8. Death Is Close

Another episode of Man Raised by Spiders, the coming-of-age story of Valentine Claudius Shelawn. As they approach the farmhouse, Hector, the ranger, takes the lead. He’s pessimistic about finding open tracks. The lane is filthy and churned-up, and has been washed by repeated rains. The last predawn miles are particularly shitty; the group is confined […]

7. Who Sent You?

Another episode of Man Raised by Spiders, the coming-of-age story of Valentine Claudius Shelawn. Despite training hard all day, Valentine can’t sleep that night. When Aramil invites him to meet a few friends, Valentine thinks, there won’t be news for several more hours. Might as well go. This is how he finds himself in a […]

6. Tokens

The next morning, Valentine wakes to a note from Xardic: “Urgently need your help. Please come to my office as soon as you get this. I will meet with you when you arrive.” Instead of sending the man back with a reply, Valentine says, “He wants to see me immediately? Give me five minutes. I’ll […]

5. The Labyrinth

Aramil has left a message saying he’ll join Valentine in the stable yard to train. Valentine begins a series of strike drills, alternating bursts of punches with push-ups. Valentine finds it comforting to train. It’s the one time when he knows what’s expected of him, and feels competent to handle any challenge. In truth, he […]

4. Further Training

The next day, a footman delivers an elaborately folded note from Aramil. “What the fuck is this?” Valentine asks, “an origami swan?” The footman shrugs. “His handwriting is terrible. Can you make this out?” “He’d like a rapier lesson this afternoon, if convenient.” No valid excuse rises to mind, so Valentine scrawls a time early […]

3. The Island

The next episode of Man Raised by Spiders, the coming-of-age story of Valentine Claudius Shelawn. Just a few days later, Valentine has a fresh opportunity to experience the benefits of family membership: Sieia holds a garden party in his honor. For much of the day, being honored seems to consist of standing around nursing a […]

2. Theates

The second episode of Man Raised by Spiders, the coming-of-age story of Valentine Claudius Shelawn. The next morning, Valentine receives a dinner invitation from his cousin Sieia, Xardic’s wife and, apparently, one of his many living Shelawn relatives. It’s delivered by a servant who was told to wait for an answer. Valentine gives a verbal […]