1.1.3 – Broadhead 

In actual fact, people are not so often willing to charge into violent confrontation. They hesitate around the edges and wait for someone to slip. There’s always a first man to break. I’d seen enough to know the signs; the wild animal eyes, the shift of weight, the tensing in his shoulders. I spotted those […]

WRITER’S NOTE: 

So, What Now? Thanks for reading this far, and welcome to the conclusion of Book One. Here’s what’s up next for Blank Slate:   The Hiatus: Keeping this going all year has been…surprisingly chill, actually, but I am going to take a few  weeks to decompress after finishing Book One. But don’t worry! There will still […]

0.7.2 – Epilogue – Northshire Noon

Snow was falling. Not proper snow, not heavy flakes that clung and stuck and would linger through the afternoon. Only the first shy snow of autumn. Half sleet, it melted when it struck, vanished into the ground. But it was a reminder. Something inevitable. Something we couldn’t outrun.   It was cold. The wind cut like […]

0.7.1 – Bolthole Midmorning 

Landed on my feet, knees protesting. The air in the bolthole was clammy, but clean; no smoke, and no sulfur. Eris came down into the hole after me, then Mariead. Eris jumped; Mariead was lowered down by her brother. She winced at the force of Aidan’s grip on her arm, and more fell than lowered […]

0.6.6 – Queen’s Crystal  

Flames gnawing at wood, cracking it, burrowing into its heart. I saw nothing but the crystal.   A crystal or an ember. The size of my fist, burning in the dark.   To touch it? Irresistible. To take it? How could I dare? Beauty dripped from it like gore. I ruined it by seeing it, ruined it further each moment. How […]

0.6.5 – Dying Hopeful  

The Inquisitor was shaped like a man. A thin, unremarkable man in the Scarlet, a long fork-tailed coat of black and grey over his shoulders. But I’d never met a man I hated more, not even Finn, and I knew every inch of Finn.   Just like before, seeing him made me want to kill him, […]

0.6.4 – Proving Hour

He was well trained. I didn’t even get close.   The armored Templar retreated, clanking back a step—but only one step. He punched the halberd at Aidan with his right arm, left hand slack on the haft, guiding more than gripping. Aidan struck the halberd aside, moving further left, opening up the path for me to […]

0.6.3 – Cleave The Scarlet

A proper witch raid had a set procedure. Two hundred years ruling over Frydain had left them plenty of time to refine the process, and as a sword for hire, I’d seen more than my share.   Scouts rode up on horseback. They beat the countryside, sounding the alarm with a bugle once they found their prey. Foot […]

0.6.2 – Penitent Rush

Sword and scabbard were heavy in one hand. We were standing before I realized I’d pushed myself up, too late for me to worry about how stiff my knees had been from riding. I put a hand on Mariead’s shoulder to steady her before she stumbled.   “Why would they sound a horn first?” She had her bow […]

0.6.1 – Two Fires

In cold water and empty forests, I’d tried to remember the wild, witless heat of summer, the sense of wholeness that had eluded me for so long. The memory of other seasons fled at the turning of the last leaf, swallowed up by winter.