Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 25 (draft)

“What d’you mean y’can’t fuckin’ see?” Sabbat growled. It was a stupid question and he knew as much, but if Archer had just said what he was pretty fucking sure he’d just said, then they were both in a fuck of a lot more trouble than they’d been a few minutes ago. 

“Exactly what I said,” Archer replied, infuriatingly calmly. He raised one hand in front of his face, spreading his fingers in front of his eye. “I’m not exactly certain what happened, but I appear to be lacking rather more of my vision than I normally do. Which is to say that I can’t see. At all.” He took a deep breath, which sounded more than a little shaky around the edges, and went on, in that same infuriatingly detached tone. “You’re not affected in the same way, then?”

“Already told you I wasn’t.” Mostly because whatever’d knocked Archer flat on his arse seemed to have been solely targeting him. Or, worse, had left Sabbat alone because he was the one bonded to it. “Reckon whatever it was happened when I touched the fuckin’ box, so stands t’reason I din’t get got by it.”

Archer nodded, wiping his bleeding nose on his shirtsleeve with a casualness that made the hairs on the back of Sabbat’s neck stand on end. “I think it was a backlash of some kind, though I’ve not encountered anything quite that strong coming off a ritual which was supposed to be concluded.”

Sabbat’s nose was bleeding as well, though he’d given up trying to staunch it. Wasn’t as if his kit wasn’t consistently getting covered in blood at the moment anyhow. “That much blood says you’re right. Any idea what caused it, other’n the obvious?” And if I keep you talking, your eyesight’ll come back. Any second now. 


A small NaNoWriMo related update

So you might remember that back on the 31st of October I made a post explaining why everything had been a wee bit quiet around here. You also might remember that in that post I said that I was going to have a bash at doing NaNoWriMo this year, and opined that this sounded a wee bit daft given the whole health situation.


The NaNoWriMo 2022 winner badge

So it turns out that I’m a stubborn bastard when I put my mind to it, and that I can in fact write 30k in a week if I want to (and I’ve got the time away from the dayjob).

I was aiming for 25,000. But then I hit that, and kept going, and then once I’d got to 30,000 there was more behind me than there was ahead of me. And then I hit 40,000 and at that point I was going to get to 50,000 if I had to pull an all-nighter to get there.

And… here we are.

The eagle-eyed among you might also have noticed that a pile of new chapter headers have appeared on the index page for Silver in the Ashes. Those chapters all exist thanks to this last month, and we’re not done with the story yet. So hang on tight – the ride’s only getting rougher for our heroic crew from hereon out.

Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 24 (draft)

If I wasn’t already sure Avebury was a bastard of the first order, that little scene on the staircase would have removed any lasting doubt, Mortimer thought, chasing a wayward potato to the edge of his plate and spearing it on the tines of his fork.

To be grudgingly fair to the Sinnlenst, being run headlong into would put anyone on edge. But that still didn’t excuse the sheer delight he’d taken in baiting the kid, especially given that Fest was very clearly not doing well (and how was that for another problem that he now had to solve, on top of everything else? Where was he even going to get fresh blood at this time of the evening?)

And what was all that about theft? Do I have to keep an eye to make sure the silverware doesn’t go missing?

Unlikely, that – Avebury’s people were richer than most, even if his parents had lost most of their wealth (and their lives) in the Revolution. No, if the Sinnlenst was after anything, it’d more likely be artefacts or texts that he couldn’t easily get elsewhere.

I wonder if I can persuade da to make him empty out his luggage before he heads back to the city. The last thing the Order needs is any of the research stored here getting into the Sinnlenst’s hands.

The odds of that request being granted were astronomically slim, mind. While more paranoid magicians were notorious for assuming any apprentices were potential thieves, Verist had spent years cultivating a reputation as a reasonable and level-headed researcher – he’d be hardly likely to throw that away on the offchance that one of his students might try something that wrongheaded.

Not to mention the fact that if he tried to get away with any even remotely useful artefacts the wards would fire before he’d taken more than a couple of steps outside.


Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 23 (draft)

Why did I have to bring so many books? Fest groused, silently, as he dragged his trunk the last few feet to the open door of his room.

It had seemed like an excellent idea at the time – he was going to be away from the city for at least a month, so there’d be very little to distract him from finally making a dent in the collection of adventure novels he’d been building up since he’d arrived at university. What he’d failed to factor into this decision was that a whole trunk of full of novels (not to mention notebooks and assorted magical texts) was ridiculously heavy and awkward to manoeuvre, even for a vampire.

Almost there. Just have to get it inside the room, and then that’s the last of my belongings taken care of.

Avebury had brought almost as much kit, but, probably because he’d brought significantly fewer novels, he’d actually managed to get his possessions up to his room significantly faster – he was now lounging in the library downstairs, presumably looking through the books to find even more topics he could show Fest up on.

The joke’s on him. I actually brought my university texts, and I’m fairly bloody certain he didn’t.

Not that it was going to matter much if Avebury managed to charm his way into Verist’s good graces. The Archmage might be the most respected magician this side of the mountains, but at the end of the day he was still as fallible as anyone else – and, worse, didn’t know enough about who he was dealing with to see Avebury as anything other than what he appeared to be on the surface.

And, if that’s what we’re comparing, I’ll admit that I don’t exactly measure up.


Jumping ship from the blue hellsite

Well, not entirely.

So… as some of you may know, Twitter’s currently kinda death-spiralling thanks to being taken over by someone who thinks sacking half their staff with no warning is a great idea. With that in mind, while I’m still going to be active over there for the moment, I’ve also spun up an account over on (an SFF community mastodon instance).

If you feel like following me over there, I’m over at house_of_five as per usual. Currently don’t have much posted there, since I made the account less than an hour ago, but should hopefully be posting the usual kind of stuff soon (and probably a lot less yelling about transphobes, since I’m a damn sight less likely to see them quoted into my timeline… which is probably going to be very good for my mental health, all things considering).

Brief health update

So you might’ve noticed that there’s not been much in the way of posts around here for a wee while. Long story short, I wound up out the end of one of my meds by a month due to a scheduling error and my GP surgery deciding to choose the worst time to update their systems, which has had a whole pile of knock-on effects on both my physical and mental health.

Everything’s now sorted, but I’m still working my way back up to where I was before all that happened (and my hand’s still not back to 100% functional, which isn’t exactly helping). So… yeah, that’s why we wound up with another unplanned hiatus.

Current plan, as daft as it sounds given what I’ve just written above, is to have a decent go at NaNo this year and see if that at least gives me something workable to build on. While I can’t give you an exact date for when regular updates will resume for Silver in the Ashes, rest assured that I am actively working on it – if nothing else, I want to read peoples’ reactions when Certain Things Happen.

Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 22 (draft)

The house where the Sinnlenst had held their meeting was easy enough to find, given it was the only place within a mile with all of its windows blown out. Viola had been expecting them to have put boards up, but apparently the delicate sensibilities of the poor magician-murderers might have been outraged by the sight of anything as common as a few planks of bare wood (that, or they didn’t trust the air inside the place enough yet to want to have to rely on candles or oil lamps for light). The gaping empty eye-sockets of the window frames were good for one thing, though: they meant that she had a decent sight of what was going on inside while she was still a fair way away.

At least I know for a fact Avebury’s not going to be lurking in there. That’s something, I suppose.

Most of what was going on inside seemed to still be clean-up – there were any number of servants going to and fro with buckets and dustpans, even several days after the massacre (and it had been a massacre, if the amount of blood she’d smelled that night was anything to go by. The Sinnlenst were keeping relatively quiet about the exact number of deaths, but she’d be surprised if more than a third of Tyburn’s party were still alive).  A fair proportion of the ones she could see were non-humans, which tracked with her understanding of how the Sinnlenst operated – if Avebury hadn’t been so intent on showing her off to the assembled crowd at the meeting and thus ensuring that her face was already known, she’d probably have been able to trick her way inside by posing as a maid or a hired hand, and half the humans wouldn’t have given her a second glance.

As it was, her options were limited to ‘sneak inside without being seen’ or ‘walk right up to the front door and ask to be let in’. The former would have been her preferred route, without question, but between the time pressure and her wounded leg, the latter was almost certainly the better option.

I just have to keep pretending to be a bloody turncoat and hope that they can’t smell the fact that I’d like to rip half of their throats out.


Silver in the Ashes: Chapter 21 (draft)

The conversation with Jenny had taken longer than Viola had been budgeting for, and the sun was already almost behind the horizon by the time she finally emerged, blinking, from the warmth and chatter of the Daggers’ main room. She wouldn’t have traded any of the time she’d spent for anything, though – if nothing else, having the space to sit down and get her head in order with someone who understood what was going through her mind better than a non-werewolf ever could had done wonders when it came to calming her racing thoughts and putting some semblance of a plan together.

She still needed to go up to the Hall at some point, she was certain – if nothing else, there’d been a look in Jenny’s eye when she’d talked about the ‘bad magic’ she and Viola had both caught scent of which had implied that it was something which might need a werewolf to properly untangle – but ‘at some point’ didn’t necessarily have to mean today. Mortimer was already heading up there, after all, and if he made the check-in tonight, then they could put a plan together from there.

If he didn’t… well, at that point she’d likely have Amelia all but ordering her to head up there, so the question would be fairly moot.

Though, thinking of Amelia…

She winced, leaning against the wall to take the pressure off her wounded leg for a moment. It still hadn’t healed properly, which meant that she almost certainly should be taking the younger girl’s advice and going to see a surgeon about it – but, then again, that meant having to sit still while someone poked and prodded and asked irritating questions, and she wasn’t entirely sure she wouldn’t end up biting whoever it was just to get them to leave her alone.



The writer’s right hand and forearm, with a grey and black splint around the forearm/wrist and a white fabric paired splint around the first two fingers.

So it turns out I managed to prang a tendon in the back of my right hand a couple of weeks ago (and my perception of pain is miscalibrated enough that I didn’t actually realise I’d done something more than strained it slightly).

I do have two more chapters of Silver in the Ashes already written and ready to go, but I am going to try and rest up/not write for a while to give this time to heal up. We’ll see how that goes.