by Beth Cato
read by Elizabeth Green
Hosted by M.K. Hobson
A PodCastle Original!
My horse was beautiful, yet still undeniably the raw work of a mere squire. Visible seams crisscrossed its body like stitches in a quilt. The mismatched metal patches were proof I had pieced it together from a hundred different carcasses. Likewise, the completed wings against the nearby wall contained hundreds of feathers in a warm metallic array that stood in bold contrast to the steel bones. The full equine form had some sinuous grace–a cupped chin, tapered ears–but overall, like any Cavalry mount, it was built for strength and endurance.
I picked up the metal heart, stroking it. I would soon know this soul with intimacy unlike any I had known. I crouched to place the heart in the chest cavity, and sang to Atanta all the while. I made the final connections within the body and stood, my hand on the halter. The enchantments I had pounded into metal and pressed into rubber thrummed to life like a swarm of bees. Onward I sang.
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Beth Cato is from Hanford, California, and resides near Phoenix, Arizona. She’s the author of The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown steampunk fantasy novels from Harper Voyager. Her brand new alt-history steampunk series starts with Breath of Earth this August. Her novella, “Wings of Sorrow and Bone,” is a Nebula Award finalist. For book news and bountiful cookie recipes, please visit BethCato.com.
Elizabeth Green as been reading stories for Podcastle through each of her different life changes: including teaching history of science at a liberal arts college, designing knitting patterns, doing freelance graphic design, and now working as the graphic designer for Girl Scouts of Central Texas. On weekends you can find her and her son playing samurai in the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. She lives in Austin, Texas.