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One from the vault. Written after the 2012 LL36H.


Smyrna battered down the last man's defences and thrust her sword through his chest. Blood burbled from his lips as he collapsed to the ground. Shaking with exhaustion, she made her way to a convenient tree and sunk onto it, breathing heavily. Ketch made his way over from his pile of unconscious bodies, taking a long pull from a water skin before offering it to her. The movement as she accepted the skin shook blossom from the tree. She drank deeply from the mouthpiece where his lips had so recently rested.

an indirect kiss ...

Smyrna woke suddenly, her eyes wide and staring in the darkness, beside her, Halamar slept, tied to the bed so he would not escape. Was he really worth keeping? He'd been there, in the room, when she'd seen... Her mind veered away, not wanting to think it, but he'd been there, only not; he'd been outside, with his back to her. Did he even care? Could men care, like real people did? Ketch had been there, only he'd been there properly, talking to her, trying to help her. He'd been bad at it of course, lacking subtly and wisdom, but crude as he'd been, he'd given her the anger to stand again, to fight again, to be a warrior. He'd goaded her, and she'd attacked him and he'd looked her in the eye, and she'd seen sorrow and anger for what had been done to her, but no pity. The gaze of a warrior, like her sisters. Gazing into those eyes, it would be easy to forget he was a man.

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