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…

23-The Trees

For the space of a few heartbeats, we stared after Ilya Terr like owls blinking in the sun. Quill turned to me, “What was in that note?” “Nothing flattering to the elves,” I said. After a beat I added, “Drivel about purity of the moors and bringing strength to the Wuhn.” “You Angari,” muttered Mihalak,…

22-Out of the Bag

“That idiot,” I said. Lovesick loon, indeed. “Damn him,” Druskin cursed again. “They can’t have gotten far.” I tucked the note in my pocket and headed for Quill’s bedroll. Crouching, I shook his shoulder. “Quill. Wake up.” His hand snaked out and caught my wrist, pulling me down as he rolled and flipped me under…

21 – Into the Hills

Three days passed and the moors gave way to rocky hills scattered with trees. I stayed close to the Countess whenever we rode, and Galo stayed close to her whenever we rested. Once or twice we saw figures in the distance and moved to lower ground to avoid detection. If the elves thought it was…

20 – Traveling companions

“You are damn lucky I like you,” I jabbed Quill’s chest with my finger. “Is that why you work with me?” “When you still work with them?” I jerked my chin toward the fire where Rakov was sitting. “Indeed,” Quill was still smiling, I could hear it in his voice, but he shook his head….

19-Dinner Guests

  Druskin and Luza were on their feet in a heartbeat, weapons flashing in the firelight. I was slower, delayed by the consideration of whether or not it would be better to keep my skills a secret from whoever was approaching. I decided my appearance gave enough away, and stood with unhurried confidence, sliding a…

15-Flames

When I left the Countess tucked in a blanket in the cushions, I thought she looked a little better. Less like she was going to shatter from all the feeling she couldn’t show to her subjects. I went to the neighboring tent and shucked my outer layer, sitting in the cushions and flipping a knife…

10-Letters

At the end of the audiences, my muscles ached from standing and the only thing I wanted was the gorgeous sunken tub. And dinner, of course. The Countess also looked tired, and left the great hall immediately to have a private dinner in her chambers. A different set of leanyodi went with her while the…

9-Handmaiden

The great hall of Wuhnravinwel had a vaulted ceiling and was filled with sunlight from tall slender windows that were flanked by heavy drapes. It filled the entire top level of the keep, and long trestle tables ran the circumference. Braziers marked out a path from the huge double doors. It was petition day, and…

Legendary Art

Took a break to paint! Typically, I have The Badlands Job, The River Rebellion, and the new story open all at the same time so I can work on them concurrently. There are so many moving parts, I’m so looking forward to launching this in the new year.