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  1. Whatever physical pain Barghast was in was replaced by the possibility once again he was too late - when it came to the matter of Crow he had always been too late. He had been hoping for a chance to fix things. For Barghast, the physical pain such as it was, amounted to nothing. He was a collector of scars. One such scar was his lover Lucas, the man he had told Loras about. That scar would never fully go away. It would forever be there, a mark of his guilt and the betrayal he’d committed against a man he had once loved more than anything in the world. And then, just when he thought he
  2. Seeing the town of Annesville brought back memories of Loras’ own hometown. With its wooden buildings and frost-covered windows it easily could have been mistaken for Caldreath. She was stuck in the past again, in a different time when she had been younger and powerless. She remembered the memory the demon who’d possessed Greta had shown her. Demons, if they were powerful enough, could show you memories but they could also twist the memory into illusions and make the memory seen real. What the demon had shown her had not been an illusion but the exact truth as it had happened. She remember
  3. The woods wrapped him in a cloak of familiarity. He breathed in the smell of pine coming from the trees, ran his hands over the rough-hewn bark of a trunk, feeling the grooves and cracks. Every little detail brought back a sense of the solitary child he'd once been. I used to come out here for hours, he thought. Aunt Lena would fix me breakfast, then I would leave the house. I'd climb trees, build traps, listen to the sound of nature. This was my church - my sanctuary. Crow hiked for an hour before stopping to scale a large tree. He climbed easily, his fingers seeming to know where to
  4. Crow stayed off the main highway, sticking to the back roads where he thought he would have less chance in bumping into a passing Eurchurch patrol team. He let Broana move at her own pace, no longer in a rush to reach Annesville. He no longer truly cared if he made it to his hometown or not. The land was peppered sparse with abandoned homesteads like the one the Stray Dogs had slept in after escaping Fort Erikson; he slept in barns and hayloft, foraging through houses in search of food. Most of them were empty, having been cleared out by the owner of the home who had clearly left due to s
  5. Lora’s Aspect stood in Strabetha Vacuity’s office while her body remained hundreds of miles away. Strabetha’s office was not as large as her own, nor was it as furnished. Her advisor sat at her desk; her face was grim. “I have some bad news for you.” Loras sighed, squaring her shoulders. Preparing herself. “Alright, let’s have it.” “It’s official. Pope Drajen sent out the flyers a week ago. They are being passed throughout the hellscape right now. He has sent out a hundred patrolmen in squads to look for Crow. Just a few hours ago I received a report Crow was spotted in a town called W
  6. Crow woke up the next morning and stretched. He yawned and looked up at the ceiling. The only thing that would make this morning perfect is a joint, he thought. He’d had several rolled up, stashed away in his pack but the thieves who had attacked him had probably smoked them all by now. The audible growl of his belly motivated him to get out of bed. He went to the wardrobe and pulled the doors open. Shit. What am I going to wear? Except for a few wire hangers the wardrobe was completely empty. As if someone had read his mind there was a knock at the door. He opened it to find Brass st
  7. Crow and Broana continued their journey north. He was unsure of why he was heading in the direction of home rather than away from it. It was as if his heart’s desire had no say in the matter. When he stopped for the day to let Broana rest, he hunted. Building the snares brought a sense of nostalgia, reminding him of who he truly was and where he came from. I haven’t forgotten everything Aunt Lena taught me. At night he would sleep by a fire, breathing in the open air. Before going to sleep he prayed to Mother Moon: “Mother Moon, You’re light so gentle and cool, like water on my skin.
  8. Loras stormed into her office and slammed the door behind her. The air was thick around her and crackling with static energy, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She wanted to lash out at something, anything, to make this anger go away. It was too dangerous. She needed to alleviate it. And she knew just who to alleviate it on, too. She summoned Strabetha into her room. “I want Barghast and Jack in my office right away,” Loras said. She was hunched over her desk, her hands clenched into fists. Her voice shook with barely suppressed anger. She could sense Strabetha’s a
  9. Thousands of people stood in the chill of the new morning - people of all ages. No one was exempt from seeing the bloody spectacle that was about to take place. An hour before, a platoon of Red Wraiths were sent throughout the city, kicking down doors. Most of the people didn’t need persuading: They’d already trekked out into the cold, unwilling to risk the might and wrath of the Scarlet Church. But of course there were those who refused and they were shot down in a hail of gunfire that echoed through the mostly-silent streets of Fruimont. Benedict was unable to keep the nightmarish
  10. Benedict watched the woman stand. She was beautiful - blonde hair, high rosy cheeks, good body. Very beautiful indeed. But there was something about her that made him uneasy. Frightened him even. Perhaps it was her eyes. They were almost silver. Inhuman. He exchanged a quick glance with Lucijan Markelj. The chief of security looked equally frightened. The woman spoke in a high clear voice. She held up a sheet of paper. “What are these names?” she asked Damen. “Those are people who are being executed,” the High Priest said. “Through crucifixion?” “Yes.” “What are their c
  11. C’thla climbed out of the basin, water dripping from her body. Her body, curvaceous and perfect in every way (apart from a few fading bruises from when Sara had inhabited this body), gleamed from the water. Her fingers were all pruney. She dried herself off with a towel. Back in her room C’thla put on one of her new dresses, one she’d yet to wear, made of a beautiful light blue satin. The bottom of the wardrobe was lined with shoes. She slid into a pair that matched the dress perfectly with silver buckles. She sat in front of the mirror and brushed the tangles out of her hair. By this tim
  12. ValentineDavis21


    The past several weeks had been damnation on Loras’ nerves. She couldn’t stop pacing, couldn’t stop thinking about what might be happening in Fruimont. It kept her up at night and no amount of jalasa tea could help her relax. She cursed the First Disciple day and night for it was his fault the technology that had existed in the days of the Old World was no longer of use. It was said in the days before the hellscape people could easily communicate within seconds across great distances. And while she had the ability to Aspect-travel, it was dangerous. She was sitting in her office wondering
  13. They all sat around the kitchen table: Crow, Barghast, Benedict, and Sheathia. Benedict had the older woman, who Crow assumed was either the grandmother or the nanny, take the children to the back bedroom. Benedict’s daughter kept glancing back at him with open-faced curiosity, the boy with suspicion. Crow took Benedict through a watered down version of what had happened at the Scarlet Church. Even as he went through the events, doing his best to keep them straight in his sleep-deprived mind, it was hard to believe any of it had happened. It was harder to believe that he’d survived and was
  14. With a shout at the dogs, Duncan brought the sled to a stop before the gates of Fruitmont. Several guards stood watch. Each was armed with rifles. The biggest one in the group, a middle-aged man with a greying red beard approached the sled, his breath misting the air. The hood of his jacket was rimmed with fur. Duncan got up, patting the head of one of the dogs, and grinned cheerfully at the sour-faced Wraith. “Good afternoon, sir. Cold, isn’t it?” The Red Wraith grunted and peered over the sled, studying Crow, Barghast, Jack and Lydia. Rose sat at the very back of the shed but the guard s
  15. The four remaining Stray Dogs trekked through the snow, huddled together as one. The wind shrieked like a banshee, blowing snow in their face. It slapped at them as if trying to hold them back and keep them from reaching the dead city. It was everything Crow could do to keep putting one foot in front of the other. A steady aching pulse had formed in the center of his skull. The blood and snot running from his nose had turned into sickles. He was using the last of his mana reserves to keep the others warm with his hands. It was an agony within itself - he’d yet to push himself this far. If
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