30. Listening for a Miss

Life in the Underdark as Marquis Theates sounds exotic, but at times it resembles the life of a mid-level manager in corporate America, seen through infrared vision. Over the next few days, Inglorion attends a lot of meetings and briefings, and holds some. He writes and reads reports, resumes his usual alliances and vendettas. All […]

53. What Did You Do to Your Hands?

Another episode of Man Raised by Spiders, the coming-of-age story of Valentine Shelawn. He masters an impulse to flee the house, ride up into the mountains. Instead, he forces himself to go to Sieia’s sitting room. He finds her seated by the fire. “Did you see her? What happened?” “I did. I don’t know.” He […]

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 […]

7. Beneath, Something Worse Is Waiting

Soundtrack: Tool, Jerk-Off Live Inglorion’s trance ends around 11:00 on Friday, his day off. He doesn’t make a deliberate decision to fast — he does it thoughtlessly, out of habit. By noon he’s in the gardener’s quarters, training with Collatinus. After an hour of strike drills, he finally starts to settle down, to feel calm […]