Rated PG. Contains Pirates.
Araminta, or, the Wreck of the Amphidrake
by Naomi Novik
Lady Araminta was seen off from the docks at Chenstowe-on-Sea with great ceremony if not much affection by her assembled family. She departed in the company of not one but two maids, a hired eunuch swordsman, and an experienced professional chaperone with the Eye of Horus branded upon her forehead, to keep watch at night while the other two were closed.
Sad to say these precautions were not entirely unnecessary. Lady Araminta—the possessor of several other, more notable names besides, here omitted for discretion—had been caught twice trying to climb out her window, and once in her father’s library, reading a spellbook. On this last occasion she had fortunately been discovered by the butler, a reliable servant of fifteen years, so the matter was hushed up; but it had decided her fate.
Her father’s senior wife informed her husband she refused to pay for the formal presentation to the Court necessary for Araminta to make her debut. “I have five girls to see established besides her,” Lady D— said, “and I cannot have them ruined by the antics which are certain to follow.”
(Lest this be imagined the fruits of an unfair preference, it will be as well to note here that Araminta was in fact the natural daughter of her Ladyship, and the others in question her daughters-in-marriage, rather than the reverse.)
“It has been too long,” Lady D continued, severely, “and she is spoilt beyond redemption.”
About the Author
Naomi Novik is the author of the Temeraire fantasy/alternate history series of nine novels. Her first book, His Majesty’s Dragon, won the 2007 Compton Crook Award for best first novel in the science fiction and fantasy category. She was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2007, and won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2016 for Uprooted.
About the Narrator
C.S.E. Cooney is the author of World Fantasy Award-winning Bone Swans: Stories. Her short novel “The Twice-Drowned Saint” is included in Mythic Delirium’s anthology The Sinister Quartet. Her forthcoming novel Saint Death’s Daughter will be out with Rebellion in Spring of 2022. Other work includes Tor.com novella Desdemona and the Deep and a poetry collection: How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes, which features her Rhysling Award-winning “The Sea King’s Second Bride.” Her short fiction and poetry can be found in Jonathan Strahan’s anthology Dragons, Ellen Datlow’s Mad Hatters and March Hares: All-New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and elsewhere.