Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 369 – Glass Gardens


Glass Gardens

by Y. M. Pang

I was the eldest daughter, so I knew I was doomed.

The youngest marries the prince. The youngest saves the kingdom. The youngest is immortalized in song. I told myself I didn’t mind missing those things. I didn’t want princes, or kingdoms, or songs. I was happy being the wicked one.

If only I knew a single story–just one–where the wicked sister won. (Continue Reading…)

Genres: , ,

Cast of Wonders 363: SOUL CLEAVER Clarence

Show Notes

Matthew told us, “This story began life as a PodCastle flash fiction contest entry. While it only made it to the semi-finals, Katherine Inskip commented that she’d love to see a longer version submitted to Cast of Wonders. Armed with this encouragement, I worked to fill out the characters, their struggles, and a plot. It took a fair amount of feedback and editing, but I was delighted that the finished story was one that Cast of Wonders was interested in publishing!”


SOUL CLEAVER Clarence

by Matthew J. Jarvis

“My dear dragon,” the princess announced as she held aloft Clarence’s topaz windflower, its gemstone petals glinting beautifully in the sun. “These are, without doubt, the finest sculptures in all the land!” Around him the humans attending the faire clapped enthusiastically. “State your name, dragon, and ask any favor in my power to grant, for you have truly won first prize.”

Clarence glowed with pride. “My name is–“

“SOUL CLEAVER!”

The thunder of his father’s roar shattered the late-afternoon quiet of the forest, as well as Clarence’s reverie. He clutched the real topaz windflower in his claws and frantically cast about for somewhere to hide it. (Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 300: The Death Knight, the Dragon and the Damsel

Show Notes

This week’s episode art is from Le livre et la vraye hystoire du bon roy Alixandre. It details Alexander the Great battling against two-headed, eight-legged, crowned dragons with multiple eyes along their torsos (Royal MS 20 B XX, f. 78v). It dates to between 1420 and 1425 CE.

Music attribution: Village Consort by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.


Escape Pod’s Flash Fiction contest returns to the Solar System this year, running April 15-30, 2018.


The Death Knight, the Dragon and the Damsel

by Melion Traverse

Cold afternoon light stretched in thin patches on the stone floor of the great hall. Jaw and guts tight and trembling, I stood at attention with twenty other squires, armor clean and new as our hopeful futures. For four years, we had trained with sword and shield under the patronage of Duke Amlick. Four years tinged in blood and exhaustion. All for the hope that one of the knights roaming among our lines would pick us from the group like a hound pup plucked from its litter. Twenty squires and only twelve knights—Duke Amlick believed his knights ought to have options. Eight of us would go home with tails between our legs.

One by one the knights claimed their squires and I watched my companions go to their new lives, eyes bright with the glory they would win. I stood with eyes half-closed against the fear that I would be left. I, Cori Forsmire, from one of Duke Amlick’s oldest houses, would have to sell my sword as a common guard. What was I going to tell my father? (Continue Reading…)

Genres: , ,

Episode 222: The George Business by Roger Zelazny

Show Notes

Image is “Saint George And The Dragon” in Alexander Gardens, Moscow


The George Business

by Roger Zelazny

Deep in his lair, Dart twisted his golden length about his small hoard, his sleep troubled by dreams of a series of identical armored assailants. Since dragons’ dreams are always prophetic, he woke with a shudder, cleared his throat to the point of sufficient illumination to check the state of his treasure, stretched, yawned and set forth up the tunnel to consider the strength of the opposition. If it was too great, he would simply flee, he decided. The hell with the hoard, it wouldn’t be the first time.

As he peered from the cave mouth, he beheld a single knight in mismatched armor atop a tired-looking grey horse, just rounding the bend. His lance was not even couched, but still pointing skyward.

Assuring himself that the man was unaccompanied, he roared and slithered forth.

“Halt,” he bellowed, “you who are about to fry!” (Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Episode 193: Staff Pick 2015 – Princesses Do Not Breathe Fire by Sarina Dorie

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy assistant editor Jeff Hite’s favorite story from 2015, Princesses Do Not Breathe Fire by Sarina Dorie and narrated by Jeff Hite and family. The story originally aired July 19, 2015 as Episode 170.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Read along with the text of the story.


Princesses Do Not Breathe Fire

by Sarina Dorie

 

When Princess Draciona was born, it was obvious something wasn’t quite right. She had emerald eyes and viridian hair. Most unusual of all was her scaly, moss-tinted skin.

“This baby looks a little like a . . . ahem . . . dragon,” said Prince Rupunzelson (named after his great-grandmother).

“No, no,” insisted his wife, Princess Penelope. “That’s just green eczema. She’ll outgrow it.”

Prince Rupunzelson nodded and decided to let his wife worry about it. He would rather think about battle.

But Princess Draciona did not outgrow her eczema. To make matters worse, when she started to teethe, she grew sharp, dagger-like fangs. When she didn’t get her way, she sometimes breathed fire.

“Princesses do not breathe fire just because they don’t get their way,” said Rupunzelson, who was king by now.

 

(Continue Reading…)