Moll Cutpurse. I based Meg on her.
Moll Cutpurse. I based Meg on her.

From 10 August 1540 onward, the Privy Council clerks acted as the Council’s principal aides, working not for one but for all, and as subject to the precariousness of politics and events as the Councillors themselves.

Secretaries, Statesmen, and Spies

Jacqueline D. Vaughan


It was mid-morning and Robert Poley was in high and determined spirits. Yesterday had been a wild ride of success and mischance but he was intent on making this day be entirely under the benevolent eye of Dame Fortune. His humors were high and his blood fairly spun in his veins. He knew where he had to go and the laborious upstream rowing of a wherryman was much too slow for his mood. His rapid pace took him westward along Conning Street to Watling and past St Paul’s and out the city walls at Ludgate. The streets were still muddy from the night’s rain and he had to step quickly on occasion to avoid being splashed by passing wagons and coaches.

He took basic precautions, doubled back a few times, stopped here and there to see if any of those among the crowds of people in the streets stopped along with him, if any of the faces were familiar. By the time he passed through Ludgate, he was reasonably sure that he was not being followed. Continue reading “(Broken Instrument) CHAPTER 17: POLEY: THE CLEAVER”

army camp

Their eyes are on him.

He wishes he were more tired, he’d notice them less, care less about them, then. But now, shaved, rested, he’s aware of their stares as he walks through the busy town hall. The building is busier than it ever was when this place was just a small sleepy French colonial town in the Tunisian highlands. The sounds of typewriters and voices and boots echo against the shot up walls and the smoke stained ceiling. Somebody recently tried to hold this building for a while. Maccabbee steps on a blood stain that’s been scrubbed halfheartedly back when the Americans turned the building into their HQ. Not enough time, not enough wear for the stain to have faded. The Kabbalist shivers when he catches the echoes of the death. A German kid, dying hard, bleeding out, warmth pulsing into cold, doesn’t want to die, he whispers something that Maccabbee can’t hear, doesn’t want to hear. He grits his teeth and moves on through the people. Continue reading “(Fangs of the SS) CHAPTER 16: Among Strangers”

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570
Joachim Meyer – Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570

But the city was strongly garrisoned with crack Castilian troops and Protestants who refused to reconvert to Catholicism were ordered to sell their homes and immovable possessions and depart. Around half of Antwerp’s population, some 38,000 people emigrated to the north over the next four years (1585-89).

The Dutch Republic

Jonathan Israel


The next day, the sun was going down as they approached Antwerp, floating down the Scheldt. The canal had exited into the river a few hours earlier and their pace had picked up in the faster running river. The city’s glory days were long past. For as long as Nick had been in the Netherlands, Antwerp had been a shadow of its former self, when it had been the busiest port in Northern Europe. Now, after two sacks by the Spanish, the Dutch closing the mouth of the Scheldt, and the Protestants all fleeing  north, there were rotting wharves, decaying cranes, empty houses, few signs of people living outside the walls.

Fuck. Gets me every time. The ‘dam and Emden might be getting all the ships these days but I remember when Antwerp was the center of the fucking world. When I first came here, sailing for John Crookback, ships were so crowded along the wharves and quays that it looked like you could walk all the way across the Scheldt going from deck to deck.

The Inquisition will fuck up your business faster than getting drippy dick from a wharf-side whore. First they kicked out the Jews and now they’ve done the same to Protestants. And they all went north to Amsterdam, taking their money and business and brains with them. Continue reading “(Broken Instrument) CHAPTER 16: NICK: QUAY SIDE KNIVES”

Promethea by Moore and Williams. Another huge influence on this book.
Promethea by Moore and Williams. Another huge influence on this book.

“Well, this is bullshit!”

Geburah’s not shy about expressing its frustration and Maccabbee steps away a little bit to avoid the flailing arms.

Mirsky’s walking behind the two of them as they go towards the HQ for this Army base and he shakes his head. So very pleased that the Rabbi’s taken my advice to avoid scaring the goyim. He had to have a golem go with him to this meeting and he had to pick the weirdest looking one. I can see that helping this guy is going to be a walk in the park. At least I got him to shave and put on a clean uniform. Doesn’t look like death on stick anymore. As much, I guess. And maybe his nose won’t start bleeding when he’s in front of the brass.

Camp Cuckoo is on the far side of this base and everybody around them is regular Army. The three of them are picking up a lot of attention and that’s giving Mirsky the fidgets. It’s not just that Geburah’s a tall, beautiful four armed walking statue. It’s also that Geburah’s positively dripping with weapons. Four shoulder holsters, four automatics, a rifle, a couple of grenades, and big bush knife strapped to one thigh. The base has grown up a small Tunisian town, abandoned when the war rolled up to its doorstep, and the brass picked the town hall as the HQ. That’s where the three of them are heading, through the constantly moving throng of soldiers and equipment. Trucks and Jeeps of troops moving up to the front and ambulances and Jeeps bringing back the wounded. Supplies and equipment being shifted around. It’s loud with engines and shouts. The mud sticks to their boots. Continue reading “(Fangs of the SS) CHAPTER 15: The Creation Of Geburah”

Lime Street
Lime Street

… but it was van Meteren’s skillful management of the post that made him indispensable. When the artist Marcus Gheeraerts wanted to send smoked herring to Antwerp, or Ortelius wanted gifts to arrive at his sister’s house in London, they inevitably went through Emmanuel van Meteren and his formidable network of middlemen, merchants, sailors, and travelers to ensure that precious messages and gifts reached their destination.

The Jewel House

Deborah Harkness


Unfortunately, the business at the Customs House had proven fruitless. There had been no sign of any Captain Barnes. There had been one other captain in from Vlissingen and he knew nothing of Moody.

Poley’s mood was dark and frustrated and to cap it off, the weather had decided to match its mood to his. The afternoon had passed in a succession of conversations, boat rides from ship to ship at anchor in the Pool, and a memorable visit to a male whorehouse looking for a Portuguese captain. And all the while the clouds had moved in from the west, wispy at first, then piling up and blotting out the light.

And now it was pissing down rain.

Lime Street during a sunny day was a pleasant prospect. It was a narrow twisting street from St. Dionysus Backchurch on Fenchurch to Cornhill and St. Andrew Undershaft and its tower that loomed over the surrounding houses. The houses were all very nice and there were no tenements. Continue reading “(Broken Instrument) CHAPTER 15: POLEY: A STREET OF STRANGERS”


Sergeant Augie Toffer has a rock in his boot and it’s driving him insane. Which means that his mind isn’t on his job. Not that it matters, in the end.

The abandoned village up ahead is just a small cluster of buildings around a spot where the road widens into a stopping point. The American patrol is coming up the rutted dirt road. They’ve been out since dawn, marching up the foothills of the mountains of central Tunisia. At least it’s stopped raining, a soft drizzle that made everything miserable. Now the sun’s out and the clouds have retreated to the tops of the mountains in the north. It’s cold. Continue reading “(Fangs of the SS) CHAPTER 14: Enter The Wehrmacht”


To circumvent these problems a canal was dug to link Brussels via the River Rupel, thus establishing a direct link with the Scheldt and with Antwerp. The canal was finished in 1561 and shortly afterwards most of the docks were dug.

Living in Brussels


He’s right there. Right there on that barge, eating his bread and cheese, that fat bastard. Helmsley drew back from the shutters in the lockmaster’s office and his hand tightened on the hilt of his sword. I could take him right now and be back in Brussels back in Master Owen’s favor by sunset tomorrow.

“No.” Jean’s voice was as matter of fact as always, but with an undercurrent of discomfort. “Not enough men. Tough fucker. Remember the market.”

Helmsley spun to face him. “But he’s right there!” He heard the whine in his voice and got a grip on himself. It was wrong of him to show such lack of composure in front of Jean. He took a deep breath. “You’re right. What do you suggest? Where can we get more men?”

“Breda Piet’s in Antwerp.” A spasm of pain passed over Jean’s face. “Pardon.” He hurried through the back door of the office in the directions of the jakes. Bad meat at mid day had done for him. Continue reading “(Broken Instrument) CHAPTER 14: HELMSLEY: SET THE TRAP”

Isaac Babel
Isaac Babel

“Just how stupid is that piece of shit?”

“Just how stupid does he think I am?”

Mirsky’s got a pissed off look on his face and he’s muttering to himself. Because he’s so intent on his own internal dialogue, questioning the sexual habits of Duvall’s mother and just how someone that stupid could actually get promoted to captain, and in Army Intelligence no less, which, he realizes pretty much answers his own question, because of all that, the skinny Russian Jew doesn’t notice that the inhabitants of Camp Cuckoo that cross his path: a mad scientist, a witch, something bipedal and wrapped in bandages, and others, all of them get out of his way. Continue reading “(Fangs of the SS) CHAPTER 13: The Hitman And The Rabbi”

This is for a Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig over on his blog.

The challenge: Go to Who The Fuck Is My D&D Character, get a neat one, and write +- 1000 words.

The result:



Perfect hit with the spore bomb.

Kyreana might have been really fucking careless when it came to researching dragonfire, but she’d known how to make bombs. And before the explosion turned her into a rather oddly shaped shadow on the wall, she’d taught everything she knew to her only apprentice.

Ja’ash leaps from the vine, to the tree trunk, and scuttles up for a better view. Claws. Times like this, she always loves her claws. She looks down through the jungle foliage. Continue reading “Flash Fiction #1 D&D”