The eastern Margreve was desolate, an endless waste of sparse trees. Finna crunched through falling autumn leaves, her footsteps echoing against the silent, lifeless backdrop.
Her hunger hadn’t been so bad yesterday, for she had gorged herself on candied apples at the festival the night before. Finna loved apples. Every autumn after harvest time she would run to the orchards and choose a few of the bruised apples left on the ground. Never pick an apple off a tree, her father had told her, because that belongs to someone. The candied apples had tasted even sweeter this year because they were especially for her.
The harvest festival was for remembrance, her mother said. Centuries ago, a terrible sickness had rolled out of the Margreve into the tiny village of Lundar, nestled against the forest on the Rothenian Plain. Only one young maiden was brave enough to seek aid from the forest itself. Within a few days, a thrush descended into the town square and spoke with the voice of the maiden.
Nera thought she had never seen a man so strong, which was funny, really. The rocks Johr piled onto the cairn were so small. She sat with her back to his travel bags and watched him wander across the blasted land in search of stones. Pulling her cloak around her shoulders the wind played with the expensive fur of the collar and hood. She squinted into the dimming light as Khor’s chariot raced west.
The light of the day faded away and still her guide laboured to shape the cairn. She knew only too well what it was like to lose a brother. The Wastes were no place to bury loved ones, but sometimes the gods do not give you a choice.
The Ley Line judges have made their decisions, and today we are happy to announce the SIX finalists and their stories for this contest (presented in alphabetical order by author’s last name):
“A Place Without Time” by David Amburgey
“The Apple Thief” by Maggie Hoyt
“A Done Deal, a Final Act, and a Parting” by Chris Lozaga
“Lantern Festival” by Jeff Quick
“Five Finger Discount” by Stephen Rowe
“Ice Maiden’s Heart” by Troy E. Taylor
Congratulations go to each of these authors! We will be posting the stories next week and setting up public voting after the stories are all out there for you to read.
In the meantime, many thanks go to those who submitted their work and the excellent judges who made time to read and rate these stories. Again, congratulations, finalists!
The deadline has passed, and we’ve received quite a few submissions for this fiction contest! Thanks go out to those who submitted an entry and those who spread the word about the contest. The judges now have all the entries, and you’ll hear back from us in April!
In the meantime, keep writing, keep reading, and keep gaming!
We’ve had a variety of contests over the years here at Kobold Press, and we want to try another one that’s new to us: fiction. We also want to see what your creativity can create for the world of Midgard. To that end, we introduce a fiction contest.
How does this work? First, become familiar with the Midgard setting—we do want the entries to integrate the setting. Then write and submit your entry. Your submission will be evaluated by a panel of industry professionals and by the fans. As with other contests we’ve done here on the Kobold Press site, fame and prizes play a part in this again. (More on that in a bit!)
So, what do you need to do? First, read all the stuff beyond the jump, then settle into your favorite writing spot and start crafting your entry!