Sprint placed a cap on my Internet, and since my family was paying for a two-year contract of unlimited data, we thought it was a mistake. Now we’re maxed out, Sprint no longer offers unlimited data, and I can’t update daily anymore. I’ll update weekly, but with longer stories until our contract expires and we can find uncapped Internet. Stories will come on Saturdays.
Illyana’s ankle had stopped bleeding by the time her carrier dropped her off in front of Sigmora’s medical clinic. The blood angel’s wings were too big to even fit through the door, so Illyana hopped in on her own, grasping the wall for support. She jerked her hand away from the wall when she felt a sliver stab into the skin under her fingernail. She let out a small yelp and fell to the ground.
Ilsio Orhi was not formally educated. He didn’t make enough money to pay for schooling, and he would look out of place among the young students. He was thirty. The oldest students were in their early twenties. He had books, anyway. He read every evening after being relieved from guard duty. Today, he read a sixty-year-old book written by a nymph scholar. Ilsio was fascinated by three things: people, books, and nymphs. He was captivated by stories of nymphs who were able to break free of their desires and become something more. Better yet, nymphs who never fell to the desire to begin with. These were rare. Maybe three percent among the three percent who weren’t whores.
Former queen Asta Ilva sat in the conference room of Cerra’s castle, across from the new governor, Gloria Habbard. The governor was a younger woman, human, like Asta. She was probably in her early thirties, Asta assumed. Her features were smooth still, untouched by age, her eyes narrow and intense, staring at Asta.
Teimo Rane swore to have nothing to do with war the day his first and only son was born. Twenty-eight years later, his son was killed in the war by a man who forgot his face. He was a younger man, probably younger than Teimo’s son, and yet he struck him down somehow with the long sword Teimo had clashed with only a day before. Now, he swore to find that young man and make him remember. He couldn’t kill him. He’d already lost in a battle of strength and skill. All he wanted was for his son’s enemy to remember him as an opponent worthy of remembering.
Siren Miia was named after one of the few fiend races to never develop a bad reputation, and Siren herself, twelve years old and guilty of genocide, acknowledged the dark humor her name would suggest to anyone who knew it. Every human in Sigmora knew her name: Siren the blood angel; Siren the serial killer; Siren the face of evil; Siren the fay who hated fay.
Most angels not fighting in the war were messengers or medics, and Anton Hallow was both. Presently, he glided far above what seemed like an endless stretch of eastern farmland and forest. His destination was familiar to him: an eastern town, Cerra, known before the democratic revolution for a wise king and known both then and now for an excellent school. He had two tasks to carry out once he reached his destination: hand over an unopened letter to the governor and heal the local medical clinic’s occupants.
Kaino Ilva was the heir to the throne of Cerra. For twenty-four years he had studied his father’s work, learned all he could of governments and politics, and made sure to build himself up as a man deserving of the king’s position. Now, monarchy was dead. Kaino’s father had stepped down peacefully, foreseeing violence if he resisted the wave of democracy as it rolled over the continent like a northern tsunami.
Olli Palo swept a wet rag across his bar, whistling an old war hymn from his days as a solider nearly forty years before. Three men and a woman whistled with him, quite in tune and harmonizing. The current war was beyond what he cared for. People fought either for or against continental democracy. Either way, Olli’s life wouldn’t change.
Illyana wanted to scream at the figures passing out of the city gates. She’d hidden from them the night before, hoping at least the girl she thought of as a sister would turn back or at least look for her. She’d suspected they weren’t too fond of her, but needed to see if that was true. She’d doubted it, and she’d been wrong. The girl she loved did nothing. Neither did the young man she looked up to as not a father or a brother, but as a friend. He wasn’t even that to her. She’d loved them, and they didn’t hate her. She’d thought that was a good thing–a step in the right direction. But they were indifferent. To Illyana, that was worse than any form of hate.