Title: Stone Prayers
Author: Kate Marshall
Published in: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, issue 177 (July 9, 2015)
Description: [Lois Tilton, Locus] "A conquering emperor won’t stop until he’s subjugated the entire world. It turns out that this is the inadvertent fault of his mother, a practitioner of linguistic magic.
When she was young, and newly with child, she knelt in this place. She carved a prayer, as was her right as first wife to the king, at the feet of Imrin-ka. Make my son strong, she wrote, in the tongue of her mother, the Kilin-kasa, a language she spoke but did not truly understand. She did not know there were as many words for strength as bones in the hand, and the word she chose was drenched in blood.Mattar has finally come to the decision that her son must be stopped, but the problem is finding the right prayer, the right words for it, to overcome the effects of her own original prayer."