Short Story # 7 Thief of War by Beth Bernobich
Arbija, a daughter of the northern province Vesterlant, has traveled south in disguise, to steal the jewels of the king of the Erythandran Empire. Her family fears that the Empire seeks to conquer their lands, as they did to nearby provinces in earlier years. Our protagonist is part of a complicated scheme that involves enrolling in an ancient University and using magic to disguise her features, while pretending she is a novice in magical studies.
The scope and lore of this novella seem to extend far beyond its contents. The grand lineages, premise, and cast of characters, however, lead to an abrupt and disappointing end. I fervently hope this is only an excerpt from a novel, which I would line up to read! In the meantime, I hope Bernobich does not continue to disguise material of novel proportions in thin novellas!
"Beauty was one thing. Humor was far more seductive."