Issue X: "Black Powder Bind," by Chris Diggins
Plus, the conclusion of the Bloody Bonnets trilogy!
It was supposed to be a quiet scouting mission on the frontier.
They were to simply journey through Vitigis Pass and find a suitable location for a forward command base. Child’s play for a unit of the Mighty 27th.
Then a battalion of Subaten grenadiers appeared on the horizon, firing in perfect lines and lobbing balls of explosive powder. By the time they closed for a bayonet charge, the unit was already starting to rout. And when the sun set on their retreating forms, only three of the unit’s mages — Lieutenant Danil ‘ja Minaldi, Sergeant Sillato Redent, and Corporal Antin Rigo — were left.
Even now Antin could hear the screams of his comrades-in-arms when the first black powder bomb exploded in their ranks. It was his first taste of real combat; he’d only graduated from Basic a few months before. He had always imagined he would cut a striking figure, dashing and brave, as he clashed with the enemies of the Empire.
Instead, as soon as blood spurted from his neighbor’s throat and acrid smoke filled his nostrils, he broke and ran.
It was the only reason he was still alive. But the memory filled him with shame.…
The Bloody Bonnets: Part III
By Henry Leeker
Official Report by Dahlchus Mithryen to the Imperial Governor, East Sindar Region:
Have taken part in the amiable reconciliation of a local dispute. Am surveying the scenic Uplands with new traveling companions.
From the personal journal of Dahlchus Mithryen:
After my misadventures in Lairdston, I continued my tour of the Barrowmarch, eventually making my way to the Uplands of the region. The land is known for its production of peat. Oddly, its roads are chockablock with wailing maidens. They tend to fields and beasts in noisy misery. Many of these maidens are watched over by a curious religious order of veiled women, known locally as the “Sisters.”
At a water trough in the town of Mulldale, I was informed of the situation by two maids. The girls told me that all the women of the Uplands — and not a few young men as well — were lovesick for a dashing copper-haired rogue named “Bonny” Langdon, yet another member of the Bloody Bonnets. It seems I am destined to keep encountering these seemingly ubiquitous brigands. Furthermore, Langdon had recently chosen a beloved, one Trista, the Sheriff’s daughter. When her father discovered them, he arranged a hasty marriage for Trista to a local merchant. The end of this story was cut short, however, by the approach of a Sister. As she entered the yard, the maids bent their heads and all-but ran back to their abodes, leaving me alone with my horse by the trough.…