The Shadow Wolf Sagas: Red Fangs (2.9)

Tis Thursday, and time for my weekly serial.

The first story arc can be found here.

The first post in this arc can be found here.

and, here is last week’s post.

“Consider it done, Nordan,” said Carmen. “But then we are even.”

I nodded once, turned my back on the young assassin, and then began my slow ascent. It was well and truly night now, dark in the city above as well as the sun-hungry depths of places like Cliffshadow.

The conflict to replace madame Glorianna, the ‘Whore’s War’ as it was popularly known, was still simmering. The Twins were caught up in that challenge, and our little home was now a veritable fortress. The idea of going through all of the extra checks and layers of security, waking them, just to sleep in my own bed, felt a little selfish.

I felt eyes on me, not just Carmen’s, as I climbed out of the slum. I did not sense any threats, however, and thought it most likely that it was simply the people of that place, watching carefully as another brutal little conflict winded down.

I did not expect Carmen to actually follow through on finding out who started Curran down the dark path that led to him becoming a Vampire, and killing his sister Delilah. I even gave her the frame of an excuse in telling her not to pursue my goal if it might get her killed.

I fully expected that my hunt would end with Curran. Instead my thoughts turned to the problem presented by Carmen, the former apprentice of the cunning betrayer Sildus, and how I could make certain that would not raise arms against me again without killing her.

<>

A week passed, uneventful save for the brawls and bodies left behind as the player’s in the Whore’s War vied for supremacy and an unrelated trade war.

Then one day, sitting at the Inn of the Willing Wench, chewing on orange-glazed sea-drake and drinking Skyhall mead, when I caught sigh of Carmen approaching my table. The young assassin was dressed like an affluent student from one of the many prestigious academies that could be found within the city, complete with glasses and a bag of books.

“Hello, Ragnar.”

“Hello, Carmen,” I answered. “What would a student like yourself want with an old Nordan ne’er do well like myself?”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” said Carmen, showing her teeth in an approximation of a smile. “I was working… training exercises you might call them. I have your information Ragnar.”

“You know who made Curran into a vampire?” I asked.

“I do,” said Carmen, smiling with genuine pride this time. “The name won’t mean anything to you, but I also found out where he lairs. It is all here.”

She handed me a students notebook; parchment tied together and bound by leather. I held it in my hands, not knowing what to think.

“Aren’t you going to look at it?” she asked. “I’m in a hurry.”

“I’m certain that you did well, Carmen,” I said, meeting her eyes. “I don’t need to look inside to know that you accomplished the task I set for you. You have my thanks.”

“Good,” she said, sliding out of the booth and grabbing her book-bag. “Remember, we’re even now.”

“Are we?” I asked.

“We are,” she said. “You were right about Sildus. The Guild looked into his activities. I have seen their records now.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m surprised,” she said. “But perhaps we can talk about that some other time, Nordan. I don’t want to be late for class…”

I nodded and let her go then looked down at the notebook that contained the name of the Vampire who had rewarded Curran for killing his sister. I hesitated, wondering if I needed yet another war right now, then opened it.

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