short stories

Dragon Logic

Once in a realm of islands and morning mist, an emperor’s son died. Perhaps he was murdered by a retainer. Perhaps he ran afoul of a vengeful spirit, or went hunting for tigers in a foreign land, or pined after a lady whose voice burned him with its beauty. There are many ways for princes to perish.

We are not much concerned with the prince. But the empress, oh the empress, she did not weep. They said her face was fair as foam, and that her hair rippled to her feet. She wore the colors of the sky and the colors of the sea, even after the prince’s death, for the white of mourning is a color shared by sky and sea. But her sleeves were dry.

All the empire wept for the loss of this prince, yet in one woman’s heart there was drought.

Fantasy. Published in Japanese Dreams, ed. Sean Wallace. Thanks to the BASFW and others.

Inspired by Japanese temple mathematics; also, look up Seki Kowa sometime.  If only I knew more about non-Western mathematical traditions!