Fangs & Thorns: A How to Guide for Maintaining Rivalries

"I'll be seeing you ;)"

An invitation from Amarali, Miscēre of Insidiae, addressed to Miscēre Nymphaea Sorrel Gwntle Respite. Enclosed is a smaller note.

The invite, off-white with gold and grey lettering, features a stamped image of a snake before the following text:

ARCHEIN INSIDIAE AND HER FAMILY
RESPECTFULLY REQUEST YOUR COMPANY AT A

CELEBRATION
FOR THE
NEWLY ELECTED ARCHEIN OF THE HOLMOAK FAMILY

This note, handwritten on gold paper, covers the rest of the invitation: The Archein requested I personally invite you to ensure your attendance this time. Be there.


An entry from the journal of Miscēre Nymphaea Sorrel Gwntle Respite.

The journal entry reads:

Dear too tall, mask laden child of a serpent,

I gratefully accept your invitation, and I extend my own invitation in turn.

I invite you to be cocooned in my arms while you choke on your venom and the last breath leaves your body.

I invite you to a personal bonfire wherein I set you ablaze in a flame so bright the light sears the eyes of those around you, and I spread your ashes along the streets of this city as though I am sending them to the sea. 

I invite you to become reviled by your family, cast out, and abandoned to age among the ordinary of this city. 

I invite you to sleep within my garden, to stare peacefully and unseeing out from an earthen casket. I invite you to sleep until your clothes and flesh rot away and feed my hungry flowers, my bold vines, and my ancient trees. Until your bones are fossils that decorate my soil. 

Maybe then, I wouldn’t hate you.


A response from Miscēre Nymphaea Sorrel Gwntle Respite, nestled among the stems of a bouquet of fresh flowers delivered to Miscēre Amarali Insidiae. The bouquet consists of yellow carnations, hollyhock, hyacinth, tansy, and chamomile.

A secret description of the flowers is revealed when the note is submerged in water - a fact never discovered by Amarali, who regifts the bouquet to a family member and tosses the note in a bin.

The note reads:
Dearest serpentine shadow,
My deepest apologies for missing Archein Insidiae’s birthday last month, but I promise that I would not miss this celebration for the world! I'll be seeing you ;)

Yours truly,
Miscēre Nymphaea Sorrel Gwntle Respite

P.S. I hope you remember your language lessons

If ever submerged in water, it would read:
Hollyhock - Ambition (mine? Yours? Who knows)
Hyacinth - Sport, game, play (Perhaps you enjoy this as much as I do?)
Tansy - Hostile thoughts, declaring war (quite obvious)
Yellow carnation - Disdain, disappointment (mostly the first one)
Chamomile - Patience in adversity (or with an adversary?)

To be continued…


Consider donating to one or all of the following orgs, which focus on queer and trans youth and Black trans people. Please also look into your local Black Lives Matter chapter (here’s BLM in DC) and assist their mutual aid efforts through donations and showing up to support as needed. If you’re able I ask you to especially consider setting up a recurring donation, not just dropping some money once.


Britt A Willis writes this newsletter, now occasionally with the help of Dee Harris, and is a playwright, game creator, and designer. You can find out more about their work at brittawillis.com or follow them on Twitter @feelingfickle. They create Miscēre Amarali Insidiae’s letters and ephemera.

Dee Harris occasionally writes here as Nymphaea Sorrel Gwentle Respite (the one, the only), and is a game designer, amateur comic creator, and professional Game Master in Washington, DC. You can follow them on twitter at @d_was_there. They were told by Britt A Willis that they "had to write a bio" and that they "couldn't just leave the darn thing blank".