32-Times

I related our escapade to Eliah, both of us sitting on the desk like ruffians while we finished cleaning and sharpening my knives. Eliah made noises of crowing delight at each exciting moment. When I’d finished, Eliah said, “Eloi’shand is clear as day in bringing them together on the road. Just think how hard it…

31 – Settling in

The afternoon was almost entirely consumed by frenzied preparation. First, an entire wardrobe change for everyone to formally greet the royal family in a small receiving room packed with courtiers. A short ceremonious greeting, barely long enough to surreptitiously study the king, then the Countess mingled with the crowd, greeting as many people as she…

30 – Gar Morwen

Gar Morwen had one foot in the hills and one in the plains, the Juni cutting through it’s center like good blade. The capitol had once been two cities, and as such it had two of everything. Two market squares, two warehouse districts, two cathedrals, two huge gates in the same side of the city,…

29 – Bravado

I slunk through the shallows, hidden by silt and shifting currents until I was close enough to get a clear look at the person on the log. When I did, my lips curled into a smile. I rose out of the river, the water sluicing from my body as if it had given me form….

28 – The River

I sensed the Juni River hours before we finally crested a hill and saw it glittering in the valley beneath us. A part of my soul begged me to urge my horse to a gallop to reach the riverbanks more quickly. I resisted, and instead savored the scent of the water as we slowly drew…

27-Bruises

We rode until dusk, then made camp again rather than ride through the night. Everyone was completely paranoid about letting the Countess go anywhere alone. Druskin was shaken enough by the experience that he wouldn’t let her out of his sight, and even threw propriety to the dogs when he charged Luza with escorting her…

26 – So Human

The throbbing in my head subsided considerably after Quill’s ministrations, some water, and some breakfast. Matters were further improved when Quill handed me my harness of knives, and then we made camp to rest for a few hours. I was asleep almost before I lay down on my bedroll, the Countess snugly tucked between myself…

25-Cedar Trees and Bruises

I had known the tree was likely to act. That was the whole point of getting captured by these fools. But knowing it was coming and seeing it happen were two very different things. The roots of the tree crept forward—its movements smooth, and undulating like snakes, and it was terrifying. “These are Adelheid Wuhn’s…

Thank You!

Today is Patreon’s #ThankYouPatrons day. So, thank you! And many thanks to my beloved readers. Writers are compelled to write, but nobody has to read it. It’s a delight to be read. You have no idea how much it motivates me that knowing there are people enjoying Zare’s story. It’s gotten so much bigger than…

24-face to face

Bulgar’s men had made camp under an outcropping of rock that was split by a gnarled cedar tree. The tree hunched over the splintered rock like an old man, reaching only tentatively toward the graying sky. They had made no fire, though it was clear they’d been resting a while. Some of the men were…