The editors of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s long-running SWORD & SORCERESS anthology decided this is the last volume. Thirty-four years is a long run, and everybody feels ready to pack it in while they’re still going strong.
I’m pleased to have a Pimchan story in this volume. Submission was by invitation only, and Pimchan was invited.
Because there has to be a fight scene in a Pimchan story:
by Marian Allen
Akara’s menials, infected by fear, shifted their weapons to more offensive positions, shuffling their feet like a herd of water buffalo making ready to charge.
A cultivated voice from within the house said, “She won’t kill you, idiot. You have my word.”
The “idiot” drew back his cleaver and clumsily let it fly toward Pimchan. As it tumbled to the ground many inches from her feet, a streak of blue flashed from behind her, past the idiot, past Akara, to thud into a body in the entryway.
The cleaver-thrower shouted, “I told you so! Kill her!”
The attackers rushed forward, panic turning them savage. They were unused to fighting, which made them dangerous in their own way. If fighters knew their weapon and knew how to use them, it was possible to anticipate their attempts to block or land a blow. These amateurs swung wildly, desperately, as her townspeople had against a bandit incursion.
She opened a gash down one man’s arm from shoulder to wrist. He clutched the flesh together and rolled in the dust, wailing.
Somboon, accustomed to keeping–or making–the peace among people who fought each other rarely, was more proficient at this sort of combat. His staff knocked the feet out from under the burly smith, whose hammer fell upon the toes of another attacker, putting him out of commission.
The battle, half slapstick, half horror, paused while the ambulatory wounded retreated, and four more servants crept out onto the field, clutching rolling pins and long kitchen knives.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about someone’s final appearance.