8. Death Is Close

Musical Score: The Crystal Method, Emulator As they approach the farmhouse, Hector, the ranger, takes the lead. He’s pessimistic about finding open tracks. The lane is filthy and churned-up, and has been washed by repeated rains. The last predawn miles are particularly shitty; the group is confined to a trot, and uncomfortably aware of the […]

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 […]

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 […]