29. A Thoroughly Bad Man and a Reprobate

Tereus is lying in the hayloft smoking and drinking. It’s the end of a cold day in late October, a day or two after he and Valeria last exchanged private words. He’s not drunk — not by his standard. Several genteel phrases exist to describe his condition: Half-disguised, well to live, foxed. He’s not drunk, […]

28. One Last Thing to Break

Soundtrack and Video: Frank Turner, “Recovery (Live)” Six weeks later, Tereus presses a note into Valeria’s palm. It says, “Meet me in the hayloft tonight, if you can.” Of course she makes her way to the barn, climbs the ladder into the hayloft. It doesn’t much matter what she does. It feels like her conduct […]

23. Reckless Greed

Tereus’s passion is fierce, painful. He’s always enjoyed sex, but for him it’s a casual pleasure, well below drinking and battle and smoking, and good food, for that matter. Now that he is deprived of other vices, his constant, punishing rounds of craving and satisfaction center on Valeria and the need to possess her. Valeria […]

22. Forgive Me, Love Me, Let Me Love You

9/1/17— His beauty has gradually impressed itself upon me. I feel his intellect, the force of his will, but more than anything, I feel his masculine vigor. We lay there talking. Because he asked, I told him what I thought of him back then. He listened thoughtfully and said, “I always found you witty, intriguing. […]

9. Particularly Brutal

Tereus wakes the following morning feeling ill and out-of-sorts. Breakfast is slight and improvised. The toast is cold, and his request for bacon meets with polite incredulity. Lavinia actually laughs it off. She and Valeria seem to have met and reaffirmed their sisterly bond by agreeing that he’s a Bad Man. Tereus has often wished […]

84. With My Body, I Thee Worship

Once dinner has ended and they’re heading back to Inglorion’s tent, he whispers to Virginia, “Is Lucius well enough to spend the night alone? I want us to have a little honeymoon.” “Of course. What did you have in mind?” “Go fetch your cloak and I’ll show you.” She gathers her cloak, kisses Lucius goodnight, […]

70. Never Good or Careful

Inglorion paces for another hour after Virginia flees the sitting room in tears. He dreads joining her in her bedchamber. His stomach is churning. There’s no chance he’ll get into trance. He has to saddle up and ride out in less than five hours, well before dawn. Finally he climbs the stairs, his steps heavy […]

69. Risk Assessment

In retrospect, the signs will seem obvious. The Magnificent Five capture 12 more shipments prior to their final ride. At first, it was as easy as adventuring in the old days, when he and Sieia and various chance-met companions stripped wealth from disorganized groups that could be loosely considered enemies. Over time, Inglorion notices a progression […]

67. Laying Down Pipe

The Magnificent Five still ride out at least weekly, so time is scarce. Even so, to Inglorion’s surprise, he’s intrigued and humbled, and feels compelled to be drawn, just like he used to seek out mirrors to study his Drow eyes. He’s also seen enough to know that if he intends to collaborate with Lawrence, […]