Well, damn. It doesn’t get any closer than this.
When it was time to close the voting for this round one of the competitors was ahead by a single vote. Then I found a vote waiting in the ‘Is this spam?’ airlock for me to approve it. I did approve it and boom! Suddenly we had a tie.
So I opened voting back up again for a couple hours and… we still have a tie.
I didn’t have any system in place to deal with a tie.
Thinking on my feet I’ve decided to say the equine who got the most votes on the blog (rather than points via dice rolls) is the winner. That means our winner is:
Story Title: Rue the Day
Author: Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Equine Combatant’s Name: Nova & Reaver (they’re a team)
Nova and Reaver will be moving on to the semifinals.
Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:
Beezus from “Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray” by M.L.D. Curelas
Peregrine from “Riders in the Sky” by V.F. LeSann
Excerpt from “A Complete Mare” by Tamsin Showbrook:
Its voice is drowned out by a scream. My own. I don’t know whether it’s my voice or the feeling of my chest splitting open but it’s the only thing I can hear. Falling to my knees, I lean forward and let my four arms take the strain of whatever’s forcing me open. I can see something emerging and then, like someone’s thrown a switch, my eyes stop working. The impression of what I last saw is still there, but even that’s fading. I’m conscious of being grabbed by the scruff of my neck, lifted up, and then the switch is thrown back on and my vision powers up as I swing back and forth in the gorgonite’s grasp, my feet catching on the path every few running steps.
What I see is crazy though. No human brain is built to see 360 degrees all at once, but that’s what I think I’m seeing—the fug of smoke, the side of the gorgonite, the Hall and the garden and behind us and to the side and—and I have to shut my eyes because it’s too much. My shoulders ache like they’re supporting an extra weight and, dreading what I’m fairly certain I’ll find, I raise my hands and press my four palms against four heads. They’re all human, but there’s four of them. Front, back, left, right. I can feel the rush of air on all of them now.
I have never hated my ancestors so much.