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, […]

1.4.4 – 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 […]

1.4.2 – Spark To Flame  

The crowd surged forward, bodies crushing in around me. The other penitent-priest, the Inquisitor’s hand-picked hunting hound, sprang onto the steps of the chapel and drew his sword in turn.   “Loyal soldiers of the Church, to me!” he shouted.   “Get fucking back, you pack of idiots,” Blake snarled, at the same time. “Run! Tell the […]

1.3.5 – Raven Speech  

Late golden light spilled through the clouds over Caer Lunan, long shafts cutting lines in the fog and gloom overhead. Off to the east, the sky was not quite dark, but the specter of night was hiding there under the storm, waiting like a hungry wolf for the sun to drop lower to the horizon, […]

1.3.3 – Cloudbreak 

The lass in my head shivered and shut Her eyes, still as a statue. I felt Her reaching, stretching out for something. Had the wild urge to raise my hands. Held back from it.   Instead I let Her stand stark and unreal against the harsh background, the edge of a rough wooden cottage, the pig […]

1.3.2 – Waxing Quarrel

At the outer ring of the group of guards sat a bald man, wide and squat like a toad with stubble. He wore a Sergeant’s tunic over a shirt with no collar—but white, barbed chains were tattooed about his neck, like the chains of a seven-year Penitent. He heaved himself to his feet with a […]

1.3.1. – Temperance  

“Fucking hell–” I jumped back a pace, and a too-sharp knife hissed in the air, nearly opening me up like a pig. “Easy! I didn’t lay a hand on your fucking wee prince!”   How does she know? What kind of fucking witch–  “Then who are you? And why do you have his sword?”    Oh.   “That’s […]

1.3.0 – Clean Hands 

Scarlet soldiers in the square behind her were moving in our direction, led by one of the Inquisitor’s white riders. I couldn’t pick out the stupid shape of Sergeant Cooper without risking a closer look, but in the corner of my eye, the Inquisitor’s white shape drifted away out of sight, taking with him that […]

1.2.6 – Black Flag  

Mud squished up under my feet as I stared, hands on her shoulders. Damp air was cold on my newly-bare face, and the skin felt too tight, taut, like a skull.   The Inquisitor rode a white horse. Everything he and his horse wore was white, splashed with mud from the road north, tack and harness […]