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New Fantasy Fiction: Innocence and Experience

An origin story for a hero of an epic-in-progress…

Across the green, a scream shattered the morning stillness. Bayliss’s hand slipped, his blade neatly severing the delicate swan’s leg he had carved out of an oak bole, cutting deep into the meaty part of his left hand.

It was Lysele. She screamed again, a high sobbing sound. Bayliss dropped the wood, jammed his bleeding hand into his rough woolen apron pocket, and ran, across the green, past the blacksmith’s, the well, the taverna.

By the time he arrived, half the village was there, elderly Fran holding Lysele as she sobbed. Lysele’s husband Artos stared blankly at the south-facing window, the cheerful flowers below it trampled and fouled. Bayliss gazed at the line of slime from the garden’s edge down to the undefined beginnings of the swamp a hundred yards or more to the south, where ancient cypress trees draped black branches into the murky waters. For a moment, he did not understand.