Anastasia Valentine


It’s difficult to know where to begin when talking about her. She has been such a part of my life over the years, and not always an unwelcome one, either. In the beginning, things were quite the opposite of where they are today. In the beginning, we were… more than I wish to write here. Suffice it to say that if there is one person in the world who is the complimentary soul to your own, then Anastasia was mine.

I can remember the day I first saw her, beautiful in her black velvet top hat and taffeta traveling suit and button-down leather boots. We were both in the same shop, I picking up the walking stick that I still have today, the one with the silver blade hidden within, and she there to collect a parasol which had been similarly equipped. We fell into a discussion of knives, which led to dinner and drinks, which further led to several consecutive evenings in her bedchamber.

These were stupendous times.

I made my living then as I do now, adventuring, and Anastasia found fortune in the sciences. We undertook many an exploration together—plundering the sunken galleon of the ghost pirate Black Eye Gladwell, surveying the Planalto da Morte in South America and escaping its population of still-living thunder lizards, locating the Irish cavern called Cruachan and battling the Tuatha Dé Danann who reside within—and always through a combination of my brawn and manliness and Anastasia’s intellect and scientific acumen, we would emerge triumphant and frequently financially better off than before we had begun. As a partner, there was no one better than Anastasia.

Everything fell apart, of course. Everything always does. At least I know what caused our collapse as partners, friends, and lovers.

I blame Hitler.

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