PodCastle 542: Waters of Versailles — Part 1

Show Notes

Rated R for adult themes.

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Waters of Versailles

by Kelly Robson

1.

Sylvain had just pulled up Annette’s skirts when the drips started. The first one landed on her wig, displacing a puff of rose-pink powder. Sylvain ignored it and leaned Annette back on the sofa. Her breath sharpened to gasps that blew more powder from her wig. Her thighs were cool and slightly damp — perhaps her arousal wasn’t feigned after all, Sylvain thought, and reapplied himself to nuzzling her throat.

After two winters at Versailles, Sylvain was well acquainted with the general passion for powder. Every courtier had bowls and bins of the stuff in every color and scent. In addition to the pink hair powder, Annette had golden powder on her face and lavender at her throat and cleavage. There would be more varieties lower down. He would investigate that in time.

The second drip landed on the tip of her nose. Sylvain flicked it away with his tongue.

Annette giggled. “Your pipes are weeping, monsieur.”

“It’s nothing,” he said, nipping at her throat. The drips were just condensation. An annoyance, but unavoidable when cold pipes hung above overheated rooms.

The sofa squeaked as he leaned in with his full weight. It was a delicate fantasy of gilt and satin, hardly large enough for the two of them, and he was prepared to give it a beating.

Annette moaned as he bore down on her. She was far more entertaining than he had expected, supple and slick. Her gasps were genuine now, there was no doubt, and she yanked at his shirt with surprising strength.

A drip splashed on the back of his neck, and another a few moments later. He had Annette abandoned now, making little animal noises in the back of her throat as he drove into her. Another drip rolled off his wig, down his cheek, over his nose. He glanced overhead and a battery of drips hit his cheek, each bigger than the last.

This was a problem. The pipes above were part of the new run supporting connections to the suites of two influential men and at least a dozen rich ones. His workmen had installed the pipes just after Christmas. Even if they had done a poor job, leaks weren’t possible. He had made sure of it.

He gathered Annette in his arms and shoved her farther down the sofa, leaving the drips to land on the upholstery instead of his head. He craned his neck, trying to get a view of the ceiling. Annette groaned in protest and clutched his hips.

The drips fell from a join, quick as tears. Something was wrong in the cisterns. He would have to speak with Leblanc immediately.

“Sylvain?” Annette’s voice was strained.

It could wait. He had a reputation to maintain, and performing well here was as critical to his fortunes as all the water flowing through Versailles.

He dove back into her, moving up to a galloping pace as drips pattered on his neck. He had been waiting months for this. He ought to have been losing himself in Annette’s flounced and beribboned flesh, the rouged nipples peeking from her bodice, her flushed pout and helplessly bucking hips, but instead his mind wandered the palace. Were there floods under every join?

Instead of dampening his performance, the growing distraction lengthened it. When he was finally done with her, Annette was completely disheveled, powder blotched, rouge smeared, wig askew, face flushed as a dairy maid’s.

Annette squeezed a lock of his wig and caressed his cheek with a water-slick palm.

“You are undone, I think, monsieur.”

He stood and quickly ordered his clothes. The wig was wet, yes, even soaked. So was his collar and back of his coat. A quick glance in a gilded mirror confirmed he looked greasy as a peasant, as if he’d been toiling at harvest instead of concluding a long-planned and skillful seduction — a seduction that required a graceful exit, not a mad dash out the door to search the palace for floods.

Annette was pleased — more than pleased despite the mess he’d made of her. She looked like a cat cleaning cream off its whiskers as she dabbed her neck with a powder puff, ignoring the drips pattering beside her. The soaked sofa leached dye onto the cream carpet. Annette dragged the toe of her silk slipper through the stained puddle.

“If this is not the only drip, monsieur, you may have a problem or two.”

“It is possible,” Sylvain agreed, dredging up a smile. He leaned in and kissed the tips of her fingers one at a time until she waved him away.

He would have to clean up before searching for Leblanc, and he would look like a fool all the way up to his apartment.

At least the gossips listening at the door would have an enduring tale to tell.


2.

Sylvain ducked out of the marble halls into the maze of service corridors and stairs. Pipes branched overhead like a leaden forest. Drips targeted him as he passed but there were no standing puddles — not yet.

The little fish could turn the palace into a fishbowl if she wanted, Sylvain thought, and a shudder ran through his gut. The rooftop reservoirs held thousands of gallons, and Bull and Bear added new reservoirs just as fast as the village blacksmiths could make them. All through the royal wing, anyone with a drop of blood in common with the king was claiming priority over his neighbor, and the hundred or so courtiers in the north wing — less noble, but no less rich and proud — were grinding their teeth with jealousy.

Sylvain whipped off his soaked wig and let the drips rain down on his head one by one, steady as a ticking clock as he strode down the narrow corridor. He ducked into a stairwell — no pipes above there — and scrubbed his fingers through his wet hair as he peeked around the corner. The drips had stopped. Only a few spatters marked the walls and floorboards.

The little fish was playing with him. It must be her idea of a joke. Well, Leblanc could take care of it. The old soldier loved playing nursemaid to the creature. Age and wine had leached all the man out of him and left a sad husk of a wet nurse, good for nothing but nursery games.

A maid squeezed past him on the stairs and squealed as her apron came away wet. She was closely followed by a tall valet. Sylvain moved aside for him.

“You’re delivering water personally now, Monsieur de Guilherand?”

Sylvain gave the valet a black glare and ran up the stairs two at a time.

The servants of Versailles were used to seeing him lurking in the service corridors, making chalk marks on walls and ceilings. He was usually too engrossed in his plans to notice their comments but now he’d have to put an end to it. Annette d’Arlain was in the entourage of Comtesse de Mailly, King Louis’s maîtresse en titre, and Madame had more than a fair share of the king’s time and attention — far more than his poor ignored Polish queen.

The next servant to take liberty with him would get a stiff rebuke and remember he was an officer and a soldier who spent half the year prosecuting the king’s claims on the battlefield.

By the time Sylvain had swabbed himself dry and changed clothes, Bull and Bear were waiting for him. Their huge bulks strained his tiny parlor at the seams.

“What is the little creature playing at?” Sylvain demanded.

Bull twisted his cap in his huge hands, confused. Bear raised his finger to his nose and reached in with an exploratory wiggle.

“Down in the cisterns,” Sylvain spoke precisely. “The creature. The little fish. What is she doing?”

“We was on the roof when you called, monsieur,” said Bull, murdering the French with his raspy country vowels.

“We been bending lead all day,” said Bear. “Long lead.”

“The little fish was singing at dawn. I heard her through the pipes,” Bull added, eager to please.

It was no use demanding analysis from two men who were barely more human than the animals they were named for. Bull and Bear were good soldiers, steady, strong, and vicious, but cannonfire had blasted their wits out.

“Where is Leblanc?”

Bull shrugged his massive shoulders. “We don’t see him, monsieur. Not for days.”

“Go down to the cellars. Find Leblanc and bring him to me.”

The old soldier was probably curled around a cask in a carelessly unlocked cellar, celebrating his good luck by drinking himself into dust. But even dead drunk, Leblanc knew how to talk to the creature. Whatever the problem was, Leblanc would jolly the silly fish out of her mood.


3.

“Our well-beloved king is an extraordinary man,” said Sylvain. “But even a man of his parts can only use one throne at a time.”

The Grand Chamberlain fluffed his stole like a bantam cock and lowered his hairy eyebrows. “The issue is not how the second throne will be used but how quickly you will comply with the request. We require it today. Disappoint us at your peril.”

Sylvain suppressed a smile. If royalty could be measured by number of thrones, he was king of Europe. He had at least two dozen in a village warehouse, their finely painted porcelain and precious mahogany fittings wrapped in batting and hidden in unmarked crates. Their existence was a secret even Bull and Bear kept close. To everyone else, they were precious, rare treasures that just might be found for the right person at the right price.

The Grand Chamberlain paced the silk carpet. He was young, and though highborn, titled, and raised to the highest office, responsibility didn’t sit well with him. He’d seen a battlefield or two at a distance but had never known real danger. Those hairy brows were actually trembling. Sylvain could easily draw this out just for the pleasure of making a duke sweat, but the memory of Annette’s soft flesh made him generous.

“My warehouse agent just reported receiving a new throne. It is extremely fine. Berlin has been waiting months for it.” Sylvain examined his fingernails. “Perhaps it can be diverted. I will write a note to my agent.”

The Grand Chamberlain folded his hands and nodded, an officious gesture better suited to a grey-haired oldster. “Such a throne might be acceptable.”

“You will recall that installing plumbing is a lengthy and troublesome process. Even with the pipes now in place servicing the original throne, his majesty will find the work disruptive.”

Installing the first throne had been a mess. Bear and Bull had ripped into walls and ceilings, filling the royal dressing room with the barnyard stench of their sweat. But King Louis had exercised his royal prerogative from the first moment the throne was unpacked, even before it was connected to the pipes. So, it was an even trade — the king had to breathe workmen’s stench, and Bull and Bear had been regularly treated to the sight and scent of healthy royal bowel movements.

The Grand Chamberlain steepled his fingers. “Plumbing is not required. Just the throne.”

“I cannot imagine the royal household wants a second throne just for show.”

The Grand Chamberlain sighed. “See for yourself.”

He led Sylvain into the cedar-scented garderobe. A rainbow of velvet and satin cushions covered the floor. The toilet gleamed in a place of honor, bracketed by marble columns. Something was growing in the toilet bowl. It looked like peach moss.

The moss turned its head. Two emerald eyes glared up at him.

“Minou has been offered a number of other seats, but she prefers the throne.” The Grand Chamberlain looked embarrassed. “Our well-beloved king will not allow her to be disturbed. In fact, he banished the courtier who first attempted to move her.”

The cat hissed, its tiny ivory fangs yellow against the glistening white porcelain. Sylvain stepped back. The cat’s eyes narrowed with lazy menace.

A wide water drop formed in the bend of the golden pipes above the toilet. The drop slid across the painted porcelain reservoir and dangled for a few heartbeats. Then it plopped onto the cat’s head. Minou’s eyes popped wide as saucers.

Sylvain spun and fled the room, heart hammering.

The Grand Chamberlain followed. “Send the second throne immediately. This afternoon at the latest.” The request was punctuated by the weight of gold as he discreetly passed Sylvain a pouch of coins.

“Certainly,” Sylvain said, trying to keep his voice steady. “The cat may prefer the original throne, however.”

“That will have to do.”

When he was out of the Grand Chamberlain’s sight, Sylvain rushed through the royal apartments and into the crowded Grand Gallery. There, in Versailles’ crowded social fishbowl, he had no choice but to slow to a dignified saunter. He kept his gaze level and remote, hoping to make it through the long gallery uninterrupted.

“Sylvain, my dear brother, why rush away?” Gérard clamped his upper arm and muscled him to the side of the hall. “Stay and take a turn with me.”

“Damn you,” Sylvain hissed. “You know I haven’t time for idling. Let me go.”

Gérard snickered. “Don’t deprive me of your company so soon.”

Sylvain had seen his friend the Marquis de la Châsse in every imaginable situation — beardless and scared white by battle-scarred commanders, on drunken furlough in peat-stinking country taverns, wounded bloody and clawing battlefield turf. They had pulled each other out of danger a hundred times — nearly as often as they’d goaded each other into it.

Gérard’s black wig was covered in coal-dark powder that broadcast a subtle musky scent. The deep plum of his coat accentuated the dark circles under his eyes and the haze of stubble on his jaw.

Sylvain pried his arm from Gérard’s fist and fell into step beside him. At least there were no pipes overhead, no chance of a splattering. The gallery was probably one of the safest places in the palace. He steered his friend toward the doors and prepared to make his escape.

Gérard leaned close. “Tell me good news. Can it be done?”

“My answer hasn’t changed.”

Gérard growled, a menacing rumble deep in his broad chest.

“I’ve heard that noise on the battlefield, Gérard.” Sylvain said. “It won’t do you any good here.”

“On a battlefield, you and I are on the same side. But here you insist on opposing me.”

Sylvain nodded at the Comte de Tessé. The old man was promenading with his mistress, a woman young enough to be his granddaughter, and the two of them were wearing so much powder that an aura of tiny particles surrounded them with a faint pink glow. The comte raised his glove.

“I wonder,” said the comte loudly, as if he were addressing the entire hall, “can Sylvain de Guilherand only make plain water dance, or does he also have power over the finest substances? Champagne, perhaps.”

“Ingenuity has its limits, but I haven’t found them yet.” Sylvain let a faint smile play at the corners of his mouth.

“Surely our beloved king’s birthday would be an appropriate day to test those limits. Right here, in fact, in the center of the Grand Gallery. What could be more exalted?”

Sylvain had no time for this. He nodded assent and the comte strolled on with an extra bounce in his step, dragging his mistress along by the elbow.

The doors of the Grand Gallery were barricaded by a gang of nuns who gaped up at the gilded and frescoed ceiling like baby sparrows in a nest. Sylvain and Gérard paced past.

“You don’t seem to understand,” Gérard said. “Pauline is desperate. It’s vulgar to talk about money, but you know I’ll make it worth your effort. Ready cash must be a problem. Courtiers rarely discharge their obligations.”

“It’s not a question of money or friendship. The north wing roof won’t hold a reservoir. If the king himself wanted water in the north wing, I would have to refuse him.”

“Then you must reinforce the roof.”

Sylvain sighed. Gérard had never met a problem that couldn’t be solved by gold or force. He couldn’t appreciate the layers of influence and responsibility that would have to be peeled back to accomplish a major construction project like putting reservoirs on the north wing.

“Pauline complains every time she pisses,” said Gérard. “Do you know how often a pregnant woman sits on her pot? And often she gets up in the night? The smell bothers her, no matter how much perfume and rose water she applies, no matter how quickly her maid whisks away the filth. Pauline won’t stop asking. I will have no peace until she gets one of your toilets.”

“Sleep in a different room.”

“Cold, lonely beds are for summer. In winter, you want a warm woman beside you.”

“Isn’t your wife intimate with the Marquise de Coupigny? I hear she keeps a rose bower around her toilet. Go stay with her.”

“The marquise told my wife that she does not cater to the general relief of the public, and their intimacy has now ended in mutual loathing. This is what happens when friends refuse each other the essential comforts of life.”

“I’ll provide all the relief you need if you move to an apartment the pipes can reach.”

“Your ingenuity has found its limits, then, despite your boasts. But your pipes reached a good long way yesterday. I hear it was a long siege. How high were the d’Arlain battlements?”

“You heard wrong. Annette d’Arlain is a virtuous woman.”

“Did she tell you the king’s mistress named her toilet after the queen? Madame pisses on Polish Mary. Pauline is disgusted. She asked me to find out what Annette d’Arlain says.”

Two splashes pocked Sylvain’s cheek. He looked around wildly for the source.

“Tears, my friend?” Gérard dangled his handkerchief in front of Sylvain’s nose. “Annette is pretty enough but her cunt must be gorgeous.”

Sylvain ignored his friend and scanned the ornate ceiling. The gilding and paint disguised stains and discolorations, but the flaws overhead came to light if you knew where to look.

There. A fresh water stain spread on the ceiling above the statue of Hermes. A huge drop formed in its gleaming centre. It grew, dangled like a jewel, and broke free with a snap. It bounced off the edge of a mirror, shot past him, then ricocheted off a window and smacked him on the side of his neck, soaking his collar.

Sylvain fled the Grand Gallery like a rabbit panicking for its burrow. He ran with no attention to dignity, stepping on the lace train of one woman, raking through the headdress feathers of another, shoving past a priest, setting a china vase rocking on its pedestal. The drone of empty conversation gave way to shocked exclamations as he dodged out of the room into one of the old wing’s service corridors.

He skidded around a banister into a stairwell. Water rained down, slickening the stairs as he leapt two and three steps at a time. It spurted from joins, gushed from welded seams, and sprayed from faucets as he passed.

The narrow corridors leading to Sylvain’s apartment were clogged with every species of servant native to the palace. The ceiling above held a battery of pipes — the main limb of the system Bull and Bear had installed two years before. Every joint and weld targeted Sylvain as he ran. Everyone was caught in the crossfire — servants, porters, tradesmen. Sylvain fled a chorus of curses and howls. It couldn’t be helped.

Sylvain crashed through the door of his apartment. His breath rasped as he leaned on the door with all his weight, as if he could hold the line against disaster.

Bull and Bear knelt over a pile of dirty rags on the bare plank floor. Sylvain’s servant stood over them, red-eyed and sniffling.

“What is this mess?” Sylvain demanded.

His servant slowly pulled aside one of the rags to reveal Leblanc’s staring face, mottled green and white like an old cheese. Sylvain dropped to his knees and fished for the dead man’s hand.

It was cold and slack. Death had come and gone, leaving only raw meat. All life had drained away from that familiar face, memories locked forever behind dead eyes, tongue choked down in a throat that would never speak again.

The first time they met, Sylvain had been startled speechless. The old soldier had talked familiarly to him in the clipped rough patois of home and expected him to understand. They were on the banks of the Moselle, just about as far from the southern Alps as a man could be and still find himself in France.

Sylvain should have cuffed the old man for being familiar with an officer, but he had been young and homesick, and words from home rang sweet. He kept Leblanc in his service just for the pleasure of hearing him talk. He made a poor figure of a servant but he could keep a tent dry in a swamp and make a pot of hot curds over two sticks and a wafer of peat. He’d kept the old man close all through the Polish wars, through two winters in Quebec, and then took him home on a long furlough. Sylvain hadn’t been home for five years, and Leblanc hadn’t seen the Alps in more than thirty, but he remembered every track of home, knew the name of every cliff, pond, and rill. Leblanc had even remembered Château de Guilherand, its high stone walls and vast glacier-fed waterworks.

Close as they’d been, Sylvain had never told the old man he was planning to catch a nixie and bring her to Versailles. Under the Sun King, the palace’s fountains had been a wonder of the world. Their state of disrepair under Louis XV was a scandal bandied about and snickered over in parlors from Berlin to Naples. Sylvain knew he could bring honor back to the palace and enrich himself in the bargain. The fountains were just the beginning of his plan. There was no end to the conveniences and luxuries he could bring to the royal blood and courtiers of Versailles with a reliable, steady flow of clean, pure water.

She’d been just a tadpole. Sylvain had lured her into a leather canteen and kept her under his shirt, close to his heart, during the two weeks of steady hard travel it took to get from home to Versailles. The canteen had thrummed against his chest, drumming in time with hooves or footsteps or even the beating of his heart — turning any steady noise into a skeleton of a song. It echoed the old rhythms, the tunes he heard shepherds sing beside the high mountain rills as he passed by, rifle on his shoulder, tracking wild goats and breathing the sweet, cold, pure alpine air.

Sylvain had kept her a secret, or so he’d thought. The day after they arrived at Versailles, he’d snuck down to the cisterns, canteen still tucked under his shirt. A few hours later, Leblanc had found him down there, frustrated and sweating, shouting commands at the canteen, trying to get her to come out and swim in the cisterns.

“What you got there ain’t animal nor people,” Leblanc had told him. “Kick a dog and he’ll crawl back to you and do better next time. A soldier obeys to avoid the whip and the noose. But that little fish has her own kind of mind.”

Sylvain had thrown the canteen to the old man and stepped back. Leblanc cradled it in his arms like a baby.

“She don’t owe you obedience like a good child knows it might. She’s a wild creature. If you don’t know that you know nothing.”

Leblanc crooned a lullaby to the canteen, tender as a new mother. The little fish had popped out into the cistern pool before he started the second verse, and he had her doing tricks within a day. Over the past two years, they’d been nearly inseparable.

“Ah, old Leblanc. What a shame.” Gérard stood in the doorway, blocking the view of the gawkers in the corridor behind him. “A good soldier. He will be much missed.”

Sylvain carefully folded Leblanc’s hands over his bony cold breast. Bull and Bear crossed themselves as Sylvain drew his thumb and finger over the corpse’s papery eyelids.

Gérard shut the door, closing out the gathered crowd. Sylvain tried to ignore the prickling ache between his eyes, the hollow thud of his gut.

“Sylvain, my dear friend. Do you know you’re sitting in a puddle?”

Sylvain looked down. The floor under him was soaked. Bull dabbled at the edge of the puddle with the toe of his boot, sloshing a thin stream through the floorboards while Bear added to the puddle with a steady rain of tears off the tip of his ratted beard.

“I don’t pretend to understand your business,” said Gérard, “But I think there might be a problem with your water pipes.”

Sylvain barked a laugh. He couldn’t help himself. A problem with the pipes. Yes, and it would only get worse.


4.

Sylvain had rarely visited the cisterns over the past two winters. There had been no need. The little fish was Leblanc’s creature. The two of them had been alone for months while Sylvain fought the summer campaigns, and through the winter, Sylvain had more than enough responsibilities above ground — renovating and repairing the palace’s fountains, planning and executing the water systems, and most importantly, doing it all while maintaining the illusion of a courtly gentleman of leisure, attending levées and soirées, dinners and operas.

Versailles was the wonder of the world. The richest palace filled with the most cultivated courtiers, each room containing a ransom of art and statuary, the gardens rivaling heaven with endless fountains and statuary. The reputation it had gained at the height of the Sun King’s reign persisted, but close examination showed a palace falling apart at the seams.

Sylvain had swept into Versailles and taken the waterworks for his own. He had brought the fountains back to their glory, making them play all day and all night for the pleasure of Louis the Well-Beloved — something even the Sun King couldn’t have claimed.

The tunnel to the cisterns branched off the cellars of the palace’s old wing, part of the original foundations. It had been unbearably dank when Sylvain had first seen it years before. Now it was fresh and floral. A wet breeze blew in his face, as though he were standing by a waterfall, the air pushed into motion by the sheer unyielding weight of falling water.

The nixie’s mossy nest crouched in the centre of a wide stone pool. The rusted old pumps sprayed a fine mist overhead. The water in the pool pulsed, rising and falling with the cadence of breath.

She was draped over the edge of her nest, thin legs half submerged in the pool, long webbed feet gently stirring the water. The little fool didn’t even know enough to keep still when pretending to sleep.

He skirted the edge of the pool, climbing to the highest and driest of the granite blocks. Dripping moss and ferns crusted the grotto’s ceiling and walls. A million water droplets reflected the greenish glow of her skin.

“You there,” he shouted, loud enough to carry over the symphony of gushes and drips. “What are you playing at?”

The nixie writhed in the moss. The wet glow of her skin grew stronger and the mist around her nest thickened until she seemed surrounded by tiny lights. She propped herself on one scrawny elbow and dangled a hand in the pool.

With her glistening skin and sleek form, she seemed as much salamander as child, but she didn’t have a talent for stillness. Like a pool of water, she vibrated with every impulse.

A sigh rose over the noise. It was more a burbling gush than language. The sound repeated — it was no French word but something like the mountain patois of home. He caught the meaning after a few more repetitions.

“Bored,” she said. Her lips trembled. Drips rained from the ferns. “So bored!”

“You are a spoiled child,” he said in court French.

She broke into a grin and her big milky eyes glowed at him from across the pool. He shivered. They were human eyes, almost, and in that smooth amphibian face, they seemed uncanny. Dark salamander orbs would have been less disturbing.

“Sing,” she said. “Sing a song?”

“I will not.”

She draped herself backward over a pump, webbed hand to her forehead with all the panache of an opera singer. “So bored.”

As least she wasn’t asking for Leblanc. “Good girls who work hard are never bored.”

A slim jet of water shot from the pump. It hit him square in the chest.

She laughed, a giddy burble. “I got you!”

Don’t react, Sylvain thought as the water dripped down his legs.

“Yes, you got me. But what will that get you in the end? Some good girls get presents, if they try hard enough. Would you like a present?”

Her brow creased as she thought it over. “Maybe,” she said.

Hardly the reaction he was hoping for, but good enough.

“Behave yourself. No water outside of the pipes and reservoirs. Keep it flowing and I’ll bring you a present just like a good girl.”

“Good girl,” she said in French. “But what will that get you in the end?”

She was a decent mimic — her accent was good. But she was like a parrot, repeating everything she heard.

“A nice present. Be a good girl.”

“Good girl,” she repeated in French. Then she reverted back to mountain tongue. “Sing a song?”

“No. I’ll see you in a few days.” Sylvain turned away, relief blossoming in his breast.

“Leblanc sing a song?” she called after him.

There it was. Stay calm, he thought. Animals can sense distress. Keep walking.

“Leblanc is busy,” he said over his shoulder. “He wants you to be a good girl.”

“Behave yourself,” she called as he disappeared around the corner.


This concludes Part 1 of “Waters of Versailles.” Click here to continue reading the story.

About the Author

Kelly Robson

Kelly Robson Photo

Kelly is an award-winning short fiction writer. In 2018, her story “A Human Stain” won the Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and in 2016, her novella “Waters of Versailles” won the Prix Aurora Award. She has also been a finalist for the Nebula, World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon, John W. Campbell, and Sunburst awards. In 2018, her time travel adventure Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach debuted to high critical praise. After 22 years in Vancouver, she and her wife, fellow Spec Fic writer A. M. Dellamonica, now live in downtown Toronto.

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About the Narrator

Heath Miller

Heath Miller Narrator

Heath is an actor from far away, who currently finds himself living on an island off the coast of Maine with two cats (one human, one feline), an improbably fluffy dog and six chickens. You can find his narration at audible.com, the Uncanny Magazine podcast, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and elsewhere. For photos of the aforementioned animals & other day-to-day minutiae follow him on Twitter at @veryheathmiller.

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