[teaser 02] the collector’s lost things

The Holanian capital, Adria. Rei-Hai Shaw knew it like the back of his hand. For the Tower to mark the city as his next hunting ground was both fortune and cruelty. Two years had passed since he last walked the streets of his homeland; he’d been a shadow then too, lost amongst the crowds gathered for the royal wedding of heir apparent, Crown Prince Kiokharen. But this time, Rei was not here for a celebration.

            The Grand Cathedral of Nirhana stood nobly behind the castle proper. Secured within the gated domain of Upper Adria, it was not open to the general populace; the cathedral was the wedding chapel and worship venue of choice for the Holanian highborn. Rei had visited it a number of times in his youth—being the son of the reigning Swordmaster, Rei was privy to the inner circles of nobility. He was of age with the wayward Princess Amikharlia and had more or less grown up alongside the royal siblings. They’d often come to the cathedral to play, to see who could climb the highest up the ivy-coated walls. Rei always won.

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[short story] the cottage on peppercorn tree hill

The cottage on Peppercorn Tree Hill was not a cottage: it was a Federation Bungalow with a bay window and Evelyn Millar loved it. From the moment Harold drove her up the dusty road and she saw red brick façade with cream latticework under the eaves, Evie knew they would be happy here. The front was shaded with a large peppercorn tree, for which the hill was named, with a swollen trunk and wide-spanning limbs. Evie jumped out of the car, blonde curls bouncing, and breathed in the fresh country air. A smile curled her lips as she beheld her future looking down at the town below.

            Evie and Harold met in a hospital, though neither was a patient. Her mother Vilma had been volunteering at the 113th Australian General Hospital to care for the many repatriated soldiers wounded in the Pacific. Together with her younger sister, Margaret, Evie spent much of her time there, helping where she could, while their father fought in Papua New Guinea. While assisting the nurses on their rounds, Evie happened upon a fresh-faced, fair-haired doctor by the name of Harold Millar. In spite of horror piling up around her, Evie fell in love.

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