The Lost Pathfinder

by Dave Gross

Chapter Four: Behind The Curtain

A good crack on the skull is worse than you might think. Assuming it doesn't kill you, there's a good chance it'll soften your brain, cross your eyes, destroy your sense of smell, or leave any of a dozen other unpleasant reminders of that time you were stupid enough to walk past the hiding spot of the hellspawn assassin you were meant to be sneaking up on.

But I'm not whining, and it's not like I hadn't been knocked cold once or twice before. This time I went down hard, my head bouncing off the bare backstage floor. Chances are I would have stayed down if hot, stinking vomit hadn't filled my mouth and nose.

The pungent stench was better than a slap for dimming the sparks that danced in my head. I rolled over and let the rest of the curried fish stew I'd had for dinner gush out. If Malla had served something less aromatic, maybe I would have choked to death before coming to. I shuddered at the thought and made a mental note to steal something nice for the plump cook.

Above me, quick footsteps rang out on the scaffold ladder, evoking a flurry of admonishing shushes from the performers who wanted silence before the curtain went up. That was my deadline, too, since the woman who'd coshed me on the noggin was here to murder my boss.

Still dizzy, I wobbled up to my feet and grabbed the iron ladder for support. I felt my adversary's weight on the framework, and looked up to see her silhouette looking down at me. She hesitated for a second, but when I put a foot on the ladder, she ran. Her steps were a thunder above the singers, whose hushing added the sound of a rain shower to the clamor.

I reached the catwalk just as the curtain began to rise. Limelight flooded the stage twenty feet below us, but I barely noticed the dazzling colors of the set and costumes. To either side of the scaffolding hung flat walls, tree boughs, and latticework arbors crawling with painted vines, all awaiting their turn in the next scene change.

Between the twin iron rails, the assassin stood in the center of the catwalk, the phony flower box lying at her feet. She cradled an elegant stock in one arm and fixed the crossbow in place. Three bolts were clamped to the stock, and she'd set one against the string. In the reflected light from below, I saw the dark gunk that covered the sharp head of the bolts.

It had to be black lotus paste. One shot of that, and even the priests of Asmodeus wouldn't be healing the boss. Of course, if this were a serious hit, they'd have already been paid to find fault in any contracts he'd made with them.

"A whispering flower is ominous,
but its silence is more so."

This was definitely a serious hit.

I was halfway to the assassin when she cocked the lever. Realizing I wouldn't make it before she set the bolt in place, I snatched one of the little knives out of my jacket sleeve and flicked it toward her. It was a good throw, but she avoided it with the merest bend of her knees and a tilt of her head. The second one, aimed to strike her when she dodged the first, flew harmlessly past her shoulder. There must have been some snake mingled with her human and diabolic blood. I could come to like this woman if she weren't messing with my livelihood.

She glanced out toward the boxes and hesitated. Shoot at me or shoot her target is what she had to be deciding. The question was whether success or survival was more important to her. She raised her crossbow and pointed it out into the audience. I shouted my filthiest curse.

Say what you like about a country that's held onto its remaining imperial might by bargaining with the legions of Hell, but queen-ruled Cheliax is still the most powerful nation in all of Avistan. Even so, there's a word or two that'll strike any woman sharp enough that the first thing she wants is to put you down. I figured halflings still bristled at "slip," and, no matter how much I like to keep my cool in any situation, "boy" and "hellspawn" still raised my hackles. Manly as the assassin was, I was betting that was doubly true of her. I needed her to hate me for a second.

My epithet rippled over her face. With a snarl, the assassin turned the crossbow toward me. Only then did I realize the stakes. Even when I was in his good books, the boss wouldn't have paid the small fortune it would take to resuscitate me. He'd have to sell one of his precious orchards or an entire farm, assuming I was only dead and not destroyed. I didn't really know how it went with black lotus. The thought made me flinch, and I dove low to knock the legs out from under the assassin.

The killer was smarter than she'd looked. As I flew toward her knees, she leaped straight up and set one foot on either rail, deft as a bird on a line. I hit the iron platform hard. All I could do was hope the impact would throw off her aim, but the assassin's knees bent to absorb the shock. Steady as a veteran sailor on the crow's nest, she held the stock of the crossbow against her cheek and drew a bead on her target.

Something she saw made her frown and hesitate again. I grabbed her ankle and wrenched her down from her perch.

She twisted as she fell, hitting me dead in the sternum with the butt of her crossbow. The blow took away my breath and wet my eyes. She was even heavier than she looked, with muscles hard as cobblestones. I thrust an arm through the open wedge of the bow but couldn't get a grip on the bolt. My other hand clutched at her face, fingers seeking her eyes.

She cracked my chin with an elbow and struck me again in the throat. I turned to avoid the third shot, which caught me on the thick of my neck, and she caught my arm in a wrestler's grip and bent it painfully, forcing me onto my face.

Through the grille of the catwalk, I looked down at the singers. Their voices barely smothered the sound of our fight above, but a lone chorus boy stared up at us as he sang, his mouth an O of astonishment as he sustained his note. Despite my predicament, I threw the kid an apologetic grimace.

Using my opponent's strength against her, I tried twisting in the direction she was forcing me, but she planted a knee between my thighs to stop my escape. If she had kneed me a little harder, she'd have discovered the surprise I wore for those who go for the cheap shot. Maybe she knew I wore a spiked cup. If she'd asked for such detail about her target's bodyguard, she was even more dangerous than I already understood.

She let go of the crossbow I had tangled with my arm, and I finally caught hold of the haft and threw it away. The weapon clattered across the catwalk and came to a stop beside the railing. I half wished it had fallen onto the stage, summoning help. If that arrived in the form of local guards, it'd go a lot worse for the assassin than it would for me. But if someone called the Hellknights, it'd go badly for both of us. It was better to wrap things up and get the hell out of here.

I whipped my head back and cracked her on the face. It wasn't much of a blow, but it threw her off balance enough that I twisted out from under her. We lay side by side on the catwalk, and that's where you don't want to be if I'm mad at you. My spur caught her high on the chest, and I felt more than heard the crack of her breastbone. The strength evaporated from her arms as she reached for me, and I gave her another shot to the shoulder for good measure. We scrabbled over the catwalk for a few more seconds, but it was all over save for the rap on the head.

When she lay still, I glanced out where she had aimed her weapon, but all I saw was one of those tiny balconies. It was empty.

I collected her crossbow and dragged the assassin to the end of the catwalk. At the base of the ladder, four beefy stagehands awaited us. After removing the bolt and loosening the crossbow string, I lowered her unconscious body and dropped her into their arms. When I climbed down after her, the big boys blocked my path.

"What's all this, then?" asked the smallest of them. He must have been their boss.

I thrust the crossbow into his chest. "You work it out," I told him. When one of his boys reached for my arm, I menaced him with the poisoned crossbow bolt. He stepped back and looked to his boss for direction, and by the time he looked back I was out the door and into the hall.

A cluster of guards stood over their unconscious comrades where I'd left them. One of them was just coming to, and his rescuers eyed me with suspicion. Their boss asked the obvious question, but I ignored it and answered the important one.

"These knuckleheads let an assassin bribe her way into your playhouse," I said, thrusting the crossbow bolt into his reluctant hands. His eyes widened as he recognized the poison on the tip. I pushed past him.

"Wait," he demanded.

I turned to face him. The fight had taken it out of me, and I was too tired to run. "My boss is waiting," I said. "If you have something to say, make it quick."

He hesitated, looking down at the bolt and considering his culpability in the matter. After a moment's consideration, he looked me up and down and said, "Nice jacket."

∗ ∗ ∗

My opera cloak was scant comfort against the chill I felt upon emerging from the opera. However fine the weather, a cold wind blew in on me from the direction of all my peers. I was beginning to understand at last, after decades of effort to integrate myself fully into the human society of my mother, that I had never been one of them—not truly, not at all. I was born before House Thrune ascended the throne on the backs of devils and men sworn and damned. We did not like it, my mother and I, but since her death I had been ever loyal to the throne, answering each summons to war, spilling my coffers when taxed and overtaxed, and yet still turning the course of my wealth to the comfort of those least buoyed by the national triumphs, employing halflings not as slaves but as servants, elevating a hellspawn street thug as my bodyguard, and bending my considerable talents to the advantage of my peers who wished their personal injuries and indiscretions to be soothed privately...

It was intolerable ingratitude. That one misfortune—in a career of hundreds of favors rendered discreetly and without a single instance of advantage taken over those whose secrets I had uncovered and recovered and kept safe—should result in such a bestial display...

I had endured such abuse as only the lowliest of criminals deserve, and from the very crust of the scab that has formed over the wound left by the death of Aroden, usurped by the infection praised in my homeland as the Prince of Law. That we citizens of an empire should come to serve at the foot of Asmodeus, better described by our foreign foes and rivals as the Prince of Lies, master of all us damned Chelaxians who think nothing of exploiting the generosity of a peer only to...

"Boss?"

I had thought I was alone, but Radovan has a most distasteful habit of creeping up on me.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

"Why should I be otherwise?" I said.

"You made a sound," he said. "And, you know, you left the opera."

I did not wish a description of this "sound" Radovan had heard, nor did I wish to discuss the matter of my early departure. Still, it was an unexpected comfort to hear the voice of one I could trust, no matter how rude his manners. My headache had dissolved into a maelstrom of indecision. I felt as though I were on the brink of an abyss, capable of surrendering myself to the void or else turning to leap... I knew not where.

"You look like you could use a drink," said Radovan.

The surrender in his voice was more damning than any chastisement. It was Radovan, among all my servants, who had most blatantly hinted that I had been drinking too much since the unfortunate affair of the Henderthanes. That he would encourage me to seek the solace that he believed diminished me made me feel more poignantly ashamed than any admonishment my mother had ever gently delivered.

"No," I said. "That is the last thing I need."

"All right," he said. To his credit, he kept most of the relief from his tone. "Then maybe it's time to get you home."

The comforts of Greensteeples were plentiful, and no lord of Egorian had grown more accustomed to his house than I, who had resided in mine, apart from the occasional tour or campaign, for nearly a century. Yet I knew I would find no solace in Egorian, even if I were to close my doors to visitors and mingle exclusively among the society formed by my books, my gardens, and my memories. As I came to this realization, it was the image of the whispering lilies, drooped and wilting in the solarium, which sprang foremost to my mind—a symbol of all that had gone wrong.

And which might yet be set right.

"No, Radovan," I said. "It is time to depart."


Coming Soon: For the further adventures of Radovan and Jeggare, see the forthcoming Pathfinder Tales novel Prince of Wolves. Meanwhile, stay tuned for next week’s Pathfinder Tales webfiction and the first installment of “Noble Sacrifice,” by Richard Ford!

Dave Gross has been a technical writer, a teacher, a magazine and book editor, and a novelist. He is the author of the forthcoming Pathfinder Tales novel Prince of Wolves and the Hell's Pawns series in the Pathfinder's Journal for Council of Thieves, both of which star Varian Jeggare and Radovan, the heroes of this story. His previous novels include Black Wolf and Lord of Stormweather.

Art by Joe Wilson

More Web Fiction. More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Dave Gross Joe Wilson The Lost Pathfinder Pathfinder Tales

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!
You tell me that if I want to read more I can wait for PRINCE OF WOLVES-
but don't you see -?
I want to read more RIGHT NOW.

In all seriousness:
Great work!

Dark Archive Contributor

Marcus Ewert wrote:

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!

You tell me that if I want to read more I can wait for PRINCE OF WOLVES-
but don't you see -?
I want to read more RIGHT NOW.

In all seriousness:
Great work!

Man, you have offered such enthusiastic responses that I'd send you my last ARC, if I still had one. Thanks for the awesome support. Will you be at Gen Con?

Contributor

Yeah, that was a fantastic story.

Well done sir. I'll be watching for more of your work.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Very cool.

Time to sign up for a Pathfinder fiction subscription. And pick up a copy of Prince of Wolves. :-)

Also, thanks again for the encouragement and advice at PaizoCon.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That's good reading. I just wish the book was already out so I can see what's next.

On the technical side for the web staff, I get a permissions error if the picture of the flowers is clicked on.

The Exchange

I wonder who sent the assassin. Will we ever find out?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Paul Ryan wrote:
On the technical side for the web staff, I get a permissions error if the picture of the flowers is clicked on.

That's not supposed to happen. Should be better now.


Dave Gross wrote:
Marcus Ewert wrote:

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!

You tell me that if I want to read more I can wait for PRINCE OF WOLVES-
but don't you see -?
I want to read more RIGHT NOW.

In all seriousness:
Great work!

Man, you have offered such enthusiastic responses that I'd send you my last ARC, if I still had one. Thanks for the awesome support. Will you be at Gen Con?

Dave, enthusiasm is easy to offer up when the work in question PRODUCES such enthusiasm.

I feel dumb for asking, but what's an ARC?

I won't be at GenCon- but I have a feeling I'll be on the boards a lot here. Gonna go Google you now, see what other goodies I can find...

EDIT: Wait- an ARC is a Author's [Something] Copy, right? I guess we have those in children's picture-book author land too, but I bet they're called something different...

Contributor

Marcus Ewert wrote:


I feel dumb for asking, but what's an ARC?

Advance Reader Copy. They're generally lower-quality, print-on-demand versions (sometimes without covers) that contain the book in more or less its final form, but without a lot of the bells and whistles. They get sent out to key reviewers ahead of time so that the reviews can coincide with the book's release.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Another great installment. I am really looking forward to Prince!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ross Byers wrote:
Paul Ryan wrote:
On the technical side for the web staff, I get a permissions error if the picture of the flowers is clicked on.
That's not supposed to happen. Should be better now.

Thanks for the fix. I like the added detail of the art even if the basic files are too big to fit well with the fiction.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This may actually get me to sign up for pathfinder fiction.

Great story.

Now I just have to see if I can squeeze this in between buying diapers.


The Primus approves!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Interesting. Two things got my attention.

Spoiler:
"Maybe she knew I wore a spiked cup."

Had me laughing out loud. (stats in Adventuerers Armoury II please?)

Spoiler:
and yet still turning the course of my wealth to the comfort of those least buoyed by the national triumphs, employing halflings not as slaves but as servants, elevating a hellspawn street thug as my bodyguard

I'd be interested in seeing how his 'servants' feel, all things considered.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Matthew Morris wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing how his 'servants' feel, all things considered.

I think you get a feel for that in how much loyalty Radovan consistently demonstrates toward Jeggare. Even the halfling foot-servants with the buggy that delivered Jeggare to the opera were prepared to play their part in helping Radovan safeguard the "boss."

Dark Archive Contributor

NSpicer wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing how his 'servants' feel, all things considered.
I think you get a feel for that in how much loyalty Radovan consistently demonstrates toward Jeggare. Even the halfling foot-servants with the buggy that delivered Jeggare to the opera were prepared to play their part in helping Radovan safeguard the "boss."

You both raise good questions, and I hope you find the answers in Prince of Wolves sufficiently complicated.

As for Zeugma's question, it is not addressed in the novel, but it gives me an idea for something Hugo suggested for Wayfinder at PaizoCon.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Dave Gross wrote:
NSpicer wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing how his 'servants' feel, all things considered.
I think you get a feel for that in how much loyalty Radovan consistently demonstrates toward Jeggare. Even the halfling foot-servants with the buggy that delivered Jeggare to the opera were prepared to play their part in helping Radovan safeguard the "boss."

You both raise good questions, and I hope you find the answers in Prince of Wolves sufficiently complicated.

As for Zeugma's question, it is not addressed in the novel, but it gives me an idea for something Hugo suggested for Wayfinder at PaizoCon.

Thank you Dave,

I may have been reading too much into the phrase "elevating a hellspawn street thug as my bodyguard". I read it as "Some of my best friends are Tieflings," self justification.

I look forward to the novel.

Dark Archive Contributor

Matthew Morris wrote:

I may have been reading too much into the phrase "elevating a hellspawn street thug as my bodyguard". I read it as "Some of my best friends are Tieflings," self justification.

I don't think you're reading too much into it. One of the key themes of Cheliax is bigotry, even in or perhaps especially in those who think they're above it. I doubt Varian or Radovan will ever escape those feelings entirely, although one or both certainly might become more aware of them over time.

The Exchange

If my question inspired you to write more about these characters and their adversaries, I'm very pleased!

Also, I did pick up on how Varian was trying to justify himself in the face of his social exclusion. I think his ruminations help expand his character from what we saw in the Council of Thieves books, which wasn't very much of him, and at the same time give a nice "info dump" on his situation (for the new readers and the readers not entirely clear on the situation in Cheliax).

All in all, I don't think Varian Jeggare is a guy I'd like if I met him, but he would be a guy I'd listen to if I met him. :)

Dark Archive Contributor

Zeugma wrote:
All in all, I don't think Varian Jeggare is a guy I'd like if I met him, but he would be a guy I'd listen to if I met him. :)

I eventually left Varian out of "Hell's Pawns" because the chapters were relatively short, and I found Radovan's voice first and didn't want to divide the noir tone.

Since Prince of Wolves shows both of their POVs, I figured it was time to show Count Jeggare's voice, even if we meet him at his worst. I hope those who find him unlikeable (and I can't blame anyone for that--he is a mean drunk) will be interested enough to follow him into the mystery that lures him out of his depression and into much greater dangers.


Dave Gross wrote:
...that lures him out of his depression...

(edited)

Ah-ha. I had been wondering as to if his depicted 'current' state of mind of the web fiction was his default, and this explains it. Is it the social ostracisation by his peers which has been causing it? (Although unless aforementioned ostracisation is punishment being co-ordinated by the Church of Asmodeus, I'm not sure quite why it's apparently so universal amongst his peers? Surely there weren't that many families tainted by the devil in question of the Pathfinder #25-#30 fiction run?)

Dark Archive Contributor

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Ah-ha. I had been wondering as to if his depicted 'current' state of mind of the web fiction was his default, and this explains it. Is it the social ostracisation by his peers which has been causing it?

I prefer to leave intentional lacunae unanswered, since stories often work best when the reader fills in those blanks, regardless of whether it's with the same answer I'd provide.

That said, keep in mind that Count Varian Jeggare is the fatherless, half-elven heir to a vast fortune, and that he's spent decades unearthing the dirty secrets of his peers. No matter how charming he might be when he's sober, he's a dangerous guy to have around.


Very excited to get the novel. I enjoyed the story in Council of Thieves and enjoyed the web fiction.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mr. Gross allow me to echo the words of praise and interests-piqued by my fellow Paizoians.

I had planned to subscribe to the fiction line all along... but these samplings from you have really cemented that plan.

And I am really curious to see what you might have put into Wayfinder # 3
(am I understanding that correctly, or is it something for Wayfinder # 4?)

Anyway... a most excellent 4 part story. Really looking forward to more.

Dean; The_Minstrel_Wyrm

Dark Archive Contributor

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Mr. Gross allow me to echo the words of praise and interests-piqued by my fellow Paizoians.

Dean; The_Minstrel_Wyrm

Thank you for the kind words. Now, never call me "Mr. Gross" again. You can call me "Dave" or "Master and Commander" or, while in the hearing of your partner, "Cuddles."

But definitely thanks. I hope you enjoy the book. Just over a month away, and I'm on tenterhooks to see the final physical incarnation.


So you're not only a fan of Holmes, but of Patrick O'Brian as well? I should have known, Cuddles...er, I mean Dave.

The Exchange

Does this mean we can expect a swashbuckling, sea-faring, talk-like-a-pirate story sometime in the future?


Now I'd almost bet a dollar to a donut that Dave, when preparing to write about Radovan and his master, went back to look at his favorite male duos in literature for inspiration, not only the obvious Holmes and Watson, but others, including the superbly written Aubrey & Maturin.

The Exchange

Ah. That makes perfect sense.

Dark Archive Contributor

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Now I'd almost bet a dollar to a donut that Dave, when preparing to write about Radovan and his master, went back to look at his favorite male duos in literature for inspiration, not only the obvious Holmes and Watson, but others, including the superbly written Aubrey & Maturin.

That's a keen speculation, but the truth is that I read one O'Brien book about ten years ago, but I liked it. If there's a dominant influence on the R&V stories, it's that I'd been enjoying a film noir binge just before writing "Hell's Pawns." After reading Prince of Wolves, you can probably guess the famous final scene I had in mind at the end, although you might have to squint to recognize it.

Soon after the initial idea for "Hell's Pawns," I was thinking of the boys more as "Holmes & Marlowe." That is if Holmes weren't so infallible and Marlowe weren't a lone wolf.

Dark Archive Contributor

Zeugma wrote:

Does this mean we can expect a swashbuckling, sea-faring, talk-like-a-pirate story sometime in the future?

Probably not, although I love a good swashbuckler. Of course, now that I say that, I can almost imagine Jeggare with a head scarf fencing a pirate captain from the Shackles ...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dave Gross wrote:
The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Mr. Gross allow me to echo the words of praise and interests-piqued by my fellow Paizoians.

Dean; The_Minstrel_Wyrm

Thank you for the kind words. Now, never call me "Mr. Gross" again. You can call me "Dave" or "Master and Commander" or, while in the hearing of your partner, "Cuddles."

But definitely thanks. I hope you enjoy the book. Just over a month away, and I'm on tenterhooks to see the final physical incarnation.

Aye-aye Master and Commander! :)

(TMW)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well done, Mr Gross - I'm looking forward to reading Prince of Wolves! I envy your talent - your action sequences are exciting and evocative. I'm not a huge fan of the first person perspective, but I've been able to bear through it for the sake of a great story (Armor, Black Company). However, when reading your story, I didn't even notice... great job!

Dark Archive Contributor

Thanks for the kind words, nomadicc.

I thought long and hard about whether to use the first-person in the novel after establishing the characters with Radovan's first-person narrative in "Hell's Pawns" from the Council of Thieves AP.

For Radovan, first-person was always the perfect fit, since his character comes from the world of hard-boiled noir heroes, but in [/i]Prince of Wolves we also have Count Jeggare's point of view, and he's a different sort of character altogether, drawn more from the Regency or Victorian era of gentleman adventurers. I rewrote the first five or six chapters several times before I finally settled on first-person with two distinct voices and, I hope, tones. I can't wait to hear what you think of the result.

nomadicc wrote:
Well done, Mr Gross - I'm looking forward to reading [i]Prince of Wolves! I envy your talent - your action sequences are exciting and evocative. I'm not a huge fan of the first person perspective, but I've been able to bear through it for the sake of a great story (Armor, Black Company). However, when reading your story, I didn't even notice... great job!

Scarab Sages

I can't believe the final chapter in this series hasn't received a comment since July! Well, in lieu of other readers who may have been remiss in their responsibility to offer feedback and praise at your work, I hope my reply is a worthy substitute for all those unspoken accolades.

Initially, I wasn't sure if I would like "The Lost Pathfinder". For one, I've stumbled into the web fiction section in hopes of acquainting myself with Golarion (it's so much more satisfying to be "shown" rather "told" the details of a world, isn't it?). Also, Varian took a moment to get my head around so being introduced to the story by him made me stumble. Don't worry, that was definitely not a fault with the text, in fact I think that in order to set this up for what it becomes you made the best choice. It offered a great framework, poetic in how it opens and closes this wonderful prequel to what I am sure will be a great novel.

Once I worked through these minor details, I was utterly enthralled.

Your characters, no matter how brief their participation in the plot, were well-crafted and one could see them as living beyond the purpose they served within the story. Anyone of them could have been given a biography of their own from the shiver addict to Varian's butler. You fleshed out the details of the setting in a manner that allowed me to see not only place, but action with stunning vividness. Also, you deserve applause for having successfully integrated the noir atmosphere into a fantasy setting.

In short, you pulled off a great story.

Thank you for sharing this writing with us and I hope that this comment (should you read it) brings you satisfaction. Take care and keep on revealing worlds to your readers!

Dark Archive Contributor

Psalmist wrote:
Thank you for sharing this writing with us and I hope that this comment (should you read it) brings you satisfaction. Take care and keep on revealing worlds to your readers!

Your generous (and well written) comments lend much-needed assistance to the cold meds that are keeping me alive this morning. I hope you enjoy Prince of Wolves and Winter Witch, both of which show much more of Golarion.

Scarab Sages

Thank you, I'm glad to hear my praise is potent enough to carry with it moderate medicinal properties. Actually, I had meant to extend one other plaudit. I appreciate the fact you integrate words people might have to look up in your stories. Though it wasn't in the tale itself, I am happy to say you taught me "tenterhooks", never heard that expression before yesterday. I'm very much looking forward to reading the novels and hope to see more of them in the future. Stay warm, get well and take care!

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