Feb.
08
Awakening

Episode 1

Awakening

The Flame makes a move as new arrivals shake things up.
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Feb.
15
Complicating Factors

Episode 2

Complicating Factors

Gabe and Tanya seek a Flame bigwig. Josh goes underground.
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Feb.
22
Old Game, New Players

Episode 3

Old Game, New Players

Zerena suggests a plan and throws a party. Gabe makes several troubling discoveries.
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Mar.
08
Earth and Salt, Fire and Mercury

Episode 4

Earth and Salt, Fire and Mercury

The Flame hosts a ritual. Nadia makes a new friend.
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Mar.
15
Trust, But Verify

Episode 5

Trust, But Verify

The mobsters of Prague play multiple sides. Nadia has a plan.
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Mar.
22
Talisman

Episode 6

Talisman

A fight night sees action outside the ring. Nadia and Van come clean.
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Mar.
29
Bishop Takes Queen

Episode 7

Bishop Takes Queen

Zerena pulls Tanya deeper into her web. Josh steps into Ice business.
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Apr.
05
What's Gone, What's Left Behind

Episode 8

What's Gone, What's Left Behind

The Ice’s plan goes into action. A surprise player takes the field.
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Apr.
19
Aftermath

Episode 9

Aftermath

Josh and Edith confront their new reality. Zerena misses a step.
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Apr.
26
The Mirror Cracked

Episode 10

The Mirror Cracked

Edith follows a dangerous lead. Zerena's grand designs are threatened.
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May.
03
Absent Friends

Episode 11

Absent Friends

Frank and Sasha come face to face. Gabe is held on suspicion of murder.
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May.
10
Zügzwang

Episode 12

Zügzwang

Frank is held captive. Tanya and Josh pick sides. The Flame get ready.
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May.
17
We All Fall Down

Episode 13

We All Fall Down

The ritual begins. A Host rises up.
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Talisman
Episode 6

Talisman

A fight night sees action outside the ring. Nadia and Van come clean.
Need a refresher?
Previously on The Witch Who Came in From the Cold


Prague, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic

April 20, 1970

1

Josh Toms parked the Moskvich he’d borrowed from Gabe on one of Holešovice’s industrial alleys, just down from the warehouse that hid Kazimir’s boxing lair. He strolled past low-slung buildings that bordered the busy river port at the Vltava’s meander just north of the city.

Should have brought a pair of boxing gloves, or a gym bag, he thought. That would have given him a good excuse for others seeing him visit the basement again during his lunch break. He didn’t try any harder than usual to look nonchalant, nor did he speed his steps. He was merely heading to a run-down warehouse, alone, and he was certainly not carrying a strange package from another foreign agent without knowing what it was.

Wouldn’t that give Edith Lowell the pip, if she knew what Josh was doing. Frank, too. The package weighed his pocket down a little, though certainly not as much as a gun would have. The contents were harmless; Alestair had said so. A small gift for Kazimir: toys for his niece.

The toys smelled like cedar, lavender, and something metallic. The wrapping crackled.

Josh knew he wanted to trust Alestair. He knew that Alestair would never deliberately walk him into harm’s way. And he knew that Kazimir didn’t have a niece.

You come to the fight in a couple nights, Kazimir had said. Sure. Then Alestair had asked him to bring Kazimir a package, and Josh had said sure to that too. He had to go back to the warehouse anyway: He needed a confirmation on the barge and, as well as things had gone the last time he saw Kazimir, he didn’t have that yet. Doing things in person—friendly, like Gabe suggested—had worked well so far. So here he was again.

The gravel crunched beneath Josh’s shoes—new ones, still needed a little breaking in—and he smelled the river nearby before he saw it. The Vltava here flowed slowly around the land’s bulge, and the wind followed the water, carrying the scent of city metals mixed with thick, fishy river muck. The port intruded here too: tendrils of grease and the occasional gust of spices—paprika today, from the way it wrinkled Josh’s nose.

A repetitive clank-clank-clank set Josh’s teeth on edge as another burden was lowered to a barge somewhere out of sight. Ships’ engines stuttered to action. With a whistle, the distant Smíchov lock signaled an imminent opening. The port was busy. Josh wondered again at how skillfully Kazimir had positioned himself at the crossroads of industry and export.

A valuable thing for a man without a niece.

Josh kept his hands casually at his sides. Didn’t reach into his coat pocket to check that the “gift” was still there. Of course it was still there.

He turned the corner that led to the back entrance of Kazimir’s warehouse. He’d barely had time to knock when the door swung wide, and there was Kazimir himself, grinning.

“Joshua, you honor us again. You are early though. The fights are tomo—”

“I’ll be back for the fights,” Josh interrupted. All he wanted was to get inside. “It’s about our business arrangement,” he said, lowering his voice to a murmur, “and I have something from a friend.”

Kazimir’s face didn’t change, but the light in his eyes seemed to harden for just a moment, then it sparkled again. He laughed. “Excellent. Come in!”

The Czech led Josh down the stairs, through the back hall, and into the main room—a typical warehouse basement, except that this one featured a well-stocked bar and a fully outfitted boxing ring.

This afternoon, only a few wooden chairs and tables remained from the previous night’s fight. The bar’s thick layer of bottles glittered in the light that came through the high basement windows. The ring itself was as professional-looking a setup as might be found in any arena: six meters square, thick blue and red ropes cinched tight to padded posts ringing a plump canvas mat that had seen more than a few heads hit it hard.

At one of the tables nearby, Kazimir’s radio whistled and growled softly. The Czech bent to adjust the knobs. “There is a fight in the United States between Olivares and Castillo I wanted to hear. Can’t find the right—” Kazimir’s hand twisted the radio’s knobs again, left and right, the tiny machine like a toy in his hands. The garbled words grew clear. “Ah!” Kazimir clapped his hands together with thunderous delight.

“And he’s down!” The radio announcer said. “That’s the fight, folks! Olivares takes the bout in fifteen rounds. A stunner!”

Sakra! Always the timing is bad for fights. Even rebroadcasts. You do not think you could talk to someone?” Kazimir smiled sadly at Josh.

“I don’t think so.” Josh shrugged. “Not any more than you can change the direction of the Vltava.”

“Up next,” the radio said, “a rebroadcast of a classic: Johansson-Patterson, 1959.” An incongruous Strauss waltz picked up in the middle of a beat and played weedily in the background.

Kazimir’s face brightened. “This one is also an excellent fight. They...

A fight night sees action outside the ring. Nadia and Van come clean.
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