27. Feeling His Humiliation

Lucius Shelawn sits in the library, as he often does. If someone were to ask what he’s doing, he would say that he is feeling his humiliation. No one asks, so there’s no opportunity to say this, but it is what he thinks as he sits there, hour after hour. “Library” is a grand name […]

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 […]

8. The Smooth, Hard Surface of His Indifference

When they reach her bedchamber, Lavinia hisses, “How could you humiliate me like that?” He’s a bit taken aback. She’s taken much more flagrant behavior in stride. “Pardon me?” “The way you fawned over those vulgar, nasty old women.” He says in a commonplace tone, “If you’re bent on quarreling, come into my dressing room […]

7. He Will Not Submit to Boredom Tonight

The social ordeal begins the night before the ball. Two sets of elderly nobles emerge from the North Mountains the day before, and of course they stay at Shelawn House. There’s a small house party, and Tereus is forced to feign lighthearted sociability. Dinner is tolerable. He finds he rather likes Lady Soane. She’s 800 […]

57. No Man of Honor

Penelope and Sieia pay a brief call of ceremony on Virginia the following day, and make arrangements for the proposed dinner party. Sieia says, “Valentine and I will come fetch the three of you. Even if it’s just a family party, somehow it’s more comfortable to arrive together.” That evening, then, the Ceralac family barouche […]

40. This Insupportable Loneliness

Valentine reaches the flat, uses the latchkey to let himself in. Finally, he’s alone. He’s out of the public eye, and the servants have gone to bed. He retires to his dressing room, strips off his jacket, waistcoat and neckcloth. The fashion is for tight, elaborate neckcloths, so there are are pink marks all around […]

39. The Spinsters’ Chaise Lounge Incident and a Masculine Demand

As promised, Inglorion introduces Valentine to his intelligence sources in Amakir. It would be unjust to call Inglorion a honeypot, but he does count several attractive, unattached women among his professional acquaintance. After a few weeks in Amakir, it’s obvious to Valentine that his older cousin freely mingles business and pleasure, and can’t imagine operating […]

37. The Magnificent Five: Aramil Augustus

Though he is an unconventional host, Inglorion does know how to throw a dinner party. Once Valentine has tracked down Aramil, Inglorion hosts both of them at his club, a quiet establishment made up of wealthy tradesmen, gentlemen committed to radical causes, and a handful of artists, writers and tastemakers. The library and reading room […]

36. The Sea Sprite Bar and Grill

Soundtrack and video, David Bowie, “Hang on to Yourself,” live 1973 Our story continues a few months later, in the winter of 1825, not long after Inglorion’s 138th birthday. He doesn’t think of it that way, because he doesn’t know what day he was born. For elves, who live hundreds of years, anniversaries wax and […]

15. Epic Luck

Another episode of Man Raised by Spiders, the coming-of-age story of Valentine Shelawn. Valentine has a secret now. Inglorion — Sieia’s half-brother, Valentine’s cousin — is a high-ranking, token-holding member of the Theates clan. At first, Valentine avoids discussing this with Sieia. There seems to be nothing to say, and conversation implies judgment, decision, action. […]