Poaching in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Dying in the Bear Empire


They left the wagon near the front of a farmhouse, making sure the horses were comfortable and had plenty of grass to munch on, and set off on foot, each of them carrying a bag.  As soon as they reached an intersection, they turned off the wagon-road, heading towards the foothills.

Dusk came on them sooner than they’d have liked, the air turning cool as the sun ducked behind the mountains. Deline began looking for a reasonable place to stop for the night. Continue reading

Dying in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Traditions in the Bear Empire


“You might thank me for saving your life along with my own.”

Carrone snorted and bowed in his seat.  “Thank you kindly.  but what makes you so important that the Deklegion would want to risk the wrath of the bounty guild?”

She smiled enigmatically.  “You’ll see eventually.  The thing is… as far as they know, right now, I’m an agent of the Empire. And that much is true.” Continue reading

Last Night’s Writing

Last night, I was feeling like I was running on one cylinder and running out of gas, but I play this writing game, 4theWords, and I really wanted to move up one step on the leaderboards for battles.

Which meant 4 130-word (or so) battles.

So I asked for suggestions on Mastodon, and this is what  came of it. 

Well, technically, two of these weren’t even from suggestions…

But anyway!  Words!


Filling the Boots

He woke and shook out the cards. Continue reading


Now on Patreon!


Nobody had expected the Trees to be the ones to go over.

The Zedriygro had been pushing at the Atraoya borders for years now.  They had been sending in agents – some of them Human, but just as many Elf or Centaur or Animal expats who had been living either in Zedriyg or in neighboring Glasia, beyond the red sands, for years or even generations, having fled, one might assume, the Quartering that had caused this whole mess in the first place

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Traditions in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Hiding In the Bear Empire


Carrone was unsurprisingly quiet as they left Teshone’s.  Deline let it go as they strode down the avenue, but when they got to the carriage house, where the next outbound carriage would soon be heading towards the Imperial Seat, she broke the silence.

“Do you know what happens if someone bound with a Bear-stone bracelet kills the holder of the bracelet – or if the holder dies through other means?”

She noticed the way his shoulders tensed.  She couldn’t bring herself to feel bad about that. Continue reading

Hiding in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Moving through the Bear Empire


“…a bodyguard who is happy with his work is more effective.”

Carrone snorted at that answer, but took the moment to open a door in the wall that was so effectively sandwiched between two other buildings she’d almost missed it.  “I should go first, in case Teshone is in.”

“As you wish.”  She gestured up the stairs.  Was he leading her into a trap?  She had one hand on her knife-hilt as they navigated the narrow stairs, her senses on high alert.  There was nobody moving upstairs.  Something like a mouse scratched in the wall to her left.  To the right, the sickly smell of a hatter’s seemed to leech through the wall.

“Here.” The staircase terminated in a narrow landing with three doors; he unlocked the one to the right.  Over the hatter’s, then.  From there there were three more doors.

“This is beginning to look like a puzzle box,” she muttered. Continue reading

Moving Through the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Caught, in the Bear Empire


Deline slept more soundly than perhaps she should have, with a bounty hunter in bed next to her and, presumably, several more on her tail.

She woke in the early morning to see Carrone pacing back and forth in the small floor space of the inn.  He wasn’t talking, but he was gesturing as if he was having an argument, and every few steps he’d glare at the Bear-stone bracelet and the bloody welts the spell-rope had left.

“Time to get on the road.  We can get a bath at the next inn.”  She was pleased to see that he was startled and more pleased to see that he didn’t jump but just twitched a little.  “I’m going to leave you with your weapons, because your job now is to keep me alive.”

He worked his jaw.  “I’d rather stab you.” Continue reading

Caught, In the Bear Empire – a continuation

First: Running in the Bear Empire


The bounty hunter took a couple breaths, studying her.  “You know what they say about the Bear-stone bracelet in Halor, right?”

“I can hazard a guess or two.”

“They say it eats your brain.  They say that when you take it off, there’s nothing left of you.  And they say only certain people in the Empire’s hierarchy are allowed to use them.”

“I did say I could kill you without compunction, didn’t I?”

“Who are you?” Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire – a beginning of a story

For Rowyn.


Someone was on her trail.

Deline knew it.  She could feel it in the prickle on the back of her neck, the way that sometimes it seemed like there was an extra shadow to her shadow, the unsettled feeling that left her leaving her bed in the middle of the night and hitting the road again.

She had been moving for days – no, weeks.  She had left Dekleg behind more than five days ago, and with it the laws that she’d broken.  And Dekleg did not talk to the Elherion Empire, nor the Empire to Dekleg, much less exchange prisoners.  Deline was not even sure if they had any laws in common – which, since she’d spent the last ten years before Dekleg in the Empire, was how she’d gotten in trouble in the first place.

But someone was tracking her, and she didn’t imagine they were doing it to ask her to work for them or to shake her hand for the fine things she’d done in deep Dekleg, where she had dealt with some frankly horrible things. Continue reading

The Magic Tree

Written to @InspectorCaracal’s prompt, also the title of this piece. 


The tree stood in the middle of a blasted wasteland, and the one thing that everyone agreed on was that it was magic.

Whether it had been put up by one of the last mages in the great wars as a way to heal the wasteland, or whether its creation had formed the wasteland, nobody could agree.  Whether it was a blessing or a menace, no two people concurred on.  And thus there were two paths through the wasteland, one that ran right next to the tree, and the other which wandered almost a mile away to avoid it.

The tree itself loomed over its own oasis, a small circle of greenery in the middle of an otherwise lifeless expanse.  It was easily over thirty feet wide at the base, and it loomed two hundred feet in the air.  And yet its lowest branches were easily reachable from the ground.  Continue reading