"Death Before Dishonor" by Shannon Leight was posted in Daily Science Fiction on December 21, 2012. "A slave attempts to escape with his brother from a chain gang aided by a member of the chain gang who is mysteriously prescient."
Ms. Leight chose to tell her tale in the form of a long letter from the POV character to his sister. The epistolary form is difficult to master and often unsuccessful, but Ms. Leight handles this device with skill. The world she creates is full of rich languages, culture, and characters--hinted at rather than fully developed so that the reader fills in the gaps with his/her imagination. Again, the author takes a chance here and succeeds.
The story drew me in from the beginning and kept me reading with its relentless mood of fear mixed with hope. The only muddle I found was with the title not exactly meshing with the message of the story or with its closing. 6 out of 7 rocket-dragons.
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