At last year’s Fantasy Faire, the organisers joined with Prim Perfect to ask visitors to write a short story, inspired by one of the regions at Fantasy Faire. This story was unanimously declared the winner by the judges.
(Details of how to enter YOUR short story or poem this year appear at the end of the story).
Red Sail at Sunset
by Deoridhe Grimsdottir
Magnificat 2013, photograph by Wildstar Beaumont
Nicoletta stood at the edge of the canal, watching for the red sail.
The stone of the lion was icy against her gloved palm despite the languid summer day which had passed, and the breeze from the ocean also brought the scent of hay from the other side of the canal, where the final few figures in sackcloth and straw hats bound together long stalks in tight bundles. Through the narrow eyes of her mask, she could see the first figures in worked silk and velvet spilling out from spindly buildings into the streets, careening drunkenly around children on narrow ladders touching lamplights with a flame and sending a warm pink glow across the mosaic paths.
She shrank back against the lion, the pale gray and silver of her own gown and cloak blending in against the stone, slight enough against the massive guardian of the western canal entrance to pass unnoticed even when a crowd of revelers passed barely an arm’s length from her, chattering like magpies.
“Can you believe, exiled from Florence by the Medici…”
“…imprisoned for months, even tortured…”
“…think he’ll come here? Like even they did when exiled?”
“I heard he went to France. Twice.”
“…comes to Venice and he can never return…”
The crackling of paper started Nicoletta out of her eavesdropping, and she glanced down quickly, sealing wax already crumbling off of the worn surface of her letter and staining her fingers crimson. A few of the written words caught the fading light.
“…well but barred from our beloved home, from our Florence. I hope to find someplace quiet to recover… return to favor… Machiavelli.”
Nicoletta stood at the edge of the canal, hoping and fearing for the red sail to bring her Niccolò to her.
Short story in Prim Perfect Summer 2013
How to enter this year:
We are holding a short story and poetry contest for the best stories and poems written about the Fairelands of 2014. The top entries will be published in the summer issue of Prim Perfect magazine, coming out in September 2014.
You story can focus on one region – Sanctum, or Hopes Horizon or Heavenslough, for example – and ignore all the others. Or you might use the juxtaposition of two regions, or even draw on more of the Fairelands, as a whole vast realm, perhaps surrounding an inland sea. It’s up to you.
And your story or poem can be sad or happy, wise or witty. It can make us laugh, cry, gasp, nod with agreement … or do all of these things by turns.
While we don’t need long passages of description, the setting of the story should be clear. If it makes us ask, “Now – is this Medhir Woods or Asperatus?” it won’t be working for us.
Your story should be between five hundred and three thousand words in total, and your poem should be between ten and fifty lines. While we love the idea of longer works (wouldn’t it be amazing to read a fantasy novel set in the Fairelands?), for this competition we want something that stands alone and that can be read as a complete piece.
We also want something that is completely your own work and written for this competition. You will retain the copyright, but in submitting the story you give us permission to publish the story in electronic format in Prim Perfect and on websites and social media sites belonging to Prim Perfect and Fantasy Faire.
The deadline for submission is May 31.
Send your story in plain text or in .RTF or Word doc format to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will acknowledge receipt (although it may take a little time).