SWORD & SORCERESS 30 – excerpt

“Temple of Chaos”
Sometimes the domestic is more dangerous than the wild.


It had happened, the thing she had feared when the All-Father had “rewarded” her service with a town to protect and to profit from: She had been domesticated. She, whose keenness and discernment had given her the edge in many a fight and many a negotiation, was now watching her household neophytes and empathizing with their juvenile heartaches.

Tyana brought the desk and a gourd of fermented goat’s milk, placing both on the table with a silent obeisance quite unlike her usual familiarity.

Tyana understands.

And that made Pimchan even angrier. She hadn’t become a Warrior so she could be understood, certainly not by a householder.

She finished her food and washed it down with Tyana’s heady kefir. Paper, ink, copper stylus, and now her thoughts; she was ready to write her letter.

She rubbed her bare head, drawing on the power of the runes that covered her scalp, calling up eloquence and persuasion to help her find the words she would need when she took pen in hand, a hand more accustomed to speaking with a weapon. With every dip of the pen, every scratch upon paper, she laid down a geas of beguilement. She had little doubt it would be detected and successfully resisted, but its presence would signal the desperation of her plea.

Revered and Omnipotent Father of All who dwell within your lands, this boon I beg.

This worthless one was placed, by your wisdom, as protector of the town of Mountain Cloud. The town entrusted two children to this worthless one’s care. These children are growing, and one of them is training as a Warrior. Although the tutelage of this worthless one has been of no benefit to him, he feels ready to step forth to do battle in your exalted name with whatever injustice he may meet along his way.

Will it please you to grant him your blessing? Will it please you to free this worthless one from her bond with Mountain Cloud so she may accompany her ward into the world, at least for a while?

Your humble servant,

Pimchan of Mountain Cloud


Sealed and directed to the All-Father – wherever he might be when the letter found him – Pimchan’s missive was handed over to the town’s Seeker, along with an ivory bracelet with Pimchan’s name and town inscribed on it. The Seeker could claim whatever shelter and supplies he required in his journey, would collect receipts as he went, and would present them to Pimchan for payment on his return. Given the All-Father’s penchant for wandering randomly around his domain, it could turn out to be a painfully expensive correspondence.

Worth it – worth every bronze penny – if it would free her from this bondage and get her into the field again. To stride for miles and days, eyes on the horizon, senses constantly on the alert, instinct and training always at the ready – this was the life she loved. Only life held by a thread was a life worth holding at all.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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