33. Conclusion: The Great God Pain

Soundtrack and Video: Johnny Cash, “Hurt” Tereus wakes up, dry-mouthed, bile rising in his throat. He’s tied to the split-rail fence surrounding the stable yard. His arms and legs are spread wide, and he’s slightly bent at the waist, cheek pressed against a rough wooden beam. His bonds are cruelly tight. It’s exhausting to support his […]

73. Bonne Nuit, Mon Enfant

The day grinds on. Ajax selects 12 men, women and children to leave that night. Inglorion said he’d speak to them personally, but none is in a position to understand and reply. They’re gaunt, pale, feverish. The wounds from their irons are infected. An older woman’s limbs have swollen painfully around her irons, and gangrene […]

72. Valentine’s Crime

Aramil, Lucius and Ajax tether their horses a quarter-mile down the road. Aramil and Lucius take up firing positions on opposite embankments, where they’re covered by underbrush and have a commanding view of the trail. Inglorion and Valentine remain mounted, concealed in the trees just off the road; Ajax hangs back, prepared to take prisoners […]

64. Effervescent, Honey-Flavored Hope

From the beginning, Inglorion finds the task of turning five individuals into a team both absorbing and daunting. All five are clever, skilled and devoted to the cause. They’re also far from perfect. Valentine is a busybody: Rigid, convinced of his own righteousness and insight. Ajax is quietly efficient, and uncomplaining and uncritical to a […]

62. The Others Should Follow, and Will

Inglorion walks back from the Foreign Office slowly, giving himself time to think. As he strolls the wide, green streets and squares of central Liamelia, it occurs to him that perhaps he should have mentioned this scheme to Virginia, Valentine and Ajax before signing papers committing to it. He might have reviewed recent intelligence, consulted with […]

61. The Letter of Marque

Over the next several hours, Inglorion is interviewed by six different men. Two are openly hostile; one, disarmingly genial. The remaining three are neutral or non-committal. They all inquire into his weapons training and combat experience. One questions him extensively about his language studies, though he doesn’t speak Drow, Romany or French, and can’t give […]

60. The City Barracks

The glorious conviction of triumph fades, as it must. Inglorion soon suffers from the same itching impatience that tormented his father and forefathers, back to some nameless, primal Shelawn who emerged from the Great Divide scheming to abduct an heiress or float bad stock. Just as he finds himself wondering whether he should call on […]