Marchverse

Did you ever hear the fairy tale about the trans, autistic witch who doesn’t fall in love with the pretty villager and instead learns the word “demiromantic”? Or the one about a gay allo-aro man who agrees to travel into hell in return for the gift of his own identity? Or the story about a young sapphic woman who needs a dragon’s reassurance on the nature of her non-romantic attraction? Or the yarn about a boy who goes searching for a magic sword and instead finds an entity set on upending his life? Or…

This page collects every current Marchverse story, including side stories, web posts and exclusives, listed in chronological order. The Sorcereous Compendium of Postmortem Query to The King of Gears and Bone spans a forty-year period, while Friendship, Attraction and A Gift of Naming are set hundreds of years earlier. Many characters introduced in one story are referenced in another. For ease of reading, I’ve also listed the series–books in order of appearance featuring a character or set of characters–for each.

More information about the characters (particularly in terms of gender and orientation identities) each story contains can be found at each book or series page.

Patrons can find fifteen of these stories in the exclusive collection Bones, Belts and Bewitchments.

Friendship

Cover image for Hallo, Aro: Allosexual Aromantic Flash Fiction by K. A. Cook. Cover features dark pink handwritten type on a mottled green background with a large line-drawn peacock feather, several sketch-style leaves and swirly text dividers. Green arrows sit underneath each line of text.A sapphic aromantic wishes to partner a dragon’s handmaiden without the complications of a romantic relationship, but finds comfort in her friendship with her own dragon.

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 993 words / 4 PDF pages.

Azhra Reading Order: Friendship | Attraction | Kin of Mind

Attraction

Cover image for Hallo, Aro: Allosexual Aromantic Flash Fiction by K. A. Cook. Cover features dark pink handwritten type on a mottled green background with a large line-drawn peacock feather, several sketch-style leaves and swirly text dividers. Green arrows sit underneath each line of text.A sapphic aromantic fears that her interest in another girl may be best explained by a word she doesn’t wish applied to her–romance.

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 989 words / 4 PDF pages.

Azhra Reading Order: Friendship | Attraction | Kin of Mind

A Gift of Naming

Cover of A Gift of Naming by K. A. Cook. Cover shows cartoon-style tall-trunked trees growing on a green mountain slope with a high green canopy before a blue and grey clouded sky. Brushes and small green shrubs grow at the base of the trees in the foreground. Text is written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.If one’s parents provide a shirt that tears when tugged over their child’s shoulders, isn’t it cruelty to force the wearing of it, however well-intended the gift?

Even in the best of circumstances, it’s no easy thing to tell the parent who named you that your name no longer fits.

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress

Length: 1200 words / 4 PDF pages.

Note: A stand-alone piece.

The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query

Cover image for The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a cemetery at night, with various tombstones in the foreground, surrounded by grassy rises and green bushes, with a tumbledown stone fence and trees in the background. A lit candle sits on the ground at the front of the cover, showing a glow of orange light illuminating grass and part of a tree branch. Cover and author credit are written in a white, fantasy-style text, the type bright against the dark sky and shadowed leaves.Necromancer Mara Hill has waited weeks for the Thinning: the one night the dead walk freely amongst the living. Her wandering great-aunt, Rosie, was wise in the way of magic and the world, and Mara knows of none other to ask. Books and magic alike haven’t restored her fading love, and Benjamin Lisabet is too wonderful to risk losing. Why can’t Mara keep herself from falling out of love whenever the girl she yearns for dares love her back?

She’s sure that Aunt Rosie’s spirit will offer up needed advice. She just doesn’t expect a deluge of deceased villagers set on unravelling everything Mara knows about what it means to love and be in love.

Links: WordPress

Length: 8, 115 words / 23 PDF pages.

Mara and Esher Reading Order: The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query | Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie | Love is the Reckoning | Absence of Language

Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie

Cover of Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a wooden door set into a wooden wall with a paper sign on the front reading Mara Hill, Witch. Stones, bones and feathers tied to string dangle over the top of the door, along with a creeping vine, and two potted plants sit on either side of a wooden doorstep--white daisies in a bag and orange roses in a brown pot. A straw broom rests propped against one side of the door and a piece of torn paper reading Absolutely No Love Spells sits on the step. Text is written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.Lovers’ Day is good trading for a witch who deals in enchantments, ribbons and dyed flowers. For Mara Hill, it’s long been a holiday of tedious assumptions and painful conversations–once best handled by casting petty curses on annoying customers. This year, when a girl asks about love spells, it may be time to instead channel a little Aunt Rosie.

Links: Patreon | WordPress

PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available for download from Patreon.

Length: 3, 429 words / 10 PDF pages.

Mara and Esher Reading Order: The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query | Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie | Love is the Reckoning | Absence of Language

Love is the Reckoning

Cover of Love is the Reckoning: A Marchverse Novelette by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a cartoony-styled indoors tavern scene with a lot of different brown wood textures: wood panelling on the walls, wood floor, a square wood window frame, a crooked wooden table in the centre of the image and a wooden stool and a wooden barrel sitting in front of it. A candle stub sits on the window frame, looking out to dark green trees against a star-lit sky. The table bears beer glasses, a green wine bottle, a brown bottle of spirits, orange liquid in a glass, a plate of biscuits and a plate bearing a wedge of yellow cheese with red rind. A wooden log rests against one side of the window frame, an unsheathed longsword against the other, and a sack sits against the wall underneath the table. A cage bearing a twisted, vine-style plant sits in the top right-hand corner, above the table. Text is written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.Esher Hill left his home and kin a crying wreck of a man, too depressed and dysphoric to care what his people make of him. If he’d had his way, that would have been the end of it.

His sister Mara, the village witch, made sure he didn’t.

Two and a half years later, Esher owns two dogs, a blade, a career and a new body—the shape of masculinity he always felt he should be. A miracle Mara refuses to explain. A miracle the Sojourner’s priests reject and fear. A miracle, say the Grey Mages, that cannot exist without something precious sacrificed in exchange: a soul.

Returning home in search of his sister and the truth isn’t just a matter of enduring stares, whispers, explanations and the condescending pity from those he left behind.

Love holds edges sharper than Esher’s sword, for nobody wins but demons in the sale of souls.

Links: WordPress

Length: 11, 561 words.

Mara and Esher Reading Order: The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query | Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie | Love is the Reckoning | Absence of Language

Ringbound

Cover image for Ringbound by K. A. Cook. Cover shows an eight-pane window set into a cream brick wall above a stone and wood table or bench, with various items sitting on the table--candles in vases, bottles, a large shell, a white vase filled with flowers, two gold rings propped against the vase. The text is written in brown fantasy-style handdrawn type. Through the window, scrubby green trees and a blue-green sky is visible. The subtitle "a marchverse short story" is written in white handdrawn type.Kit can’t find anything unfair about the contract or the man, so why is the ring so heavy?

Kit March is a signature away from marrying the man who loves him. He should be delighted, but for reasons he doesn’t understand and can’t explain, his future with Lauri weighs upon him. What is a magician to do when no script extant has words for the confusion he feels?

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress

Length: 1, 873 words / 6 PDF pages.

Kit and Amelia Reading Order: Ringbound | Absence of Language | Old Fashioned | Conception

The Crew of Esher Hill

Cover of The Crew of Esher Hill: A Marchverse Serial by K. A. Cook. Cover shows cartoon-style vines, trees, mushrooms and plants in a swamp theme with lots of aqua and blue-green tones for the plants and leaves, and purple-brown tones for stumps and branches, giving everything an uncanny, unnatural feel. A clear, glowing sphere sits on a stump at the bottom right of the cover. Test written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.Esher Hill’s dying sister once gave her magic to save Esher’s life. Saving Mara means venturing into the Gast, a dangerous place of magic walled off from the rest of the world, in search of an ancient elfish relic.

He won’t survive the Gast alone.

Faiza Hiba Khalil studied dragons and artefacts to escape the pressures of title and family. They leap at the opportunity to use their knowledge on Esher’s quest—even if they have no idea how to use the sword that accompanies their fire-proof armour.

Marie and Sarie Roxleigh know two things: they are women and they are wed. Astreut disagrees. In the wilds of the Gast, they may find power enough to make their safety—but they have no reason to trust Esher and his crew.

Kit March is a magician and trickster with quick words, an affinity for narrative and a heart filled with guilt—but Kit’s magic is designed to impress and entertain, not protect.

Indigo has mastered horses, weapons and a biting absence of fear, but nothing else about hir life will ze share. Ze serves the Grey Mages, not Esher—but ze alone knows where and how to find the artefact that will save Mara’s life.

Esher can’t risk a single mistake, but his crew may be more dangerous to Esher than the Gast.

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress

Length: 7, 209 words / 20 PDF pages (so far).

Mara and Esher Reading Order: The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query | Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie | Love is the Reckoning | Absence of Language

Kit and Amelia Reading Order: Ringbound | Absence of Language | Old Fashioned | Conception

Old Fashioned

Cover image for K. A. Cook's "Old Fashioned: an Amelia March Story". Cover has a vector image cartoony style picture of a bedroom with rough-made furniture--bed, stool, chest of drawers, a shelf. Magical items like bone amulets, glowing mushrooms and spell bottles are hanging from or sitting on the shelf. The title and author credit are written in red and white handwritten type.Amelia March is tired of suitors breaking into her house after dark to express their undying love. Sure, it might be the fashion, but whatever happened to getting to know someone first? Why won’t they listen to her when she says she isn’t interested? And what does it mean that her cousin Kit thinks there’s a word for her approach to romantic relationships?

Old Fashioned is a story about finding words and the importance of fake cobwebs in the windows.

Links: Smashwords | Gumroad | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Length: 5, 108 words / 14 PDF pages.

Kit and Amelia Reading Order: Ringbound | Absence of Language | Old Fashioned | Conception

Conception

Cover image for K. A. Cook's "Conception: An Amelia March Story". Cover has a vector image cartoony style picture of a lounge room with rough-made furniture--mantel, rocking chair, stool, table--in front of a stone fireplace. Magical and household items like bone amulets, glowing mushrooms, spell bottles and a glowing capsicum sit on the mantel, books and flowers sit on the table and a loaf of bread sits on the stool. A round brown rug covers the stone floor, and laundry hangs from the roof. The title and author credit are written in a red and white handdrawn type.With Kit gone to the Greensward, Amelia March is content with her faked witchery, the ailments of her villagers and romance confined to a novel. She isn’t pleased, therefore, to find her cousin darkening her doorway—her cousin with two feet, a belly, a sword of some distinction, a story, a young girl named Osprey, a beaming smile and an undying hatred for the elves. Still, Amelia thinks she can survive the chaos, at least until Kit announces a grand plan to start a school for divergent magicians…

Links: Smashwords | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Length: 7, 966 words / 19 pages.

Kit and Amelia Reading Order: Ringbound | Absence of Language | Old Fashioned | Conception

Kin of Mind

Cover of Bones, Belts and Bewitchments: A Marchverse Collection by K. A. Cook. Cover features a book open to a page on a wooden table, showing the title text written in antique black ink as if the book's own title page. The page is stained, inspotted and discoloured as if to show age.A dragon in need of a human attendant finds providence in the arrival of a magician in need of a library, but more than phalanges and history binds Azhra and Darius in companionship.

Links: Part One | Part Two | Preview

Length: 4, 047 words / 12 PDF pages.

Note: A Patreon exclusive.

Azhra Reading Order: Friendship | Attraction | Kin of Mind

Darius Reading Order: Kin of Mind | Certain Eldritch Artefacts | Love in the House of the Ravens | One Strange Man | The Adventurer King

Certain Eldritch Artefacts

Cover image of “Certain Eldritch Artefacts” by K. A. Cook. Cover image shows a cartoony, stylised vector image scene of a market scene with hanging peppers and fabric above the text and rows of corked potion bottles sitting on a wooden counter display surrounded by vegetables and sacks. Title and author name are written in a dark brown handdrawn type.Newly-graduated, divergent magician Darius Liviu has scoured half the world in search of the rarest of rare magical artefacts: a tolerable talking sword. After a year of failure, one last rumour sees him risk Rajad’s chaotic, cluttered, terrifying Great Souk. The noise, the smells, the people and his inability to move without provoking disaster make everything difficult, but Darius dares the nightmare of chaos and conversations in hope of an item will draw the eye of the man he thinks he loves.

The sword he finds isn’t elegant. It isn’t tolerable. It has no intention of being gifted as a lover’s token. It is, however, set on destroying Darius’s acceptance that awkwardness and a life of misunderstandings is the best he can hope for.

Certain Eldritch Artefacts is a story about autism, adulthood and the reasons why one should never enchant inanimate objects…

Links: Smashwords | Gumroad | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Length: 10, 588 words / 29 PDF pages.

Darius Reading Order: Kin of Mind | Certain Eldritch Artefacts | Love in the House of the Ravens | One Strange Man | The Adventurer King

Love in the House of the Ravens

After seven years in Rajad, Darius has fallen out of love with the unattainable and failed to fall in love with the companionate. When the right person offers a romantic relationship and he doesn’t understand why yes won’t grace his tongue, the only thing an autistic man can do is ask the Ravens–and hope he can survive the word they give him in return.

Love in the House of the Ravens is a story about what it means to be aromantic when one is also autistic and the world isn’t accepting of either.

Chapter Links: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven

PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available in the patron-exclusive collection Bones, Belts and Bewitchments.

Length: 10, 436 words / 29 PDF pages.

Darius Reading Order: Kin of Mind | Certain Eldritch Artefacts | Love in the House of the Ravens | One Strange Man | The Adventurer King

One Strange Man

Cover of One Strange Man: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a wooden door, bolted shut, set into a stone wall, with dangling ivy and climbing roses obscuring the wall and part of the door. The ground in front of the door is brown earth and has a thin-bladed green bush growing in front of it. A glowing white marble sits on the earth by the base of one of the roses on the bottom left-hand side of cover. Text is written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.How can the want for another person make an intelligent man gift something so precious?

When Akash’s former lover refuses to return a family heirloom, Darius knows only one way to help his mate—even if it means ignoring several laws in the process. The magic he mastered in surviving the College and the mercenaries has surprising utility in the art of larceny, at least once he gets past the stomach-knotting anxiety. When Darius makes the mistake of asking Akash why, however, getting caught in a stranger’s third-floor bedroom seems like nothing compared to comprehending the mysteries of romance and friendship.

Links: This short story will soon be available for patrons on Patreon.

Length:

Darius Reading Order: Kin of Mind | Certain Eldritch Artefacts | Love in the House of the Ravens | One Strange Man | The Adventurer King

The Adventurer King

Cover image for The Adventurer King by K. A. Cook. Cover features a red leather-bound journal sitting on a wood panel background, like that of a tabletop or floor, with the text sitting on top of the book image in a gold fantasy-style handdrawn type. Objects sit on top of the book cover: a blue pen with a gold nib dripping ink, a screwed-up piece of white paper, a cream scroll with a green seal, a cream and silver compass, and a piece of rope. A grey single-edged sword blade sits underneath the book, and black handdrawn type atop the blade reads "an efe and darius story". The images have a cartoony, vectory feel.Seven years ago, Darius Liviu met a talking sword belt in the Great Souk, an eldritch being who changed his life forever. In that time, he has learnt something of the sword, mastered strange magic and survived dangerous jobs, but while he has friends in Rajad, he still feels out of place—too divergent to be welcomed and accepted as mercenary and magician.

When an unexpected meeting with potential employers goes wrong, his first instinct is to flee. But a wandering monarch, Efe Kadri, has an offer that might provide the certainty for which Darius has been searching, if only he has the courage to say yes…

Links: Smashwords | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Length: 11, 322 words / 31 PDF pages.

Darius Reading Order: Kin of Mind | Certain Eldritch Artefacts | Love in the House of the Ravens | One Strange Man | The Adventurer King

Different in Other Ways

Nevolin ein Yinne sells books, curses low ceilings, promises his father that he won’t get himself killed and looks a little too hard at pretty men. Men he wants to date, men he can’t date, men–even in Ihrne’s queer underground–who expect a comprehension of romance he doesn’t possess.

Harper Mitzin Seili serves dishes, never removes his gloves, promises his mother that he won’t get himself killed and has no idea how to comprehend an interest in people that won’t stop changing. An interest bordering on irrelevant while he keeps secret the nature of his masculinity.

Nevo isn’t good at pretending to be straight.

Harper isn’t good at pretending to be unremarkable.

Different in Other Ways is a series of sketches and vignettes about gender, abrosexuality, quoiromanticism, customer service, working-class queerness and friendship.

Links: This exclusive series is only available on Patreon.

The Eagle Court Reading Order: Different in Other Ways | Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

Harper and Nevo Reading Order: Different in Other Ways | Like the Other Prince

Their Courts of Crows

Cover image of "Their Courts of Crows: A Tale of the Eagle Court" by K. A. Cook. Cover has a waterstained paper background with grey line drawings of a crow sitting on a branch, a tree, three falling dandelion seeds, a feather and an arrow, with the title written in alternating serif and handdrawn type. The effect is something like a sketch in an antique journal.The best he can find is ugly compromise.

Prince Paide ein Iteme has lost his father, his family, his people and his home to a conquering necromancer queen and her armies of the risen dead. A last horrific battle sees him forced to discuss surrender, but that conversation is no small amount complicated when said conquering necromancer is his mother. Who might not have been entirely wrong in her overthrow of Paide’s father…

Links: Smashwords | Gumroad | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Length: 5, 108 words / 14 PDF pages.

The Eagle Court Reading Order: Different in Other Ways | Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

Paide and Ein Reading Order: Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

Maybe When the Bones Crumble

Cover image of Maybe When the Bones Crumble by K. A. Cook. Cover has a waterstained paper background with grey line drawings of a textured feather, a dandelion head, a spilled ink bottle, a broken pen and an arrow, with the title written in alternating serif and handdrawn type. The effect is something like a sketch in an antique journal.And how is your hand today?

His hand broken, his father dead, his brother rebelling and his mother dancing the bones, Einas ein Iteme has nobody at the Eyrie but his uncle and one cursed question he can’t escape.

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress

Length: 4, 945 words / 14 PDF pages.

The Eagle Court Reading Order: Different in Other Ways | Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

Paide and Ein Reading Order: Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

A Prince of the Dead

"A Prince of the Dead: A Tale of the Eagle Court" by K. A. Cook. Cover has a waterstained paper background with grey line drawings of a sparrow sitting on a branch, a knife, a falling dandelion seed, two leaves and an arrow, with the title written in alternating serif and handdrawn type. The effect is something like a sketch in an antique journal.Too alive to die and too dead to live.

Bones interred under the palace, gold given to field-ravaged farmers and Parliament dallying over amendments: war is ended for Prince-Regent Paide ein Iteme. Or so it should be, but returning home to Ihrne in a broken body ensorcelled by a necromancer leaves Paide struggling with politicians who ignore him and servants who condescend to him. What good is a title and purpose when his words and desires have become meaningless to those around him?

Surviving the dismissal of the Eagle Court is harder than facing an army of shambling corpses. How does a dead soldier fight it when he no longer wishes to live?

Links: Smashwords | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Length: 9, 890 words / 28 PDF pages.

The Eagle Court Reading Order: Different in Other Ways | Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

Paide and Ein Reading Order: Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

The King of Gears and Bone

Cover image of The King of Gears and Bone by K. A. Cook. Cover has a waterstained paper background with grey line drawings of the bones of a human hand and wrist, a head of wheat, an acorn, a small dandelion head, a long-legged wire-haired dog and an arrow, with the title written in alternating serif and handdrawn type. The effect is something like a sketch in an antique journal.In a nation of liars, an honest man cannot rule.

Einas ein Iteme knew he wasn’t a princess. That first truth provoked violence, murder and war, leaving him the heir to the throne of Ihrne—a throne he doesn’t want and can’t hold. How can he when he struggles to put words together, won’t look courtiers in the eye and avoids people on general principle? Yet the Eyrie, even Zaishne, simply assumes Ein will find a way to become the allistic ruler he can never be.

When his brother Paide invites him to a private discussion, Ein sees a chance to voice the second truth. Paide, though, keeps secrets of his own—and doesn’t seem to recognise the fate bound to him by hundreds of devouring angels.

To begin to save Paide’s soul, Ein will have to learn what the world never stirred itself to teach: trust.

Links: Smashwords | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Length: 12, 495 words / 34 PDF pages.

The Eagle Court Reading Order: Different in Other Ways | Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

Paide and Ein Reading Order: Their Courts of Crows | Maybe When the Bones Crumble | A Prince of the Dead | The King of Gears and Bone

Fletcher Ace: Magic and Mermaids

An expensive education and a growing eldritch library hasn’t helped Fletcher Ace, local witch, end the drought gripping the town of Shadowdale. The town council may have a better solution than waiting on hir magic, one that involves the selling of romance to people “out there”, but Fletch isn’t prepared for just how it will involve hir…

Links: WordPress

Length: 7, 549 words.

Note: A stand-alone piece set a hundred years after The King of Gears and Bone.

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