have rebelled to wear it. The Pink Knight is not so tall, but tall enough, and the yellow highlights of the startling tunic match the highlights in his hair. He carries a curious weapon, this soldier, a long thorn like a wooden needle, the end beaded with blood so bright red as to be almost purple.
The tourists come to look, sometimes even to pray, for that blood is always pure and fresh. The soldier does not move. He simply smiles as he stares into an eternity only he can see. Even in the desert, the horizon is finite, but his eyes are on distant stars and a sleepy ember that is invisible to those around him.
In his desert there is peace. The hawks hunt elsewhere. The coyotes pass silent under the mistress-moon who rules their night. Even the cactus thorns have softened a bit, so that rabbits and children might pass near the soldier.
Read the rest here at DSF.
Rose de Rescht by Florian Moeckel (public domain)
A new flash fiction piece that I wrote with Jay Lake went up on Daily Science Fiction yesterday, but I was too busy decorating the Christmas tree with family to remember to post about it. So here, a day late, I give you Rose de Rescht:
Rose de Rescht
by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold
Rose de Rescht was something of a mystery among the other Rose Knights. Said to have come from a land more mythical than real, a land that had once born the legendary name of Persia, the name she bore herself was Dutch, and the language she spoke was that of remote Chemeketa. Known as the Fuchsia Knight, the color she wore was an impossibly deep pink, so dark it was almost purple, a shade decadent and exotic, especially among the Armies of the Moon.
Read the rest here.
Smooth Angel, courtesy of Sue Brown (c)
A new Tale of the Rose Knights that I wrote with Jay Lake went up on Daily Science Fiction today, “Smooth Angel.” Here a short teaser:
Smooth Angel came out of the uttermost east, across the great Sea of Grass into the lands of the Roses. She traversed the farthest kingdoms, crossed the Ivory Mountains by hidden passes, and descended through Hy Rugosa, already arrayed as a knight with her pale banners the color of the first orange of sunrise. Her armor was lacquered in the manner of the Sallow Men of the Sea of Grass, and her horse had stripes never before seen by the breeders in the West. It was as if she had ridden across the world.
She met the Sun’s Viceroy on the road outside Fenixtown. He rode fast, without his courtly array, just a hard-eyed company of soldiers and three lesser Rose Knights, bannermen of the knight Snowfire. They were dressed and geared for rough travel.
The Sun’s Viceroy pulled his mount to and raised a hand to stop Smooth Angel. Stop she did, for politeness and curiosity.
“Greetings, knight. I do not recall your banner.” The Viceroy spoke with the iron courtesy that only a man of absolute power can summon, his voice smooth, though he failed to introduce himself or his party. “Do you follow the Sun or the Moon?”
Smooth Angel rested her right hand lightly on the hilt of her longer sword. “Neither. My banner shines equally in starshadow and daylight. Who are you to ask?”
Read the rest on DSF.
And if you do, I hope you enjoy the story. 🙂