55- Blades

I reacted on instinct, stepping into the hammer blow, my arms coming up to deflect and then twist to gain control of the knife-arm.

53- Promises Promises

The steward directed the train a short distance down a hallway to a series of chambers where the party could change for the next thing—which was a presentation to the crowd outside and the signing of the treaty. There was no time to go all the way back to the Palace of Domes. Everyone split…

53- The Wedding Begins

The wedding sun rose golden and accompanied by appropriately decorous white clouds. We’d barely slept the night before, staying up late while I practiced mimicking the Countess’s voice and mannerism and she told me everything she could think of about what to expect from this day. I squeezed her hand before slipping out to my…

52- Unmasked

When I was admitted to the Countess’s chambers, she shifted her burning glare from Druskin to me. “You cannot be serious.” “I’m perfectly serious.” I walked up, crossing my arms, and looking from a harried Druskin to a furious Countess. “I will not hide and let others take the risks meant for me!” She was…

51- The Long Game

Ilya Terr, Lord of Linden, took the news quietly. His second, Mihalak, stood behind him with his arms crossed while I explained the Countess’s pending absence from dinner, and that she had a bit of a shock this afternoon when she found out her sister had hired an assassin to kill her. An assassin we…

50- It Changes Nothing

“If she won’t call off the assassin, we still have the difficulty of either finding or thwarting the Scythe,” I said to Quill. We were in my rooms. After the confrontation with Hadella, Quill had left to bring the others up on the latest, and I had left to finally bathe off the street grime….

49- Heart Wounds

The walk back to the palace felt longer and much more unpleasant barefoot than the chase out had been. I didn’t have urgency to drive me across cobble and refuse, and therefore had to drive myself. When I recognized the street where the Lute and the Bowl was located, I was genuinely tempted to divert…

48- Stalking

Hadella went first to her rooms, when she emerged, she was carrying a dark bundle. I kept a distance, moving at a hopefully innocuous pace but keeping just a glimpse of Hadella in sight around this corner or that. I picked my hair out of my night braid in case she’d noticed me in the…