2.0.5 – Responsory Supplication

“Don’t just stand there, Alan Lee,” Faith said, knelt by the fire. “Grab a pot and a ladle and start scraping. There’s thirty of them here, and we’ve got to have them all clean before the others are ready to start off.”   “Yes, Faith.” Alan was a thin, small man with a good-humored face and […]

2.0.4 – Fenson’s Challenge

The last time I had beheld many of these faces, I had been a girl of seventeen. A woman grown, I had thought. Yet how like a child I seemed, looking back! How sharply I felt the bygone youth, looking upon the familiar folk of Caer Lunan now. I wondered if any of them could […]

2.0.3 – Charted Course  

The air outside the tent was colder than I remembered. I rubbed my hands together, following Larix through a campsite that was quickly waking. Neither of us spoke to one another, but Grannine spoke to me.   “Are you all right, my Mariead?” Her hand rested on my shoulder. “You seem troubled.”   I shook my head.   […]

2.0.2 – Broken Skin

“By now, I think we’re well into Alsteadshire.” I knelt on the ground, and found to my surprise that the bed of pine needles across the floor of our makeshift infirmary was thick enough to stave off cold seeping up from below. I found myself adopting a somewhat demure posture out of habit alone, legs […]

2.0.1 – Pine and Barley

To approach with poise and dignity was difficult. My belt threatened to slip off with each stride, and I settled for holding it in place with one hand, endeavoring to pass the gesture off as casual. The labors of my tutors had not been in vain; I managed not to struggle overmuch in keeping my […]

2.0.0 – Sunrise

Sleep left me gently. I woke as though rising through mist, each sense stealing back one after the other. Dimly, I recalled the shadows of some unsettling dream. Not quite a nightmare…but perhaps a portent. I blinked, sought some sense in the world around me.   Not a tent. Not a pavilion. Something rougher. The […]

Prologue – Eris Malarin

It was hard to wake. Harder to be parted. Not only for the warmth of the woman, but for the look of her. Mari always seemed more at peace when she was dreaming. The waking world wore on her, had worn on her, wore her away.   She still wore shift and stocking, even in […]

1.7.4 – Final Toll

My father’s voice shattered the tranquil night, speaking words I did not know. I looked around, slowing my pace. Others likewise came to a halt, our caravan coming quickly to rest, and murmurs arose all around us. More than one of the druids in Rina’s party pressed their hands to the graven pendants they carried, moon […]

1.7.3 – Obfuscation 

West of the storehouse, fields gave way to small and struggling bushes, the outlying arms of the forest ahead. The sky was an iron-hued and starless dark. Snowflakes drifted in and out of torchlight, flaring like sparks.   Faith walked near the head of the line, though the shuffle and the dark often hid her from […]