Last Call At The Camellia Club

When I was growing up, my mother always told me one thing:

“Morty, I swear to God, if you don’t shape up, you’re gonna grow up fucking someone for money!”



“Lord of Winter,” said Lady Dagmar. She swept forward before Aesa could say a word, shifting her cloak into her brown hawk’s wings as she knelt in the feast hall. She spread them to their full length, so that all present could see them. This was custom for a Valkyrie captain in a strange feast hall. “We ask you to release a wind for us. Just to hold the winter a little longer. My Lord Bryngeror has endured the attention of her rivals for too long. We need a late winter to thwart them. The snow needn’t stop their attack, only delay it.”

The announcement caused a murmur among the attendants in the hall, all bundled up in furs to combat the cold of the hall. Aesa could imagine how it must have looked: a small flight of Valkyrie coming in the name of a small holding on the other side of the valley, speaking for the wife of a Jarl who had died two winters ago, and asking a god himself for aid.

“Remember, a god in exile is still a god,” Lady Dagmar had warned them, when they’d entered the hall. It had mostly been a warning to Aesa, who had been all too eager to shake the ice from her wings and rush ahead. Hodur had not been to Asgard in some time, not even to the selection tournaments in which he would be allowed to choose new Valkyrie, but even still he kept the winter winds in his stores, and in many ways the one god all people of the mountains believed in above all else.


Daniele And The Lion

Agnolo knew that Daniele Bugiardini wanted him dead. He was sure of it. He had been sure of it since ten years ago, when he had married Daniele’s favorite cousin. This had been too much for Daniele, who was so used to being attractive and successful and better than Agnolo. He was tall and fair with strong shoulders and good legs. Agnolo was short and spindly with poky black hair. Daniele’s father was a friend to the Medici, the finest citizens in all of Firenze. He worked for the bank and traveled across all of Italy. Agnolo’s father was Daniele’s father’s notary. They had been good friends. They had been such good friends that when Agnolo’s father died when he was eight, Signore Bugiardini had been so kind as to take him into the Bugiardini house to be educated with all of the Bugiardini brothers and sisters and cousins and Daniele.


The Showman

by Tsuki Akari (月あかり)
illustrated by halcyonjazz

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/46028.html)

She had wandered too close to the road. Lettie knew the instant she’d heard the beat of hooves at her back. Her father had warned her, of course. It was a ways to the next town, and the roads were rife with vagrants and highwaymen. For that reason they had camped a safe distance from the dirt path, seared into the plains ages ago. For that reason she had been advised to stay with the troupe, and let her brothers do the wood gathering. Lettie had not listened. Lettie had a terrible sense of direction and a tendency to lose her head to silly fancies. So now, she fancied herself about to be robbed. She knelt in the grass and plucked the topmost stick off of her bundle. Angling it upwards, she readied herself for a fight.

The shadow of the horse blanketed her. It was a dun palfrey, gnawing tiredly at its bit. Dust from the dry season patterned up its chest, but it was well adorned, and did not look half-starved or poorly bred. Its rider held as much quality. An older gentleman, it looked, bracers glinting and cape wavering in the feeble summer’s breeze. Lettie let her stick drop a few inches in surprise. Robbers and rapists, these she had considered, but she had not expected a knight.

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