38. How to Keep the Game Going

Musical Score, Eurythmics, Regrets There’s a sudden ruckus. Four Drow guards enter, and in a swift, businesslike fashion, they cut the bonds holding Valykria and Valentine together and hogtie them both to poles. They hoist Valentine and take him away, leaving Valykria bound and alone in the cell. He’s carried rapidly down a series of […]

36. Θ {target} {action} Θ

Musical Score: Black Rain, Data River Sleet begins to fall as they approach Hill #81 two days later, and the storm brings dusk early. Their hands are cramped and frozen in their gloves, and they can see their horses’ breath as they pick their way over a trackless jumble of bare limestone and thorny brush. […]

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 […]

32. The Road to Amakir

Musical Score, Paul Simon, Graceland The sun does rise, as expected. Valentine wakes up just before dawn to a sense of quiet, animal satisfaction. The ground is unpleasantly hard and imperfectly cleared; it’s cold and a stiff breeze has kicked up; he’s in dire need of coffee. Nonetheless, his mind is still and clear. The […]

31. Aramil Augustus Is Banished

Musical Score, Johnny Cash, Rusty Cage The ceremony of banishment is simple, and quickly done. Marcus, in his role as head of the Shelawn family, leads Aramil to a guard house attached to the city gate. The magistrate is waiting there in full robes and wig, along with Xardic, and seven ancient elves — the […]

30. One Thousand Sunsets

Musical Score, Everclear, Santa Monica After a few weeks of negotiation and wrangling, Aramil signs a plea agreement that will result in his being banished. By the time it happens, he’s accepted that it’s his only choice, short of imprisonment or hanging. Though the charges are dire, to Valentine the terms of banishment seem lenient. […]

28: Twenty Questions

Musical Score, David Bowie, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide To while away the time in jail, Valentine and Aramil have a game they call 20 Questions, which really just consists of them asking each other things they wouldn’t normally ask. Aramil reclines on his cot; Valentine is kicked back with his feet propped up on the […]

27. The First Rule of Thug Life

Musical Score: Beastie Boys, Slow Ride Valentine’s day begins with a series of pleasantly efficient jailhouse negotiations. For a reasonable sum, he secures not only clean linens and a hot meal, but a late-night snack service called “tea,” permission to bring a change of clothing and spare socks, and 24-hour jail access for himself.  “I […]

26. Welcome to the Company of Fugitives

Musical Score: Valentine’s theme song, DJ Shadow, Nobody Speak Valentine’s mood is mild, tranquil by the time he reaches the Ceralac townhouse. A good thing, too. When Valentine enters, he hears Penelope wailing — wailing — and Xardic shouting. Footmen and maidservants are flitting up and down the stairs with basins of water and smelling […]