A Thousand Nights

by E. K. Johnston
Release date: October 2, 2015
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, young adult

Mythopoeic Award nominee 2016.

"Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife."

She sees the dust cloud on the horizon. Lo-Melkhiin has arrived. And she thinks also: he will not have my sister. She is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow, but her sister calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air in it's place.

Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with evil eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments - all bought at cost beyond measure. He is not killing the girls he marries: he is draining them, and when their life-force has been used and they are dead, he casts them aside and weds anew.

Night after night passes, and she is not drained. The words she speaks to him every night are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.

(updated 2018-08-02)

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