Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has fallen on some rough times, and yesterday he put up a blog post asking for some help. (He says he's already gotten enough support in the 24 hours since that post went up, but it's never a bad thing to help more.) And because Ahmed's a total rockstar, he gave people a reward in advance for pitching in: a brand new sword-and-sorcery short story, in the vein of classic Conan.

What is best in life? Rabbit women, warriors and priests, broaching the stronghold of the Hireguards!


Top image: Rabbit Year by Wenart on Deviant Art.

In any case, "Iron Eyes and the Watered-Down World" is the most fun reading material we've come across in ages. Definitely give it a read — and if you like it, there's still a Paypal address there, to let you show the author your appreciation. Here's how it begins:

Zok Ironeyes stared at the tilecard table before him and cursed softly as Hai Hai clacked down the Dragoness tile with a gloating grunt.

Hai Hai looked up from the table and locked her shiny black eyes on the innkeeper, her nose and whiskers twitching. The scraggle-haired, red faced fool avoided Hai Hai's gaze with the shame of a man who'd been caught staring. Zok couldn't fault the innkeeper's curiosity. The man had probably seen only a handful of rabbitmen in his life, for few of Hai Hai's people ever made it this far south. But if the proprietor of the preposterously-named King's Crest Inn didn't watch himself, he was like to get his nose broken at least. Hai Hai wasn't one to indulge untraveled bumpkins' gawking.

"This innkeeper ain't more careful with his stares, he's gonna find himself smiling that swindler's smile with only half a face," she said. Her furry, four-fingered paw drifted to the hilt of one of her twin sabers as she peered skeptically into the hammered-brass mug before her. "And if this is true Rubywine, then my father was a fucking fox-lord." Her paw left her sword and pulled at the pink-tinged end of one white ear. "Thousand-gods-damned hicks and their thousand-gods-damned dyed wines," she muttered before looking up to level a weary gaze at Zok. "We need to spend our spoils in a real city again, Zok. I'm sick to death of these pathetic little dust-bucket shithole towns. Not cozy enough to be a village, not busy enough to be a city. And where in the three hells is that priest of ours, anyway?"

Zok shrugged. "This is where the four fickle gods of the road have led us. And I'm sure Mylovic will be here soon," he said, only half-listening. He eyed the tilecard table again and saw that he was screwed. Hai Hai had put the Dragoness into play as soon as Zok had used up all his Knight cards. A better player might have wormed his way out of such a corner, but Zok had played enough games against Hai Hai to know that wasn't going to happen.

Check out the rest at the link. [Saladin Ahmed]