This story is set in the world of July 2020’s In the Palace of Shadow and Joy by D.J. Butler, a far-future planetary adventure novel in the spirit of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser tales and the Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories. D.J. (“Dave”) Butler grew up in swamps, deserts, and mountains. After messing around for years with the practice of law, he finally got serious and turned to his lifelong passion of storytelling. He now writes adventure stories for readers of all ages, plays guitar, and spends as much time as he can with his family. He is the author of the Witchy War series from Baen Books, including Witchy Eye, Witchy Winter, Witchy Kingdom, and the upcoming Serpent Daughter. With Aaron Michael Ritchey, he is the coauthor of Dust-Bowl-era fantasies The Cunning Man and the upcoming The Jupiter Knife, both from Baen. Visit Butler’s web site at http://davidjohnbutler.com and follow him on Twitter, @davidjohnbutler.
Fiction Short Story
“That’s the shipwreck.” Fix pointed at a mass of timbers lying around a cluster of gray, kelp-veiled rocks. The tide was out, and a gull watched the two men from the highest of the timbers.
“It’s a shipwreck,” Indrajit conceded. “How do you know it’s the wreck of the ship bearing the Pelthite ambassador?”
The two men stood on the track running along the headland above the sandy, rock-spiked beach. No highways ran south from Kish to the Free Cities; most of that traffic went by sea. The land-routes out of Kish ran south and east, toward Ildarion and the King of Thunder Steppes. Toward the bit of coastland where Indrajit’s own people lived.
If they still lived.
The late afternoon sky was overcast, the clouds sinking in iron bands to encircle the headland, the rocks, and the waves themselves, so that the breaking surf was only barely visible. In this weather, there could certainly be more than one recent shipwreck.