Tis Thursday, the night is hot and spring is already giving way to summer and it is time, once again, for some Shadow Wolf.
“You’re up against the wall cub,” I said. “It is time for you to listen to me.”
“Just get it over with,” Carmen snarled.
I deeply, deeply considered breaking her arm. It would be expedient to kill Carmen. She was an assassin’s apprentice, and a woman who had a grudge against me. She’d nearly gutted me once. But a man can solve all his social problems with violence, which I supposed including breaking someone’s arm to teach her a lesson.
“Seems to me, that you don’t have much of a say in what I do, pup,” I responded.
“If you rape me Nordan, I swear I will find a way to make you pay,” she snarled.
I laughed. “Don’t insult me. Just keep your teeth together for a minute and you might get out of this unscathed. I know that you want revenge. But let me ask you this? If I killed you here would you be comfortable dying trying to avenge a man like Sildus?”
She hesitated. “Yes. He was my master.”
“Some master,” I said, easing my grip on her arm a fraction. “Did he teach you about the ascended?”
“Do you know what a Twiceborn is?”
“Yes. Twiceborn are the ones that rise from their graves. Sildus as you call him, he taught me that die permanently the second time, although they are harder to kill than most men.”
“When he took you hunting for me in the woods, did Sildus tell you that he knew that I was a Twiceborn?”
“No… he would have told me! you’re lying!” Carmen struggled. I had to pin her leg with my foot to avoid a heel-blade of some sort.
“He used you, Carmen. Men like Sildus just see their students as expendable assets.”
“I don’t believe you,”
“Did he bring any poison with him?” I asked.
She didn’t answer. I waited. I half expected her to cry. She was young, this was probably her first real betrayal. Instead she sighed and seemed to deflate a little.
“So what happens now?” Carmen asked.
“I want your word of honour as an assassin that you won’t attack me again.” I said, “In return I will not tell anyone of this.”
I could have demanded a more binding oath I suppose, but the middle of the night in Cliffshadow is hardly the plavce for such things. Even now we were being watched.
“I accept,” said Carmen.
I let her up. She sprang to her feet, quickly moving out of reach, watching me with wary eyes.
“Swear it,” I prompted.
“I give you my word of honour that I will not attack you unless you are seeking to harm me, Ragnar Grimfang.”
“And I, Ragnar Grimfang, call upon the gods to witness my oath,” I began theatrically. “I will not divulge my bargain with this woman to anyone, unless she provokes me.”
Somewhere a wolf, or something like a wolf, howled.
“I owe you Nordan,” said Carmen. “I am a woman who pays her debts.”
I was about to acknowledge this when I saw some of Curran’s blood. I thought of Delilah.
“I have something you can do for me, if you feel so inclined Carmen, The little tussle I had here before you arrived. I want to know who made this lad a vampire. Can you look into that without getting yourself killed?”
“Consider it done, Nordan, but then we are even,”