Anecdote XXXIV. Just a Dream

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August 1st, 2016  It was dark as an inkwell when I woke to the sound of labored breathing. Something struggled nearby, shaking my bed. As I came to, I realized it was Lask beside me. He was asleep on his side with his bare back to me, twitching and tensing in his sleep. A low, plaintive sound escaped him as he curled himself, hauling on the covers. I turned to face him, realizing he was in the grip of a nightmare, and reached out to touch him. I had only brushed my fingers along his shoulder blade when he cried more »

Anecdote XXXIII. I Am a Rock… I Am an Island.

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I was 14 going on 15 when October came. October is always a magical time of year, when all the world turns to blazing red and gold, as if the Lion of Winter roars in the distance, and all the trees suit up to meet him. In the Fall of 2004, I asked Lask an important question: “If your job is looking after me, where do you go when you’re not with me?” For years he had been teaching me to ask questions. It was like some sort of sacred meditation, or mind tai chi that he loved. I always more »

Anecdote XXIII. Kotora Eler Grymor

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September 28th, 1610 Malstefin’s growl sounded more like a wheeze as he tugged fruitlessly at the chains. He glowered at the manacles, and the bloody chafed skin under them. It was the one hundred and twenty-first day of his captivity in Jessair’s dungeon, assuming he’d been keeping a correct count. The Luminor seemed to return once a day, torture him for a few hours, then leave him alone. At first Malstefin laughed at him, for his naturally bulletproof hide had proven impossible for Jessair to break. Weeks of starvation and thirst had since robbed the Demon of his natural resilience, more »

Anecdote XXII. Falient Leaves Alone

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July 5th, 1949 • Erumut Falient was rolling a smooth pebble back and forth between his hands. He was slouched at the stone table next to his father, listening to the Demon Epro and his allies bicker about when to make their move on a group of troublesome Luminari. Tiermond made Falient accompany him on all matters of business, saying he needed to learn how to make a living for himself, but more often than not, Falient was bored out of his mind. He had tromped up the stairs to the meeting room, complaining of a stone stuck in his more »

Anecdote XXI. No Love for the Dark

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“But Tabo, I’m ‘ungry,” Falient pleaded, reaching for a bit of the meat on his father’s makeshift plate. “You ate earlier today,” growled Tiermond, swatting his hand away. “Some of us haven’t had anything in days.” Falient stood next to him, looking up at him with forlorn eyes. “Tabo–” he ventured again. “Don’t call me that!” snapped Tiermond, pushing him away. “Go on with you! You ain’t gonna starve.” Falient surrendered and trudged away, striking off up the hillside to sit among the rocks above their camp. He drew his knees up to his chest as the wind gusted, and more »

Anecdote XX. A Childhood Dismembered

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March 3rd, 1945 “Get in there, boy!” Tiermond’s rough hand shoved Falient back toward the leering Demon. The boy’s breath came in trembling gasps, but he dared not cry. He was already covered in bruises and cuts, but his father insisted he learn to fight. This was not the first beating he’d received in pursuit of this, but today the Demon Foko, who was overseeing his father’s expedition, offered to practice with him. It was hardly practice, as every time the boy came within reach, the Demon would smash him back to the ground. The handful of Warmongers and Lakvos more »

Anecdote IXX. Belara Remembers Tiermond

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2014 • Not long after her arrival, Lask began asking Belara questions. At first, she despised him for it, but he struck a chord one day when he asked her about Falient. It was clear she had cared for the boy, so Lask inquired about her relationship with him, and the boy’s father. Belara was silent a long time, and Lask wondered if she would answer at all. “I always felt sorry for Tiermond,” she said after a while, “I like Viatrians, and he was as good as any of them. He was kind, hopeful, young, and bright when I more »