The June Patreon stuff is up!

It was… not the best month, creatively. Had to push through a few times. Hopefully July will be better.

Anyway, enough whining!

  • Short Story: Seven Flags. Part One, alas. The aforementioned needing to push through. Anyway, it’s a Fermi Resolution story starring our favorite orc paladin Liza. Well, she’s my favorite orc paladin, at least.
  • RPG Material: Resurgence, Part Three: Community. I’m pretty sure Community was awful. I just haven’t quite decided whether they were actually the worst option.

Snippet the last, SEVEN FLAGS, Part 1.

I have to break this one in half, dagnabbit. Sometimes I can wrangle the novellas, and sometimes I cannot. This is a ‘cannot.’ So part one this month, and part two the next.

That stopped Jan. “…Yes. Fair point. Anyway, Blank’s still waiting for me to relax before she starts going through my papers, or whatever else she’s going to do. I haven’t decided whether or not to let her see the real ones.” She laughed. “I should. We’re not actually trying to hide anything from her. But old habits die dirty.”

“What about Cabot?”

“Oh, he’s a professional; he had whatever information he was looking for before we left Gallstone. Not from me, mind you — although I offered to quiz him on the intelligence he had gathered.” She shook her head. “He scored seventy-four out of a hundred, would you believe it? He should have only gotten sixty.”

“I really do not understand how the Carnivores think, Jan.”

“Ha! At least we’re still doing that properly.” Jan shook her head. “The game is different when you’re spying on an ally. He wasn’t supposed to get any information that we didn’t want to give him, and we weren’t supposed to notice that he had gotten it. So, good hits all around, and we’ll probably set up a cross-training system at some point. Which would be nice. I hear the North Atlantic is pretty, if you like freezing rain.”

06/26/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.

I may need to break this story in two parts, because it’s really a damned novella. Hell, I’m worried it’s a damned book.

“I’m wondering about the decanus,” Liza admitted to Jan afterward. They were back in Jan’s office, but this time they were drinking broth, not bourbon. “What’s her background?”

“Aside from the alchemy?” Jan chuckled. “Decanus Karen Blank used to be a damned rebel and guerrilla. The records say she’s killed everybody from overseers to Legionnaires. Even bagged a mage apprentice, once.” She sipped more broth. “She came in from the heat when we took Gallstone, and hanged every son of a bitch that her rebels didn’t see to themselves during the fighting.”

“So can we trust her?”

Jan gave her a steady look, over her cup. “‘Trust’ is one of those words that has a weird meaning in my line of work, Tribune. We need alchemists, and we were killing the same people at the end. It’s everything that happened before the end that’s the problem.” Jan’s mood got visibly heavier. “If somebody’s still holding a grudge over what we all did back then, God knows I can’t blame them.”

06/22/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.

I don’t particularly care to go into much detail about the old Imperium Orci. It was not a nice place.

“You don’t want to hear my suggestion about to what to do about Marcus, Liza,” Jan told her privately, back at camp. Liza wasn’t sure when they had gone to being on a first-name basis, but it seemed to be working out. “I don’t even know if I want to offer it.”

“Would it involve breaking the– ” Liza paused to count, in her head “–Sixth Commandment? Because if so, no, I don’t want to hear it.”

“No, actually.” Jan grimaced at Liza’s start. “I wouldn’t suggest that to another Carnivora, let alone you. It wasn’t just the army where things happened, you know. We had our own problems, too.” She clenched her jaw. “It’s a miracle the Dominion didn’t break us.”


The matter-of-fact tone in that made Jan start. “Ha! I walked into that.”

06/21/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.

Going to skip ahead and back a bit.

“Yes,” Jan interjected. “Not to mention all the paperwork. These aren’t the old days, where you just grabbed replacement gear off a dead man and hoped your new legionary brand wasn’t too ugly. You have to sign things, instead. Things have become much smoother.” She dimpled. “As long as you have enough crayons.”

“Crayons?” asked Vivana. “Yes, why is it that your, ah, people use those, instead of quills?” 

Liza noted that the mage didn’t even bother bringing up Hershey ballpoints. That was probably why she deadpanned, “We like to eat them,” just to see what would happen. 

What happened was a frown from Viviana, a strangled snort from Cabot — and a dirty look from Jan. “The Tribune will have her little joke. The truth is, they’re more reliable when it comes to marking things up that aren’t paper. Beeswax we have in plenty, and we can make more in the field.”

Yes, thought Liza, but they do taste good. All that fruit they use for the coloring…oh, well, we’re trying to look civilized now.

06/10/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.

It’s slower going than I’d like, because I need more conflict in this one. And punchier dialogue.

“Your quartermasters have been very helpful, Praefect.” Arco’s Orcish was even better than Cabot’s, with only a trace of an accent. “There were a few items that they could not precisely provide, but I was able to find acceptable substitutes.”

Liza couldn’t decide if there had been a sneer or not tacked onto ‘acceptable,’ so she decided to be charitable and let it go. “Good. But if it turns out you need something after all, tell us right away. We don’t want to make your job harder.”

“Yes,” Cabot drawled as he mixed himself a glass of something complicated. “Only the enemy gets to do that. And they’re so good at it, too.” He looked around in the sudden silence, smirked at the various expressions, and meeped laughter. “Ah. Yes, this would be the famous ghulman sense of humor. I’m afraid you’ll get used to it.”

06/06/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.

Had to grind something out.

She didn’t enjoy killing the Dominion’s soldiers. She didn’t even enjoy fighting them, simply because there was no skill in it. Their masters preferred them slow, stupid, and tough enough to not fall over dead right away. Gather enough Dominion soldiers together at once, and they could usually get things done without too many individual units getting wrecked. There were always more regular humans to mind-geld, after all.

This one died quickly, with the usual flicker of something in his eyes that Liza always worried was baffled relief. Killing somebody truly eager for death didn’t make it easier on the killer. It should have, but it didn’t. It made you think about all the other soldiers out there, trapped in a Hell yet still alive, and with nothing to look forward but the tip of your blade.

The books said the Ancient Romans kept slaves. For the life of her, Liza couldn’t understand why.

06/05/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.

Party drama time!

Horace Longfellow Cabot was what the Second Republic called a ‘ghulman,’ and what the legions had called ‘short, wiry Eastern bastards.’ He had a furry, spare body that was all long limbs and impressive digging claws, and he spoke Orcish with an accent that she had never heard before. It wasn’t quite right, but it definitely sounded educated. 

Cabot also wore those ridiculously archaic clothes the Second Republic favored, down to a bizarrely-knotted tie, white shirt, and expensive-looking black jacket and pants. In fact, he looked expensive, period. At least his hands are rough, Liza thought as they shook. He’s no stranger to work. I just hope he doesn’t wear those kinds of clothes in the field. Guess we’ll find out! 

If Cabot was an unknown quality, Liza knew exactly how to describe Viviana Garcia Arco. She was almost blatantly a Sonoran mage, from the top of her slightly shimmering silver mantilla to the soles of her extremely practical shoes; and she had the look of somebody raised on the stories of the Great Sack of Old Hermosillo, not to mention every other war between Sonora and the orcs. Her handshake had been smoothly offered, civil — and about as warm as an icebolt. Still, Arco was a mage. Having one along for this wasn’t just useful; it would probably make the difference between success and victory. If Liza would have to eat some bile, then she would, that’s all.

06/04/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.


Everybody knew that the Carnivores had its blades pointed outwards these days, and that it now only sheathed them in the flesh of actual foes to the Empire. There was still a certain space given them in camp. There was no need to be antagonistic, was there? There were plenty of real enemies to fight, these days.

Liza still felt surprisingly relaxed when the two of them ducked into the set of linked tents that was serving the Carnivores as a command center. It helped that she had a truly guiltless conscience — Well, guiltless with regard to my loyalties, she admitted to herself. Mother Mary knows that I have plenty of sins to remember. It helped a bit more that she was on a mission for the Emperor himself. She might have lingering reservations about the secret police, but she recognized their commitment to the well-being of the Imperium Orci.

That didn’t mean that working with them was safe, but then: Liza had never been really safe once in her life. Why start now?

06/03/2024 Snippet, SEVEN FLAGS.

There could conceivably be a Volume Three of TALES FROM THE FERMI RESOLUTION, you know. If enough people like the first two, that is. Also: this name, I like.

The province wasn’t as far west as it was supposed to be, though. There was a large purple-green swirl along its western edge, looking unpleasantly like an infected boil on the province. “That’s ugly,” Liza observed. “Dominion stay-behind forces?”

“Worse,” Callie told her. “A Dominion mage. Oh, not one of their Archmages,” she went on, at Liza’s involuntary start. “If it was one of those, that spot would already be represented by a burned-through hole on the map.”

“Or maybe it wouldn’t be,” observed the Emperor. Liza noted that his tone was serious, for the moment. “Saint Anthony is important to the Imperium. It’s going to be the new capital, for one thing.”

Liza gave him a puzzled look. “Isn’t it a monster-haunted ruin, Imperator?”

“Yes! At least, I certainly hope so.” The Emperor laughed. “Monsters can’t threaten to tie you up in court for a decade unless you pay through the nose for the land you’re seizing. If they could, they’d stop being monsters.” He brightened. “Although then they can be taxpayers, which is always nice. — But no, all we have to do with Saint Anthony is just clean out the creatures. After we take care of the enemy forces that are really in our way right now.”