Read Enchanted Forests Online

Authors: Katharine Kerr

Enchanted Forests

BOOK: Enchanted Forests
5.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Copyright © 1995 by Katharine Ken- & Martin H. Greenberg

All Rights Reserved.

Cover art by Jean-Francois Podevin.

DAW Book Collectors No. 1009.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious.

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

If you purchase this book without a cover you should be aware that this book

may have been stolen property and reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the

publisher. In such case neither the author nor the publisher has received any

payment for this "stripped book."

First Printing, December 1995

123456789

WDAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED

U.S. PAT. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES

—MARCA REGISTRADA

HECHO EN U.S.A.

PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Introduction © 1995 by Katharine Kerr.

The Forest's Not/or Burning © 1995 by Katherine Lawrence.

"I'll Give You Three Wishes...." © 1995 by Kevin Andrew Mur-

phy.

The Triple Death © 1995 by Ken St Andre.

Out of the Woods © 1995 by Lawrence Watt Evans.

Viridescence © 1995 by Connie Hirsch.

Fiat Siiva © 1995 by Jack Oakley.

Weeds © 1995 by Julia and Brook West.

Benbow © 1995 by Nancy Etchemendy-

The Prism of Memory © 1995 by Jo Clayton.

The Force that through the Green Fuse © 1995 by Mark

Kreighbaum.

My Soul into the Boughs © 1995 by Teresa Edgerton.

These Shoes Strangers Have Died of© 1995 by Bruce Holland Rog-

ers.

The Clearing © 1995 by Lois Tilton.

How the Ant Made a Bargain © 1995 by Karawynn Long.

In Fear of Little Nell © 1995 by Gregory Feeley.

Wood Song © 1995 by Kate Daniel.

Virginia Woods © 1995 by Janni Lee Simner.

Ties of Love © 1995 by Lawrence Schimel.

The Heart of the Forest © 1995 by Dave Smeds.

Holy Ground © 1995 by Thomas S. Roche.

Ghostwood © 1995 by Michelle Sagara.

The Monsters of Mill Creek Park © 1995 by Susan Shwartz.

The Memory of Peace © 1995 by Kate EIliott.

Everything Has a Place © 1995 by Barbara A. Denz.

Trees Perpetual of Sleep © 1995 by Nina Kiriki Hoffman.

Both this book and I owe a thousand thanks to Jo

Clayton. Last year, when I was drowning in personal

disasters, Jo stepped in and lent a hand with finishing

up the anthology. Without all her help, this project

never would have been finished on time- Thanks, Jo, I

appreciate it more than words can say.

CONTENTS

Introduction by Katherine Kerr                    9

WOODWORK

Humor and ingenuity are part of the job requirements

The Forest's Not for Burning by Katherine Lawrence    13

•TU Give You Three Wishes, ..."by Kevin

Andrew Murphy                                  21

The Triple Death by Ken St. Andre                   38

Out of the Woods by Lawrence Watt Evans            49

SPEAKING WOODS

The view from the branches

Viridescence by Connie Hirsch                       65

Fiat Silva by Jack Odkley                            72

Weeds by Julia and Brook West                       84

Benbow by Nancy Etchemendy                       100

INHERITANCES

Different dances to a single tune

The Prism of Memory by Jo Clayton                115

The Force that through the Green Fuse by Mark

Kreighbawn                                     125

My Soul into the Boughs by Teresa Edgerton         135

CONTENTS

THE SCARS OF WAR

Echoes in flesh and wood

These Shoes Strangers Have Died of by Bruce

Holland Rogers

The Gearing by Lois Tilton

VICTORIAN VARIATIONS

New shoots from an old trunk

How the Ant Made a Bargain by Karawynn Long

In Fear of Little Nell by Gregory Feeley

THE NEW WORLD THAT NEVER WAS

Branchings from history

Wood Song by Kate Daniel

Virginia Woods by Janni Lee Simner

IMPOSSIBLE LOVES

Joy comes in many shapes

Ties of Love by Lawrence Schimel

The Heart of the Forest by Dave Smeds

Holy Ground by Thomas S. Roche

Ghostwood by Michelle Sagara

SANCTUARY

There is danger in the Forest but also peace

The Monsters of Mill Creek Park by Susan Shwartz

The Memory of Peace by Kate Elliott

Everything Has a Place by Barbara A. Denz

Trees Perpetual of Sleep by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

151

166

185

193

215

225

239

242

256

265

289

312

338

351

INTRODUCTION

by Katharine Kerr

The forest was our first alien world. Our species evolved

weak except for our shaped stones, defenseless except for our

foul smell. We needed an open view, where we could see the

leopard stalking the grass, the hyena pack spreading out to

surround. As we moved out of the Rift to migrate through and

then beyond the water meadows and grasslands of the area

that's now the Sahara desert, forests began to loom dark at the

edge of our view, always alien, always dangerous, but always,

since humans are who we are, inviting us in with questions

about what we might find there.

The history of Europe is the history of the death of forests.

Hunters might stalk through them, shamans and priests might

retreat into them, shepherds and horse nomads might shun

them, but the fanners, Europe's real settlers, slashed and

burned their way through, even though it took them thousands

of years to kill all the wild places- In China, in India, the pri-

meval forest also fell before stone ax and fire. In America the

history reads the same, though the axes flashed with steel.

Our once vast forests of the Eastern states, at least, have

dwindled into parks among the plowed fields.

Yet somewhere deep in our collective psyche, the en-

chanted forest still stands, fearsome and inviting all at the

same time. In forests lurk monsters but treasures as well, evil

witches but wise hermits, tests to fail, tests to win, roads that

lead to places where magic lives and things are made new.

For this book, I asked twenty-five different authors to take a

fresh look at these forests of the mind. Although some themes

have emerged from the collection, I've been fascinated by the

wide variety of the stories I received. I hope you enjoy them

as much as I did.

WODWRK

Humor and ingenuity are part

of me job requirements

Tne Forest's Not ror Burninj

by Katnerme Lawrence

The 1994 Pima Canyon fire in Arizona's Catalina Moun-

tains inspired this story by /Catherine Lawrence. She

spends much of her time exploring the boundaries of the

Enchanted Forest as an animation scriptwriter for such se-

ries as CONAN THE ADVENTURER.

Have you any idea what it's like to live at the edge of the En-

chanted Forest, and be the Woodcutter's eldest daughter? You

know, the one out supporting the family after our parents died?

You guessed it. I was at the local market when the Duke ar-

rived and found my younger sister hauling water from the well.

I hear they have two children now.

My youngest sister was pulling up carrots when the Prince ar-

rived. I was out trying to find a new stand of trees to harvest. At

least I got an invitation to the ball they threw last month.

Oh, I've met my share of royalty, but they never quite did any-

thing for me. I mean, they were handsome, but obsessed, every

one of them. They had to have the most beautiful woman, the

most magical sword, the strongest spell, whatever. Not one of

them was seeking a competent partner with whom to share their

life.

So when those high-efficiency ceramic stoves came into use,

and the need for stacks and stacks of wood declined, I figured I

needed a new career. Woodcutting wasn't cutting it anymore, if

you'll pardon the pun.

In the Enchanted Forest and surrounding area, we have all the

witches, wizards, sorcerers, kings, princes, dragons, princesses in

14                  Katherine Lawrence

peril and whatnot that anyone could want. More than enough, for

my tastes. So obviously those careers were out.

What we didn't have was a plain, old (both of which descrip-

tions were applied to me, then all of 25 years old) private inves-

tigator. So 1 did my research and found a school for that sort of

thing, not too far around The Corner in the Real World.

What do I mean by around The Corner? It's difficult to ex-

plain, but you know how sometimes you see something wonder-

ful out the corner of your eye? When you look full-on, it's gone,

but you know it was there? Well, many of those living on the

edge of the Enchanted Forest can walk around that comer and

end up in the Real World. I'm one of them.

It look a year of studying combined with part-time jobs, too

many roommates, and too few visits back home, but I finally got

my Investigator's License and certificate of graduation. Okay, the

license was only good in the Real World, but the King wouldn't

know that. She wasn't allowed to leave the Enchanted Forest,

and as a result was a bit naive about these things.

When I finally returned to the Enchanted Forest, I didn't have

a home. The cottage I'd grown up in, and planned to continue

living in, was gone. It and quite a bit of the Enchanted Forest it-

self.

The fire was all anyone could talk about. The King of the En-

chanted Forest had set all her wizards on the case, but no one

had been able to figure out the cause. It was magical, but it

wasn't a spell. They were baffled.

Eager to show off my newly-learned skills, I went to the King

and offered my services. Once she finished laughing at my busi-

ness card, "Kit Marlowe, Private Investigator," she accepted. Af-

ter all, if no one else could solve it, what did she have to lose?

Five gold a day plus expenses, 1 told her. She gasped, but the

Treasury was good for it.

So I had my first case. Solve this one, and my career was

made. Fail, and I'd at least have the money to find a new home.

I'd attended a lecture on arson investigations, so I knew where

to start: First establish that an act of arson was committed.

I talked to the nearby Villagers, and got my youngest sister's

daughter, the Princess, to talk to the animals. No one saw the fire

start, but they all had the same answer for where it started—

between my old cottage, and the edge of the Enchanted Forest.

A place with no trees, just grass. There were a few stumps, but

that was it- It definitely looked like arson.

Next step: Search for an incendiary device or inflammables.

THE FOREST'S NOT FOR BURNING     15

I searched the area, and there was one stump more burned

than the others. Only a hole in the ground, really; it had com-

pletely disintegrated. The damage appeared to have radiated out-

ward from this spot.

I took the ashes of what remained of that one stump around

The Comer to my favorite instructor at the School, who had con-

nections to the County Forensics Lab. They owed him a favor,

and were happy to have him collect on something this easy.

It was even easier than I'd anticipated. There was no sign of

any of the usual inflammables. All they could detect was that it

had incinerated. Well, at least that ruled out the obvious Real

World possibilities.

I returned home and handed a bit more of the ash to the Court

Sorcerer. He could tell me there was magic of some sort on the

ash, but of a level so low, he couldn't figure out what it was. He

also assured me a normal or magical fire shouldn't have been

able to enter the Enchanted Forest. He'd reinforced the spell

himself!

He thought a bit more and wondered if perhaps the fact that it

started within the old boundary had something to do with that.

I thanked him, then took my expense report-to-date to the

Treasury. I was now ten gold richer, and no closer to a solution.

What did that leave? I began to make lists. My new cottage

quickly became filled with scribbled lists, logic flowcharts, and

transcripts of interviews.

The overflowing stacks of paper reminded me of the records

my father used to keep, from his days as Head Woodcutter. He

was, if you'll pardon the expression, anal retentive. Yes, that's a

term I learned from the lectures on Psychology of the Criminal

Mind.

Father was incapable of cutting down a tree without noting its

original location, where the wood was processed, and what it

was turned into. He kept the records at the Palace, not at home,

so they should be intact.

In the ninth musty storeroom the Palace Majordomo opened,

we found the records. Being even more anal than my father, he

refused to let me remove the records, but did condescend to

letting me bring a lantern and a chair into the room.

My father had inherited a map of the original Enchanted For-

est that numbered every tree and showed it in its original loca-

tion. The map had been passed down in the family since the

BOOK: Enchanted Forests
5.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Angel Boy by Bernard Ashley
What to Look for in Winter by Candia McWilliam
Hand in Glove by Ngaio Marsh
Torched by Bella Love-Wins
Easy Day for the Dead by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin
Healer's Touch by Kirsten Saell
Down to the Bone by Thirteen
Masks by E. C. Blake
Always Room for Cupcakes by Bethany Lopez