Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre: Egyptian Temple (1840)

Covenant and Ruin by John R. Canter

“Any luck?” he asked. She hesitated. She was trying not to find what she knew would be there. And as she passed the light over the stone carvings, she saw it: a bare spot where the inscriptions, lost secrets of ancient Menurabi, were now truly lost, and a circular marking carved over it instead. She pulled out a mid-sized book from her traveler’s bag, holding it in both hands, and recited magic words; her eyes glowed, and in her field of vision, the magical forces of the world were laid bare and visible. The arcane mark shone a dark blue and was indeed a glyph of a solar eclipse with a stylized zigzag, either lightning coming down or a toothy maw of darkness swallowing the sun.

Even Monkeys Fall From Trees by John R. Canter

“You have indeed, again, demonstrated quite the feat of agility,” the teacher began, before Asoka cut him off. He had risen from sitting with a tumbling roll while the master was speaking, unfolding to a standing position, drinking his tea from his tail and holding up a furred hand to pause his speech.

Conworld Setting Rating Systems: Realism Rating and Culture Rating by John R. Canter

The Tech Rating system comes from the True20 role-playing game (though it was originally Progress Levels from the d20 Modern system), and the Supernatural Rating system also comes from True20, both of which are reprinted here (with minimal modifications) under the Open Gaming License (included at the end of the article). The subsequent Realism Rating and Culture Rating systems are personal creations of mine; feel free to use them or build on them for your own world creation, but attribution is appreciated.

Because of a Cough by John R. Canter

It had barely been even a day since the volcanic eruption. Most of the streets were still deep with soot. At least, those streets that weren’t completely buried or burned by active lava flows. I had survived, somehow, thanks to this curse. I didn’t dare take shelter with any others, and that turned out to be a good thing. I can usually handle stress, as a medical doctor, but in a life-or-death situation, I can’t always prevent the change that comes with being a werewolf.

Tiger’s Guests by John R. Canter

“Stupid, stupid, stupid!” Rabbit cursed aloud. Panting, he had quit pulling on his leg, realizing the hunter’s trap would rip into his flesh the more he tried to struggle free. It had already torn up his trousers, his nice party trousers, which he had prepared for tonight’s Full Moon Festival. He could see the blood soaking into the cloth, oozing ominously from the wound. The pain was unbearable.