Sep 21

The Eternal Blade Saga Book 2, Chapter 11: Making Amends

“Balthazar take this blasted snow!”

Our conversation suddenly interrupted, I cursed under my breath and turned from Rugnar’s bar to find two, warmly and well-dressed figures standing in the steading’s entryway. They shook the snow from their long, fur-lined coats, paying no mind as it collected all around them on the floor. I hoped Rugnar would ignore them and return to his story about what had been plaguing the supply caravans, but his attention was now intently focused on the two strangers. Much to my dismay, the story would have to wait.

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Sep 20

Chapter 1.2: The Toymaker

Chapter 1, part 2: The Toymaker

By the time Minkus rose the next day, the sun was already high, beaming down on the ground just inside the window, which told him he’d missed most of the morning already. Of course, the sounds of traffic and trade outside the inn helped convey the time as well. It was unusual for him to have slept so long, but as he sat up, rubbing his hazy eyes with the heels of his palms, he remembered the new friends who’d kept him up so late the night before, and suddenly his groggy scowl rose into a grin. It was an utterly worthwhile reason to begin the day a little out of sorts.He fell more than slid out of the large human bed and readied himself for the day, washing his face and ears, beating the dust out of his crimson tunic, and gargling saltwater before he headed out the door. A couple of days before, he’d found a quiet corner of the central gardens, where he could focus without interruption, so that was where he headed as he stepped past the threshold of the inn. Having gotten such a late start, though, he held his daily training to an hour and then continued with his day. There were two things on Minkus’ agenda: beer and gifts.

 

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Sep 17

Chapter Twenty Seven: Heartless

Daniel and I ran through the darkened halls, he held on to my hand and led the way. We had dispatched the two who were guarding the cells, but it was only a matter of time before their bodies were discovered.

“So where are we?” I asked.

“Dry Top,” said Daniel. “Mostly a temporary base that Salus set up, but this is where they receive orders from the main headquarters. The actual headquarters is deep in the Crystal Desert.”

“So you know where they are?” I asked. “Where they run everything? Their leader?”

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Sep 13

Chapter 1.1: Minkus, Minkus the Large

Chapter 1, part 1: Minkus, Minkus the Large

The front door to the pub swung wide open, slamming against the bell. A few nearby heads, and one behind the bar, turned to the door as a small group of off-duty Seraph strode into the dining hall, laughing loudly at something said just outside.

“Ho, Tanner!” cried the barkeep over the noise. “Be with you boys in just a minute.”

The evident leader of the party nodded, turned back, and continued laughing with his peers as they made their way to a table against the far wall.

What the busy barkeep didn’t notice was the next patron, right behind his regulars. There was no clang of the bell, no sound of chatter or laughter, and little more than a tuft of gray hair visible over the tables in the room. The barkeep, once again pouring drinks for a pair of traders at the bar, had absolutely no idea the young asura was there, making his way through the lowest altitudes of the crowd. Indeed, even most of the people he passed overlooked him. It was nothing he was unaccustomed to; he was quite tall for an asura, standing as high as the ribcage of an average human, but in the eyes of the other races, that still made him short enough to easily look past. That actually made navigating easier at times, allowing him quick passage through crowds in which he went all but unseen—as long as he could keep his oversized ears in check. He never really thought about it, though, and he certainly wasn’t thinking about it right then. At that particular moment, his nose was too full with the scents of meats and malts for much else to be on his mind, and as most things did, that made him smile.

 

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Jul 24

Hide Your Fires X [Finale]

I wasn’t sure if The Six or the Spirits of the Norn or The Eternal Alchemy that the asura claimed governed the world held sway over any part of Tyria, much less the weather, but the storms that pushed back my departure for weeks and weeks almost felt planned. It felt as though the moment I had made my decision to leave the mountains themselves had decided I would not.

The snows had piled up, rising to surround the lodge and put into question just how well stocked my mentor’s home was. It would have been an ignominious end to starve to death, snowed in, only to be discovered weeks or months or even years later. It wasn’t infrequently that I found myself wondering who would find our frozen corpses first – the Order of Whispers or the few traders that Elsif did irregular business with.

My mentor hadn’t seemed concerned, but then it was becoming increasingly difficult to read her. I had only her voice and her actions to work from, with no other eyes it was impossible to see her facial expressions or gauge what her long silences meant. But she’d grown more distant. Her moods more erratic.

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