Brutus must learn how to keep faith in the Burning Flame

In “Pillars of Smoke,” Lorenzo escaped Belmont and an arranged marriage. But he left behind his parents, Brutus and Ophelia, and the twins. Three days have passed since the “Night of the Rocket,” but none in Belmont are allowed to know of the life outside. In the city beneath the… Continue reading

Will interrogation reveal the secrets of the weapons cache?

Single dark lightbulb hanging from metal grid ceiling

Interrogation by Matthew Cross Fear washed over Panthino as he carefully made his way down the stairs into the darkness below the warehouse’s butchering floor. Desdemonia led the way, sure-footed and calm. How she could remain so calm when they had been kidnapped, he did not know. But she seemed… Continue reading

Panthino’s kidnappers take him to the Shambles

Shambles by Matthew Cross Two things don’t last: good luck and good weather. It’s something the farmers of Finsbury liked to say. It seemed fitting here, Panthino thought, as he sat next to his kidnapper, a skinny man with skraggly teeth and a strong smell Panthino could not immediately place…. Continue reading