Over a Barrel: Part 2

(First visit? Stop by the archives. The story begins with The Huntsmen.)

By this point I had learned my lesson. I finished my beer and left shortly after she did. Drinking myself into a blind stupor had its appeal, but I was going to have to be sharp the next morning.

I hate rush jobs, but then again, I hated everything about this one, so what was one more detail?

The good news is that there’s an upside to a daylight break-in, especially in a building with more than one flat. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? But look, here’s the thing. To get caught doing something you’re not supposed to be three things have to happen: someone has to see you, someone has to know what you’re up to, and someone has to care enough to do something about it. If you’re jimmying someone’s door at two in the morning, you’re less likely to be seen but anyone who does see you knows you’re up to know good and is more likely to act on that knowledge.

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Over a Barrel: Part 1

Author’s Note: Now that The Huntsmen is concluded, the next few weeks will be filled with short stories that fill in the time between longer arcs. They fit in with the overarching storylines and aren’t true stand-alones, but they’re a bit of play, some exploration, and general shenanigans.

PS: The following contains the views of Walter Raphael “Rafe” Greyson and does not reflect the policy, position, moral, or hygienic standards of Storm and Ash, its author, editors, or any of its support staff. Methods described herein may be unethical, illegal, or simply unwise, and we accept no liability for those who chose to act on any information this post contains. Failure to ignore this warning may result in lawsuit, arrest, prosecution, possession, sexually transmitted infections, fleas, excessive daemonic interest, incursion of Anatolian or Phoenician deities, wrath of Loa, bad poetry, involuntary transmutation or transformation (arboreal, animal or otherwise), IRS/HMRC audit, injury, or death. 

I knew it was going to be a bad night when it opened with my mistress leaving me.

Not that either one of those points are technically true: Millie wasn’t my mistress in any conventional sense of the word. And, as I told myself, it wasn’t so much that she was leaving me as the King’s Head.

Family business not, for a change, demanding my presence elsewhere, I had gone down to my pub of choice for a pint and a meal. I’ve been known to wax poetic about the Head’s lamb stew (a dish deserving of a Herrick if ever there was one), but they also make these amazing little fried concoctions out of potatoes and cheese and chopped onion. I think the real trick is that they roll them in cornmeal before they…

Right. Sorry.
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The Huntsmen: Chapter 23 & Epilogue

Willamina sat reading on the couch in front of the fireplace in the front parlor. Last night Stian had made it clear that he would be leaving this morning, and so she was now bargaining with herself. She told herself that if he was going to come by before he left, it couldn’t possibly be any later than eleven. Therefore, all she had to do was keep herself occupied until eleven, eleven fifteen at the absolute latest, and then she could wash her hands of the whole thing and go on with the rest of her day.

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The Huntsmen: Chapter 22

“Shit,” Rafe said, sitting up suddenly. “They’re still out there.”

“That just occurred to you?” Stian said. “They should be fine. They had a half-mile start on us, if they stuck to the plan. But Fetch will check on them.”

“And everyone else?” Rafe said.

Stian gave him a hard look. “We’re lucky that the weather turned so foul. A few sheep will probably be missing in the morning, but the Hunt had a quarry when they set out. Hopefully, that’s all they’ll take.”

Rafe sighed in relief and flopped back onto the floor. “So we’re all right then?”

“Well, the countryside at large should be safe,” said Stian. “Should be. Because we are very, very lucky in spite of your stupidity. And your brothers should be safe. But you, as you so eloquently put it a moment ago, are fucked.”

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The Huntsmen: Chapter 21

The temperature was dropping fast. The night was cold, and the snow had begun to fall in the slow, heavy way that threatened to pile up quickly and render the countryside impassable in only a matter of hours. It made their movement to the site Harrison had given them slow and uncomfortable, but it also concealed their movements. After a slog that brought Edmund and Stephen within rifle range, they found themselves picking their way through the edge of a copse.

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The Huntsmen: Chapter 20

“So let me get this bit straight,” Rafe said. He and Stephen were sitting in Casmin’s room, waiting for Edmund. “This Graves wants to be God?”

“No,” Stian said. “He wants to be a god. God is the creator of all things, the ultimate governor of the universe. A god is more like… a high ranking bureaucrat with extraordinary powers.”

Rafe raised an eyebrow. “Religious man, are you?”

“Try doing what I do for ten years and be otherwise,” said Stian. “The Church won’t have me for fairly obvious reasons but I refuse to let my relationship with God be defined by the problems I have with his staff.”

“Fair enough,” Rafe said.

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The Huntsmen: Chapter 19

Harrison had no idea how lucky he was.

 

Edmund had experienced by that point one of the worst days of his existence, one bordered by the deaths of loved ones and the day that Rafe had been sent away into the Navy. But whereas each of those previous days had provided moments of clarity, of purpose and definition, this one left him completely adrift.

 

It was not a condition that suited Edmund Greyson.

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