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New Release: New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine: Issue #0

New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine: Issue #0

The first issue of the new, inclusive sqord and sorcery fantasy magazine is here – New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine: Issue #0.

What is “New Edge Sword and Sorcery”?

New Edge Sword & Sorcery takes the genre’s virtues of its outsider protagonists, thrilling energy, wondrous weirdness, and a large body of classic tales, then alloys inclusivity, mutual creator support, a positive fan community, and enthusiastic promotion of new works into the mix.

It’s also a short fiction magazine…

…dedicated to the Sword & Sorcery sub-genre of Fantasy speculative fiction. Each issue features several original short stories each with their own B&W illustration, as well as non-fiction articles and interviews covering subject matter related to the past, present, and future of Sword & Sorcery.


New Edge Sword & Sorcery is dedicated to making sure readers and creators from all walks of life have a seat at the table. Hate and harassment are not welcome here.

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Our editor is Oliver Brackenbury. He’s a screenwriter & author. He grew up around the corner from a five story deep cold war bunker, as one does, and can now be found living not far from a popular 1,815.4 ft tower in Toronto.

The Grief-Note of Vultures
by Bryn Hammond

Wild donkey has twelve lives at least and gives a legendary meat: strangely fragrant for such a smelly beast, sweet and crumbly as if he’s a cross with baklava. Angaj-Duzmut hadn’t had a chance at one before—not while on her own. She’d contrived a stalk, which took most of the day, but without an archer as canny as Yoshet in wait, she’d still have lost the kill. The two of them came back triumphant with a dead wild donkey slung between the humps of a camel.

A couple of hours later, Angaj-Duzmut declared, “I haven’t eaten better. Even fattened goat in the tents of my people.”

Yoshet said, “Nor I, even in the streets of Qocho where every people’s food is out to sample.”

“I never bit into the equal of this crisp haunch,” said Qip with a slap to the remains of its rump, “though I have sat to a queen’s feast on the high steppe.”

The trader himself had turned the roast on the spit, anointed with orange peel and walnut oil from his stash. He joined in. “My dream dish is my wife’s lamb, seethed in milk with cinnamon stick. But wild donkey on the hillside, where a donkey never sighted the likes of me before: he’ll live again in my sleep.”

Qip, who had four wives, opened wide a wrestler’s arm. “Let mine cook for you when our travel together’s over. Our circle here, before we go our ways.”

They might have been drunk on the donkey. So this is the comradeship of the road, thought Angaj-Duzmut. Temporary—not to be mistaken for guest-friendship in the tents, where to eat with a stranger at your hearth creates a tie for life. Two out of eight at the campfire, Qip and Yoshet, she imagined she might see again once the three-month job was done.

After the roast was laid waste and people lazed, Angaj-Duzmut got up to gather the bones.

“Seriously, we have to clean the site before we sleep?” Lhazo complained.

They were used to her rules around a clean campsite. The townspeople among them teased her for a frugal nomad, but they followed her instructions. A few of them Angaj-Duzmut had to teach to live off-road. This wasn’t a convoy serviced by traveler’s rests, food stalls on wheels by the roadside, hawkers of wood for your fire. She wouldn’t let them strip the woody bushes, either. Growth was rare enough along their ways, and what did they think the wild donkeys ate? Instead, they learned to be self-sufficient: collect dung left by the yaks who pulled their wagons and the camels they rode, dry the pats on baggage felts for use as fuel.

“It isn’t that,” she told Lhazo. “I need to wrap the bones.”

They recognized the phrase. “It’s a tribal thing,” they explained to each other. “A Qiang custom.” Two or three even began to hand her bones they reached from where they sat. She hadn’t interrupted the feast by stopping them tossing bones on the ground.

“You wrap the bones in a piece of the hide, and the animal comes alive again from them—isn’t that it? Do you, um, do you believe a new animal grows from the bones, or is it more a symbol of replenishment?”

“What I believe doesn’t matter.” In the Black Tents, Angaj-Duzmut hadn’t been known for observance—quite the contrary. But she cared about respect towards the wild donkey they had eaten. “It’s in the attitude.”

With the bones wrapped in hide she walked out of the firelight, up the hillside. Her eyes cleared to the night. High on the slope, she stowed the donkey remains by a tussock, crouched there for a while, and listened at a distance to the crew around the fire.

Were a guide’s wages worth the hassle of being with other people, settled folk at that? Contempt for a nomad ran strong, even in the type who hired out as van guards. This lot weren’t too bad, but she found herself exhausted.

At least they were trustworthy, or if they weren’t she’d have herself to blame. As the expedition’s guide she’d had a voice in the hire of guards—since she answered to the bandits for their conduct. Now she knew the life, perhaps in future she’d sign on as a hand with vans that went through government stations— if the city god of Fattimbet got over his feud with her. Until the god forgot her, documented travel wasn’t possible, and she’d sought a trader with similar requirements: no inspections. A single trader, light with high-profit merchandise, whom a goatherd from the mountains might lead by desolate ways—around the marshes where a bandits’ Commonwealth ruled in lieu of the state. Only a bandits’ toll to pay, set at slightly less than the equivalent government fees.

Last year, in escape from the city god of Fattimbet, Angaj-Duzmut had spent a summer with the Scarlet Jackets gang. Its Utszu had a fling with her, and out of that affair she was named a Friend of the Bandits. Such title came with perquisites. Angaj-Duzmut wore a badge, reeds neatly twisted with pressed blossoms to signify the Utszu’s famous spear, Pear in Flower. The trader’s van she led flew a scarlet flag. Huge in area, the bandits’ Commonwealth held an estimated population of three Fattimbets or the capital city Irighaya. Without safe-conduct no trader would take his valuables near it. To fake safe-conduct? That got you strung up on the outskirts of the marshes, in grisly imitation of the government’s exhibits of dead criminals at town gates. But a bandit’s word was scripture. Whether or not the Utszu kept their fling ongoing, Angaj-Duzmut rode around the marshes in perfect confidence of safety.

What bothered her, then? Angaj-Duzmut liked a simple life where she only had to look out for herself. On the other hand, she did enjoy the hearty eating every night, and at the end of this job she’d come away with funds to eat in future.

Author Bio

Our editor is Oliver Brackenbury. He’s a screenwriter & author. He grew up around the corner from a five story deep cold war bunker, as one does, and can now be found living not far from a popular 1,815.4 ft tower in Toronto.


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