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When the three of them fell into the doors of the inn, they were greeted by a quick look and an exasperated sigh from the innkeeper. “He is back, is he not?” the man seemingly asked the brass lamp above his head. “Every night I hope he gets himself killed, and then he comes back, […]

Chapter 14. A New Sailor

Uncle Yuro’s ship was a kyrenia, a small, bulbous boat of the Pearl Islands dwellers, with a square sail, and two side rudders at the back. It was freshly covered with pitch, and Ani looked its shiny sides over. It was the dawn of the day when their journey to Rodhina was to start. The […]

The next day, with a modest payment and an apologetic smile, Ani sent the maid to the Young Witch to accept the latter’s proposition.  The servant came back telling Ani to meet the Witch’s uncle in a small tavern in the docks in the evening. The girl also informed Ani that she would accompany her there, as […]

After several hours of weighing and considering, Ani decided to go to sleep. She would need strength the next day, no matter what her next steps were. The Long House looked unchanged, the same cold sheets of rain were slashing across Ani’s face, sea raging at the foot of the cliff the building stood on, […]

Danihla died quickly. At first it seemed that his agility, swifter movements, and lighter step were giving him advantage, but first a heavy blow across his thigh cut him down, and then Naum’s sword sank into Danihla’s neck, right above the shoulder. The sound was squelching, and Ani shuddered. She had only seen one combat […]

The witch’s house was a two story building, white walls just like other ones on the island, an outside staircase leading to the second floor. An open yard was in front of it, fruit trees, herb garden, and some thick dark green plant crawling up one of the walls of the house, succulent bunches of […]

Chapter 9. Of Red and White

The trip to the Pearl Islands took seven days. Most of them Ani spent in the tent, at the bottom of the ladya. She had learnt her lesson, and when a new wave of nausea rose, she crawled out of her shelter and up the side of the ship. She could not claim that she […]

The baskak slipped on the bench, pulling some covers and furs over his body, then tucked her in as well, and Ani looked at him from the corner of her eye. She did not want to show she was observing him, and also she had no strength to lift her head. He stretched on his […]

The baskak suddenly pushed away from her and slid on the floor, on his knees, between her legs. Ani rose on her elbows and stared at him. He had bunched up her skirt by then and was untying the second stocking’s ribbons that held it to her garter belt. He then rolled it down and […]

Ani as much as fell into the Long House, her knees shaking, vision blurred, stomach as if repeatedly slashed across with dull blade. She made two steps in and slumped ungracefully on the nearest bench. “Well, good evening, honourable healer!” The merry voice of the dead baskak came from the opposite wall. “At least I […]