Game of Tears Release Party at OrcCon 2010!

Translated from the original ven, A Game of Tears is a novel of epistolary murder. One of the most controversial ven pillow books, it tells the story of two siblings playing a deadly game of seduction and deceit.

After the HotB Live Action event (on Saturday night, 8:00 PM), Rachel and I will be throwing a book party. Come to OrcCon 2010, play in the Larp and stick around to pick up your own copy of the book, signed by the authors.

A Game of Tears was beautifully designed by Jessica Kauspedas, including stunning layout and new illustrations.

The book includes a whole ton of extras:

  • Missing letters from Tomas, Ismene, Shajar and Kasanna
  • Excerpts from A Symphony in Yellow, an opera that may (or may not) be the original inspiration for the pillow book
  • Character sheets for both Ismene and Tomas
  • Two essays on the historicity of Ismene and Tomas Yvarai
  • And more!

If you like, you can read the preliminary translations here.

A Game of Tears — The Final Letter

Unto the Most Illustrious & Revered Senate:

Greetings in the name of the Suaven Jonan Drax.

I am called Shajar Thorne, a Baron of House Falcon.

I write this testimony in response to a request for information regarding Countess Ismene Yvarai and her brother, Count Tomas Yvarai. Although the events occurred almost a year ago to the day, the memories remain sharply clear in my mind. I regret that I am unable to deliver this report in person, but he particulars of it are still too painful for me to speak, and may remain so for quite some time.


To read the final letter, click on over to the HotB Design Blog.

Game of Tears — Part 40

So tell him, my brother. Tell him everything. Tell him our whole story. Tell him how I earned the title Mistress of Poisons. Tell him I bore a bastard when he was still in swaddling. Tell him how many deaths can be laid at my feet. Tell him just how many men (and women) have come into my bed. Tell him how I murdered our parents. Tell him all that… and he will still love me. Even if you found incontrovertible proof that mine were the hands which ended his wife’s life (an act I still categorically deny), he would still love me.

You wish a token from me, to prove that I am the mistress of my own fate? Prove I am still your sister? Prove I am still Ismene Yvarai? Shajar told me his secret name long ago, the first night we were together.

Read the entire letter at the HotB Design Blog!

Game of Tears — Part 38

Did you really think you could deceive me again, Tomas?

You fool.

You poor, besotted fool.

I intercepted your last letter, telling Kassana where to hide from me. Yes, my dearest, best beloved brother. Once I had the letter, it was easy enough to send along one of my own. I invited Kassana to meet at our parents’ old manor. In your name, of course. Sealed with your initials.

She came. Of course she came.

Read the entire letter at the HotB Design Blog!

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.