Who Is Sylvia?

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Who Is Sylvia“You know who that is, don’t you?”

My partner was testing me again.  One year together.  And I’d saved his pudgy life twice, but he still thought I must be too young to know about certain things, like what “real” music is and who the gangster lying dead on the floor was.  Anyone else and I’d have copped an attitude.  But Teo Riley is worthy.  And he’d saved my lunatic life four times over the past year.

“Sylvio Milan. Verona Strand’s most notorious crime boss.  They call him ‘The Gentleman’ on account of how he doesn’t believe in torture and treats friend and foe alike with honor and dignity in all of his dealings, even the ones that go south.”

“Yeah, he’ll make sure you’ve had a taste of his thousand-dollar wine and imported caviar before he lops your head off.”

“I’ve also heard tell the name is ironic.” Continue reading

The Dreaming Queen

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Dreaming Queen“You know, your eyes are lovely.  So blue.  It’s like they’re made of sapphires.”

Clara smiled.  “And my heart is made of diamond.”

The tavern-keeper leaned an elbow on the bar table and laughed.  Likely he thought she was flirting back at him.  She was not.  Her heart was indeed made of diamond.  A creature cursed she was.  Like the king of myth whose touch turned all to gold, Clara could transform all to diamond.  Her curse was more merciful in some ways.  She could only harm who and what she loved, and only if her bare skin were to touch.  A curse afflicted half the members in her family, each in different ways.  Her sister lay in eternal sleep.  Her husband had been transformed into a bear.  She had thus far failed to find the wicked creature who had cursed them.

Clara was weary from her hunting and heartsick from missing her family.  Now that the first snows of winter had fallen, she was weary too from cold.  She could not even enjoy a hot bowl of tomato soup with crusty bread, for she loved that meal and it would likely turn to diamond.  So she settled for porridge and bitter ale.  And she dreamed that the tavern’s beds were soft and warm, for it seemed sleep would be her only pleasure.

But as she ate, she listened to people telling tales to each other, and she realized that a good tale was another pleasure she could enjoy.  The keeper of the tavern seemed a fair storyteller.  She’d heard the end of one he’d been telling a nearby group of mill-workers.  And he seemed to want an excuse to linger by her “sapphire” eyes.  So when he came to check if her ale cup needed filling, she asked for a story instead.

“A true story or a mystical one?”

Clara narrowed her eyes.  “A bit of both.”

“Have you yet heard the tale of kingdom Callimoray and its sovereign queen?” the tavern-keeper asked.

Clara took a sip of ale and shook her head.

“Rumor has it she’s a dream-walker.” Continue reading

The Iolyran Serpent

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Iolyran SerpentThe colossal serpent hatched from an egg in my brother’s keeping. It almost killed him as it burst out, unfolding coil after coil, slithering through the air.  It traveled through a rift in our world to a dimension where no one speaks, none have ears to hear.  It is our responsibility to stop the serpent, for we are as gods on every world except our own.

***** Continue reading