“We were an unstoppable force, you and I, Anton.  Feared throughout the Matto Grosso, the Kingdom paying tribute to us for our courage and savagery.”  Pinowne smiled.  “Do you remember our battle of The Tall Grass?”


“How could I forget such a fortuitous event?  A thousand Alliance warriors we slaughtered that day, did we not?”


“And maybe more, Anton.  A glorious day was it not,” Pinowne said chuckling to himself.  “To us, Anton Teis, to us!  May our deeds last forever!”


After several minutes of reminiscing, it was Pinowne who changed the subject.  “Why have you really called me, Anton?”


Teis took a long swallow of mescal then stood and leaned against the table.  “You heard Cortezzo’s words.  Was it enough time to judge him and his staff?”


With a smile Pinowne brought the glass to his mouth and sipped its contents.  “Yes, Anton . . . I believe I was.  Cortezzo seems intelligent for a newly appointed politico.  He knows virtually nothing of the day-to-day operations of running this complex, especially one as technically intricate and advanced as this.”  Pinowne stopped and studied his glass of mescal.  “Rumor has it that his scribes were hand-picked by Coquero himself with the approval of Tabir and Ganath.”


Teis reached over the table and clamped his big hand on Pinowne’s shoulder.  “You have once again showed your deep insights on such matters, Herrea.”


“I will not disagree with you, but do not sell this politico short; he is an extremely quick study and has a talent when it comes to reading others.  It might surprise you that he is quite taken with your abilities and knowledge, which could prove useful to you in the future.  In short . . . he is a person you may need in your corner, an individual you want to nurture, to embrace your philosophy.”


“And pray how do I accomplish this, become his wet nurse?”


Pinowne shook his head, a bemused smile fixed in the corners of his mouth.  “No, Anton, nothing so dramatic.  Include him on all activities that pertain to complex operations no matter how trivial they may seem to you.”


Teis raised his hand.  “This is already in place, ordered by Tabir.”


“But I would wager it pertains only to the stalkers and the verifier, no?”


“True.  I have not been ordered to explain anything beyond this.”


Pinowne continued to smile, a knowing smile Teis had seen many times before.  “So I should involve him with every aspect, no matter how trivial?


Pinowne pointed his forefinger at Teis.  “If you want to gain his trust and respect, then yes, no matter how unimportant it may seem to you, but first secure his personal code so you know who he is talking to and what he is planning.  I know you despise the Lords as much as I, but this politico may take you places no other can.  Even Salazar will not be able to do as much as Cortezzo can do for you now and in the future.  With him, if you are wise enough, there will be no burned bridges behind you.”  Pinowne looked deeply into Teis’s eyes.  “Involve him, so he unwittingly becomes your ally, essentially your eyes and ears within the Lords’ hierarchy.”


“As always, your words are wise, Herrea.”


Pinowne grinned.  “Of course they are.  Tell me Anton; do you miss the old days on the Matto Grosso?”


“Very much, especially when you were my right hand.  Together we were unstoppable, even the Kingdom paid us in gold and snow to protect their border . . .”  Teis sighed and looked about the chamber, “yet now I sit in this tomb, this complex….it is no way for us to live, Herrea.”


“Yes, I agree it is no way to live but we are no longer young men.  We have seen many tremble before us, but this is no longer true.  Sadly we must make due within the confines of our lives, contemptible as they are.


“I will not accept this, Herrea.  Soon I will oversee the capture of the escaped mules and with it their objective.  If I use Cortezzo as you suggest then becoming a Lord will be a reality.  Then neither you nor I will be bound to this place.”


A surprised look covered Pinowne’s face.  “But you despise the Lords, Anton.”


“True, but what better revenge than becoming one, one whose battle skills and knowledge of Alliance tactics will make us again invaluable to the Kingdom.”


“Maybe for you, Anton, but I am older.  They will never let me be your confidant.”


Teis looked onto Pinowne’s gray eyes.  “How is it training mules to tend to the snow plants?  You, Pinowne the Fierce reduced to a glorified gardener.” He gave a soft, mocking laugh.  “Things will be different when I become a Lord, old friend.  You must have faith.  You will once again be at my side.”


Pinowne nodded his appreciation and brought the glass to his lips.  “Of that I have no doubts, Anton, no doubts at all.”


Author Notes


Raymond Tobaygo


Afternoon, Craig

Thanks for taking the time to read the post. It’s appreciated.

Take care and stay safe,



Just a query Ray have you actually finished The Snow Kingdom and are you posting a bit at a time? As I would love to get the whole thing and read it.

Raymond Tobaygo


Good afternoon, Craig

I have 25 completed chapters with several more outlined. I’m shooting for a total between 38 and 40, however if the characters continue to take over the story, it might be more.

Take care and stay safe,


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