Tower of Mud and Straw III: The Tulips – Yaroslav Barsukov
III. The Tulips
This is part 3 of Yaroslav Barsukov’s novella, Tower of Mud and Straw. Parts 1 and 2 ran in September and October 2020. What has gone before:
The ‘tulips’ are destroyed, and Brielle tells Shea they have three months before the tower crumbles. Shea starts drinking.
In an attempt to cheer him up, Lena, the duke’s lover, takes him on a hunt. Something strange happens: the deer they chase disappears, but Shea discounts this as a drunken episode.
Lena and Shea sleep with each other. Shea confesses his actions have doomed the tower; Lena is happy the threat of the Mimic Tower no longer looms over the world and tells Shea she’ll be leaving Owenbeg soon.
Aidan, a Dumian émigré whom Shea knows from his days at the court, arrives in the duchy. Together, they trick Patrick, who’s been planning another attempt on Shea’s life, and leave him stranded in Duma.
Aidan reveals he wishes to ally himself with Shea. Shea’s ‘exile’ turns out to be a test: the queen is grooming a potential successor and wants to see how he would handle the local lords. However, with the tower’s destruction imminent, Shea has failed his assignment.