Chapter 39: Exposition

“It’s hard for people to understand what it means to have been part of the Fifteenth. We were farmboys and thieves, not people that were ever supposed to matter. Fodder for noose and ledger. But then she came along, and told us we were to be the doom of gods. Heavens forgive me, but I believed her then and believe her still.”
– Extract from the ‘Forlorn Memoirs’, author unknown

The banners flew tall in morning wind, carried by the Gallowborne. Two banners now, for I had not forgotten my promise to Talbot. A silver fifteen in Miezan numerals set on black was the herald of my legion, the standard under which it would fight until we were all ground to dust by time or steel. I kept to the colours, but by emblem was different. Silver scales shivered over us, measuring a crown and a sword. The sword weighed heavier, as much on cloth as it did in Creation. House Foundling’s words were sewed under them, the one debt I owed Akua Sahelian I would never be able to repay. Justifications matter only to the just. Grim words, perhaps, but none had rung more true since I’d taken the knife and the offer behind it. Juniper had not commented on them after an initial guarded glance. The two of us marched with the vanguard, though when we came in sight of Dormer she would retreat to her command post to rule over the battlefield. The Hellhound killed with her mind, not her hands. She was more terrible an opponent for it.

Ahead of us lay plains that had once been green, before Summer came to own them. Now half the land was scorched black and the rest lusher than was possible in Creation. Orchards bore fruits regardless of the season, fields already harvested grew again tall and golden wheat. There would be food shortages, in the coming months. My homeland had seen war twice in three years, this one even more devastating than the last. Even if the blackened earth was made cultivable again, how many of those fields would lack men to till them? Summer had killed many, harmed more and I knew Akua would bring deeper wounds still. She was of the old breed, the one whose madness was worthy of some awe if only for the scale of its folly. Walking the aftermath of Three Hills I’d gotten a glimpse of what that felt like. Seen fate written in mud and blood and eerie green flame, and though doom had lurked in that vision when I’d thought of embracing it I had felt so gloriously alive.

I’d fought battles since then. Desperate ones, and the pull of that first moment had long faded. It would have been a lie to say I did not still relish in victory, in breaking whatever lay in path, but I had been tempered by so many dances on the blade’s edge. It was one thing to gamble the lives of strangers for your purposes, to risk it all on a roll of the dice, but I’d come to dread it. I’d won more often than not, so far, but how long could I keep that up? My mistake had been coming to love them. It was also my last saving grace. How easy it would have been to become like Black, utterly divorcing affection and necessity, if I’d not found a family in my companions. My teacher had done great things, by embracing that cold unfeeling clarity. But atrocious ones as well, and I would not follow him down that road. The more my Name and the mantle I had stolen from Winter set me apart from humanity, the more I understood I had to grasp tightly onto it. The thing I’d become otherwise would care nothing for what I wanted to build.

“We’ve come a long way from the College, haven’t we?” I said.

For once, Juniper did not chide me for being foolishly sentimental. The Hellhound had been my opponent once, I thought, if never quite my enemy. It felt like a colourless dream now. I’d grown to rely so much on her that I’d feel lost if she was gone.

“Didn’t think much of you, back then,” she grunted. “Too mouthy. Not as clever as you believed you were.”

“I never did manage to get the drop on you, after the once,” I chuckled.

It was a strange thing, recognizing that someone was cleverer than you. And Juniper was, I would not deny it. It wasn’t so clear-cut a thing as most people pretended when posturing, of course. Cleverness was no perfect shield. The smartest woman in the world could be outmanoeuvred by a fool, under the right circumstances. Or by luck, or by a myriad other factors that no one ever really liked to talk about. But the fact remained that Juniper saw things I didn’t, when it came to strategy. Pondered a few steps deeper, arranged her thoughts more clearly. Diabolist did the same, when it came to plotting, and it had little to do with her Name. There was always someone better. I’d felt slighted by that when I was younger, as if just by being me I had to be the best at everything I undertook. Nowadays I just felt relieved, that I had someone at my side who could steer us away from the mistakes I would have made. Was there anything more worthless than pride, if the cost of it was the death of those precious to you?

“You always get strange before battles,” Juniper sighed. “After too, sometimes. Like you’re far away.”

That was pretty funny, coming from a woman who was in the custom of finding high ground to sleep on whenever a fight was finished. And that was without mentioning how she’d apparently napped through the latter part of the Battle of Marchford.

“You’re odder than me,” I said. “Calm as you are. Nauk can’t stop grinning for half a day before a battle.”

“Hakram doesn’t,” she said.

“Hakram’s different,” I replied.

She grunted, conceding the point.

“Used to think he was a coldblood,” Juniper admitted. “Everything was surface deep with him. Nothing real under.”

Coldblood. A disease of the mind, I’d been taught. People who felt less, didn’t get remorse or really understand consequences. Adjutant had told me some things in the dark that let me see why she’d thought him one. What she’d taken for absence was just apathy.

“I take after my father more,” the orc said.

I looked at her, surprise. She rarely talked about her family, and what little she did was only about her mother.

“He’s the one who raised you, right?” I said.

“Until the College,” she said. “He’s always been… calm.”

“So he lost the rite of raising,” I said.

The orc looked amused.

“Read that in a Soninke book, did you?” she said.

“Taghreb, I think,” I shrugged. “I had a lot of books plopped onto my lap before meeting you, the titles kind of meld together nowadays.”

“The custom exists,” she said. “But only Praesi think it’s common. If a couple needs to fight to choose who’ll raise the child, they shouldn’t be having children. It’s a sign of immaturity.”

“Well, I learned something today,” I mused.

She bared the faintest hint of her fangs in what I knew to mean amusement. Or flirtation. Probably the former, all things considered.

“I have it too,” she said suddenly. “My mother’s blood. The battle-joy.”

I studied her in silence.

“I was born for this,” she said. “Of this. It’s what I am and I can’t remember ever craving anything else.”

It was always hard to tell with orcs, but I thought she looked uncomfortable. Almost ashamed. No fangs visible, hairless brows pressing together.

“We’re supposed to want glory for the clan,” she said. “To make our own grow stronger. But all I saw were fucking huts and cattle and I couldn’t wait to leave. I almost ran away, when I was younger. There’s only so many times you can sketch out formations in the dirt before you feel choked.”

I knew that feeling. I had followed me in Laure, when I was waiting tables and picking up bruises in the Pit when I should have been in the Wasteland, learning at the College. Like I was just wasting away my days. That I should have been out there doing something, anything but just sifting through the muck to earn enough coin to really begin my life.

“I hate the orphanage, at the end,” I quietly said. “It wasn’t that they were out to get me, it was just…”

“In the way,” Juniper finished. “Quicksand you’d get stuck in if you waited too long.”

She laughed hoarsely.

“I used to fight battles in my head when herding aurochs,” the orc said, almost sounding like she was mocking herself. “All the victories of the Conquest, how I could have won them better.”

“I kept a tally of who I’d kill when I had the authority,” I admitted. “Mazus was always top of the list. But then he hanged, and it had little to do with me.”

Juniper hesitated.

“What Lord Black was to you,” she said. “You were to me.”

My face flickered in surprise.

“Not a mentor,” she growled, but the irritation petered out. “The offered hand, I mean. If I hadn’t become your legate I’d be a junior officer in someone else’s legion right now. I never thanked you for that.”

“Don’t,” I said. “I wouldn’t have gotten this far without you, Juniper. Stings to admit it, but it’s true.”

“Wouldn’t be the same without you either,” she said. “It’s not about the rank, Catherine. The rank is just what gets me there. I want…”

There was something burning in my general then that I’d never seen in her before. I’d seen her cold and amused and furious and irritated more times than I could count. I’d even seen her tender, though only with Aisha.

“More,” she said, sounding angry at the inadequacy of the word. “Three Hills, Marchford even Arcadia. No one’s fought like that before. We get to make that. They’ll study our battles, centuries from now. Some other girl stuck herding godsdamned aurochs will think about our mistakes, how she could have outsmarted our opponents.”

“Making history,” I mused.

She laughed.

“Fuck history,” she said. “We’re changing the face of war. And it’s just beginning, Catherine. The storm ahead will make this all look like drizzle.”

Ahead was Dormer, the full might of Summer and the Queen that ruled it. But she thought beyond that, and so did I. The Diabolist had carved doom out of stone and sorcery, and she would not quietly into the night. And on the horizon, Procer sharpened its blades. In a year or ten, the Principate would come calling and with the greatest army on the face of Calernia. There would be heroes in that host, and not like the ones I’d killed. The real legends, the heroes weren’t bound to small stories like mine. The Calamities were the greatest monsters of the age, but they’d lived so long because they kept their wars small and their enemies distracted. One day the great Named of the other side would come forward and the old wars would be born again. Those that warped the lands, flattened mountains and burned cities. I’d have to be ready for them, for the people who wanted to make my home the battlefield of the continent again. If I could not have peace in truth, then I would settle for the peace of the grave.

It was the kind of victory I’d been trained for.

“I don’t think,” I said quietly, “that we’ll be remembered fondly. Not you, and certainly not me.”

“Ah,” Juniper of the Red Shields smiled. “But they will remember us.”

Silence reigned for a long moment after that, more comfortable than I would have thought. The Hellhound wasn’t someone who felt the need the fill the air with words when she had nothing to say. Something I’d grown to appreciate, since Archer had joined by band. The quiet was how I came to hear it even though the wind blew the other way and we were ahead of the thick of the host. The Fifteenth and its allies trailed at our back like a great snake of glittering steel, and it was from my legionaries that the song came. Lightly, at first, the words indistinct even to my Name-sharpened ears. But after the first time it was sung, thousands more voices joined in. Even the vanguard around us.

 “I was born out in the green where their banners flew high
And the boots of the great lords they did tread over us
Oaths we made and service gave, kneeling to the oldest lie
But now the world’s turned around and we sing this chorus.”

Orcs and goblins. Soninke and Taghreb. But, most of all, Callowans. The muster of my homeland sang, light and bright but there was such anger underneath. It scared me. My veins sang with it, but it scared me.

“Come forth you old devils,
Bring out your lesser evils
Blight the skies and the land
You’ll be met sword in hand

One day your children’ll tell
Of the deep and rebel yell,
That on his field so sombre
Conquered host of horror.”

 Juniper looked up at the sun. The red-painted steel had warmed over the march, though like most orcs she did not sweat easily.

“I wondered if they’d sing it,” she said.

“You knew about this?” I said quietly.

“Aye,” she said. “Nauk penned part. Named it too. In Dread Crowned.”

Gods, what had I unleashed? I’d thought I understood. That I had crafted an escapement for what would have made Callow claw at itself, a release that would let it change and escape the curse that defined it. But it wasn’t just Callowans that sang. Greenskins and Praesi joined their voices to the chorus, and though their anger was of a different make it was no less harsh for it. There was a story the House of Light liked to use in sermons. That on the day of the First Dawn, the Gods Below had created all the evil in the world and released it. The Gods Above had caught it all in the box without a lock, and Creation would have been as the Heavens had the first of men not opened it, seduced by the whispers of devils promising godhood lay within. That was why the brothers and sisters taught rules, the priests said. So that on the last of days, when Good triumphed, the evils would be forced into the box again. Again it would be without a lock, but mankind would have learned. They would not open it again.

I’d carved a crack into the box and now the insides were spilling out. It hadn’t been evils, inside. It had been anger. Bitter old anger that had not before been given a banner to rally under. It had one, now. It flew behind me, scales that weighed crown and sword and found the crown wanting. There was a promise there I had not meant, but was written for all to see.

“On the plain where folk were fair we stood and greatly slew,
And by the ford a score devils with a great demon too
Prince and page and swordsman proud to our steel they all fell
The world stolen we take back and damn you all to Hell

The chorus came again. My blood ran cold, and pressed against my ear the Beast laughed. It was awake, alive and savouring every moment of this with malevolent glee. Blood, it whispered. There will be blood over this. The Fifteenth Legion sang, and declared war on the mighty of the world. My general was looking at me.

“You promised a revolution, Warlord,” Juniper said.

She bared her teeth, perfect ivory fangs.

“We will not settle for anything less.”

She laughed, harsh but joyous.

“Did I not tell you?” she said. “They will remember us.”

It spread. To the legionaries of the Twelfth and the Fourth, men and women not bound to me. To the Deoraithe, though not as many. I had gathered forty thousand soldiers to my banner, and they sang of treason to the morning sky. I could hear refrains in it, slivers of people I knew. Robber’s sharp, vicious smile as he whispered they kill us for sport. The fever in Ratface’s eyes as he said they’ll never stop unless we make them. Pickler’s warning, echoed in every chorus. It’ll be to the death, Foundling. Do not begin this lightly. I’d spoken the words. Those had consequences, for Named more than any other. If you employ violence, the Empress had told me, in violence they will follow. I had not made peace. I had traded one war for another, and this one would be a thousand times bloodier than the last. I would be woe unto all I beheld, the Queen of Summer had so sadly told me. There had been a weight to the name when it was granted to me and finally I was feeling it in full. I’d thought I owned this, because I’d been the one to speak the words. That I could control it. Oh but the arrogance of that. You couldn’t break open a dam and order the river.

I had taught them this. And Gods, they had learned. One decision after another, spitting in the eye of gods and compromise both, and I had promised them that if we paid the butcher’s bill we could change the world. I’d told Archer that there was something happening in the Empire beyond any of us. That they were not in control. Neither, I understood then, was I.

“Be they high or resplendent our oaths stand taller still
And in the west do quiet lie graves we have yet to fill
Learn ye mighty that from Tower’s shade to vales of red
The Fifteenth by call of horn stands ever crowned in dread.”

The song carried us all the way to Dormer. Behind broken walls Summer awaited us, a riot of silk and steel not of Creation. We had made good time, as it was not long past Noon Bell. We had until dawn before a god in the flesh came to destroy us.

It was no longer, I thought, the worst of my problems.

88 thoughts on “Chapter 39: Exposition

    1. OldSchoolVillain

      I think she will after all. This isn’t the first time she’s been called Warlord, and now she has forty thousand soldiers from all the races of the empire raising her as exactly that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dainpdf

        Warlord is an orc Name though. I don’t think she can.
        Looking at her situation, I’d think she’d become Revolutionnaire or something of the sort.


      2. Duckie

        Yeah considering the author made it clear that Warlord was an orc name. I imagine she wouldn’t get that. I would have to agree it would have to be something along the lines of rebellious naming. Catherine the Usurper has a nice ring to it.. While it is true its not her goal to take over anyone’s throne. Her name has shown the ability to out right steal/copy someones power which in a way is usurping their authority as a named. Sense their powers are supposed to be unique to just them. While she now also leads an army of people who are actively singing songs of rebellion. But who knows what it really will be i’m pretty excited to find out. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “The author was pretty explicit that Warlord was solely an Orcish Name. She might be called Warlord but it lacks the cultural weight that the name needs.”

        How many orcs does she have following her at this point? She is the heir to Black, who is heralded as the Savior of the orcs. And she’s continued his reforms. In this chapter, we specifically heard orcish voices blending in with all the other voices.

        Warlord Catherine the Necromancer, Queen of Marchford, Duchess of Moonlit Nights, Empress of the Tower.

        She’s going to need more training to get that necromancer bit, but it’s her evil heritage and she’s going to need more power some day.


  1. BryceWilliam

    I was born out in the green where their banners flew high
    And the boots of the great lords they did tread over us
    Oaths we made and service gave, kneeling to the oldest lie
    But now the world’s turned around and we sing this chorus.”

    Come forth you old devils,
    Bring out your lesser evils
    Blight the skies and the land
    You’ll be met sword in hand

    One day your children’ll tell
    Of the deep and rebel yell,
    That on his field so sombre
    Conquered host of horror.

    On the plain where folk were fair we stood and greatly slew,
    And by the ford a score devils with a great demon too
    Prince and page and swordsman proud to our steel they all fell
    The world stolen we take back and damn you all to Hell

    Be they high or resplendent our oaths stand taller still
    And in the west do quiet lie graves we have yet to fill
    Learn ye mighty that from Tower’s shade to vales of red
    The Fifteenth by call of horn stands ever crowned in dread.

    Marching song of the 15th legion

    “In Dread Crowned”

    (for anyone who wants to read it without having to jump around the chapter)

    Liked by 16 people

      1. Lhomp

        I think this book will end in a three way battle between Summer, Diabolist and Catherine’s forces, Black will die and it will be thd trigger for a Proceran crusade.


      1. OldSchoolVillain

        Unlikely. Aside from the fact that ‘creation disdains such reputation,’ Captain’s Beast was unleashed, not chained or channeled. They were one, but at the same time, very different. Cat’s Beast is shackled to her, leashed in an entirely different way. She may let it out occasionally, but ultimately she doesn’t let go the way Captain ever did. If the Champion even survives Black (I doubt it), then she and the Bard will be in for a nasty surprise should they try the same story to take down THIS monster.


  2. kinigget

    Cat’s only goal this entire time has to been to keep Callow above water

    She’s con promise most of her principals, turned against the light, and unleashed a civil war

    Through all of it she tried to claim that she was different. Thst while she served the Tower she was still somehow *better*

    Meanwhile, while she wasn’t paying attention, she managed to gain the utter loyalty of the 15th, and influence far more

    Largely without meaning to, she gave a new generation something to rally around, a cause to fight for

    And only now does she begin to understand what she has wrought

    The world is changing

    The Calamities brought change, but even they could only go so far

    Cat will see it done


    1. nipi

      Well calamities are events. They happen and then people pick up the pieces. But woes? Woes might not be as flashy but they do persist.

      *Grins evilly.*


    2. Dainpdf

      I don’t think she has their loyalty so much as the symbols she created do. That’s why she says she has no control.
      She can steer the cart a bit, but there are no breaks.


    1. Dainpdf

      John the Baptist as in Cat’s followers will co-opt Black’s movement after he is dead, or Sauron to Melkor as in she corrupted him and he will survive her?
      In all honesty, she is more the Sauron to his Melkor than the other way around.


  3. nimelennar

    Damn. Between Cat’s Fifteenth, and the changes made by Malicia…

    I think they were right, back when Cat let the Swordsman go, that this is a redemption story. Not of Cat herself, being redeemed from a villain to a hero, but of an entire Empire, being redeemed from Dread to Heroic.


  4. Gran

    I have to admit I’m rather disappointed with Cats characterisation these past few chapters. And for what I hope is good reason.

    It’s like you decided that Cat was getting too Dark and so she had to have /so,e/ kind of standards, just because everyone needs them. And then decided to do it in the worst possible way. With judgemental preachiness and glorifying the ever sought after inner “humanity”. I have to admit I absolutely hate that trope. The glorification and obsession with being “human” (but only a certain type of course) and all that comes with it in these stories. It’s a very very overdone trope at this point. And one that I can’t help think Authors fall back on when they feel they’ve pushed themselves into a corner with their characterisation and so need an easy out to make their characters “better” without actually doing any of the work of characterisation and how that should change based on the plot and the person, and instead just throwing a basic idea of “humanity” into the person so that they can change in whatever way you like. After all the very idea is absurd, I’m not surprised however that even in a fantasy world and a world of might and magic and Names so different from ours it comes out in the generic fantasy way of being “better” and being “good” even though it’s not out that way. What a disappointment.

    I get that Cat will likely continue to grow and do more and more but at this point she’s feeling more memetic than anything. “Cat can do anything because she’s Cat!”. “Cat will change the entire world in her image because she’s Cat!”. “When the story ends Cat will rule over the ashes and everything will be amazing because Cat will put all the things in the world we’ve been taught to see as wrong right!”.

    I hate to say this because I actually really liked her character up to this point but I’m really beginning to hope she actually loses somehting soon. She just keeps seeming to pull wins out of her ass. Everything that seems like a loss is just a small set back for an even bigger win later on. No matter what happens Cat will win in the end is how this Story just seems to go and it seems rather obvious that at this rate even the characters acknowledge it. A lot of the sense of overall suspense has left the story. Sure in battle people may get a bit worked up but we’re all sure Cat will pull something out of her ass at the exact moment she needs it to win and it’s beginning to take a lot of the actual punch out of the story…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d be content with Cat winning all of her battles, but having to watch war grind away her friends, allies, her country and everything she loves and ultimately having to face the fact that her ambitions are a fire that will ultimately consume everything she cares about.

      But we keep getting excepts from books in the future written by people who we shouldn’t be sure if they’ll live or not talking about how still totally awesome she is in hindsight.


    2. Dainpdf

      It’s the nature of villainy, isn’t it? That you keep winning… Until you don’t. Take black for example.
      I do agree that setbacks are necessary… Losing Killian was something. Also hints at more principles than just “I want to stay human!”


    3. Metrux

      I see you have A LOT of misconceptions, but unfortenately I’m neither a native english speaker, nor a man of letters. So, to put it bluntly: There is a reason there exists common tropes. It’s because they work. And this, this here? Even though it IS Cat’s story, it is so much more about the tropes itself. We follow her story, to better get to see the world of these books, and the way it unfolds. Is it a common trope to refer to humanity? Yes, absolutely. But it isn’t wring here, and neither is it “better” or “good”. This humanity is what separetes her from the mechanical thoughts of her teacher, and from the unnatural way of the fae, and she was approaching both of them. She was human before, and, technically, still is, so clinging to parts of who she was before all that, is clinging to her humanity, not in a general sense, but in her very own brand of humanity, that she has ALWAYS had. She isn’t “backing out of going too far”, she’s taking who she is in her own two hands. So, my llittle rant over, just o make it clear another point: No matter what you think, you CAN’T change the story, it is the author’s right to make as he sees fit, you liking or not, but we CAN influence him, and this kind of rant just makes people sad, doubt themselves or full of anger. So please, stop trying to change things your way, enjoy the ride, if you can, and let erraticerrata give us this story, the way he saw it since the beggining.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Letouriste

        I totally agree with you:) what erratic has already written should be enough for people to trust him about not destroying the interest in his novel.


    4. Dana

      See, I’ve just reconciled myself to the fact that Cat is the final villain of this story and we’re getting it from her perspective. I have no sympathy for Cat at all & I root for her ultimate hero opponents (primarily Cordelia, but also White Knight). I relish any of Cat’s losses but accept that at this stage of the story, they’re few and far between. Adversity is for heroes – right up until the ending.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nasiba

        Cat is the “hero” of this story so if you continued to read it, you are going to be disappointed. I find those few who read this series and insist they are rooting for “the heroes” to be just… weird. This isn’t a story about Heroes, I mean, it’s called the Practical Guide to Evil (doing wrong right). It’s safe to assume that such a story is going to throw doubt on the very black and white absolutes that you cling to and question that very duality. Which it has done, repeatedly, so I can only imagine you are willfully ignoring it hoping that somehow the author is going to undo everything he has written so far and have the “Heroes punish the Villains”. That isn’t happening.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Saktiwijayarahman

    Fifteenth is so badass right now that if they got any cognomen less than Victrix or Rapax later, I’ll be quite mad.

    Can’t wait for the next chapter!


  6. Took her long enough to figure it out. All Cat has accomplished in the end is helping set up the next big war, and possibly the one Callow or the world will never recover from, and neither she nor the Fifteenth are prepared for it. They’ve fought a whole bunch of minor wars and big flashy battles, but they haven’t really experienced Capital W War. The kind that people don’t go around shitting and giggling about how awesome it was afterwards.


    1. Dainpdf

      Well unless the really big players like the Gnomes, Dwarves, Elves, that sea empire etc get involved, it’s still a minor skirmish on the global scale, no?


      1. It’s not about the scale of the war, but how long it lasts. All Cat’s victories were in short flash in the pan slapfights where she wins when she kills all the other guys, she hasn’t really experienced a prolonged large scale conflict. There’s no fancy trick or tactic she can pull out of her ass that can deal with the realities of hunger, disease, refugees, attrition, and psychological trauma. She’ll have to deal with the fact that sometimes just winning battle after battle isn’t enough to win a war in the long term.

        It may seem that she’s some big badass Great Commander, but in comparison to what the world has in store for her she’s still playing war games.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Letouriste

        Sure you are right about that…but so what? She will struggle^^ and she will go even more in the deep end.i’m really curious about where this story will go and how


  7. James, Mostly Harmless

    I have been thinking on Cat’s reaction to first hearing “In Dread Crowned.” Martin Luther must have had a similar reaction as the Reformation grew …


  8. Unmaker

    The Named in Procer have always been about defiance – of Good, of other Named, of the ruler of the moment, of fate (e.g. Tyrant), of the natural order, of each other, etc. You name it, they have defied powerful forces. The Calamities have shown you could defy powers by being smart, not just by being powerful, but they are still the elite defying the elite.

    Now Cat has taught and brought that same attitude down to the common man. She has taught them they can defy, too. Every ruler, noble, and Named on the damned continent should be getting cold sweats from this.


  9. edrey

    if i remenber correctly juniper was from the red moons no shields,
    well, my guess it’s the diabolist would escape to another body, maybe with her mind broken; release the hell eggs of procer and boom with have new heroes and a reason for cordelia to make war, well a excuse


  10. Engineer

    Summer shines bright.
    The Fifteenth is ready.
    Let Summer’s curbstomp begin.

    P.S. I do hope tomorrow’s bonus chapter details the fight between Ranger and The Summer Queen. I REALLY WANNA SEE THAT!


  11. Ctrl+F didn’t find the word “typo” so let’s get this typo thread started already!

    I kept to the colours, but by emblem was different.
    Change by to my

    How easy it would have been to become like Black, utterly divorcing affection and necessity, if I’d not found a family in my companions.
    Change and to of

    “I hate the orphanage, at the end,” I quietly said. “It wasn’t that they were out to get me, it was just…”
    Change hate to hated

    The Diabolist had carved doom out of stone and sorcery, and she would not quietly into the night.
    Add “go” after “not”

    The real legends, the heroes weren’t bound to small stories like mine.
    Add “that” after “heroes”

    Something I’d grown to appreciate, since Archer had joined by band.
    Change by to my


  12. “You couldn’t break open a dam and order the river.”

    I love this line, questionable grammar and all! The whole paragraph preceeding it was a nice bright spot in a chapter that doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. I don’t mean to criticize though, you can’t have good chapters unless there are bad ones too xD


    1. You know those pictures that look like a bunch of random dots until you look at it through a red filter, and then you can see it’s a picture of a dolphin or something? This chapter is the random dots, and the title is the filter that shows you how you’re supposed to look at it. I can’t think of many authors who would even attempt something like this, let alone succeed so completely at it. That book Tom Robbins wrote entirely in 2nd person comes to mind (you’re a middle age overweight hispanic woman, IIRC).

      This chapter also reminds me of All The Pretty Horses for some reason (the book, not the movie). I haven’t untangled why yet, but I’m pretty sure my subconscious does have a reason. It’s late, maybe I’ll know in the morning.

      I’ll come back later to read everybody else’s comments, I wonder how much of the discussion is about how much of a fucking masterpiece this shit is xD


  13. I keep thinking that Juniper seems like the best candidate for a third Named in the Fifteenth. I think I’ve even figured out a name that could fit; she’s too divorced from the orcish tradition of war to be a new Warlord, never mind that the culture that birthed the name is a thousand years dead. But she’s close enough for a War- name (other than Warlock) to fit. And given that Juniper’s whole existence focuses on mastery over tactics, strategy, and logistics, I’d say Warlord would fit her like a glove. Better than any other Name I’ve thought of, for sure. (And like Adjutant, it implies a position running the army rather than as a warrior.)


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