The Sailor’s Bride: The Last Failsafe

The cold rain assaulted Cirieldis as she flew. Though it soaked her feathers and obscured her sight, she paid it no heed. Even when the weight of it threatened to tear her from the sky, she kept her eyes only on the open doors of her office balcony. I have given you my answer, Ciri….

Vignettes: Day of Hearts

Oleander Hawthorn awoke, as he did most mornings, with a bright smile on his face. The early sun was warm as it shone through the window, coaxing him to rise. He lay in bed a while longer, enjoying the sound of carts and horses on the cobbled streets below. The house was quiet now, with…

Justify the Means: Cut Out the Heart

Several months ago. Opechancanough closed his eyes, and breathed in. It was there beneath the smoke, beneath the sulfurous twinge of black powder. Pine tar, dark and sticky, laced with the earthy rot of leaf litter and the freshness of mountain water. For a moment he was far away, home in Pattawomeck, racing the ridgelines…

The Sailor’s Bride: Teetering

When Cirieldis sat on the balcony outside her state room, she was not Lady Cirieldis, Headmistress of the Ivory Tower School for Girls. She was not the Orchid-class leader of the Mormerili Order. She was just Ciri, lover of purple, mother of swans, drinker of tea. That was why she escaped to the balcony every…

Vignettes: Midsummer

“Mama, did I get enough flowers?” Glory handed her little bouquet to Rosie, who took it and counted the muted wildflowers bunched all together. “Let’s see. Queen Anne’s Lace, daisy, buttercup, bedstraw, red clover, bachelor’s buttons, and forget-me-not. That’s seven. You’re all set, love.” She smiled at the bouquet, and held it to her nose….

Spirit Eyes: Snow Beneath His Feet

Chief Panja’s expression was unreadable. Light from the central fire danced across his face, deepening the shadows and making his eyes seem distant and strange. “You come back to the ice bay without permission, in defiance of your banishment.” Taja lowered himself into a kneel. His knuckles sank into the fur rugs strewn at the…

Grave-digger’s Daughter: No More Tears

Esthyr didn’t say anything as Morty opened the cottage door and looked out at her. Instead, she dropped a small pouch in front of him. The coins inside let out a metallic crunch as the pouch hit the stone stoop. “What’s this?” said Morty. He looked tired, but then, he always did these days. “I…

Black and White: The Living and the Dead

Hathlafel paced in his cell. There had been no word, no word for days. He had had no human interaction save with the boy who brought his meals, and the passing guards. They treated him tolerably, and the food was decent (at least more so than he had expected), but even the finest accommodations would…

Paint the World Red

What little Carmanadh remembered of the battle, he wished he did not. They had marched for five days into lands increasingly blackened and desolate of life. Many had despaired, and fled. The man Aragorn had let them, and for this Carmanadh allowed him a grudging portion of respect. But by the time they reached the…

When Men Become Numbers

A jarring CRACK echoed through trough the room as Carmanadh’s armoured fist collided with the stone wall. He stood like that for a moment, knuckles fast against the marble as he caught his breath. Beside him, Mbita Mbwana clasped his own hands behind his back. “When you are finished with that, we should discuss our…

The Weather of War

Early Morning — Carmanadh By the time that great beasts had hauled the battering ram of Mordor to to the gate of Minas Tirith, Knight-captain Carmanadh had already been holding the wall for many hours. All around him the ramparts glittered with the sheen of starsilver: the Knights of Dol Amroth stood entangled with their…

Arrow-hearted: Change

He went into the deep woods because it was the only place left for him to go. The tall treesĀ  called his name in a way they never had before, and what they told him was ‘Come, listen. Let the world fall away. The thing you’re searching for can only be found here.’ He listened…