33. Valykria

Musical Score: Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire The next few days of travel are uneventful. Though Aramil tries to take an interest in his surroundings, he’s subdued and sad as he reflects on the consequences of his actions. Valentine, on the other hand, is profoundly relieved to be freed of constant scrutiny and opportunities for […]

10. A Good Op

Musical Score: The Crystal Method, Ph.D. Valentine wakes up to a knock on the door, and the sound of Aramil’s voice. “Room service.” “Oh, fuck. What time is it?” “Just after seven.” “Then what are you doing up? Fuck. You might as well come in.” “I brought you coffee.”  Valentine accepts the hot mug from […]

7. Who Sent You?

Optional Musical Score: Adam Ant, Mowhok Despite training hard all day, Valentine can’t sleep that night. When Aramil invites him to meet a few friends, Valentine thinks, there won’t be news for several more hours. Might as well go. This is how he finds himself in a seedy tavern watching Aramil and two of his […]

5. The Labyrinth

Musical Score: Adam and the Ants, The Human Beings Aramil has left a message saying he’ll join Valentine in the stable yard to train. Valentine begins a series of strike drills, alternating bursts of punches with push-ups. Valentine finds it comforting to train. It’s the one time when he knows what’s expected of him, and […]

4. Further Training

Musical Score: Beastie Boys, High Plains Drifter The next day, a footman delivers an elaborately folded note from Aramil. “What the fuck is this?” Valentine asks, “an origami swan?” The footman shrugs. “His handwriting is terrible. Can you make this out?”  “He’d like a rapier lesson this afternoon, if convenient.” No valid excuse rises to […]

3. The Island

Musical Score: Adam and the Ants, Killer in the Home Just a few days later, Valentine has a fresh opportunity to experience the benefits of family membership: Sieia holds a garden party in his honor. For much of the day, being honored seems to consist of standing around nursing a glass of lemonade and watching […]

2. The Beholder

Musical Score: David Bowie, Starman (1972) The next morning, Valentine receives a dinner invitation from his cousin Sieia, Xardic’s wife and, apparently, one of his many living Shelawn relatives. It’s delivered by a servant who was told to wait for an answer. Valentine gives a verbal reply: “The invitation is for dinner tonight?” The servant […]