Friday, September 21, 2018


Vincitor watched the mourners file away from his father's cenotaph, and felt his hands curl into fists. The ceremony had been tasteful and lovely and -- despite the political element of the occasion -- most of the mourning seemed sincere. His father had been well-loved in these lands.

"So," said Valia, standing at his side. "You and I inherit the title, the lands, and all the headaches attending to them." She was Vincitor's twin, and the older of the two, but Court Law in Verigor still held to certain views from the old religion, and so held that twins could inherit as if they were a single person. Unless one of them stepped aside, they would both assume their father's noble rank and rule together as Viscounts.

"It's not official until the Countess performs the confirmation," Vincitor said quietly, "and that will be half a season at least. That's time enough to restore the honor of our blood."

"We can't invade Alisaze, not without the backing of the Crown. And the Crown is rightly convinced that the last expedition proved too costly. We need time to recover our resources, and time to weaken Alisaze in other ways."

Vincitor turned to face her. "No," he said quietly. "But we can slip across the border, find our father's murderer, and kill him. The Alisaze won't thank us, but at this point I think they'd be quietly relieved -- as long as we were done and gone before anyone in authority found out."

Valia nodded. Few of their informants were left in Alisaze, but the ones who were there were thorough, trustworthy, and reliable. She knew that as well as her brother did. Probably better, since she was the one making sure they received their pay. "A single division of the Home Guard?" she asked.

"Proelor's," said Vincitor. "You know how close he was to Father."

Valia looked away and her lips twisted, but after a moment she nodded. "Unquestionable loyalty," she said. "Shared cause. Yes. I'll speak to Mother about managing things while we're away." She paused. "I think she'll approve."

Vincitor smiled. "She'll worry," he said, "but she'll approve."


  1. Michael, I like your instructions for posting a comment -- it's nice to see that right up front!

    And the fact that Vincitor and Valia still care about their mother's feelings, even if only from a practical standpoint, gives me the impression they've been raised in a strong household. Which is a nice twist on the usual villain who grows up unwanted... people who've grown up with every advantage can be a lot more powerful and therefore more dangerous.


    1. Good! I really like them, and I'm hoping they'll make memorable antagonists -- not least because in several important ways they aren't actually villainous.


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