The Peninsula

The Fiction and Poetry Archive of Liana Mir and scribblemyname


This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

They count coup: confirmed kills, unverified kills—which covers the halo of supposed inhabitants or workers within a given area when they destroy en masse—and sometimes when the weight gets too heavy, they count things they aren’t required to.

“Five confirmed lives saved. Seventeen unverified.”

“Ten confirmed saved.”

They pass the tea back and forth, alcohol warm on throats too young to be drinking it, and it almost washes away the taste of blood in the backs of their mouths.

Because they don’t care about those numbers. They care about mission success rates, intelligence gathered, acceptable cost.

“Mission success.”


This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

They add up successful missions over time, beads on a string, but though somewhere in Department headquarters someone tracks absolute numbers, Team 95 only tracks percentages. Ninety-nine percent mission success rate, with the closest hewing to planned acceptable losses across the Projects.

They control the flow of Baganechi raiders around international trade in the region, build intelligence networks, and exploit them ruthlessly, knock problem leaders out of power, manipulate chosen leaders in.

It’s bloody, it’s violent, they’re all too familiar with working in shadows and dealing in bodies and lives.

“Minimize the blood, Skylight,” Wolf murmurs. “Save some of them.”

First / Most

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

“Count me in.” Bridge leans forward.

Ice Queen swaps the coin in his hand for a jar of tea. “First kill?”

“Ah. I don’t remember that.”

“Most memorable then,” Arc substitutes with hard eyes. They count them all, adding them up like stones on their backs, in the backs of their minds.

Most memorable was “Saving Augment from that Baganechi over his back.”

Augment scowls, doubtless displeased at the reminder of being thrown from his horse at the caravan, at the old fashioned blade coming down for the kill. “It wasn’t even a planned raid.”

Planned by them.

Bridge drinks.

Head Count

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

Augment does head count when they break from the jet at base. He’s been Wolf’s right hand from early on, and it’s his job to interpret the team’s flags, for good or ill.

When Stream doesn’t smile when another team member glances at him, when Ice Queen moves like her bones ache, when Skylight actually looks like she cares… When ghost memories that aren’t Augment’s drift in from Bridge, when Arc smiles as if she means it, when Math doesn’t immediately bury himself in a book or dossier—


She pauses, sighs. “Who?”

An answer. Another down for the count.


This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

Stream keeps them laughing. They all have a thing, and that one’s his. He supports and smiles and draws smiles from their lips because at the end of the day, they have to survive this childhood and teenagerhood and time spent as a living weapon before they finally come out the other end.

He counts them sometimes, the smiles he draws from Ice Queen that reach her eyes, the number of times Math’s quiet laugh breaks the stillness, the outright chuckles he can coax from Bridge.

At base, each day he claims dozens. On missions, he’s lucky to get five.


This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

Skylight has made blood of the regions they serve in. The Ogunn block of nations is bloody enough without their team dipping in their hand, but when it comes to mission parameters, it’s Wolf that decides acceptable cost, and Skylight that tells her the options available.

“Minimize the blood,” Wolf says, slowly, thoughtfully, knowing there will be some other cost for even that.

And Skylight minimizes the blood, taking it down from thousands to hundreds to dozens before she digs in both her metaphorical feet and tells her leader, “That is the minimum.”

Fifty-six people dead to achieve their goals.


This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

They’re older, practically grown, when Skylight broods for a moment, considering the dance they’re practicing. She isn’t given to brooding, though he’s heard she knits her brows in concentration or thought quite frequently. But she doesn’t hesitate, until she asks for a goal and the instructor says, “Just dance.”

It’s an outside instructor. He doesn’t realize there’s always a goal—whether seduction, intelligence gathering, or even assassination.

“Sex, blood, and violence,” Math murmurs. The mortar with which empires are made. “Arc is the sex, Ice Queen is the violence, and you’re the blood. And that’s okay.”

They dance for blood.


This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

It’s not Wolf’s job to comfort her team. It’s her job to take care of them and protect them, which means making sure they continue to do the things they do, no matter how terrible.

But when Ice Queen sits down quiet and somber against the wall of the training area, Wolf goes and sits beside her. Sometimes they say nothing, and she ends up feeling frustrated at her inability to break that emotional wall.

Sometimes, Ice Queen tilts her head and stares with coldly glittering eyes. “Three hundred eighteen.”

Unverified kills. Counting coup.

Wolf counters, “Five hundred ten saved.”


This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Counting Coup

She feels all cold inside. They call her Ice Queen, and there are times when the name truly fits, when they bring down their rules and their punishments and she stares back at them with icy uncaring defiance of a kind they can’t do much with.

But most of the time, she feels aflame with all she wants and all the viciousness she can bring to bear on a mission.

Right now, she’s just razed an encampment to the ground in service of the mission. Right now, she feels cold, like a wind blows through her.

She reports. “It’s done.”

Chapter 1: Beloved of the Gods

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Four Lands, One Heart

The blood of priests and oracles ran thick in the royal family. Eleya had wakened from night sweats and visions when she was sixteen seasons old and been delivered to the convent furthest from the Royal City at the Heart of All Things. There she was devoted to the gods, and what has been devoted to the gods should not be taken back again.


Chapter 2: City at the Heart of All Things

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Four Lands, One Heart

There was always the element of balancing political relationships and the intricately woven web of loyalties, rebellions, even small defiances, and having the right lineage in the first place when it came time to evaluate the four royal spouses a new monarch must take.


Chapter 3: Patterns in the Winds

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Four Lands, One Heart

The Northern Prince was about what they’d expected, slight of build and almost delicate in appearance, with fair skin like morning clouds and blue eyes like chinks of sky, narrowed at them in wary distrust. That delicate look, those airy features had always been deceptive, and even the most coddled royalty of the first of the Four Lands had an uncanny ability to survive.


Chapter 4: Consummation of the First Land

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Four Lands, One Heart

The Queen’s bedchamber was opened and aired through the day as the servants cleansed it from top to bottom. The Queen herself was not allowed within during the process. Eleya tried to occupy herself by moving upward through the castle’s once familiar halls towards a destination she could not remember.


Chapter 5: The Second and Third Lands

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Four Lands, One Heart

Tanata rose early most mornings, except on the rare annual holidays he’d always been granted leave for. He’d been trained in the Guard since he was a young boy, newly arrived from the mountains. One didn’t laze around in bed or in the courtyard. Too young to fight, there were errands to run, messages to carry, armor and weapons to polish and care for. Too old to scramble about, there was training and light duty shifts until the day there was the strength to stand in the Guard.


Chapter 6: Consummation of the Fourth Land

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Four Lands, One Heart

Sahasarel had wondered at the knowing words and looks Nirune used when watching the previous consummations, and he finally asked directly. “Did you sleep with others too before the marriage?”


Draw You Close

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Draw Me Closer

Some would call it the moment hovering between life and death. Dazai Osamu was under no such mistaken impression.

It was over, done, and here he was being asked who his soulmates should be.

Not soulmate, the knowing corrected.

A mark to draw him toward and a mark to push him away, to replace the emptiness on his skin he’d lived with from the beginning.


He thought of Oda, wanted Oda, but what would he have done with even more reasons to be attached? He chose someone that might change things. Chuuya. For the other, Mori.

Then suddenly, Live!