Why am I using 1.11 instead of just 11? I don’t know, but that is how I roll when writing raw (cool eyebrow thing)! As always Thursdays are the day I take a break from writing my books and write a serial, albeit unpolished and unedited, for practice. Feel free to comment!
“I want justice for my son,” Harald Magnison’s words were sour in my ears. How could one possibly get justice for a young man who was gelded and tortured to death in front of his lover? There is no weregild for that crime, except, in some minds, the same kind of cruelty. I did not want to be a participant in that act. The assassin deserved death, after seeing what he’d done I could not disagree, but it was the same kind of death one should reserve for a rabid animal: swift and sure, the removal of a threat.
“I will deliver proof of his death to you, Sea Wolf,” I said, meeting his eye. “In return you will do as you promised and use your influence to help remedy my status.”
Harald’s companions turned red at this affront. No doubt they had visions of performing a blood eagle, the baiting of the worms, or some other ritualistic viciousness still favoured by some of my people. Harald however, said nothing. After meeting my gaze for several moments, his eyes as merciless and cold as a storm-tossed sea, Harald nodded and raised his hand. We had a deal.
“It will have to do,” said Harald.
We clasped hands. In the North, where reputation is everything, this is often enough to seal any contract. Only the blackest of hearts reneged on a deal made in this fashion among my people. In Myrrhn I often fell like I would have to sign a contract, in triplicate, to even get most people to shake my hand. Still I didn’t trust Harald’s sudden bout of sense; my people are not know for our even tempers and forgiving natures.
Harald and his kin left the way they came, a wall of muscle and hair. I sat peaceably sipping, wondering if I could brave the dark streets with some junior assassin having nicked me once already today. Obviously someone had put out a minor contract on my head, but why?
I had a few enemies in the city, but assassination seemed drastic. Perhaps it was a distraction. Keeping me looking over my shoulder would certainly make it harder to concentrate on the task at hand. Then again, perhaps I had offended someone in passing. There were plenty of people with money to waste in a city like Myrrhn.
I could stay at the Wench all night if I was so inclined. The rooms were reasonably priced and exceptionally safe. The girls would miss me if I did not return, but they are well aware of my habits. I enjoy the night more than most.
I out a finger to my beard at that thought. The assassin outside of Gits knew attacked me during the daylight hours. That made me wonder if they knew about my skills. My clan, the Shadow Wolves, are known as the best night fighters among the Nordan. I confess that I am somewhat less dangerous without the aid of darkness. Then again, perhaps it was not study and observation, but rumour that was driving my opponents beliefs. Maybe they were less afraid of well-hone night-fighting skills and more afraid of the big bad wolf. I grinned at that thought.
After downing a shot of Thraxian fire whiskey, the one thing those imperial bastards made that was worthwhile, I made my way to the door. I made sure to do so conspicuously, just in case. I stopped to retrieve my arms, and then stepped out into the night.
Myrrhn is a very different city at night. There are pools of dazzling light, filled with revelers and music, often around the more beautiful landmarks. Fountain Grove was the closest of these. I could see people heading there, moving in large groups for company, and the illusion of safety. There are safe areas, places that are off limits to the Guilds. Bridges, for one, are all off limits by ancient agreement. Not that it makes much difference to a good killer — they pretty much have you dead to rights if you take refuge on a bridge. Fountain Grove was not one of these. However, while Myrrhn is dangerous, it is not so violent as to discourage people from enjoying the vibrant nightlife.
I could not see any assassins. I smiled at the thought.
Lamplight cast deeper shadows in the alleys that I passed. A man walking alone at night in the city is either a target, or someone to be feared. As I cloaked myself in menace, taking the long way home, avoiding the revels and the light, I wondered which of these that I would be seen as.
I was beginning to feel to think the night would turn out to be less eventful than the day when I heard a scream from an alley as I passed.