Tag Archive | bear empire

Magic in the Bear Empire

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

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“This is why Halor hates the Empire. You know that, don’t you?  It’s probably why Dekleg hates the Empire, too.” Carrone wasn’t looking at Deline.  She didn’t blame him.

“Probably,” she agreed.  She walked alongside him, pacing him.  As long as she kept walking, he would probably keep walking too.  “It’s also why the Empire has issues with Halor and Dekleg – and a few others I could name.  It’s mutual.” She smirked tiredly. She’d heard those arguments more times than she cared to remember.

“You used… what’s the difference, anyway?”

“Sorcery uses spirits and, ah, spirit-like beings to get done what it must.  Magery uses a combination of the natural forces of the world and scholarly understanding.  Sorcery requires moving around living things – souls, spirits, sometimes creatures. Magery usually only requires natural elements – usually stones and sands, sometimes plants.” Continue reading

Waiting in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Sneaking Through the Bear Empire

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“Shhh,” he murmured, and sat down next to her.  He moved his hands for a moment in military sign she didn’t recognize, and then, with a frustrated expression, drew in the dust on the ground.

She could read Deklegi script just fine: one man, hunter or farmer.

Not a threat – but right now they wanted nobody to know they had been there, much less to be able to give a reasonable description of their appearance.  She nodded and lay flat on the ground, concentrating on being as quiet as she could be. Next to her, Carrone did the same.

In the silence, she could hear the occasional twig snap as the man below them moved along.  He had the quiet step of someone used to the terrain, but she had the ears of someone who was being hunted and had been many times before.  From Carrone’s expression, his ears were nearly as good.

The man was tracking something – she hadn’t left tracks, had she?  It was too late to fix that, if she had. If he came up here… Continue reading

Sneaking through the Bear Empire

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

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Deline woke to find herself pressed up against Carrone and his arm draped over her in turn.  She moved slowly, trying not to wake him. She needed to get her thoughts together and form a plan.  “Head off into nowhere” was more like a flight in terror than an actual battle plan, and it would take her longer and longer to get home.  

That would, of course, probably make Carrone happy.  Out here, he could still pretend everything was more or less the same – except the part where he was bound to her and they were being hunted by bounty hunters that had been his associates.  

Come to think of it, that wasn’t much the same at all, was it?  She glanced over at him. She knew nothing about him, except that he had tried to kill her – twice – and failed – twice and then saved her life from another bounty hunter.   Continue reading

Poaching in the Bear Empire

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

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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

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“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

Traditions in the Bear Empire

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

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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

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“…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

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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

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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.

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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