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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Descanso Dream

Ruth Nestvold and the late Jay Lake, both multiple award-winning authors, wrote these tales together. Please check out other tales in their series at Tales of the Rose Knights.

Descanso is the smallest of the Rose Knights, and perhaps the strangest. He is a dream made flesh, a pale man with skin the white of the ocean's dead, riding a horse of fog and silk. His banners trail behind him like a wind from the Orient. His smile gleams of starlight and the gentle thoughts of a loving woman.
His home lies amid a thorny thicket of rose canes, a flowered wall run riot around a pale-turreted fairytale castle. There are a hundred beds within his home, and a hundred maidens sleep there, each for a hundred years. They are Descanso's power, Descanso's fire, Descanso's beating heart, innocence captured on the knifepoint of revelation, the happy fantasies of a hundred fathers that their daughters remain forever virgin.
He is both their virginity and their temptation, rolling through the night of their lives as an avalanche travels alpine valleys.
Descanso fights no great wars. He is a man, of sorts, with a man's rough, loving heart and fleshy sword to match, but he is so small that his battles are all of stealth and misdirection. How else could he stand on the Fields of Honor against the great buffoons who wield Jacobean broadswords as if to cleave the bones of dragons?
So honor in the classic knightly sense does not become him, though Descanso has honor of his own. His battles are of the heart, rehearsed within the red-beating forests of his hundred sleeping maidens, fought for real in the bedchambers and taverns of the wider world.
Descanso Dream, the White Knight, is the Knight of Love.
And he has become trapped within his own snares.
Descanso had chanced to meet the angel's daughter while about his travels. She was as beautiful as her story and more, filled with charm and grace and power that could give any man pause. Words passed between them, more than perhaps should have. Time was spent. And though he sheltered a hundred maidens in his towers, and she lived her pleasing life with the spice merchant in Point-of-Sleep, the Knight of Love was hoisted on his own petard alongside his newly beloved.
There is one power left to them, Descanso Dream and the angel's daughter. They are both creatures of story. And story is nothing but dream given words. So they can do this thing: they can dream themselves together, write a different story, free the maidens, and take flight under the dark of moon on the horse of fog and silk.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
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