Fiction Friday – The Dragonslayer’s Sword

Fiction Friday – The Dragonslayer's Sword

I met Resa Nelson at the Great New England Steampunk Exhibition a few weeks back. Tucked in among the costumed artists and participants were a few writers, some looking apprehensively at the throngs in their various costumes. Sitting at one table was Resa, smiling at people, engaging in casual conversation with ones who stopped. I spoke to her and was immediately captivated by her story, (both  her writing and her back story) so much so, in fact, that she will be on the TalkCast this Saturday.

I am currently reading one of her books, The Dragonslayers Sword, which is categorized as a YA Novel. In point of fact it transcends that pigeonhole most wonderfully.  It is a very complex story with some very real, rich characters and I am thoroughly enjoying it. As a little taste of what she writes,  I want to share with you the short story of the same name that is the basis for the novel. It was originally published in Science Fiction Age magazine.

“The Dragonslayer’s Sword”

By Resa Nelson


Heat stood around Astrid like a wall when she worked, built in layers by the fire and the metal tools she used. The bellows wheezed as she pumped them, her arms aching, smoke stinging her eyes, until the charcoals burned bright yellow. The smithery was outside, adjacent to her cottage. Rows of tall, ancient poplars surrounded the cottage and the smithery, giving shade and privacy.


Astrid enjoyed the heat of the smithery, loving the way it baked into her skin. When it became too intense, she’d set down the horseshoe or dagger or whatever else she might be tapping into shape, and step back into the cool of the day for relief. One September day, at such a moment, Astrid paused and turned around to find the dragonslayer standing behind her.


Astrid gasped, because it was the first time anyone had seen her blacksmithing body. Although fully clothed, she felt as vulnerable as if he had just found her naked.


The body nature had given her was small but sturdy. As with any woman, Astrid’s legs were the strongest part of her body, her thighs and rump large but muscular from running long distances between villages when she was a girl, delivering messages or trading light goods. Also as with any woman, Astrid’s chest and arms were soft and rounded. She had not been born to develop the body of a blacksmith.


It wasn’t unusual that Astrid changed her body when she worked, enlarging her chest and arms several times until the upper half of her body looked more like a man’s physique than a woman’s. Everyone changed their shape as they needed or wanted to. Only Lenore caused anyone’s eyebrows to raise, because she was indiscreet about the times and places she chose to alter her body: Lenore would toss her head back and laugh as she’d sprout larger breasts and longer legs while crossing the road from one man’s side to another. It was unusual for anyone else to change shape in such a crude manner. And yet Lenore was respected because no man had ever been able to alter her body by staring at it–Lenore had the confidence to maintain whatever shape she chose, no matter how anyone else might want her to appear.


Unlike Lenore, Astrid felt sensitive about changing to her blacksmithing body, because it meant finding the male qualities within herself.

The rest of the story can be found here.

This is Dome, sayin’: I hope you will join us on the TalkCast to meet her as we talk about her wonderful universes.


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