25. Persephone Eats Six Seeds

He’s gone when her water breaks. The pain yanks her into the open, impales her in her body and the cell around her. She’s bound, as always. The force is terrible — a series of rhythmic blows from the inside that warp her frame. It grips her by the nape, shakes her over and over, […]

24. You’re Just a Little Thing

He enters carrying a tray with a branch of lit candles and a jar of the viscous, violet-scented liquid. He’s quiet, but there’s a sense of barely restrained excitement about him. He feeds her quickly, and leaves her arms and neck strapped to the cot, the feeding tube taped in place. He watches her for […]

23. You’ve Been Forgotten

“I’ve wanted so much to get to know you,” says Tereus. “To share a meal, or the occasional smoke, or a drink. We both hold commands, after all. We’re powerful among our people. I’ve wondered if you felt doubt and regret about what happened — the troops you lost.”  They’re sitting side-by-side on her little […]

22. You’re Too Valuable to Die

The scene at the Lavyryx farm is peaceful and quiet. The farmyard is overgrown, and parts of it have been trampled. The scouts from Liamelia made no particular effort to hide their tracks. The front door of the farmhouse is off its hinges, and the windows-glass is long-gone. Ajax and Inglorion exchange a glance. Inglorion […]

59. Not Yet Wise or Predictable

Soundtrack and Video: Talking Heads, Burning Down the House (Live 1984) The Duchess has been there all along, within earshot but apparently absorbed in a report. Inglorion walks over and stands within her field of view, waiting to be recognized. For a long, uncomfortable moment, she refuses to notice him. During that moment, a sick, […]

58. The Last Trial: Kicking the Hornet’s Nest

Soundtrack and Video: Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime (Live 1983) Two days after his meeting with the Duchess, Inglorion is jolted out of trance. Ajax says, “You’re to go to the Duchess immediately, sir. It’s the last trial.” “Hm. Okay. What time is it?” “Just past midnight, sir.” “Very well. The throne room?” “Yes, […]