Story: “The Halfwyrd’s Burden” by Richard Ford
Around early autumn the border trail west out of Valdor was windy as a nobleman’s trap and cold as a devil’s heart. It was two hundred leagues of forested inclines and boggy descents, with bears and wolves and worse lying in wait to fill their bellies before the long, hard weeks of winter set in. Sometimes there wasn’t even a path to see, and anyone who didn’t know the way would be lost quicker than a priest in a whorehouse. It was hard land, untamed by cities or farms, and it was a rare kind of man had any business making a trade in a place so remote, when the rain pissed down like it was trying to drown you, and the wind howled and roared till it frayed your wits.
A rare kind of man indeed would make his business in such a place.
But then Oban Halfwyrd was one of the rarest.
“The Halfwyrd’s Burden” originally appeared in Grimdark Magazine #4.
Richard Ford originally comes from Leeds in the United Kingdom, but now resides in the sunny Cotswold countryside. His first novel, Kultus, was published by Solaris Books in 2011. Herald of the Storm, book one in the Steelhaven Trilogy was published in 2013, followed by The Shattered Crown in 2014. The concluding volume, Lord of Ashes, was released in May 2015.
About the Narrator:
Mark “The Encaffeinated One” Kilfoil loves fiction, so much so that he’s written some (such as the Parsec-nominated Tainted Roses), read quite a lot (a library of over a thousand half-read books and growing), and now narrates it (sometimes actually recorded for others). He’s found that volunteering for a dozen years in radio was a decent way to get a full-time job as a Program Director at a community radio station in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, but not such a great way to finish his thesis, so he stopped at a Masters in Computer Science. He can be heard frequently on CHSRfm.ca, and two of his shows regularly appear as podcasts, and can be found at encaffeinated.ca and theweirdshow.com. He likes cats enough to pet them but not enough to own one, and computers enough to own several but pet none of them. He will someday write a million words, but at this rate, that will require life extension, so he eagerly awaits the ability to upload into a computer, if that hasn’t already happened and this is all only a simulation.
About the Artist:
This month’s cover art is Fairies Land by Sara Ambrosini. Her passion for digital art started in 2007. She had been a professional ballet dancer for many years and when she stopped, she felt the need to find a new way to express herself. Fractals have always been her first love when it comes to making art, her images are bright and colorful, they speak of joy and the sweet things in life. She also accepts commissions.
You can find her online at artofsaretta.weebly.com.