For Honor, For Waste
by Setsu Uzume
Rohnaq tried to rejoin her unit; but only shoved forward by inches, crushed by the crowd. They walked upward en masse, tier by tier, to the palace. One woman slipped a brown hand over her children’s shoulders to pull them out of Rohnaq’s way. Sweat-scent, sea salt, sour incense, and camphor dogged her all the way to the plaza. Wheat barons and merchant ship captains, cobblers, and beggars. All hoping to conclude old business and hear whether or not their prayers would be answered, and at what cost. Last cycle, Manaph ignored the new siege engine offered to her, and took the engineer’s life. Malajine’s army conquered three of their neighbors in exchange. Rohnaq had been proud of those campaigns, once. Now, they only reminded her of dear friends, lost in the name of service. Rohnaq didn’t dare to ask for a blessing.
A city blessed, every cycle. One life destroyed, every cycle.
About the Author
Setsu is the host and assistant editor at PodCastle. They write and occasionally narrate dark fantasy. Setsu’s interests include violin, baking, swordwork, horseback archery, linguistics, and making friends with your cat. Their fiction has appeared in Grimdark Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Magic: The Gathering.
About the Narrator
Nadia Niaz is a writer, editor, and academic who is now mostly from Melbourne and still a little bit from lots of other places. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and Cultural studies and teaches poetry and creative writing to everyone from pre-schoolers to postgraduates. She’s a member of the West Writers Group and the founder of the Australian Multilingual Writing Project.