“The Azurian Shield” in Metaphorosis

Last month I announced the sale of my novelette “The Azurian Shield” to Metaphorosis Magazine. As of today you can read it and the other stories listed below by purchasing your own copy of the October 2021 issue of Metaphorosis.

Cover art for Metaphorosis (October 2021)

Table of contents:

  • “Ennui Tea” by Ivy Grimes
  • “The Tick of the Clock” by J.C. Pillard
  • “Genesis” by Lisa Short
  • “Tell the Crows I’m Home” by Laurel Beckley
  • “The Azurian Shield” by Karl El-Koura

Cover art by VQGAN+CLIP.

And now a sneak peak at my story:

The Azurian Shield

by Karl El-Koura

The day after he registered his daughter’s birth, Bathar began conducting the inspections of the shield himself. Every morning, about an hour before dawn, he rode out through the villages that surrounded the castle, past the fields of farmland, through the forest, finally to the old woman’s hut, to give her whatever he’d brought that morning. Then, riding his horse at the outer edge of the realm, he inspected the dome-shaped shield protecting them from the chaos without.

For seven months, that precaution proved unnecessary. The shield looked as it always had—a cloudy blue structure as solid as steel; it glowed brightly during the day and dimly at night. He could circumnavigate it in about an hour, making sure he detected none of the signs of deterioration that Ryon, the king’s chief advisor and the last remaining mage in the realm, had taught him to look for. He saw nothing unusual, day after day of Alia’s young life.

But, all of a sudden, that was no longer true. He’d ridden past a section on the northeast side, his glance dancing across the blue shield, when his mind registered something, and he pulled tight on the reins.

He dismounted and walked back, eyes fixed on the ground for now, willing what he’d seen—thought he’d seen—to be a trick of his mind.

Then he forced himself to look up.

A crack had begun to form on the shield. Like the shell of an egg that had been gently tapped, that still needed to be pulled apart.

Read “The Azurian Shieldin the October 2021 issue of Metaphorosis Magazine.

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