DEXCON 2017 convention summary

DEXCON 2017

Still exhausted from the best five days of gaming in my year. As always, Vinny, Avie and the entire Double Exposure staff put on a great show every year and I thank them for their tireless efforts.

 

Wednesday night, I taught four people how to play Joshua’s _The Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze_ which was pretty impressive, as I wasn’t certain I knew how to play it myself. But together, Sean, Blair, Misha, Will and I unveiled the secrets of the infamously opaque text to find a very fun, functional, and evocative game within. One of the heroes lifted a river to rid himself of pesky crocodiles. The spear that never misses hunted a sneaky name-dealer, but was duped into killing a mighty king. It was a grand spectacle and a grand game.

 

Thursday morning, I got to sit in as a player for a session of Monsterhearts 2. Kat was the MC for Jeff, Brian, JC, Daniele, and me. I played Zed, a ghoul who fed on fear. We were all part of a group of “regulars” in after-school detention called the Bad Pennies. Two of our own had been found dead and no one in town was lifting a finger to find out why. I found some incriminating evidence in an NPC’s locker and tried to get him to confess by zip-tying his hands behind his back, duct-taping one of his own fireworks into his hands and threatening to light the fuse. He didn’t do it, but the fear tasted lovely. Zed ended up getting killed by one of her oldest friends while others had traveled to the realms of faerie and made dark deals with darker powers. All in all, exactly what you’d expect from Monsterhearts.

 

Thursday afternoon, I ran a Games On Demand session of The Sundered Land with Hamish and Dana. We faced wandering seas of giant, flesh-eating beetles, reanimated skeletons, raiding bandits, and our own checkered pasts along the Burnt Road. I really like The Sundered Land, but I don’t think I teach it very well. Every game I’ve run is very stilted and filled with half-steps. I’ll have to think about ways to address that before I run it again.

 

Thursday evening I ran TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes from the ‘80s. Despite having a full sign-up sheet, only one player showed up. He was keen for a nostalgic trip, so he ran She-Hulk and Wolverine as they defended Four Freedoms Plaza from an onslaught of villains bent on opening the portal to the Negative Zone and unleashing Annihilus on the world.

 

Friday morning was the first session of my first-ever KristaCon event, a three-session game of With Great Power. I had five great players: Joe made The Gold Shadow, a police detective who had taken a supervillain’s darkforce-projecting gauntlets from the evidence locker and was using them to fight organized crime. Amber made Orchid Guide, an escapee from a secret quasi-government laboratory with telekinetic and telepathic powers. Misha made Seraphim, who had been raised by Authurian enthusiasts, and been given feathered, angelic wings by Nimue herself. Unfortunately, she couldn’t fly, only fall with style. Cassie made Omen, a time-slowing alien observer who had broken the non-interference directive when a dangerous alien presence was going to kill millions. She contained that presence in the head of Phil’s character, the Drifter, who was just an everyman thrust into this bizarre world of superheroics. In the first session, they faced the threat of Nightbringer, an alien who wanted to hide Earth from the massive alien Armada. His plan was to force the world back to a 19th-century level of technology to avoid detection. They stopped him, got the team together, and Seraphim learned to fly.

 

After washing out of the pun contest, I took some time in the afternoon. On Friday evening played in the game that so many of my friends rave about: World Wide Wrestling. Joe ran “the Comic Book Wrestling Alliance” where our in-ring personas were comic book characters. I was the main heel, playing Annihilus, Lord of the Negative Zone. Other players played The Toxic Avenger, Catwoman, The Mask, She-Hulk, and Deadman. I ended up kidnapping Lois Lane and transporting the entire ring into the Negative Zone where there were no rules! It was fun, but I don’t feel as though I have the wrestling vocabulary to meaningfully contribute to the wrestling scenes. It felt like trying to tell a joke in a language I didn’t understand. It didn’t help that I wasn’t feeling great on Friday, so maybe it was just that. Regardless, it was a fun game and I’m glad I played.

 

Saturday morning was the second session of the With Great Power KristaCon game. Our heroes faced down the evil Mayfair industries. They were the quasi-governmental evil corporation that had experimented on Orchid Guide. In the aftermath of Nightbringer’s attack, they were trying to increase their manpower by taking over several of the local mobs. We also had great development of the personal lives of these heroes, with Golden Shadow’s secret identity partner being a detective who thought Golden Shadow was behind the crime throughout the city. The personal phase in WGP are so fun, they threaten to consume the entire game. Seraphim’s chat with her patron, Nimue, resulted in the lady of the Fae coming to Omnidelphia, where she initiated a revelry of Bacchanalian proportions. Seraphim agreed to return with her to the lands of faerie to save the city from her influence.

 

I didn’t game Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening, I got check a game off my bucket list: I played no-frills Swords Without Master face-to-face for the first time. I generally start my convention games by going around the table and asking people to introduce themselves and why they chose to sign up for that particular game. This time, Shane, Clark, Christo, and Kirk all gave versions of “I’ve heard great things about this game, but haven’t figured out how to play it.” I got to show them the magic trick that Swords does so very, very well: Taking disparate bits of fiction from multiple people and merge them into a single, unified story such that it seems like they belonged there the whole time. We began with a monolith covered in runes amidst the snowy wastes (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/503629170810087027/). We ended up with an ancient fire god locked inside the mountain, a twisted master trying to dominate his old apprentice, an ill-advised wager, bubbles of summertime tossed on an avalanche, a buff human sacrifice, and roiling trails of smoke that possess people’s bodies. A great session, and everyone walked away impressed by the game. As am I. I really love this game.

 

Sunday morning was the concluding session of the With Great Power KristaCon. Because Misha had to travel, we had written Seraphim out at the end of the previous session. Richard joined us and made The Blur, a social worker who had made a deal with dark powers to save his own life. Together, our heroes faced down the arrival of the alien Armada. Gold Shadow fought back-to-back with her archnemesis who was a crime boss, but at least a human crime boss. Omen started a splinter group within her society of alien observers that takes action as well as study. Orchid Guide crashed a spaceship into the ground with the power of her mind. The Blur and the Drifter faced waves of alien invaders like heroes. It was a great game. I’m very grateful to Joe for suggesting a KristaCon in the first place.

 

It was a great convention! Thanks to all who made it awesome!

Road of Woe: Eleven

The plant-prince shambled backwards, stumbling over rocks and bones to get away from Sabit. She watched it move away for a moment, her eyes darting erratically with mental effort. Forging the patchy remnants of her memories and the scoured chambers of her heart into some shape that might make sense of the world kept her rooted to the spot for several long moments.

Taking advantage of the respite, the plant-prince slowed its retreat, then stopped. The armless collection of vines and rotting flesh searched through the detritus at its root-like legs. Finding an arm bone, the plant-thing laid the severed stump of its shoulder next to it. Vines grew quickly from the broken ends of wood, twining around the bare, white bone. As leaves unfurled their dark, waxy covering over the bone’s length, the plant-thing moved its new limb back and forth, testing the strength of this stunted, makeshift arm.

The movement brought Sabit from her reverie. Letting forth a bellow from deep within, Sabit moved toward the thing, picking up speed with every step. Like a charging bull, the spear woman crashed into the tangle of vine and meat and bone, sending it sprawling to the ground.

Sabit leapt atop its supine form. With a blood-thirsty roar, she tore leaves and vines and branches from the torso of the plant-prince. The rough bark left deep cuts in Sabit’s hands, but she persevered in her destruction. Pushing deeper into the plant-thing’s chest, Sabit felt the rapid pulsing of a still-beating heart. She reached for it.

With a crash, the plant-prince swung his new arm bone, striking Sabit’s brow. The spear woman toppled off of her foe, landing hard, like a discarded bit of marrow. The ground beneath Sabit seemed to lurch and spin in every direction as the plant-thing loomed over her. Her arms flailed uselessly at her sides as she sought some solid purchase amidst this topsy-turvy world.

For a moment, Sabit’s gaze locked on a single object: the arm bone wrapped in vines that hung from the plant-thing’s shoulder. The force of its blow had broken the bone, leaving a jagged point on the end of it.

The plant-prince raised his bone-spear for a killing strike.

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Ten

The thick finger-stalks of the plant-prince wrapped around the woman’s throat, the rough bark pressing against the tender flesh of her neck. Her head swam as her body ached for breath. The finger-stalks split and forked and grew, spreading to cover the whole length of her neck. Each moment, they reached lower—

—until a tender sprout grazed the braided silver chain around the woman’s throat.

The stalk blackened, its leaves shriveling into desiccated wisps of brown and gray. The black rot spread from the necklace with the speed of flame. One stalk after the next sickened and died, twisting into gnarled shapes of dry, brittle twigs.

The plant-prince leapt back, desperately tearing the trunk of its torso from the branches of its arms. In horror, it watched its arms shrivel and fall, clattering across the woman’s body, now covered in a blanket of dead, dry leaves.

Slowly, the woman sat up. Twigs and leaves rustled as they fell from her powerful arms and broad chest. A single, unrotted white petal stuck to the woman’s lip. Without thinking, her tongue sought out the morsel and she swallowed it.

Rising to her feet, the woman shook the crunching mass of dead vegetation from her boots. She glared at the armless shape of the plant-prince before her and said, “My name is Sabit and I bear no love for you!”

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Nine

“Ishum is dead,” Sabit said to the collection of leaves and wood that wore the circlet of the prince of Ghabar. Her voice was steady and her cheeks wet. “I have heard many tales of those who love the dead. I refuse such a dark fate.”

The leafy figure threw its head back. A despairing cry like the creaking of a tree trunk in a violent storm issued from the hollow of its throat. Its rage rippled through the vines that wrapped around Sabit’s limbs, stalks flapping to and fro, although there was no wind.

“Deathlessness does not suit you, Ishum,” Sabit said as the echo of the plant-thing’s cries faded. “Even as a boy, you were not so consumed with rage. I remember a time when you stared down a pack of larger boys without making a sound.”

“You remember?” the plant-thing said, bending low over Sabit’s supine form once more. “If your memories fuel your defiance, then I shall rid you of their burdensome weight.”

Reaching forth with finger-like stalks, the plant-prince touched the brown flesh of Sabit’s brow. Tiny shoots crept from its hands, slithering their way among the black, wooly strands of Sabit’s hair. Pale, tender rootlings burrowed into her scalp, drinking deeply wherever they touched. From each stalk there bloomed a flower of purest white, its large petals covering Sabit’s head like the snow of every winter in her memory.

Sabit struggled against the infestation, but the finger-stalks rooted themselves deeply into the ground. The woody fingers became as strong as oak, encasing her head like a helmet.

Opening its maw, the plant-prince bent low over the mass of flowers. Like a horse at the trough, it sucked down petal after petal, chewing each one between its woody jaws.

“So many memories,” said the plant-prince, like the whisper of an evening breeze. “Such adventures you have had, my love. Perhaps one day I shall tell you the stories of a great warrior who went on such adventures.” It locked its white flower-eyes on Sabit’s confused gaze. “What do you remember of me?”

“I … I do not know you,” said the woman. . A single white petal had escaped the plant-things grazing and clung to her lip.

“Good. What do you remember of you?” it hissed.

“I am … I know not what I am,” she replied

“Excellent,” it said. “I tell you that you are my love. I shall make certain that we are together forevermore.”

The plant-thing pulled its hands from the woman’s head. She made no response. It wrapped the thick stalks of its fingers around her throat. She did nothing as it began to squeeze.

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Eight

“I am the love of no misbegotten spawn of weed and dark sorcery,” Sabit spat at the looming figure.

The plant-covered figure threw back its head, jaw gaping wide. The leaves of its face slapped against one another in a twisted parody of a laugh.

“You were always so proud and defiant, Sabit,” came the unnatural, whispery voice as the plant-thing settled itself atop Sabit’s paralyzed body. “Even as a boy, I loved you for your strength. I knew I had to make it mine.”

“You were a seed or perhaps a sapling. But you were never a boy,” Sabit said, pulling her head as far away from the leaves and petals as her neck would allow.

“You do not recognize me,” the plant-thing said, “but you cling to the pain I caused you like tree roots on the edge of a cliff. It is the only thing that keeps you from plunging into the abyss.”

The plant-thing passed one vine-covered hand over Sabit’s chest. A flower bloomed there, broad red petals beautiful and delicate. It trembled as it opened itself to the tender breeze, vulnerable and raw to the caress of the wind.

With woody fingers, the plant-thing plucked a large, red petal from the flower. Sabit’s body was wracked with sobs, tears streaming from her eyes. Everything she had ever cared about had been stripped from her! She was alone in the world!

Her captor released the petal, letting it float away on the wind. Although Sabit’s cheeks were still wet, she could not say what had caused her tears. What wound could ache as sharply as that?

The plant-thing plucked another petal. Sabit screamed with the anguish of a rejected lover. The wind swept the petal away and her voice grew still. Another petal conjured the fury and frustration of defeat in battle. The wind brought calm and clarity.

When the flower was just a naked stalk, the plant-thing leaned close. Its breezy voice whispered in her ear, “Do you recognize me now, Sabit?”

The spear woman looked at the shape above her, her cheeks still wet with unnremembered tears. On its head, the circlet of silver and jade gleamed brightly in the sunlight—just as it had in the palace of Ghabar so many years ago. “You were Ishum, son of the Prioress of Ghabar. You loved me. I rejected you. You sought me across the world. You died far from your home.” Her voice was steady.

The plant-thing’s leafy maw curled upward into a smile. “Yes, I am Ishum. Now we can be together, Sabit. Even death shall not keep us apart.”

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Seven

Phantoms of Sabit’s past loomed large in the darkness that took her. Old enemies, long gone, stalked her once more with hateful sneer  and curved blade held high. Old rivals bested Sabit again and again, relishing her humiliation. Old lovers screamed in fury, belittling her most intimate secrets.

In the darkness, all this pain fused into a single ball of white-hot anguish, shining down upon Sabit like the unrelenting gaze of a vengeful sun. Scorching her skin with its harsh glare, the sun of suffering drew a dank, musky smell from the dark green leaves that covered Sabit’s body.

Sabit forced her eyelids open, welcoming the dazzling light within, to sear her brain like fire. Fire was cleansing. Pain gave Sabit focus.

Sabit lay upon the ground, but not where she had fallen. In front of her was the broad, white sky with the murderous sun at its center. There were high slopes on three sides of her, covered in the same broad, dark green leaves that enveloped her body below the neck. Sinuous vines twisted around her arms and encased her torso. Slender roots sank beneath the skin of her shoulders and chest. They pulsed in time with her heartbeat, a bright crimson shining through the pale exterior of every tiny rootling. Only Sabit’s darkest imagination could conjure the condition of her legs, as she could not feel them at all.

With a mighty heave, Sabit exerted the force of her every muscle to pull herself free. Her head lifted from the ground, tendons in her neck straining with the effort. Her arms lay motionless beside her, like dead stumps trailing from her shoulders. Her chest kept rising and falling, each breath more labored than the one before.

Sabit let out a cry of fury and frustration, but even the sound of her sorrow issued thin and weak from her throat.

Then, above her loomed the shape of a man. Every inch of skin was covered with waxy, green leaves. Covetous white flowers stared out from where his eyes ought to be, their bright green stamens boring into Sabit. On his leafy brow sat a circlet of silver and jade. The leaves covering his lips parted and in a voice like the wind in the branches said, “It is good to see you again, my love.”

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Six

With Sabit at their head, the Ghabari troops charged downhill into their foes, like an avalanche of sharpened spear points. Battle was joined.

Behind the wall of tall Ghabari shields, Sabit thrust her spear into the belly of one soldier, the chest of another. They fell at her feet and she spared no time for their bodies. There were more foes to join them.

Sabit plunged her spear into the next foeman, but he did not fall. He wore the circlet of command upon his brow. Even as her iron spear tip sank deeper into his breast, the soldier turned to glare hatefully, his too-white eyes flickering with reflected flame. With both hands, he clutched the shaft of Sabit’s spear with an unnatural grip. Thrusting the spear deeper into his own chest, he dragged himself closer to Sabit, hand over hand.

As he drew closer, Sabit could see his face in detail. His eyes were not orbs that shone too bright in the firelight. They were not eyes at all. Two large white flowers stared hatefully at her, bright green stamens boring into her soul from where their pupils ought to be. The man’s skin was not slick with sweat. Waxy, dark leaves covered his cheeks and brow, leaving nothing truly human below the uncanny floral facade.

Putting up her shield, Sabit pushed against the fundamental wrongness of his vegetative mass. The thing in the shape of a man curled the fingers of one hand-like stalk around the edge of Sabit’s shield. Tender, pale roots bore into the laminated mesquite strips of the shield, changing their dark, polished sheen to the lighter shade of living wood. In turn, rootlings sprouted from the shield itself, grasping hungrily for the tender flesh of Sabit’s arm.

Lurching away from this new onslaught, Sabit’s heel caught on one of the enemies she had slain. As she fell backward under the assault, she heard the screams of her troops. From the corner of her eye, she could see up and down the line, these plant-beasts cutting through her troops like a scythe through ripe wheat.

Then, she hit the ground and there was only blackness.

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Five

Sabit seized the captain’s horn and raised it to her lips. The note sounded pure and true, ringing across the valley like a song from the heavens. She raised her spear and troops rushed to form ranks beside her, weapons raised to strike. Sabit extended her left hand and Lahamu, her shield bearer, strapped an oblong shield of wood and bronze to her forearm.

Sabit watched the line of enemy troops make their way up the hill. Their eyes shone unnaturally bright in the darkness, blazing orange and red with the glow of the fires rampaging through the camp. Her eyes probed their lines of armored bodies for some weakness. Each soldier out of step could be the fatal flaw that would turn this bloodbath into a victory for Sabit.

The invaders marched up the hill, butchering every straggler they could find. Those that were too quick to be overcome by the wave of sharpened bronze hurried to Sabit’s lines, swelling her ranks. When the attackers reached the fallen body of Aruru, each of them jostled for the chance to anoint their sword blade in the blood of their most hated foe: the captain of Ghabar. They shoved one another aside, their skin gleaming unnaturally in the firelight.

The tumult over Auru’s corpse rippled through the enemy’s lines. Sabit saw her chance. Over her shoulder, she spoke to the older woman, “Fall back, traveller. This is not your fight. Find me when the battle is through.”

Sabit nodded to Lahamu. The shieldmaiden lifted the silver captain’s horn to Sabit’s lips. Three short, sharp notes rang across the field like fury of the righteous. The Ghabari troops stepped forward as one. Their lines straight and true, they picked up speed. Shields held high and spears held low, they charged downhill, meeting the enemy like a wave of death.

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Four

The older woman was at Sabit’s arm, speaking in an earnest, urgent tone. “How often have you dreamt of an army to command, Sabit? Is not your disgrace at Ghabar a thorn that burrows and festers in the depths of your heart? How sweet would it be to pluck out that thorn and bury it in Irkalla’s eye?”

Sabit could feel the weight of the old woman’s eyes upon her. All around the army’s encampment, the soldiers of Ghabar raised their heads to await Sabit’s answer. Flickering campfires reflected in ten thousand pairs of eyes—each one desperate for the next words to drop from the spear woman’s lips. In the unnatural stillness, Sabit could hear only her own heartbeat.

“I have been a soldier and a captain,” said Sabit. “I have never sought the mantel of the Prioress.”

“The question was of the future,” said the older woman. “Why do you speak of the past?”

Sabit hung her head. “The past is all I have.”

The panicked cry of sentries rang over the encampment. Sabit looked up to see commotion at the far end of the valley, illuminated by a blood-red moon. A line of armored troops descended on the Ghabari soldiers, bronze blades cutting through their foes like wheat.

How had such a host of soldiers gotten so close unobserved?

The invaders’ battle tactics left no time for the question. A volley of flaming arrows arced through the sky, seeming to set the firmament alight with blazing fury. Tents burst into flames. Soldiers fell as they scrambled to grab weapons. They died in the midst of forming ranks.

Aruru collapsed at Sabit’s feet, a bloody arrow piercing her neck. A crimson river of blood flowed down her breastplate, staining the silver horn that marked her as the Captain of Ghabar. Despite the din of battle, Sabit could not pull her eyes from the horn. So many years had past since her fingers had felt the carved insignia upon its side. So many nights had her lips found distraction in a bottle or the mouth of a lover when they truly longed for the touch of its smooth mouthpiece.

Had enough time passed for Sabit to reclaim the position that once was hers?

 

———

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

Road of Woe: Three

“We had best find shelter before full dark,” Sabit said, extending her hand to the older woman. She had done enough killing in her day, and always for better cause than mere booty.

In the dimming light, Sabit surveyed the horizon for any threat while the woman gathered her fallen, scattered treasure. Even the cloud of dust raised by the woman’s retreating donkey had vanished behind desolate ridges dyed the color of blood by the setting sun.

When the older woman had gathered her satchels and once more hidden the signs of her wealth from the gaze of any passerby, the two set off together on the road. Sabit did not expect to get far before the darkness forced them to stop, but the rocks at the top of the ridge before them seemed to offer a more secure campsite than the open valley where the woman fell.

The pair attained the top of the ridge as dusk gave way to night. Sabit’s eyes strained to make out the shapes of the boulders, looking for the best shelter. The harder she looked, the more their irregular shapes seemed less like massive rocks and more like the fluted columns and elaborate arches of the distant city of Ghabar. It had been years since Sabit had served as captain of Ghabar’s troops, since she had stood in its mighty palace, since she had chosen duty above her own chance at happiness.* For a moment in the darkness, it felt like she was standing there once more.

“Halt!” came a charge from a sentry speaking the Ghabari tongue, “Who goes there?”

“Two simple travelers,” Sabit answered. She could barely make out the spear points of the sentries before her. Their shapes were lost in the shadows of the boulder field. “We seek only a rocky shelter for the night.”

“Sabit?” came the reply. The sentry stepped forward as a campfire crackled in the distance. She removed her helmet to reveal the face of Aruru, who had replaced Sabit as the city’s captain. “It is good to see you again, old friend.”

“Aruru? Why are you so far from Ghabar?” Sabit asked. “And why would you rejoice to see me? We parted on bad terms.”

Aruru looked away. “Those were simpler times. I was mistaken in my loyalty to the Prioress of Ghabar who dismissed you. The last months have seen Irkalla tear down everything that Ghabar once stood for and throw it onto a pyre to honor the memory of her dead son. Dirges played at all hours and a tomb that reaches to the heavens themselves were not enough to quench Irkalla’s grief. Boys whose eyes share the grey-green hue as the prince’s have been condemned to the mausoleum to guard him in the afterlife. Every girl born the same year of the prince has been forced to marry his corpse and sing and dance for its deathly glory.

“Such crimes are too much to bear. I have taken the better part of the army to save Ghabar and end Irkalla’s destructive mourning. I see now that Irkalla was always the root of Ghabar’s sickness, not you, Sabit. When she exiled you from the city, she exiled all goodness and hope. In your redemption lies the redemption of the city. Come with us, Sabit. I will see you installed as the next Prioress, over Irkalla’s bloody corpse. Take my army, I give it to you freely.”

Aruru stepped aside to show the valley full of troops. Dozens of campfires flickered in the night. Thousand, no, tens of thousands men and women awaited her command. Every cluster of tents and horses bore the standard that Sabit once wore as captain. It was a standard she could have again.

All she had to do was take it.

 

*-Sabit’s past in Ghabar is detailed in Wayfarings of Sabit: Blossom of Ruin.

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Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/