The Silk Mind

Ashlin Smith is bored with his apparently pointless job in the Royal Badger Survey, and is trying to quit so he can go and be a blacksmith like his family expected. However, the true purpose of the Badger Survey is a lot less boring than he knows or would prefer.

Ashlin, Jenna, Justin and Derk face monsters natural and unnatural as they are tangled up in political intrigue and the civilization-threatening side-effects of ancient sorcery.


30. Breaking The Tension


Ashlin dreamed, and thrashed in his sleep. Ahead of him in the darkness, books rose like a wall, and on top of them perched Doctor Grey. The wall ground forward inexorably, closing in.

“Ash, Ash! It’s story time again!”

“No, leave me alone!” Ashlin turned to his left. A second wall rose before him. He turned again. A third wall of books towered over him. He turned to flee and there was another.

He beat hopelessly on the fourth wall, trying to break through it and escape.

“Oh why, oh why must my life be full of so much exposition?” he wailed.



Deep in a wooded glade, Justin The Badger stopped running. Every part of him was in pain. He had broken a tooth somewhere, and didn’t like to think about the details of where that tooth might be found. And his ankle was really uncomfortable, too.

He reached into his boot, and pulled out a red velvet purse, jingling with coins.

Oh. Right.

Well, if you’re going to be on the run for biting out a Lord’s throat, you might as well have some running-around money.



Memories returned, reconstructed in the dark of the night.

Jen stood over the giant badger, her tunic ripped open, her shirt plastered to her alabaster skin with sweat, her muscles defined, her breasts pert.

The sword dropped from her hand, and she ran her fingers through her short, dark hair. She looked down at the letters on the pommel.

“It’s an F not an R,” she breathed softly, her lips slightly parted. “Royal Fan Service of Atlar!”


Jen sat up in terror.

“Right, that does it. This job is officially over.” She turned over and went back to sleep.



“Well, you live and learn. We found something worse than rotted prawns.”

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