Afterwards, Cat and Owl sat on a limb of the large cedar tree and shared a cigarette.
The air was still and smelled of small animals, damp grass and, of course, burning tobacco. Cat watched as Owl took a long puff and blew out a thick cloud of smoke.
"Warm night," Owl said.
"Yeah," Cat replied. He hated small talk. He'd never been very good at it. Tonight, he had more important things he wanted to say. "Owl?"
He had only wanted to prove himself, Chun-Jin thought. He had just wanted people to believe that he was a man, Knei-Gong especially. When he thought of his brother’s words, his ears still stung with them.
"You, little worm? You will never be a man. You are worse than a girl, just as pretty and twice as useless. You had better run for cover if the barbarians do attack. They will probably take you as a concubine for the khan. Or perhaps that is what you are hoping?"
Michael John Grist
There was a village in the mountains at the top of the world that was always shrouded in mist. Its name was Ballahee, and in it lived a small community of people, good people, who tended to their crops on the mountainsides, and looked after their sheep and their hardy goats, and helped each other through the cold and cruel winters.
The villagers had many problems, such as the cold winters, and the wolves in the scrub-woods, but by far their biggest problem was the mist.
My horse shied before the vale of Avalo. I had been warned to expect it, and it was a simple matter to calm the animal. But when I tried to spur it forward again, it balked and looked back longingly at the grassy hills around us. I followed its gaze, but farther, imagining that I could see the gates of the Golden City Ilnar. Had it only been an hour ago that I left? Or a hundred years?
When going to a sorceress, one can never tell.
If it was someone's idea of a practical joke, Antimony decided, then it wasn't very funny. By rights, she ought to have the creature quarantined immediately. Appearances of lizards (of any sort) needed clamping down pretty severely ever since the Projectors in Room 309 had got hold of that Escher print. One gecko out of place and the whole of Lagado's Old Quarter could be patterned over by suppertime. The public health risk didn't bear thinking about. But for some reason, she felt strangely sympathetic towards it. Maybe it was the signboard. Maybe it was the prospect of finally getting rid of all those ducks.
I woke from nothing. No dreams had stirred me. I had been a hundred years in darkness. I was a stone, waiting roundly. Blank.
I thought, Perhaps it is all over.
(When the sun was high I used to stand in the garden, toss a little golden ball to watch it shine. I played for hours that way.
It is for the best I pricked my finger.)
The keep was suspended, spider-webs gleaming in the open mouths of the half-dead. The vines had covered everything. There was no light left. I thought, Perhaps the sun has gone out, and despaired.
The Storm of Ages dominated the bachelor wing of the Home of the Gods, driving even the most testosterone-ridden weather-god indoors for poker and tankards of divine mead. Esephus, God of Gladiators and Falchions, disliked bloodless gambling, and so wandered over to the scrying pools. As usual, he was armed to the teeth. A cluster of deities who had bet their last burnt offerings stood by, watching one of the more interesting wars and shouting at the occasional brilliant maneuver.
Mason felt awkward wearing one of Gallia's old gowns. Previous to her employment in the Edgeworth home, she had only worn a skirt on two separate occasions. They never suited her and she felt more comfortable in men's clothing.
But society had its standards and Mason wanted to keep her job. With her charge safely in bed she lingered in the servant's hallway watching the party, unnoticed. From there she could see just inside the parlor.
"It's true!" he cried, in his ordinary voice this time. And all the people crowding beside him on the Temple roof shouted, "It's really true!"
That's the second-to-last line of the story. I ought to know because I wrote it myself. Now you know it too; that's the benefit of hindsight. Everything would be much easier to believe in if we had more of that. And having started at the end, I could now go on and tell you the whole story backwards. It's not unfeasible; it's been done before. But, aside from the fact that it would probably make you seasick, it would also take away the suspense and ruin the whole story. I suppose that's where hindsight falls down.
Immediate opening: Global force seeks CEO. Must have leadership experience, ruthless ambition & complete lack of morals. Horde of bloodthirsty minions a plus, but not necessary. The door of Chaledon Greev's study creaked open, and a figure in black glided into the room. Its cloak absorbed the lamplight, leaving a dark shadow in the midst of the golden glow. A hood hid the being's face, and it made no sound as it came to a halt in front of the huge mahogany desk.
The door of Chaledon Greev's study creaked open, and a figure in black glided into the room. Its cloak absorbed the lamplight, leaving a dark shadow in the midst of the golden glow. A hood hid the being's face, and it made no sound as it came to a halt in front of the huge mahogany desk.