The Founding of Foxwick
by Cherie Reich
Gather around, children, and let me tell you the tale of how the Kingdom of Foxwick came into being.
Once upon a time, a publisher put out a call for an anthology about assassins. Ooo, assassins are pretty cool. They are usually pretty badass, and it could be fun to write a story for the anthology. The publisher had an interesting stipulation too. They only wanted the first five hundred words of the story before they’d consider reading the entire thing.
But what should I write about? Who was my assassin and who would he/she have to kill?
I selected a female assassin. There are a lot of male ones, so I thought a female would stand out. But who would she kill? Someone royal/presidential/etc.? Perhaps someone close to her. No, no normal human would do. I wanted something bigger. A story that would take notice.
She would assassinate Death himself.
Once I figured out why she would have to kill Death, then I needed a setting. This was a fantasy anthology, and they wanted a Medieval-esque world. I had no readily available world to drop the main character in. I searched some fantasy world naming generators to figure out a name.
Foxwick came up in the second or third search. Foxwick. I liked it. A lot.
Thus, the Kingdom of Foxwick was born with badass Princess Umbria as this particular short story’s main character. Umbria features in five out of the seventeen short stories in People of Foxwick and Their Neighbors, and she’s mentioned in a few others.
A call for a short story inspired a whole new world. And although the story “Lady Death” was short-listed yet not accepted into the anthology, I couldn’t be more grateful for the founding of Foxwick.
The kingdom hangs in the balance.
War threatens Foxwick on all sides.
The dreaded Shadowlands gains more souls. From the shrouded trees in Greymist Forest to the arid Blackden Barrens, monsters roam in search of their next victim. Sirens lure ships beneath Merrilea Sea. In cold and snowy Wintermill, royals plot to claim Foxwick as their own, even if they must use dragons and sorcery. Marriage between Foxwick’s king and Lochhollow’s princess creates a perilous alliance. Although brave Valdale will come to Foxwick’s aid, the cost may be more than a true friend can stomach.
Set over a hundred years, these seventeen fantasy short stories explore the people, creatures, and lands in and around the Kingdom of Foxwick.
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Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Once upon a Nightmare, a science fantasy collection titled Fall of Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is the vice president of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website.