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The Betrayal of Itemiel

Moonslight glinted off the copper-laid ribcage of the great drake that encased the city and all was peaceful. Eius, Viridi, and Ancora, knew no such luxury. In the dead of night the wives of Itemiel met in the baths while their children slept soundly.

They sat up into the small hours conferring. Ancora was pregnant with Itemiel’s twelfth son (his third by her). She knew in her heart that this son would be the one to kill their husband. A vision had come to her of her son, a bleeding star on the horizon of her mind’s eye, riding the skies from the southwest and driving a blade into Itemiel’s belly. 

Her son would grow tall and dark as his father and wear his palms painted in gold. Across his brow would hang the moons Itemiel had named for his very wives– a crown prince. The twelfth and final son given to the god who could not keep the sea would play the assassin.

Continue reading “The Betrayal of Itemiel”


A hundred candles burned on the altar to the Conqueror. Across the room a fire raged, blistering hot. In the dead of winter the gladiatorial Oratory was hotter than the far deserts. The droning hum of High Polity filled the arches of the colosseum led by the sonorous intonations of the red-robed Kulav. He was an old man, bent with a century of study. Before him knelt a young man who had earned his freedom in the most worthy way, in blood, and was reentering the world under another, purer yoke than that of slavery: service to Ból.

Continue reading “Freedom”


His arrival is foretold in the borders of ancient murals, graffiti on bluecollar bar bathroom tiles, beer left out on his brother’s back porch, blood and chalk on the pavement. Food for a stray. The sky printed on the underside of the King’s road is a poor timepiece for a laughing dog better suited to the open air. He turns up when he’s needed. No, not when you’re bleeding, when he’s really needed. That’s how he sleeps at night. His eyes are gold but that tongue is quicksilver and wouldn’t you do anything for the privilege of its poison, city girl? Be careful. No one alive could eat that much sin and kissing it won’t do him much good, either.

rlb 4.30.17