“The Trader and the Slave” — Cinda Williams Chima

Cinda Williams Chima is the best-selling author of the young adult fantasy series the Heir Chronicles, consisting of (so far) The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, and The Dragon Heir. Two more books in the series are forthcoming. Meanwhile, Chima recently started publishing a new series (also young adult)—the Seven Realms quartet—which began with The Demon King in 2009 and was followed by The Exiled Queen earlier this year. Learn more at cindachima.com.

Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and that certainly seems to be the case with a lot of wizards one could name. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the Dark Lord Sauron creates an evil master ring in order to enslave the wearers of the other rings of power. In The Black Cauldron, the wicked Horned King uses the eponymous cookware to call forth an army of zombie slaves. And in the novel Azure Bonds by Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak, an amnesiac warrior awakens to discover that her arm has been tattooed with magical sigils, and when they glow, she falls under the mental domination of a cadre of sinister conspirators.

So why can’t wizards ever try to get what they want by just asking nicely? It’s always enslavement this and domination that. The heroine of our next piece also finds herself an unwilling pawn to a cruel wizard; those familiar with Chima’s Heir Chronicles series will recognize her as the enchantress Linda Downey. The story began life as a deleted scene from the second book in the trilogy, The Wizard Heir, which Chima says it broke her heart to cut. So when I contacted her about writing a story for the anthology, she reworked it into this fine standalone story.