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Authors: Shawn Speakman

Unbound

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UNBOUND
Tales by Masters of Fantasy
EDITED BY
Shawn Speakman
Grim Oak Press
Seattle

 Unbound
is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, 

and events portrayed in these stories are either products of the 

authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously.

UNBOUND

Copyright © 2015 by Shawn Speakman.

All rights reserved.

“Madwalls” by Rachel Caine. © 2015 by Rachel Caine.

“Stories Are Gods” by Peter Orullian. © 2014 by Peter Orullian.

“River and Echo” by John Marco. © 2015 by John Marco.

“A Dichotomy of Paradigms” by Mary Robinette Kowal. © 2015 by Mary Robinette Kowal. 

“Son of Crimea” by Jason M. Hough. © 2015 by Jason M. Hough. 

“An Unfortunate Influx of Filipians” by Terry Brooks. © 2015 by Terry Brooks.

“The Way into Oblivion” by Harry Connolly. © 2015 by Harry Connolly.

“Uncharming” by Delilah S. Dawson. © 2014 by D.S. Dawson. 

“A Good Name” by Mark Lawrence. © 2014 by Mark Lawrence.

“All in a Night’s Work” by David Anthony Durham. © 2015 by David Anthony Durham.

“Seven Tongues” by Tim Marquitz. © 2015 by Tim Marquitz.

“Fiber” by Seanan McGuire. © 2015 by Seanan McGuire. 

“The Hall of the Diamond Queen” by Anthony Ryan. © 2015 by Anthony Ryan.

“The Farmboy Prince” by Brian Staveley. © 2015 by Brian Staveley.

“Heart’s Desire” by Kat Richardson. © 2014 by Kat Richardson.

“The Game” by Michael J. Sullivan. © 2015 by Michael J. Sullivan.

“The Ethical Heresy” by Sam Sykes. © 2015 by Sam Sykes.

“Small Kindnesses” by Joe Abercrombie. © 2015 by Joe Abercrombie. 

“The Rat” by Mazarkis Williams. © 2015 by Mazarkis Williams.

“The Siege of Tilpur” by Brian McClellan. © 2015 by Brian McClellan.

“Mr. Island” by Kristen Britain. © 2015 by Kristen Britain.

“Jury Duty” by Jim Butcher. © 2015 by Jim Butcher.

“The Dead’s Revenant” by Shawn Speakman. © 2014 by Shawn Speakman.

All rights reserved.

Dust jacket artwork by Todd Lockwood.

Interior artwork by Stacie Pitt.

Book design and composition by Rachelle Longé McGhee.

Signed, Limited Edition ISBN 978-1-944145-00-2

Trade Hardcover Edition ISBN 978-0-9847136-9-1

eBook ISBN 978-1-944145-01-9

First Edition, December 2015

2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3 1

Grim Oak Press

PO Box 45173

Seattle, WA 98145

www.grimoakpress.com

For those who enter the realms of imagination
And who find it hard to leave
“I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though
I am aware that this is a rash adventure.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien
“I’m staying here to read: life’s too short.”
—Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Contents
Introduction: A Geek Trying to Do Good
Madwalls
 by Rachel Caine ■
Stories Are Gods
 by Peter Orullian ■
River and Echo
 by John Marco ■
A Dichotomy of Paradigms
 by Mary Robinette Kowal ■
Son of Crimea
 by Jason M. Hough ■
The Way into Oblivion
 by Harry Connolly ■
Uncharming
 by Delilah S. Dawson ■
A Good Name
 by Mark Lawrence ■
All in a Night’s Work
 by David Anthony Durham ■
Seven Tongues
 by Tim Marquitz ■
Fiber
 
by Seanan McGuire ■
The Hall of the Diamond Queen
 by Anthony Ryan ■
The Farmboy Prince
 by Brian Staveley ■
Heart’s Desire
 by Kat Richardson ■
The Game
 by Michael J. Sullivan ■
The Ethical Heresy
 by Sam Sykes ■
Small Kindnesses
 by Joe Abercrombie ■
The Rat
 by Mazarkis Williams ■
The Siege of Tilpur
 by Brian McClellan ■
Mr. Island
 by Kristen Britain ■
Jury Duty
 by Jim Butcher ■
The Dead’s Revenant
 by Shawn Speakman ■
Introduction:
A GEEK TRYING TO DO GOOD

When I published
Unfettered
, I had one goal in mind: end the outrageous medical debt that had accumulated from treating my Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

I did not do this alone. Two dozen of my friends came to my aid, donating short stories and artwork to produce
Unfettered
, a genre anthology featuring short stories by some of the finest writers working today. It sold unbelievably well and helped introduce many readers to new authors they otherwise would not have tried.

Once all the bills were settled and I was healthy again, I had a serious question to answer, though.

Should I continue Grim Oak Press?

The answer did not come to me immediately. I started the press to take care of my medical debt. We succeeded with that. Originally, I had no desire to continue it afterward. Owning a publishing house is hard work—quite possibly the hardest job in the entire industry—and I didn’t want to see that work overshadow my own writing goals.

But upon reflection, I decided not using the platform that
Unfettered
created would be irresponsible. As Patrick Rothfuss is fond of saying, it is imperative—if nothing else—to make the world a better place than when we entered it. I fully believe that. And with Grim Oak Press, I think I can do that very thing.

Unbound
is the beginning of an answer to my question. It is another unique anthology similar in scope to
Unfettered
. It features talented authors doing what they do best, and every one of them exceeded my expectations. And just like the first anthology,
Unbound
has no theme; the contributors were allowed to submit any genre tale they desired.

The result? An amazing collection.
Unbound
is sure to keep you reading when you open it right from the first, the stories as diverse as they are extraordinary. Jim Butcher sends Harry Dresden to jury duty. Rachel Caine creates mad walls in the Citadel. Terry Brooks revisits Landover, where Ben Holiday must deal with the worst threat ever—G’home Gnomes! Mary Robinette Kowal visits the stars with a reluctant painter. Mark Lawrence returns to his
Broken Empire
setting to reveal a Brother’s name. And so many more stories. I enjoyed every tale in
Unbound
. I think you will too.

I published
The Dark Thorn
to learn how to publish
Unfettered
.
Unbound
in turn will give me the leverage and resources to publish
Unfettered II
, with all proceeds of that anthology going to alleviate medical debt for authors and artists who find themselves in the same situation I was in. This is the way I can pay forward the aid I received; this is the way I can do my part to begin making the world a better place.

I hope you enjoy
Unbound
. I hope you review it and share it with your friends and family.

It is the beginning of something far greater than myself.

Happy reading!

Shawn Speakman

Publisher, Grim Oak Press

October 2015

Madwalls

Rachel Caine

On her sixteenth birthday, Samarjit Cole was taken to the Citadel to meet the captive. She wasn't expected to start her turn of duty yet, but it was necessary, her father said, to see it for herself, and to know what she would be facing when she did take up the role of Watcher.

"Did you read everything?" he asked her in the car on the way there. She pulled her long black hair back behind her ears and made a sound that could have gone either way. She'd read it. Twice. She just didn't like being questioned. "Because, I can't stress this enough, he'll play with your mind. You have to be prepared. You have to know the rules backwards and forwards. It's important, Sammy."

She sighed. "I know."

"What are you doing?"

She didn't look up from her tablet. "Explaining to my friends why I'm being dragged off for the whole weekend."

"Sammy—"

"I'm not telling them the truth, Dad. God. I'm not
stupid
." She sounded sullen and bitter, but she didn't feel that way. It was just a cover, because Sammy Cole was scared. Scared to the point that her fingertips were cold and clumsy when she tried to type out messages, and she finally gave it up and clicked off.

Being offline felt like being naked. Alone. She turned her head out toward the world, away from her father, because she knew he might figure out how she felt. "Where are we?"

He glanced over at her. Her father was a large man, imposing even in regular clothes, but today he wore a full dark-blue
chola
instead of his usual casual clothes, and a
dastar
turban to match, which was really not his usual style. The
chola
was reserved for special occasions. His long beard reached to the lower part of the steering wheel, and it was still mostly dark, with a few gray streaks in it. As always, Samarjit felt a conflicted surge inside when she looked at him; she loved her father, knew him for a good and kind and upright man, but she also wished . . . wished he wasn't so
practicing.
Her mother, Marta, was German and hardly ever thought about her Protestant church upbringing. It was her dad's calm, quiet, everyday faith that had driven them apart, or at least that was how Marta told it.

Sammy's father didn't say much about it at all. He said nothing but kind words about her mom, and although she knew he wished his daughter would embrace the Sikh faith and wear the
bana
, she couldn't see herself doing it. She respected him for following his own principles, though. In these times, when it seemed like having skin anything but the color of bleached porcelain prequalified you as terrorist, being a practicing Sikh was even harder than before.

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