1.6.3 – Force Multiplier

Twice I had knelt before death. Once in my cloister at Saint Isaac’s, at the unjust mercy of an archbishop. Once in the hollowed-out church of Caer Fara. Now, this third and final time, that dark and familiar lucidity. Death. Bleak as the black face of the ring on my hand. Druids named it The […]

1.6.0 – Carving Failure

“Priesthood of Cleansing,” the Inquisitor hissed, raising his sword. “To me!”   None of the three men in the hall beyond made a move to join him. Couldn’t imagine why.   Drops of glowing blood spilled from my left hand. With each impact, they hissed and flared to life on the rug. A single thin rivulet of […]

1.5.7 – Losing Temper

Mariead’s narrow shoulders darted down the corridor just ahead. I felt the walls loom to either side, like they were pressing in, ready to crush me, and I was very glad to reach the end of them, stumbling back into Lord Valraven’s more public study.   One of the Caer Lunan farmers stood crouched back in […]

1.5.6 – Fragmentation  

“Dear heart.” Lord Valraven took another step into the room. “Is that really you?”   “Papa–” At a run, Mariead caught her father in an embrace, a huff of breath taking the place of whatever words she might have intended. Sidelong, I looked to the lass, who stood with long fingers splayed over the tabletop, eyes […]

1.5.5 – Indexed Search 

The halls of Valraven Manor were dark and winding, claustrophobic, dimly-lit. Mariead’s guidance was unerring, a quiet voice over my left shoulder to match the lass whispering Her observations on my right. The floors were old and battered planks of wood beneath long strips of carpet. Shit footing for a fight, but we encountered no […]

1.5.1 – Resource Allocation   

All through the streets, people fought to come close to Mariead. Pressed her hands as they could, or spoke to her, or touched her shoulder.   Caer Lunan was only a wee town, and it dwindled to a line of houses as we went north, breaking out of the village proper and tracing along the western […]

1.4.6 – Into the Night  

A massacre is hard work. Even a dirty fight gives you the rush, starts your heart, gets your palms itching for the next blow. But slaughter always outlasts the heat of battle. What follows is not cold; it’s numb. You’re no longer trying to survive; the fear fades, your nose gets used to the smell, […]

1.4.5 – Split Skull  

Four penitents rushed me, swords and shields in hand. Vance was the first one shouting, but he dragged his heels coming forward. The other three came eagerly, passed him by, like they’d been only waiting for someone to break the silence. I snapped about to meet the nearest.   Lass. At the moment of attack, I’d […]

1.4.4 – Thunderbolts 

In the time it had taken Mariead and I to exchange words, the shape of the fight changed again. I’d been left behind by a double-line of farmers with no shields and no armor, who’d put themselves on our front line against the penitents. Grannine’s hand was hot on my shoulder, Her breath in my […]

1.4.3 – First Rebellion  

The folk of Caer Lunan had been planning their moment of insurrection long enough to cast maces, steal crossbows, and fit handles to hatchets in preparation for some theoretical uprising where the town could pick their moment. But this had been more than a riot. The sort of thing that would be terrifying to the […]