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by Warren Rochelle

Susurrus - Warren Rochelle
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 2.99
ISBN: 9781685503277
Pages: 77

Varon Cambeul has made it to the top: Royal Magician of the Kingdom of Lothia, at the right hand of the King, who is his lover. He has always kept the promise he made to his mother and his apprenticeship master: he has used his magic for good. This promise is tested when the King asks him to make a curse, a curse that will be cured by the King and so everyone will love him. Helping the King is using his magic for good, right? But, is Varon doing this because he has fallen in love with the King? What about those who will suffer from the curse and slowly transformed into ghosts, people like Theo and Russell in the town where the curse is released?


Can Varon undo this great wrong? Can he save Theo and Russell and the others as they turn invisible? How can he love someone who is not doing good?


…Varon held up a sparkling square of silvery-white weaving, just big enough to cover both his hands. Much bigger, and it would have been the start of a shadow cloak, woven of shadows and moonlight and starlight, of shining green, blue, yellow, and red yarn. He had woven in the last spell; the transformation curse was ready to be released. Varon glanced at the clock on the wall by the door, its golden pendulum catching the light from the wall sconces. He could see a few stars in the open skylight over his head. The King was due at midnight. No time to go back to his weaving room and the ring loom and the rhythm which always calmed him down.


The whole time Varon worked on it, he had told himself that what would make the King happy, was good for everyone. But now, as he remembered what Mary Fee had said, he was even less sure the curse would be good for everyone, or anyone, not even in the long or short term. It was to be scattered over the town the King had chosen as the testing ground, Ciara, a small college town in the Far North Province. According to Encyclopedia Lothiana, before the college’s founding, Ciara was the market town and government and business center for the North Central District of the Far North Province surrounded by the beautiful Blue Hills, the foothills of the Far Northern Mountains. Population, between 5000-6000, not counting the college. Train service twice weekly, bus and coach, three times weekly.

A pretty place, he had been told, enough upriver from the coast and the original West Rhuvan settlements for it to have wider, tree-lined streets, at least in some in the residential neighborhoods.

Varon had never made such a curse before. He prayed to the gods it would work, and that when the time came, reversing it would be easily done.

A knock. Pause, two more knocks.


The king pushed the door open. Varon saw him standing for a moment in the doorway, looking for the source of the voice. He’s so beautiful, Varon thought. He sat at his table, surrounded by bottles and vials, and a box of flasks Above him, strings of dried herbs hanging from low beams. Behind him, he had left the cauldron hanging in the fireplace in the corner. Two bright-colored tapestries hung above the fireplace, one woven by his mother, and the other he had woven as a response to hers. Doves cooed sleepily somewhere in the ceiling beams. Candles and wall sconces were all lit. “Your Majesty, the counter curse, I haven’t finished that. I was thinking we should wait. I just need a little more time.”

The king stared him, his mouth in a thin line. “No. Release it now.”


About the Author

Warren Rochelle lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. He retired from teaching English at the University of Mary Washington in 2020. His short fiction and poetry have been published in such journals and anthologies as Icarus, North Carolina Literary Review, Forbidden Lines, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Collective Fallout, Queer Fish 2, Empty Oaks, Quantum Fairy Tales, Migration, The Silver Gryphon, Jaelle Her Book, Colonnades, and Graffiti, as well as the Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, The Charlotte Poetry Review, Romance and Beyond, Migration, and Innovation. 


Rochelle is the author of four novels: The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010), all published by Golden Gryphon Press, and The Werewolf and His Boy, published by Samhain Publishing in September 2016. The Werewolf and His Boy was re-released by JMS Books in August 2020. His first short story collection, The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories, was published by JMS Books in September 2020. His second story collection, To Bring Him Home and Other Tales, and his stand-alone story, Seagulls, were published by JMS Books in September 2021.