Hey! My name is Roger Bellini and I am one of the editors of an anthology called Neverland’s Library. This book consists of 20 stories from published authors focused on the theme of Rediscovery.
This loose theme was chosen so that each author involved could write something that resonated with them on a personal and invoked a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of the stories that they first fell in love with in the fantasy genre.
Marie Brennan’s story is a great example of the wide array of wonderful variety that Neverland’s Library has to offer. Please take a moment and read excerpt from her story and consider helping back us over on Kickstarter!
Without further ado, I give you “Centuries of Kings” by Marie Brennan!
Centuries of Kings
I have killed kings, lured emperors to their doom; destroyed courts, brought countries to war; for thousands of years I have brought chaos with me wherever I go, death not enough to stop me, and I regret none of it.
And now the hunters pursue me through the wood.
Tamamo-no-Mae. Pao Sze. Dakki. These are but a few of the names I have answered to in my life. Wife, concubine, whore. I have answered to these as well. Two thousand years is a long time — more than one name can bear.
They blur together in my mind, the kings I have killed. Few last for more than a year, and then I move on. Not all have been kings. But men of power, yes; the poor or unimportant do not interest me. I go from land to land — China, India, Japan — where I am does not matter to me so much as who I find there. Toba is the most recent, but it began with Zhou.
I remember the days in Zhou’s court as if they were yesterday, though they lie centuries distant. The court of the last Emperor of the Shang Dynasty, the man said to be more dissolute than any other in China. I could tell such tales of that court — tell of the day he demanded that seventy-two ladies of the highest blood strip to their skin and dance, in public, for his entertainment. When they refused, he had a ditch dug before his palace, and he filled it with snakes and lizards and biting insects; when it was full his guards threw the women into the ditch, and their screams filled the air. And he laughed and asked if I did not find it amusing.
I found my amusement elsewhere.