PodCastle 103: Attar of Roses

by Sharon Mock.
Read by Deborah Green.
Originally published in Clarkesworld.


They say that when I was born, blossoms spread on the rose bushes outside my mother’s birthing chamber. They say that where I step, blood-red petals spring from the earth. The first, my father tells me, is a legend. The second has been known to happen on occasion, though only by my design.

I was born deep in the northern mountains, far from the great confederacies, where my father nurtured his magic without interference. His was the power of earth, roots of stone and springs of water. My gifts, on the other hand, were merely decorative—grace and beauty and youth forever born anew in spring. Sorcerers traveled from the tradelands to court me, Rosalaia, Blossom of the North. I would have none of them. My father sent them all away. Far better for me to grant my grace at my father’s side, take my consorts from the young men of the city, make our land a well-defended paradise.

For centuries I believed that this was the life for which I was intended.

Rated PG for roses which may smell sweet but still have their thorns.

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