5

What short story is this? It's by reporter sent to cover story. Alien planet of two sentient species & local overlord called "The Sandalman" because of pattern on his feet. Small native animal has poisonous bite that will never heal & beautiful woman archeologist dying from deliberate poisoning with this stuff. Spun glass vase shown to reporter, but main find kept secret. Whole archeological team must grab find and leave in hurry: it is alien princess, dead of same poison mentioned earlier, entirely turned to wax and perfectly preserved in quiet sorrow for her fate. They tilt and bump her in rush to escape, leaving small dent in wax flesh.

  • About how long ago did you read it? – user14111 Nov 26 '16 at 5:17
  • Around 1999. It was in a very long-titled, annual anthology. I don't remember which number in the series. – Mi-Fi Nov 26 '16 at 6:00
4

"The Curse of Kings" (1985) by Connie Willis.

"Beware the curse of kings and khepers" (the kheper is the creature with the poison)

"... they'd said to the smartest of the beys, just like the Sandalman had said to Howard and Evelyn and the rest of the team..."

"It wasn't much of a curse — no murders, no avalanches, no mysterious fires — but every time somebody sprained an ankle or got bitten by a kheper, I got at least four columns out of it."

Found in The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories: A Connie Willis Compendium and the 1986 Annual World's Best SF.

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