Stowaway, 109

Pax was going to get a neck injury if he didn’t stop going back and forth between all these weddings and wedding parties.

First had been Jade and Pig’s very touching and fast wedding with little in the way of formal rituals. Then, scarcely two days later, Pax had gone with Denver and Louis, who were going with Alse and his delegation, to attend Princess Gabrielle and Prince Franz’s royal wedding in the Dolovin capital, and that had been extremely lengthy and also quite moving, if far more ritualized. That had been followed by an equally lengthy and somewhat staid party at the castle, which Pax had enjoyed. Now, he’d come back and they were on an island having a shirtless wedding party for Pig and Jade and he was pretty sure Nate was drunk, which was unfortunate because Nate was using his body to drink.

Admittedly, that was only two weddings and two wedding parties, so perhaps characterizing what had been a series of objectively happy moments as ‘all these weddings’ had been unfair both from an emotional-supportive and numerical standpoint.

“Uh, okay,” said the shirtless boy serving drinks at the party. “So do you want another one?”

Team, 102

“Okay, I think here’s good,” Cal said, looking around the square. There were six city guards just in his range of vision on a quick scan. He might have thought it was an awful lot, if it weren’t for that huge Imperial ship in the harbour flying the empress’s flag. Apparently one of her sons was on his way to town.

To pick up the Map of Amker, no doubt.

“Okay,” Sully said, sighing. He started taking off his clothes. “This is the stupidest idea you’ve ever had.”

“The only stupid ideas are the ones that don’t work,” Cal reminded him. “Hurry up, I had eight glasses of water this morning and I need to go.”

Noble, 33

Geoffrey held Javier’s hand as four young guards with DiGorre crests on their breasts lead them to the throne room. They stood outside the open doors while someone shouted that they were here to appear before the queen.

“It’ll be okay,” Geoffrey told Javier quietly.

“I know. That doesn’t mean I’m excited to see it.”

Geoffrey nodded. He wasn’t particularly excited to be spanked in front of the court either, but it was a small thing and then they could go home. It was just a game. “It’ll be ten minutes and then this is all over,” he said.

Another guard came out. “The queen will see the traitor,” he said to the others.

Team, 87

Cal’s favourite thing about Gavin’s house was that the bedroom had its own privy, so he didn’t have to get dressed when he got out of bed an hour before dawn to pee. The fact that Ian kept it warm enough and had put enough rugs down that his feet didn’t freeze to the floor was also really nice. The door to the privy also didn’t creak because it was kept oiled, and there was a very low light in there that didn’t sear Cal’s eyes but let him not pee in the dark.

Really, Cal thought, scratching his belly as he stepped inside, he just liked Gavin’s house. Gavin wasn’t using it, so he should just let Cal have it permanently. Cal could pay him in artefacts. The Map of Amker alone could probably buy this place a few times over, and it would save Cal needing to buy a house to retire to when he was older.

He aimed vaguely and started to pee, yawning as he did. Hopefully he could get back to sleep—it had been a late night and it was a little early even for him. His brain was starting to work, thinking about the route they were going to need to take to the northern coast, and he tried not to let it do that too hard. They’d figure that out later in the day.