She’d managed to develop this particular charm shortly after she’d married Justinian. Originally, she’d used it to encourage his sympathy for disadvantaged and abused women: he knew most of her past, though she’d managed to hide the more sordid details, and out of respect for her he’d thrown more of his weight behind laws to protect her sisters, literal and metaphorical. She’d had to help him along a few times, but she would be damned before she let another man take advantage of her again, and thrice-damned before she let it happen to her daughter.

This, however, would be the first time she’d used it in this powerful a form.

“I am Empress,” she whispered to herself. “I command.”


Harry Potter is a Within-World story.

As with doctor visits, half-dry paintings, and well-loved jeans, this has benefits and drawbacks in equal measures.

This is a story that takes advantage of an existing, complex world to bypass much story-establishing work. The author can rely on existing cultures and understandings, which help the reader comprehend the tale’s events, and their place relative to nonfictional locations and times.

This is a story that cannot reach beyond the limits of overarching history. No matter what happens within the fantasy narrative, from a larger standpoint, the events of history must pass in basically the same way they always have. If the author extends the story past the past, they risk extending the tale’s plausibility beyond their reader’s willingness to follow.

Continue reading