49: Witnessed from Gleaming Eye Sockets

I’m mostly resting this week because I’m taking vacation after BSDCan and the Kickstarter of WTF. Not sure which was more exhausting. The new Steampunk Fantasy Storybundle just launched, though, and it includes my Prohibition Orcs novel Frozen Talons, so here’s a sweet little old lady forging a weapon out of her dead husband’s bones.

The grooms’ quarters was too cramped for bone-melding, but Mha made it work. Bone-melding should be done beneath the open sky. It should be done at a roaring fire built up from entire trees torn from the soil and the bones of slain enemies, witnessed by the clan. She had a tiny stove heated until it gleamed in her night-sight even through the sunlight drifting through the high narrow windows.

And all the orcs she knew witnessed from gleaming eye sockets.

She had feared she had forgotten the rites, but her ragged voice recalled the words and her age-bent hands remembered the motions, the gestures, the twist of bone against bone until they caught one another and bound harder than iron. The comforting smells of scorched bone and burned blood and viscous sweat filled the air.

That orc’s thighbones were not long enough, so she added the shin bones. The smaller calf bones went on the side, to give the shaft a sharper shape so her feeble hands wouldn’t slip. Not that a properly bone-melded shaft could slip in its maker’s grip. The kneecaps, worn to smoothness by decades of joyful life, nestled together perfectly on the bottom as a base.

The Storybundle’s a heck of a deal, and gets you great books by a whole bunch of good authors. And my book.

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