23. The Castaway

After days of blank mourning, a purpose comes to Inglorion in the night. He will visit a nearby shrine, El Tiradito. The name means “The Castaway,” and the memorial is dedicated to sinners and outcasts, souls too degraded and impure to be buried in hallowed ground. Tereus was a non-believer, criminal and occasional drunk; Inglorion […]

22. The Oldest Scars

Inglorion sits there, watching his son’s face. He feels weak from hunger, but choked with nausea. He’s sticky with sweat and dirt, but too tired to walk back and take a shower. His eyes burn with tears, but he cannot cry. Lucius’s face is sweet in repose. If they were gray elves, no one would […]

21. The Gods Can Show You Whatever They Want

Lucius hears about a rash of attacks near the railroad crossings, and he cannot stop talking about them. It bothers him when Inglorion insists that Brutus is an adult, an army veteran, and probably more prepared to defend himself and his property than they are. Clearly he expects Inglorion to check on Brutus, and won’t […]

13. Who’s a Motherfucking Rock Star?

“Hey, buddy,” Inglorion mutters to the bird. It’s dusty up there, but not filthy — the pigeons must think it’s a real owl. After a moment, he examines statue’s base, and sees that it’s held in place by four bolts and nuts. They’re coated with rust, of course. He has a saw and chisel, but […]

12. Thirty Feet of Drop

Inglorion frowns, peers around the side of the building at his projected route. Now that he’s looking at the particulars, he realizes it won’t be a walk in the park. The fall from the first-floor ledge, which he’ll free-climb, is 10 feet. If he should happen to slip while rigging the drainpipe, he could fall […]

11. Inglorion’s Hare-Brained Scheme

As soon as he gets home, Inglorion calls out to his son, “Lucius, I need your help with something.” “Oui, mon pére?” Lucius looks up. He’s fiddling with a handful of feathers, fashioning them into some kind of head ornament. “I’m going to steal the iron owl off the façade of the Owl’s Club building. […]

10. The Iron Owl

By mutual, tacit consent, Brutus and Inglorion settle into a casual master/apprentice arrangement. Inglorion knows little about farming and water harvesting in this climate; Brutus knows a lot. Though the older man rarely provides step-by-step lessons, or even explicit advice, he’s willing to let Inglorion shadow him as he tinkers with his cisterns and basins, […]