A Game of Tears — Part 37


I remember the Falcon now. I remember throwing him from the walls of father’s castle. I remember you begging me, pleading with me to spare his life. I remember how pathetic you looked on your knees, tears streaming down your face. How weak. How helpless. And how I despised him for making you so wretched. Like an alchemist performing his trick in reverse, transforming something so sublime into something so vulgar. You truly loved him, didn’t you? Clinging to my surcoat, you offered me anything if I would spare him from our Game.

And I had you, then. In that moment, you truly would have done anything. Given in to any command. And you would have done it without any hesitation or regret because you knew that act would have saved his life. Would have saved your happiness with him.

I had you.

No act would have been too demeaning. No act would have been too profane. And you know exactly how many vulgarities and profanities my imagination can summon. Anything for love. The love of your precious Falcon.

I had you.

You. Proud Ismene Yvarai, begging at my feet. The woman who makes men beg. She who has tamed a thousand hearts with only a glance and ten thousand more with only the promise of a touch. You offered me anything, then. On your knees before me. Snot and tears on your face. Disgraceful. Disgraced. Humbled. And with your surrender before me, do you remember what I asked? Do you remember?

On your knees, looking up at me, I asked, “Are you still a virgin?”

And that is when you lied to me. And that was when I knew he had to die. Because you lied to me. He made you lie to me.

And so I threw him from the walls of father’s castle. I watched him plummet and I watched his body break below. And I remembered your lie. Your deceitfulness. Your treachery.

Yes, Ismene. I have lied to you. I have performed the very same treason you accuse me of, now. And I do so because I suffer from the same pain.

Here I am, at your knees, with tears in my eyes. I cling to your dress with weak, trembling fingers. My head bowed with shame, I admit, I am weak. I am helpless. I cannot live without her.

I hope you remember the moment when you knelt before me. And I hope you remember my cruelty. I hope you remember it because I want you to remember the pain of asking such a thing.

I am asking for your mercy which I know is still in your heart. I will offer you anything to spare her.

Please, my sister. I plead. I beg. Please. Let her live. It is such a little thing.

Please. Let her live.


Game of Tears — Part 36

 Are you grieving? I have to say, you have always seemed able to hold your liquor before. You rarely, if ever, get this drunk. Has the Green Woman’s death (by your own hand, no less!) so unmanned you that you have crawled into a brandy bottle as a result?


Of course you haven’t.

Because Kassana isn’t dead…


To read the entire letter, check it out on the HotB Design Blog.

A Game of Tears – Part 35

[editor's note: the letter below is deeply stained with wine making some passages difficult to read. The damaged passages have been translated to the best of our abilities. We've taken small liberties, assuming words and phrases from context. We've marked these passages with parenthesis.]

My Sister,

It is done. She is dead.

Although, it would seem I am not the only one with blood on my hands. I received a letter from Shajar recently. He told me about his wife’s murder. He also told me it was performed with a sorcerous blade and an old, stained strangle cord. Ismene, you must be more careful.

I told him to burn the cord lest it prove sorcerous. In truth, I told him to burn the cord lest he allow one of Jonan Drax’s blasted “knights” to divine whose hands were on it last. Like I said, sister. Careless [sic]

Read more at the HotB Design Blog.

A Game of Tears — Part 34

 … (s)he was in her nightclothes, tangled in the bed linen. I could not begin to fathom what I saw. There was blood, so much blood! It soaked her clothes, the sheets, even the mattress. Her hair was matted with the stuff. I ran to her body. There was a dagger rising from her chest. She had been stabbed through the heart. I reached to pull it out, but gasped when I touched it.

We are getting very near the end now. You can read the latest chapter at the HotB Design Blog.

A Game of Tears — Part 33

 My dearest Kassana,

You must die.

You must trust me now more than ever before. There is a delicate reason why this must be accomplished and it is a reason I cannot tell you. However you may do it, do it quickly. I have bought you enough time to conspire with whom you must to create and maintain the illusion, but it must be quick. By the end of the Season. Sooner, if possible. 

My beloved, I would tell you the reason this must be accomplished, but I cannot. I must not. Only know that I have been commissioned for your death and find my hand incapable of doing so. Despite ourselves and who we are, I now know that I love you and I cannot bring myself to destroy the only woman I have ever loved.

I beg you, leave your husband and come to me now. I will make the arrangements myself. I realize now, even now, as I write these words, that such brutal work can only be accomplished by a villain. A villain such as I. As unworthy I am of your love, I shall prove its worth by breaking the most sacred promises I have ever made. I hope these revelations will prove my truth and devotion to you. I hope they are not wasted in vain.

The danger to your life lies in the mind of my sister, Ismene. She sees you as a threat to her own legacy. A dangerous woman driven by jealousy and hate. Jealousy for your beauty and cunning. Hate for the love that has grown between us. And all of this because of our Game. Of that, I can say no more in letter, but I shall reveal all when you arrive.

I beg you again: leave your husband and lands. Come to me now. I have already made preparations in my mind and soon I shall fulfill them with my hands. Come to me and we shall be together. There are many lands in Shanri where we will not be recognized. I will go with you wherever you desire. Together, we will build a new home and I shall serve you as you desire.

I have sent this letter with my most trusted servant, Isha. He shall bring you to where I am now. I have sealed the letter in such a way that only one of my family may open it. Such is my concern for your safety.

I hope that I shall see you soon. Already, I fear to lose your laughter forever. It has been the only light in my dark life. 


Your beloved,