Malika barked a derisive laugh. "If by 'grounded' you mean, did it feel more real than the lesser deathless we cut down? Then yes. Yes, it did." She reached up and pointedly rubbed at her shoulder again, even though the ache was barely there. "I don't kno…Posted 3 years ago
As was his custom, Orthael watched the life of Trien go about before him while he thought about Malika's questions. The baker haggled with a farmer for a box of vegetables, a thatcher pushed a cart of straw and ladders past them, and at the edge of his vi…Posted 3 years ago
For What Comes Next
Malika nodded slowly. "Very well." Her voice hardened. "What be next... Reliath?" She stumbled over the holy man's name, unaccustomed to addressing one of the clergy so casually.
"That... what did you call it? Malylech? That Malylech. Why were we unable …Posted 3 years ago
Bright Day, Dark Night
Orthael breathed out evenly, nodding. He had known, rationally, the moment that Varreniel's Candle had snuffed out. But it was another thing entirely to hear that it confirmed, that all the wards and defenses of a cathedral of the Flame had failed against…Posted 3 years ago
The Darkness Desolate
Malika was silent for a time, regathering her composure. She was embarrassed by her reaction, especially in front of this man. Finally, she nodded solemnly.
"The Archbishop is gone, as you presume, holy man," she said, "as is everyone else I ever knew. T…Posted 3 years ago
Curse the Darkness
After the service was over, Orthael sat next to the swordmaiden on the grass and looked out into an overcast morn. He waited a while in silence, but in the end he broke it with a sigh.
"Varenniel's Candle should be lit, swordmaiden, but it sputtered when…Posted 3 years ago
Lost Things: That Which Is from Within
She reappeared in another part of the library, a dank room smelling of moldering wood and fungus. The furniture here was in disrepair, rotten through and falling apart. She loved it.
She settled onto a pile of termite-eaten wood that may once have been a…Posted 3 years ago
A Flame Snuffed Out
Malika did not bow her head. So far as she was concerned, faith had failed her. Her eyes had been on the holy man, his vestments - tattered as they were - and on the implements of his office. And so she saw the candle of Varenniel puff out of its own ac…Posted 3 years ago
The Divine Spark
Orthael was pleased by the turnout. A few parishioners had come to introduce themselves and give their requests before the start, which he had made careful note of. Herrin had done well with the reading, and then he asked the collected faithful to bow the…Posted 3 years ago
For Whom the Bell Tolls
A bell rang in the distance, and Malika rose from her cot, plucking Morduth up from where it lay beside her. She knew the sound of that bell because she had heard it regularly most of her life. This was not quite like the bell in her village, though. The …Posted 3 years ago
Ever the Hope
Orthael gave her a smile and lifted a conspiratorial finger to his lips, then indicated the smouldering taper with one hand and the unlit candles with the other. Sparks flew, smoke rose and embers flared - the taper crumbled to ash, the candles flamed. He…Posted 3 years ago
The church in Trien was a handsome stone edifice, built sturdily in decades past and carefully maintained since; the tall arches lifted Orthael's spirits by their apparent timelessness. There was a flicker of candlelight visible through the windows, and t…Posted 3 years ago
Under a Swift Sunrise
The air was crisp and the dew barely settled on the grass when Orthael left the house. He closed the door behind him with just the clink of his chain shirt and took the stairs up onto the wall two at a time - relishing the lightness of foot and freedom of…Posted 3 years ago
What Is Known
Malika reflected back on her battle with the deathless. The lesser of the creatures she was able to cut a wide swath of destruction through, banishing them back to Ashmar with ease. The greater deathless - a Gorgon, according to Morduth - that one still t…Posted 3 years ago
What Is Unknown
Anger flared inside Malika, and she failed to noticed the light aura of flame that momentarily erupted around her hand, even as Morduth lay by her side, untouched.
He is right, Mistress, the sword declared. There is much about my own history that even…Posted 3 years ago
Beneath What Is
Before she could challenge him, he spoke. Quietly, but firmly.
"Take care with your weapon, swordmaiden. It is more than you know, and less. Much has been forgotten about those that drew it and its kin from the forges, but what survives is enough to trou…Posted 3 years ago
Malika woke with a start, sitting bolt upright. Morduth was in her hand, ablaze with blue flame that crept up over her hand and wrist. As always the flame did not harm her. Rather it brought her comfort and warmth, and she reveled in its light.
Mistress…Posted 3 years ago
Malika slept restlessly that night. Her sleep was plagued by dreams of shadows and flames, the yellow infernos of building burning. Creatures moved among those flames, casting long silhouettes across the carcasses of homes that had fallen into embers. Of …Posted 3 years ago
The Magistrate's Confidence
Merall smiled briefly, letting Deravell's stories of bloodlust and corruption of the spirit slip back into the lower reaches of his memory. She need not know, and at any rate they were only stories. Only the librarians in the Lower Archives and the other …Posted 3 years ago
The Rusted Blade
Malika shivered. The events of the night still weighed heavily upon her, and it was difficult to wrap her mind around the loss of her village, the fight with the Lycanders, the destruction of the lesser deathless, and the conflict with the greater deathle…Posted 3 years ago
They should have known when they launched them, battalions at a time. Everything was mathematically planned. No collisions, no crossing paths or degrading orbits. Full coverage. But the little mirrors grew so numerous as to first double t…Posted 3 years ago
What is the point of prayer?
We ask god to make things a certain way that have been what they are all along.
Please don't let it be cancer
Please let it be mold and not a dangerous building toxin
It's not like god miraculously changes it from what it is…Posted 3 years ago
Power over Unbelief
The reeve waved away his connection to the Flame and gave her a smile that did not quite reach his sad eyes.
"You are most welcome, child. I'm sorry I cannot do more, but such is our lot as mere men."
He glanced at Reliath, who was leaning back now as i…Posted 3 years ago
Spark of Healing
The Archangel of Sparks.
Malika had heard of this, but she had never actually witnessed it. She had never been a devout follower of the Church, and her local vicar had never, to her knowledge, before summoned an aspect of any of the three Archangels. He …Posted 3 years ago
Touched by Angels
Several things happened at once. Orthael and Merall recoiled; even Judgement shifted uneasily in its scabbard. Blood magic was old, from a time long before the first records of the Church. The High Conclave had never formally declared it heresy, though th…Posted 3 years ago