thene: "'The spirit is a garden,' said he." Photograph from (snowdrops of gratuitous self-reference)
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Uh, part 3 is still being a confused pile of words so I've no idea when I'll end up posting it. Such is WIPs :/


We reconvene with sheaves of notes and I look at my enemies and wonder which of these people is his Cathany. Which of these men are priests, which are generals? Does Qi Nar trust anyone, politically? Or is he as isolated by his arrogance as he claims to be, expecting anyone to succumb to mind-magic and defect at any time?

No point wondering. I leave Ascott and her non-friend and enter the watchtower. Afternoon slips through its cracks, sharply defined lines of sunlight, and as I turn to Qi Nar he, to my surprise, drops to the ground cross-legged. He looks up at me, oddly nonchalant. "We may be here a while."

And now I recall hearing a rumour that he'd injured a tendon in one leg while escaping from one of our failed attempts to kill him. And there's nowhere else to sit. I settle opposite. Informal suits us, old enemies and political strangers. I can read the first lie written across his eyes easily; Pretend I was never angry.

I am obliged to start from the beginning of everything, namely legitimacy, because without it Treven won't hear anything else. "I don't want to get bogged down over diplomatic recognition," I begin. Because it's ridiculous. Sovereignty becomes a moot point when they're pointing mad mages at you. "But there's a delicate needle to thread here, because we're not formally at war with you," I remind him. "As we don't recognise the Church of the Sun as a government, we're still at war with the monarchy you deposed fifteen years ago." It's the kind of war you can show up to in casual clothes and never ask anyone's name. Unofficial, full of people who shouldn't be there.

"That's absurd," he said flatly.

I twitch my lips to indicate that I respect his opinion. "Nevertheless, if we're not careful over it we'll have to permanently abandon relations with Karse's government in exile in Hardorn -"

"Who are a joke, an ugly megalomanical joke that we stopped laughing at years ago. You are officially at war with them, so why do you care what they think? Destroy them with a wave of your quill, and be done with it."

My eyes widen at his bluntness. There's the oddest feeling rising in me - that, if I'd met this man some other way, rather than as my opponent in the most high-stakes card game I've ever played, I may have liked him. He's rousing my dangerous curiosity. I want to know his mind and his stories - not least the one I don't dare to ask.

So I sigh and fall back on Treven's instructions. "The King offers recognition only as part of a document that also decrees complete cessation of hostilities and the return of White Foal Pass to Valdemaran control."

"And he thinks his offer of diplomacy is worth more to us than Rohlosse Pass?" Of course it has a Karsite name now - first thing I would do if I wanted my people to hold on to a place, give it a name in the right language. "Given what good faith he's demonstrated until now, I'm not sure we could bear any more of his favour."

I raise my brows just far enough to indicate that he may have said more than he meant to. "I would hope that the peace we offer would ease that burden." Yes, we know the Karsites are as stretched as we are, as bereft of magical protection and as close to the end of their rope as we are, but that truth was a strange thing to reveal in his irony.

"Ah, but suppose we refuse to barter for mere recognition? Where will that leave you? Forever unable to see me right in front of you, and cursed with a solely formal war against some exiled thugs embedded in a nation that's technically your ally?" He leans forward, conspiratorially. "What say you don't make peace with those godless tyrants holed up in Hardorn? We might even assist you, if you wanted to do something about them -"

Very revealing, maybe intentionally so. A thorn wedged deep into a curled paw, and he'd ask us to claw it out? "Surely you're joking," I reply with affected langour. "That's quite a proposition to put to a foreign stranger."

"Hang diplomatic niceties, I think our peoples know each other very well indeed," he says in a similar tone. "That said, I was joking."

"Really? Because it strikes me that there must be some within your borders who are equally godless, and inclined to hope for the eventual return of -"

"Faint hope," he smiles cruelly, but I know there's only so much religious cohesion can do to hold a people together when they still remember their kings. Though with little love, in most cases; I remember Vanyel saying that he thought Karse had only made war on us out of need for an external enemy, when a growing faction in the powerful priesthood was beginning to question the monarchy's tyranny, and the bloated military needed something to do to justify their own continuing power grab. At the last, the smarter elements of the latter had defected to the Church of the Sun and chased their princes and some few of their own comrades over the border.

Such speculation can't help with our impasse. Qi Nar is right, to such a degree that I don't know how Treven could have expected me to hold to his line, though I can at least keep haggling after half of what we wanted. "In any case, we can't recognise a power that doesn't recognise our own border."

"The Light of the Sun knows no border," he responds by rote.

"The reach of its arms does," I retort, and he twitches in, I swear to his damned Sun, suppressed amusement.

"Clever, clever. I cannot accept terms that diminish our Light."

I spread my hands against the floor, and lean back on them a little. "And I swear that's not my intention. Shine, and let me sing. These are peaceful things." These are ideologies. Faiths and cultures. "But such intentions require respect for sovereignty, and that means agreeing to borders -"

"You would whittle away our earth with your words. You've nothing to offer that matches Rohlosse's value."

What a strident lie. "It's of no value to you unless you're still trying to make war on us. You can't use it as a trade route to Rethwallen because they won't let you, and it's never been part of Karse before. Its people don't want you." People, his silence and the knife in his eyes remind me, are utterly replaceable. "There's other, equally strategic land that is traditionally yours, and we can discuss such exchanges once -"

"Such as?"

Facetious. "You could point to them as easily as I could. For one, you could take this valley."

"We don't want this damned valley."

"No one does. Peace lives here, and I've learned how few people want that."

He laughs, and it's unexpectedly gentle. "Peace lives here? In an indefensible ruin?"

"You can't defend peace with the sword."

"Then what would you defend it with?"

"The light of vigilance," I tell him softly. "And the sound of voices speaking over the battle-lines."

He rolls his eyes at me. Oh, I know. The King of Valdemar sent you a pessimistic idealist with a quick mouth and no soul, and you may tell the Prophet of this with all due disgust. But I think you know it's true. I think you can't afford to say otherwise any more.

And you didn't trust anyone else to be smart enough to get out of my lies and my nets of words, but that's not the real test. That would be of our hearts. Is yours as strong as mine? Mine is grey granite but I
tried to make it be water. You can beat against it for as long as you like and every time, it will gently close over your hand.

I hope that you, that all of Karse, are strong enough for this.

That...honestly went better than I expected. He didn't for a moment let me believe that I had won, only that, in a shadowy fashion, he saw that our willingness to recognise the people on our own blood-smeared doorstep was sincere enough to be worth further discussion, though he requested another pause first, doubtless to hash out which bits of our border to attempt to annex and how best to bluff the most fertile and valuable of those off of me. I hope Cath will appreciate that this is genuine progress.

Ascott doesn't talk until we're clear of them, and even then, it's in a scandalised whispering fashion. "So. Uh. I'm not so good at noticing this shit, but the way he talked and all..." I stare at her blankly until she starts talking again. "Was he hitting on you?"

"Diplomatically?" I ask dubiously.

"No...?" At the look on her face, all the fear and stress in me turns into laughter and she scowls at me in return.

"It crossed my mind," I grin. "But he's a damn good spy and I won't believe anything he insinuates. If he is, it's just another ploy."

She smiles, crookedly. "Testing your damned reputation?"

"Oh, I don't mind my reputation." Usually. I rarely have to fend off women and it's won me some pretty interesting company over the years, as if drawn by the gravity of that deepest notch on my bedpost.

"Must be weird though," she muses. "Like, something everyone knows about you...I figure his eminence there isn't the only one who just talks at you about the Herald-Mage as soon as he lays eyes on you."

I nod, recalling my gloomy thoughts this morning. It's true, and never surprising. Within Valdemar, I know a lot of people first heard my name in Van's death notice; 'survived by his lifebonded,' a respect insisted upon by Lord Withen and Lady Treesa, my name writ above even theirs in the proclamation sent out just as soon as they heard I had survived. It met my ears when I was still three days out from Haven. I hadn't known I'd had more tears to spill out on the road; it felt final and binding and it's still the first reason anyone knows my name.

"That has its uses," I tell her, feeling unexpectedly honest. "Breaks the ice, makes people trust me for no real reason. They believe the things I tell them in return." Some of those times I'm playing prophet for a sleeping forest. "And I rarely mind listening."

She's all too quiet for a moment, and I sense that, with all her youth and self-consciousness, she's measuring her willingness to be listened to. "So I guess everyone tells you about the time when their parents met Herald Vanyel."

"Or when they themselves did. I like hearing those stories." I mean it. I've heard dozens. Hundreds. From all over the country and even a few from beyond it. I collect them, memory footprints formed into a human map inside my head, this is where love walked and this is who spoke to it. Some of them have lied (and I can always tell), but no one's forgotten him. If she's got a story for me then I'll treasure it, however mundane.

"Not a lot to tell. It was on the front lines, or just off of them - he took an arrow in the ribs and got carried back to their brigade's camp. My momma grew up in a convent," and she grins wide in lieu of any number of embroidering jokes she might tell about that detail, "and she knows a bunch of herbal stuff, so she was assigned to help out the Healer in the bad times - which was most of 'em."

I can see it, every thrown-together military ward where I've ever sung to the hurt and the dying. "People don't forget the ones who tend to them," I tell her. "He must have thought well of her."

She nods cynically, unwilling to recognise that I'm telling the truth. "I do remember her being real cut up when she heard he was dead. I dunno, I mean, I wasn't even five years old, but for - for her I guess it was as big a deal as the King dying." I nod blankly; don't ask me, godsdamnyou, I felt like barren earth when Randale was taken from us, I'd left my heart and all its tears in the north for three seasons, and even now it only sometimes comes back to me, silent and bearing roses. I fled while others mourned. "Like I said, not much of a story."

She seems standoffish, and I sense details missing - shy about personal stuff, maybe. We bastard-born often learn to be. Maybe I'll extract the rest of the blood from her tale later. Wouldn't hurt to offer her an opening for it. "Thank you, truly - I'd be glad to hear more, if you remember anything else."

This time, it's Cath who comes with me, leaking the kind of tension and anger I would sooner do without, but she has some eavesdropping to do. She's been trying to kill Qi Nar for a long time. That kind of hatred wants up-close-and-personal detail, and I know how badly she needs to hear the sound of his voice. Whatever tactical value she'd assign to it is a polite excuse at best. But she'll play this game fair, swordpoint resting in the dry earth outside the watchtower, staring down her Karsite opposite. I've got to wonder what top-level military position he holds.

Qi Nar greets me politely. I could almost forget he was ever anything else. He's good at this, and it's not surprising, because perpetual crippling anger is something this war has given us all a lot of practice at handling. I hear Cathany shifting her feet behind me and I feel like we could almost break into a litany of names, the lost whose blood holds this battlefield together long after it lost its purpose, the people Qi Nar decided to take from us. He could do the same. That's the start and the end of my reasoning - he could do the same and the only good to be done here is to stop either of those two lists from growing.

We look into the tower's gloom and I concede that a candle would be permitted under our agreement, and he assures that it will not be an overtly religious one. It's almost like we're learning how to compromise. His folded map is much neater than mine, because Treven has been lugging ours around for weeks and it's so grey with scrubbed lines of charcoal that I feel I should be telling Qi Nar which the real ones are meant to be. At least it's clear enough that he can deduce which fights are going to be worth having.

This is process before details. Always, always. It doesn't matter what we agree unless we first say how we're going to agree to it. "I can assure you that any exchanges of land and populace would be peaceful. The Heralds can make sure of that. And anyone behind our lines who wanted to cross into yours would be permitted to."

He raises an eyebrow at that. "We too can offer a broad armistice. Possibly even the return of a few detainees, were that to be reciprocated." He means spies, good people who vanished years ago, and even if he means it we can't know how many of them will be coming back with their minds weakened by years of despair and abandonment and taken over by religious propaganda. I know Treven would tell me to risk it for the sake of the strong ones. "However, the Prophet requires that you offer us something in return."

"And what might that be?"

"We wish to take custody of the man who murdered the Hand of the Sun."

I feared we hadn't heard the last of their dead Adept, but I'll admit I hadn't anticipated that manoeuvre. There's nothing I can do about it, either - Treven only authorised me to offer a formal apology. He was Karse's second most significant religious figure, but he was also a bedamned combat mage and taking him out was a reasonable priority for those of us who didn't believe that his magical prowess was given to him by a god (and I know what my lifebonded would have said about that). He was dangerous enough, powerful enough, that I doubt we could have ended up here, talking about peace, if we hadn't killed him, and I hate having thoughts like that.

And none of that matters, because I can't do it. "I doubt that's possible. I've no idea who you're looking for. I've never heard anyone named as the Hand's killer. I can pass the request on to my superiors, if you will it, but I'm not sure that anyone knows who killed the Hand of the Sun, and I wouldn't bet on them coming forward for you."

Now he looks deliberately offended. "How very convenient for you."

"Are you surprised? No one dies cleanly on these battlegrounds." He hardly needs the reminder. It's a strange game we're playing; Qi Nar already knew what I just told him. He may know more of Valdemaran military activities than I do and if there were some feted hero behind our lines, hailed wherever he went for severing the Prophet's casting hand, Qi Nar would already have killed him. But there isn't, and clearly the Prophet is displeased by the lack of a target for direct vengeance, and Qi Nar might prefer that it be Valdemar rather than himself who has to deny the Prophet's satisfaction. "And honestly," I add, "that I know nothing of it likely means that whoever took down the Hand was killed before they could claim that glory."

I regret that last word immediately, however cynically spoken. Qi Nar nods coldly, writes a note, and once again I'm aware that I've told him nothing he didn't already know and I've permitted him to think worse of us for my telling him. And it'll cost us. Quite possibly nothing, given that I don't know how sincere his side of the proposed bargain even was. But he knew that request would hurt us, and it did.

Mealtimes are destined to be odd affairs. Two campfires on the dry ground, less than a mile apart, tiny, smoky constructions for heating minimal rations; with no idea how long we'll be here or what compromises we'll have to make if we're the first side that needs to resupply, and little fuel available nearby, we have to make our supplies last until theirs runs out too. On the other side of the valley, they're doing the same mathematics. Sharing bundles of firewood would still be unthinkable, food more so. Thank the gods that the well behind the watchtower hasn't run dry; I can bear the brackish water.

We eat as slowly as we can bear, fitting it around other tasks - Ascott is fixing some loose stitching on her riding tack, Harrow's paying more attention to feeding the horses than himself, Cathany is watching the Karsites, and Donavrey is drifting in and out of some loose trance state, probably sweeping around for Treven's mental signal; I gather he's late checking in on us, which probably means he's been caught up in some new disaster.

I'm just trying not to feel hopeless about how this is going. I barely can eat; my stomach's full of acidic fear.

We all talk in low voices, to the ground, so nothing will carry, and that imparts a strange conspiracy to even our most mundane whisperings. Harrow's settled down between Cath and me, clutching a mug of thin soup in his intact hand. "Begging your pardon but it'll be so strange if you pull this off. Being not at war with them, I mean."

Cath almost laughs. "I hear you. Twenty years in Whites, most of them right here. First two of those, I was reporting to Herald-Mage Vanyel." She glances at me but I know she's not naming a man, but a bygone era. Those years aren't named for Randale, Randale whose mind shaped and guided our nation through that tumultuous time; I never hear him spoken of any more. People look back wanting a brighter touchstone - but gods, I loved them both so dearly and differently. Their last days were what wrought me, or ruined me. I don't mind whose time you call it.

"I met most of my friends in this war," muses Don. "Sad, really, such a damn mess and I think of it ending and all I think of is the good people I went through hell with."

"My parents met in this war." Ascott is actively grinning, because she's still young enough not to feel wrong about it.

Harrow pricks up his ears, always alert for people's stories. "Huh, fighting to make your father proud?"

"I dunno, I never even met him." Don stifles a laugh and so do I; some things are only funny if you're a bastard. Harrow looks miffed.

"No need to reminisce," I tell them. "It's not over yet."

"Not happy with the deliberations, Bard?" asks Cath, with that overtone of principled disapproval to the whole endeavour.

"Somewhat. We do have that one huge wrinkle already," I explain for the others' benefit. Cathany swore at me about it enough on the walk back. "They want the man who killed the Hand of the Sun." Cath's eyes narrow even as she watches the enemy's camp, as if she could show them her fury from this far distant. If I asked, she would remind me how many Heralds that mage killed. I know she would tell me every name.

Harrow throws in a curse of his own. "What'd you tell him?"

"That I had no idea who did it and that they were probably dead. Qi Nar seemed to accept the truth of it - but he has superiors to placate too, and taking one of their demands categorically off the table from the start is going to sour things a lot."

Donavrey sniffs. "The king wouldn't have done it anyway. Hand over one of our own, for what? To be tried and executed by a holy kangaroo court?"

"Quite," I reply. "Guess I need to think of something equally impossible to demand in return. I figure the best case would be if we could prove that the killer was already dead, but I'm not sure how we'd go about it - I don't even know which regiment it was that took him down."

"Wasn't a regiment," says Harrow, always the first person to step up with soldier gossip. "I heard it was a Specials unit." Assassins, or little better than. "One of the Anti-Mage Corps -"

My wide eyes settle on Ascott, still working on her tack, her lips pressed together in tight tension.

The silence stretches on, stale night air pushing away any words I might have tried to say, anything I could have asked her. I notice, peripherally, as Cath sees my awestruck expression, Don a moment later, Harrow catching our drift in the wake of his fateful words, and Ascott's fingers quiver and she tosses her work aside as every eye turns to her.

"So," she says coldly. "Just out of interest, how much would it help if I walked right over there and turned myself in? What would it buy you? Something worth having? Some of our own missing people? Enough good land to stop our bordermen starving?"

I can barely think, never mind reply, and it's left to Cathany to snap, "Explain yourself, sergeant," at her while the rest of us collect our wits.

"What's to explain, Herald?" she hisses back. "Asshole drenched us in fire and I was the only one who ran through it. Couldn't open my eyes but he was chanting loud as a drunk goose, so I kept running towards him. Didn't even singe me. Clumsiest kill I ever made." She sounds more disgusted than proud, and her face is full of hurt and scorn. "I hightailed it back to the lines as soon as I was sure of it - the Karsites mostly fled once he was down. So much smoke, no one could see a damn thing once I put his fires out. I reported to the duty Herald, and she sent word to the king - no one else knows." She pauses that way people do when they're about to say something irrelevant and painful. "Didn't realise for hours that the rest never came home."

So that's how her corps got disbanded. Victorious in secret with all of the rest of them of them dead, eleven other men and women, people she'd trained with and lived with, maybe for years, maybe since they were all too young to know what they had to lose. And here she is just offering her neck like she doesn't even give a damn -

- And I understand it completely. It's that feeling that you shouldn't still be here when so many others have gone.

Her remorseless logic of surrender and the look in her eyes are challenging us all to find worth in something more than her corpse, and I meet that challenge with a shaking voice. "No. The king wouldn't allow it, the Karsites can't reasonably expect it, and if you could do that then you're worth much more than whatever salt-sewn dirt they'd trade you for. Ascott, don't be a damn fool."

Everything is still for several more seconds, and then one of the horses makes a sound. Donavrey stirs, and Cath drops her eyes from Ascott's, and Ascott reaches for her discarded bridle with a discontented sigh. "Let me know if you change your mind," she mutters, betraying no relief at the stay of execution. It's as if the past folds back inside, where no one else can see it. We've all done it out here, one way or another. Distract yourself, keep fighting, don't think of the pain.

"Hey, Bard." She's caught me as I'm administering a thorough evening brush-down to Rhapsody, as much for my own benefit as my warmare's; I didn't bring an instrument out here and after a thousand spiral circuits through the bag of thorns, my scratched hands need something soothing to do. Horses don't deal in words. It's relaxing. Ascott isn't. Ascott is the opposite of relaxing. "I, I guess I should thank you."

"No you shouldn't," I reply, trying my best not to think about that ugly opportunity she saw to throw away her own life. "There's nothing they'd offer that would ever have been worth it -"

She snorts. "You think? I've seen life go damn cheap down here."

"It never should." It's like I'm still talking to Qi Nar. I mean everything I say, but it's all calculated to sway and to soothe. "That was a mistake we've made, and I came here to correct it."

"Oh," she shrugs. Like it's not even strange to her, like the concept isn't even there. A few brief truces and many changes of personnel aside, we've been fighting this war since before she was born. Peace has no meaning to her, and survival has so little.

"An eye for an eye, blood for soil, that's never been the right way for us. If it was just my choice, I wouldn't even be troubled over land. We're a people, not a clump of earth, and it's no good having land if the people who should be working it are dead. But it's not up to me."

"So what are you going to trade away -?"

"Depends what he really wants. Which isn't you. Vengeance doesn't satisfy for long. I already offered him that damned watchtower." I look malevolently to its shadow squatting below the hill, as if my lack of progress is the structure's own fault. "Treven needs me to come away with something, though. Most of the disputed land used to be ours outright - I can't leave all the Valdemarans who used to live here poor and exiled just because I care more about having a sustainable peace treaty than I do about them having their ancestral land."

Ascott shrugs again, but I think the change of topic is welcome to her. "I dunno. My momma was born not too far from here, and she ain't clamouring to move back."

"Your mother? Didn't know there was a convent around here." I didn't think she'd made that story up. And I can always tell.

She laughs suddenly. "I figure, you at least won't think it's a big deal. I got two mothers. They met in the Westlands Light Infantry - which one of 'em shouldn't have been in, but hey, she was a runaway." She cracks a wicked smile, at love's serendipity or war's bitter japes. "I dunno if the rest of her people want their land back, but they sure as fuck don't deserve it."

The thin moonlight glints off her eyes and illuminates the set of her face, the grim humour and every hurt underneath it, and I feel old knowledge clawing at me like fingers up my spine.

I don't trust serendipity any more.

"Which brigade?" I find myself asking distantly.

She gives me a why-do-you-want-to-know look and I almost wish she'd call me on it and tell me to get out of her personal life before it's too late. "Twelfth. Patrolled all up the west between stints on the Karsite Border. They saw a lot of wild things before they settled down."

Oh gods be damned, when any other answer would have saved me. The Twelfth of West. Lissa's army.

It's alright, I tell myself forcefully. I'm just being a shadowstruck fool and latching on to coincidence. I can go pitch my tent like a normal person and pretend we were the same people we were a few moments ago because we are and I'm a damned, cursed fool.

The petals wilt and the thorns are left behind.

My vices are few, but I indulge them extravagantly. Most of them, I have learned to restrain when difficult circumstances demand it, but there's no refusing, no compromise with, no possible path but surrender to that hungriest of all my base instincts; curiosity. It's my hand round the stem, squeezing until I'm bleeding and its roots are tugged free of the earth. I don't know how to flinch from letting it hurt me, especially not, like now, when I know it's a really bad idea and no possible good can come of it.

I wait for a candlemark, barely able to contain my spitting cauldron of thoughts. I want to pace around the camp, or even scream, but I light a lantern and sit perfectly still at the open entrance to my tent holding an open book, scribbling a line or two on a scrap of parchment every so often, just as if I were deep in preparation for whatever tangled clauses Qi Nar is going to throw at me tomorrow. I ignore my company, and make myself look busy and tired.

There's one piece of good luck to my name, and it's that Harrow drew first watch tonight.

I've kept up the appearance of absorption for long enough, so I judge it safe to step out into the night and circle the camp, my eyes resting on the tower. I make three-quarters of a circuit before casually greeting Harrow at his post. "Ah, hey there, Sergeant."

"Milord Bard," he nods. "What's got you out and about tonight, eh?"

I shrug, but I'm secretly thrilled that he's already close to swallowing my first red herring. "Nothing much. I wanted to look down at the watchtower. Truth is, it's something Vanyel was always bitter over..."

The story I go on to tell him is largely true, plus or minus a few embellishments, and there's almost nothing to it other than the familiar grousing of a military higherup about which minor catastrophe would never have happened if he'd been in charge at the time, but as Qi Nar so aptly said, all I need to do is attach a name. Slipping Vanyel's name into anything increases the value of my words by tenfold in the eyes of any of my people, especially a good veteran patriot like Harrow. It's cheap, but I'm too burning with obsessions to try a ploy that's better than cheap, and it all being Van's fault ought to rate his forgiveness for it. And I can tell that the story's appreciated by its sole audience; I hope to hear five different garbled versions of it before I leave the far south forever.

I yawn theatrically. "Great gods, do I need sleep. S'good to talk, though. You know, I still don't know your first name, or Ascott's."

"Ranard," he grins, and offers me his hand, which I accept with a warm stab of guilt. "I don't know your last one."

"Don't have one. I was a foundling," I explain with a shrug; the things I have to dredge up to get at what I want. "Curious, what's Ascott's first name?"

"Don't have much of a use for one, does she?" he grins.

I return his expression blithely. "I'd noticed. Surely you'd know it, though." Please, just tell me I'm wrong and I'm a stressed-out obsessive lunatic and Karse's finally turned me so tight that I've snapped. Then maybe I can sleep tonight. Please.

He tells me.

Curiosity always gets me in the end.

-->Part 3

Vanyel the All-Father!

Date: 2012-11-16 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gildaurel
Thanks for the update; it's taking me forever to respond because work is overwhelming right now. This is great: I like that it's more action and intrigue than angst, surprising in any LHM-fic! You play the tension well, between Qi Nar and Stefen AND between Stef and Ascott. Qi Nar hitting on him is rather humorous, hope to see that in Part 3-- even if it is a political maneuver, we all know everyone loves/ wants Stef. Of course more of Ascott-- will Stef reveal his knowledge or does she already have some inkling?? Looking forward to seeing the coils unravel in Part 3!!

I will not be posting anything until I actually have time to write and correct; I posted a lot of stuff on without editing and now regret it (but probably won't fix it). I want to do something more with what I have; it's really just a sketch for now. BUT the first of many holidays is coming up, so expect more.

Date: 2012-11-16 07:14 pm (UTC)
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] kat_nic
Ahhahhaa, I always wondered how the hell Vanyel ended up fathering a child for two of Lissa's soldiers. It's one of the bits of canon I'm fine with ignoring, because why does it even exist since nothing ever comes of it?

I'm enjoying this a lot; hopefully I can come back later and think of more things to say.


LHM: Love the characters, hate the canon.

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