Saturday Storytime: The Hero and the Princess


Sherwood Smith writes mostly fantasy, for both young adults and readers who would prefer not to be considered young. While many of these are set in classical fantasy worlds, the stories are not always what you would expect from those worlds.

Both children looked weary, Tam thought, as he sipped again from his tankard.

He looked up, met the mother’s gaze.  She, too, looked weary. Both weary and tense. “Where you from?” he asked.

Her smile was a mere thinning of the lips, a quick glimpse of self-mockery.  “We make our home wherever we happen to find ourselves.”  So saying she laid her fork and knife neatly across her plate, piled it atop her children’s, and then pulled from her own tote-bag some sewing.

The door opened then, bringing a gust of chill air.  Nelath and the two children all looked that way, quick as startled birds.  The newcomer, an old man, shuffled in and addressed the innkeeper in a low voice.

Curious, Tam strained to hear, but only a couple of words carried: “Horse,” “foal.”

Nelath dropped her gaze to her sewing, and she started a hem with fast and neat stitches.  She was even faster than his own mother had been, Tam realized, her stitches marvelously fine.

Her children, unbidden, bent dark, curly heads back to their tasks.

“You’re waiting for someone,” Tam said, putting together the clues at last.

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