Tis Thursday, and time for another shadow wolf post. This is the second series, fourth post, following the adventures of Ragnar Grimfang, a Nordan Exile, Twiceborn, and all around swell guy as he navigates the dark streets of the city of Assassins.
Here is a link to the first series, Blade Breaker.
Here is a link to the first post of this series.
And this is a link to last week’s post, in case you missed it.
Beauchamps was true to his word.
I returned to Cliffshadow as the sun sunk into the ocean east of Myrrhn, red and gold, all glory. It was already night in the slum. Cliffshadow got its name from the fact that the cliff walls of the islands that it grew down from and in between blocked the sun for much of the day.
There was a marked difference here between night and day. The streets were quiet, save outside of a few taverns and brothels. There were very few lights in Cliffshadow, unlike the city above. As I strode over rickety wooden foot bridges, along the ancient boardwalk, and then on packed dirt and detritus I noted that my progress was tracked by the gangs whose territory I penetrated, mean faced youths and scarred older men. I nodded to a few tough old denizens as I passed, survivors out in front of their houses enjoying the night air.
I returned to where I met Beauchamps and the Pickpocket Yvandra where I found a dozen young men, dressed in proper leathers and wielding a better quality of weapon than I would have expected from Cliffshadow street toughs. Their leader, a big man, but still young, his hair dyed the same colour of dried blood that marked the rest of the gang, looked at me with a cocky mixture of contempt and curiosity. He had a good knife on his belt, a Myrrhnese stilletto, but his hands rested on a pair of iron shod clubs.
“You Ragnar?” he asked.
“Who wants to know?”
“Curran, leader of the Blood Hunters,”
“Are you Delilah’s brother?”
Curran smiled and I saw his teeth. Apparently he’d traded well on his sisters blood, and was now in the first stages of Vampirism. A low growl rose from my throat. Curran laughed. His boy fanned out to surround me.
“She left me down here. Thought she was too good for me. I kept her alive, and what gratitude did she show me? Fuck the world above, I say.”
I shook my head. The only thing that kept me from going for him then and there was Murith’s desire for more information on the blood trade, and the thought that there might be other near vampires among his men, which would be very bad for me.
“I’ve heard of you Ragnar,” said Curran. “Is it true that you are ascended?”
“Here that boys? Ascended blood is real rare, I wager. The one who takes him ears a set of fangs like mine.”
The thing about the Shadow Wolf clan is that we hear better and see better at night than most men. That goes double for me after crawling out of my own pyre. Thus, while the cut-throat gliding through the shadows behind me had every reason to think he would live up to his name he met with my fist instead. Or rather he met with the plate of metal over my fist, and crumpled in a heap. My eyes never left Curran’s.
“I am Ragnar Grimfang of the Shadow Wolves, I am twiceborn, called Bloodaxe and Nighteyes, I slew Torvul and Magni Red-sails,” I intoned, my voice carrying in the night. Sometimes a little theatre can strike fear into ones opponents. I honestly hoped the other boys would run, my only care was for Curran. “I am here for my friend Delilah, who clawed her way out of this place with will and hard work, only to be betrayed, slaughtered, and sold by someone she trusted. Your guilt is written on your fangs Curran. I have come for you, and any who are foolish enough to get in my way.”
To punctuate my speech a low growl sounded from the dark behind me.
A few of the boys hesitated, then ran.
Curran looked at the rest of his crew. “We’ll round those cowards up later, they can fill out the next take. Now, get him!”
Seven gangers, eager and desperate, came forward. I did not draw my weapons.