What’s in a Name
I need something of yours, Sophie. … How about your eyes?
Fire demons are not benevolent entities. Calcifer’s fiery shell concealed a mind of marble and a will of iron, and when Sophie said hesitantly, ‘Would just one be enough?’ he seized her right eye before she could change her mind. He made sure to cauterise the wound – wouldn’t do for her to die before she’d made good on her promise – and then he looked out at the world through her eye. When he saw that she loved Howl more than she loved life itself, he knew he’d get to feast on her again and again before this war was over.
A Dog’s Life
His name is Heen. He’s my errand dog.
Heen had been a man once, and a wizard. He’d fallen for Madame Suliman, and made the mistake of letting her see his devotion. ‘At heart you’re a little lapdog,’ she said, and he was. That was years ago. At least he thought it was years. Basset hounds had trouble thinking beyond suppertime, but he’d long since stopped yearning to chase the rabbits that nibbled the palace lawns. When his mistress ordered him to dog the old woman back to the wizard’s lair he’d gone gladly. He hoped, as he reported back, he might have earned her respect at last.
This Dumb War
You should go home anyway and tell your king to stop this dumb war.
Prince Justin was a poet, not a soldier or a spy. He didn’t make it back across the border. When he heard the news, his father ordered an invasion. Crops were burned, fields salted, cattle slaughtered, wells poisoned, roads mined, bridges blown up and countless lives squandered, till in the end his armies encircled Ingary’s capital. The king ordered Madame Suliman to retaliate. The magic that’d been drained from the Witch of the Waste, the Wizard Pendragon, and a dozen other deserters, was loosed all at once over the enemy’s capital. Afterwards not one stone stood on top of another.