• TPT VOL 1

    Epilogue: 15 Years Prior

    Aedor counted two-hundred and forty-one of them. With his Gate of Perception open, it was an easy task, despite the distance across the snow.  Each of the Dark Mages wore robes of black that contrasted against the white of the snow and the spiraling tower that reached into the sky behind their forces. Among them, Aedor counted three Dark Mages that had also opened the Fifth Gate of Perception.  Aedor smiled meekly. This army of awakened mages was a threat to any country all on their own, and each of the Perceivers was destructive as a hurricane. But he knew that what laid in the spire beyond their forces was…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 36: Whole (Arc End)

    “Arch-don… is this really the right time to be serving beer?” Cassia said when she saw me roll up with my cart and kegs.  “Of course, it is,” I said lazily. “Old Oakdigger would want his pumpkins here.” I’d been operating out of the cart for over two weeks now. Since the tavern burned down, we had set up a small station outside the tavern and did the best we could with what we had. The brewery in the basement had been untouched, and we still had some undestroyed beer left, so we were able to keep serving outdoors on makeshift tables and chairs.  Most of my patrons showed up…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 35: A Role to Play

    I touched my hand against the outer wall of the mansion estate. After checking to make sure no one was watching, I scaled the wall, catching the ledge and raising myself over the top.  I came to a quiet landing on the other on a finely-cut grass lawn. The grounds were large, and the house was another hundred paces away. The large balconied and tall-windowed room on the third floor was no doubt the Superintendent’s quarters. I looked around to see if I guess which was Mideon’s, but it likely did not matter much anyway. The night was not that late, and I figured he’d still be at the festival. I…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 34: An Ugly Mask

    “Sir?” said a voice that was followed by a polite cough. “Would you like to make a purchase?” I found myself holding the Greenfin mask, surrounded by children who had quieted, staring at me with piqued curiosity. There must have been a strange expression on my face. I blinked, pushing away the long lost memory that had taken my mind.  “Uh…” “Or do you need another moment to think it over?” The shopkeeper said.  I’d not thought about my time on the fishermen’s ship for decades. It was strange how I’d never heard of the Greenfin again.  I looked down at the dark green mask. It had one big bulging…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 33: Memories of the Sea

    Despite the height of the moon, the festival was nowhere near finished. Crowds packed the great square of Lumitra ward, standing, sitting, coalesced together, with mugs of ale in their hands and laughter in their chests. On the center stage, a band of musicians played a loud quick-noted jingle, while men and women danced with sweat-stuck clothes. Shop keepers worked double fast as they sold their wares and served their customers. Even the children were still awake, running around with masks on their faces, chasing each other with recently-bought wooden swords and dolls.  It was like walking into a party I wasn’t invited to. That was not true of course,…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 32: Just Very Healthy

    The innkeeper brought a roll-away cot and gave me a peering look when she spotted who it was for.  “Your brother?” she said to no one in particular or perhaps to all three girls, although none of them looked related to me, nor each other. Cassia was of middling height, blonde and blue-eyed. Quite clearly a northerner. Elsa, who was still asleep in the bed, was taller than most of the men in Meritas and had high cheekbones, violet eyes, and a tanned complexion. Charm’s features added just as much contrast as the others’. She was the smallest in stature and the most girlish in appearance, though her manner would…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 31: Wouldn’t Want to Intrude

    Charm said nothing to me as she led me to the inn that she and Cassia had chosen. I didn’t know what to say as I followed behind her, watching her two pigtails that swayed in the night breeze. I assumed she was upset with me.  “Master killed him then?” she said suddenly without preamble as we entered the ward of Keeper’s Garden.  I nodded.  She sighed and did not say anything else.  I thought she was worried I’d lose. But she seemed more upset that I hadn’t. What was that about? “Hey Charm, about earlier… I’m sorry that I ordered you-“ “Charm has already forgotten.” “But-“ “Would Master prefer Charm…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 30: The Bear Man and The Tavern Keeper, Part Two

    The bear man paused, holding a breath, and I saw it in his eyes. Fear. There was no bravado in my words, only certainty. I’m the one who’s going to kill you. I stated like it was a foregone conclusion that had been decided the moment our trajectories crossed. There was no emotion behind my words, it was sterile as the simplest mathematical equation, but like one and one makes two, my words held an unbreakable truth.  It scared the bear man. A flash of terror replacing the self-confidence from a moment earlier. He was experiencing the epiphany of an apex predator coming in contact with a human hunter for the first time. …

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 29: Haven’t you figured it out? (Arc 4)

    I coughed as I stepped out of the smoldering husk of my tavern. The fumes were thick in my nose and lungs. I sucked in deep breaths of the warm summer air and tried to expel from my chest. There was a storm brewing within me, one that I had not felt in what seemed like a lifetime ago. The storm reminded me of who I really was, though I was not ready to become that man again. My powers were gone, but my rage and my will were not. If I was not careful, the storm would release and the quiet life that I’d known for the past year…

  • TPT VOL 1

    Chapter 28: Conclusions (Arc End)

    By early afternoon it appeared as if we were nearly even. Boreas had increased his odds by hiring out an entire band of musicians to perform in front of his booth.  On our side, several of my regulars had shown up, including Amberly, Bran, Dalian, and Herwin.  “This might be even better than the Honeydew,” Dalian said to me as he came back for his fourth mug. His cheeks were already a little rosy by then. “It’s great, but better? I am not sure,” Amberly said taking a swig of his own mug. It looked almost like a teacup in his massive hands.  Each had purchased several tickets and they’d…