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Author Topic: PC431: La Héron  (Read 2041 times)
Ocicat
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« on: August 30, 2016, 06:13:43 PM »

PodCastle 431: La Héron

by Charlotte Ashley

read by Nadia Niaz


The lead rider was a man dressed head to toe in shiny red leather with a sword on either hip and a grotesque black mask like the face of the devil. He tipped his hat at her as he passed, his demon’s face curling into a smile, flashing sharp, dog-like teeth.

Herlechin. There could be no mistaking the creature. La Héron watched as the party pulled up in front of the inn, dismounted, and entered. When the last of the strange riders had crowded through the door, she continued toward her destination with little more than a shrug.

These were the Black Bouts of Caen, after all. Duelists and mercenaries had come from all over Christendom to compete for the glory and the purse that would be awarded to the winner. It did not matter to La Héron what creatures of the otherworld entered the lists as well. Come they from Hell, fairyland, or anywhere else, she planned to best them and to win as she had so many times before. She only needed a second.


Originally published in Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Rated PG-13.



Charlotte Ashley is a writer, editor, critic, and bookseller living in Toronto, Canada. She is also an Alexandre Dumas fanatic who won the National Book Collecting Prize for her collection of his work, which includes 18 editions of The Three Musketeers, one of which is a purse.

Nadia Niaz is a writer, academic, language nerd, creative writing teacher and third culture kid who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She divides what little downtime she has between cooking, knitting, painting, dancing, powerlifting and, now, narrating stories for PodCastle.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
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Maxilu
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2016, 04:59:28 PM »

I love this story. I think it's my favorite of 2016 so far. It feels like it belongs in the world of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and completely unique at the same time. The fairies, the demons, the fighting nun, La Héron herself–all masterfully done. I'm hungry to know more of this world, and more of La Héron and Sister Birdsong's continuing adventures.

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

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Father Beast
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2016, 07:38:23 AM »

This definitely kept my attention, even though I kept hearing the narrator say the protagonists name as "Lye Ahorn". It's probably Frenchly correct, but it kept throwing me off.

I was riveted into the story of a determined and talented fighter, paired up with a quirky fighting Nun, working hard to overcome the magic of her fairy opponents. Each encounter held me, as I, along with La'Heron, tried to figure out the nature of the magic against her, and how to counter it.

So when ,at the end she is revealed to be Fey herself, it kind of diminished the effect. It was good for one listen, but I don't know if I would enjoy a second listen.
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Tango Alpha Delta
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 09:11:43 PM »

A fine tale, well told. The imagery and the details stuck with me all week!

Never underestimate the need to have one's buckle swashed.
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 11:19:01 PM »

God. Damn. Faeries. Always showing up, being pretty, screwing things up. Where's a good cast iron crowbar when you need one? Grumble grumble fish.

Anyway, I liked this one. In part because I like listening to faeries get stabbed, but mostly because it was a brilliant, engaging story.
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2016, 02:57:53 PM »

I enjoyed this one.  Duels are an absurd way to determine justice, but I find they make pretty exciting stories anyway. 

I... think I kind of spaced out during a pivotal point though, and suddenly La Heron was a literal heron and I'm not sure what happened there, but I think I just need to go back and listen to that part again.
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bounceswoosh
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2016, 08:31:19 PM »

Liked it when I first read it. Enjoyed having it read aloud to me. I love the puzzle presented to the reader and the protagonist both : what's this fairy's trick?
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thesamim
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 10:02:50 PM »

This is going to sound terribly pretentious, but that's only because it is: The inconsistent French pronunciations took me out of the story a bit. Other than that, it was well crafted and enjoyable.
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Not-a-Robot
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2016, 02:17:09 AM »


I... think I kind of spaced out during a pivotal point though, and suddenly La Heron was a literal heron and I'm not sure what happened there, but I think I just need to go back and listen to that part again.


Ha! Birds of a feather, Unblinking. So did I, and so will I.
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bounceswoosh
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2016, 08:46:05 AM »

I think that

I... think I kind of spaced out during a pivotal point though, and suddenly La Heron was a literal heron and I'm not sure what happened there, but I think I just need to go back and listen to that part again.


Ha! Birds of a feather, Unblinking. So did I, and so will I.

I think that part was intentionally confusing and unclear, because the nun couldn't figure out what had happened.
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Unblinking
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2016, 09:02:08 AM »

I think that

I... think I kind of spaced out during a pivotal point though, and suddenly La Heron was a literal heron and I'm not sure what happened there, but I think I just need to go back and listen to that part again.


Ha! Birds of a feather, Unblinking. So did I, and so will I.

I think that part was intentionally confusing and unclear, because the nun couldn't figure out what had happened.

Oh!  OK.  I assumed it was just my own mind's tendency to wander now and then, and occasionally I do miss a pivotal explanation.  I think it's fine with no explanation too, I just had the impression that there might've been an explanation and I missed it.
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cwthree
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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2016, 12:17:28 PM »

This one was lots of fun. Now I want more - La Héron's backstory and further adventures of La Héron and Alex the former nun.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2016, 08:36:50 PM »

I enjoyed La Heron's character, especially her exasperated amusement at Alex's recklessness. I definitely didn't see her special abilities coming. In my mind she was sort of a Lady Brienne type character, so I was surprised to learn she was a faerie. The duels held plenty of tension for me, so overall this was a very engaging story!
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cwthree
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 07:47:51 AM »

Charlotte Ashley has a new story of La Héron and Alex! Check out "The Satyr of Brandenburg" in the March/April 2018 issue of _Fantasy & Science Fiction_.
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