Help Wanted (56)

April 11, 2014

The story so far.

“Like how dangerous?” you ask. You’re not really interested, just hoping the librarian will say something useful.

“Well, it’s got considerable disruptive capabilities. Like if, just for instance, you wanted to destroy a standing magical wave–the one that protects the harbor, for instance–or the transport system, or, oh, anything. The Orb is basically designed to do that sort of thing.”

“Then why haven’t the goblins used it?”

The librarian peers at you again over his glasses. “They live here, too.”

“But they hate people.”

“If a person–a human person, I should say–is trying to get their hands on the Orb of Tratruchekan, then they have reason.”

The Company: The Sorcerer (56)

April 11, 2014

The story so far.

The Jarl, who had watched Olemilekan’s examinations with his arms folded, made an impatient gesture for the sorcerer to continue. Olemilekan laid the scrap on the ground and closed his eyes.

I don’t know what I expected. Lightning and thunder, I guess. At the very least a puff of smoke. In the stories, magic was always a flashy thing. Surely such a disordering of the universe ought to be accompanied by some noise.

But Olemilekan simply sat there for perhaps as long as it took to count to one hundred. Then he opened his eyes and spoke to his companion.

“The quarry is no longer in the castle,” she translated.

“Fine,” the Jarl growled. “Where is he?”

The Fey Child (99)

April 9, 2014

The story so far.

The other witch raised her wand again. She still looked dazed. Power rippled in the air around her, gathering to resist the queen’s next assault.

But the same power gathered around the queen far faster, and she struck with the speed and ferocity of a viper.

The other witch went flying, hit the ground, rolled, and disappeared under a rosebush.

All around us, the wards collapsed. The contracting circle vanished. The combatants, bunched close together, and pressing closer and closer to the portal, spread out like fish falling out of a loosened net.

I looked around wildly for the prince.

But the queen had already seen me.

Sundown, part 150

April 8, 2014

The story so far.

“Why do you think he’s lying?” Jason says. “That doesn’t even make any sense. Why would he want to keep you here?”

Why, indeed, but Cassandra doesn’t see much point in going into it. “You coming or not?”

“Where are you going to go?”

“North.” There’s fewer of them the further you go. The long winters and according lack of daylight don’t make up for the lack of food.

Of course, that’ll be a problem for her, as well.

But the last messages before everything went dark suggested that most of those who’d managed to survive had gone that way.

And there’s a lot less ground to cover from here than with any of the other options.

Help Wanted (55)

April 7, 2014

The story so far.

“Interesting,” the librarian says.

“What’s interesting about it?” you can’t help asking.

“Well,” the librarian says, “the Orb of Tratruchekan has been lost for a long time. Centuries, maybe, I’d have to look it up. So I wonder how your patron knew that the goblins had it? For that matter, how did the goblins get it?”

You sigh. This is the problem with consulting the Library.

“Look,” you say, “I don’t really care about any of that, just about my fee.” And what the goblins will do if you don’t get them the Bone.

The librarian peers at you. “You should. It’s inestimably dangerous.”

The Company: The Sorcerer (55)

April 3, 2014

The story so far.

Olemilekan glanced at his companion, who translated. He dipped his chin and closed his eyes briefly. I’d been around both of them long enough to recognize that as a sign of acknowledgement.

“He can,” his companion said.

“Good,” the Jarl said. “Do it.”

Olemilekan knelt before the chest. He picked up each object in turn, closing his eyes as though this would aid his examination. Perhaps it did. I had no more comfort with sorcery than did any of my countrymen and had never before seen it performed.

He dallied longest over a scrap of fabric stained with blood, then opened his eyes and made a remark to his companion.

“This will do,” she translated. “It has the quarry’s blood on it.”

Ten Kingdoms: The Green Castle (154)

March 17, 2014

The story so far.

Scoti knows what the next step is. Mykel orders the rest of them to restrain her until the transport arrives. He thinks he’s doing the right thing.

She couldn’t swear that he’s wrong.

“Okay,” she says. They all relax, taking the word for capitulation.

She turns and runs, straight for the labyrinth of lower-ceilinged corridors where the sight lines are shorter and there are plenty of rooms to duck into.

Their surprised shouts fade behind her, so quickly that she almost changes her mind and goes back.

But she’s not lost. Not even close.

She knows exactly where she is.

The Fey Child (98)

March 10, 2014

The story so far.

I ducked, shielding my eyes with my hand, even though neither of those things would do any good. As the flash faded I lowered my arm.

The queen’s spell had dissipated. The other witch stood there, looking surprised, her wand held loose in her hand as though she’d forgotten what it was for. She blinked as the queen turned on her, raising her hands for another spell.

I looked around for the prince. We were doing this on his behalf, he could damn well help rather than leave two mortals to take on the Queen of Faery by themselves.

He was nowhere to be seen.

Ten Kingdoms: The Green Castle (153)

March 6, 2014

The story so far.

“Transport’ll be here in an hour,” Wash puts in. “C’mon, Scoti, just come back with us. Your report will help ensure we get another shot at this place.”

“Speak for yourself,” Sy says. “No fucking way I’m ever coming back here.”

“I would,” Jolorie says. “Wouldn’t you, Pya?”

Pya looks confused. “Why are you asking me? She’s the one who wants to stay.”

“But if she comes back, we might all get to return here,” Wash says. “If we want to,” he adds, with a hasty look at Sy.

“You’re all acting as though this is an open question,” Mykel says. “It’s not.”

Sundown, part 149

March 3, 2014

The story so far.

It takes her a few days to get up the nerve, but finally she goes to see the Troubadour. He’s even playing his guitar when she stops by, which weirds her out.

“Yeah, I did come across a few pockets of survivors,” he says, in response to her question. “Little ones. Most about the size of that family you told me about in your town. Never more than a hundred in one place.” He plucks at the guitar in desultory fashion for several seconds, then says, “You thinking of leaving?”

She doesn’t see much point in denying it.

“I wouldn’t,” he says. “I came a long way. Everywhere’s like here.”

She thanks him and goes back to her hidey-hole.

She’s quite sure he’s lying.


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