Author Topic: EP066: The King’s Tail  (Read 3815 times)


  • Hipparch
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on: October 17, 2009, 05:25:55 AM
EP066: The King’s Tail

By Constance Cooper.
Read by The Knitwitch (of Knitwitch’s SciFi/Fantasy Zone).

On one occasion–he flinched to remember it–the invaders had brought him Cthara eggs. Warm, fertilized eggs, likely ripped just that day from the hatching burrow of some poor herder family. It had been the greatest challenge the Creator had ever sent him. His fangs had unfolded without his conscious will, and only a lifetime of piety and self-control had kept him from sinking them into the small bodies of the terrified guards.

His venom had dripped onto the filthy floor, and after the guards left he had lain shuddering in the dampness, feeling the leathery eggs by his flank gradually cool and die. Over and over he repeated the litany of the Prophet: “People shall not sink fang into other speaking people. People shall not eat the flesh of other speaking people. People shall not make war…”

Rated PG.  Contains slavery, heavy moral themes, and some violence.

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  • Hipparch
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Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 10:41:45 AM
I really enjoyed the moral code created by sentient poisonous lizards.  The little touches like their philosophers deciding that weapons counted as "fangs" and thus were forbidden were just lovely.  I was a little disappointed that the king didn't have to violate his moral code in order to "win" at the end, as that would have really brought the ending to the perfect note for me.  (I like the idea of the sacrificial lamb, that the king would have to be the one to take the stain on his soul in the name of freeing all his people.  Still, I can see how that would clash with the whole "set an example" thing.  I was just expecting it to end in a much darker place than it did.)


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Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 05:40:43 PM
Good story!  I, too, liked the moral code set up by the peaceful people with the deadlier venom.  I didn't see the ending coming, so that's always a plus.  It's always difficult setting up an alien point of view, but it is done well here. 


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Reply #3 on: January 28, 2015, 11:31:06 AM
Nicely done. It's unusual to see victorious pacifist fiction. One of those gems that makes visiting the archives a really worthwhile endeavor.

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