Tis Thursday once more and time for some Shadow Wolf!
For those of you who missed last week’s post here it is.
The racket was simple enough. For whatever reason Lily Gemarkand, the ruthless head of one of Myrrhn’s Seven Families wanted control of the Doxies’s Union. Her motive was profit and influence, no doubt. Once upon a time she had been working with her ‘long lost’ sister, a prostitute who went by the name Sapphire, to undermine Madame Glorianna who was the leader of the Union at the time. That plan ended in bloodshed and a clash with The Devout, followers of a mad ideal that placed conquest above all. Sapphire and Madame Glorianna both died ugly deaths. That should have settled the matter.
In her last testament, Madame Glorianna endorsed the The Twins as her best replacements. It seemed reasonable, Eiskra and Vethri knew the Union better than anyone alive, and were greatly respected by their peers. It should have been easy, but this is Myrrhn and Lily Gemarkand was not a woman to give up easily.
The Union Hall still bore the scars of The Devout attack more than a year later. Most were concealed, shattered tiles and broken doors having been replaced with near perfect replicas, but Madame Glorianna’s office had to be replaced entirely after Lord Torvul, the Devout leader, had used his magic to blast it apart. I thought I could still smell dark magic and old blood, but it might have been a trick of the memory. It was a bad time.
“Ragnar, are you ready?” Vethri’s voice broke my reverie.
“Relax, old wolf, you’re just here for decoration,” said Eiskra. “Just stand behind us and look handsome.”
I rolled my eyes. Tonight was a formality. After more than a year of wrangling The Twins had asserted their dominance over the various factions in the Union, enough that they could call quorum and bring the matter of leadership to a vote. I was there because I still had some clout within the Union from my days as a doorman and an agent for Madame Glorianna.
“As if I could do anything else.”
“This is serious, you two,” said Vethri.
“Is something wrong?” asked Eiskra.
“I don’t know,” returned Vethri. “My sources say we have the votes, but someone just bought the Pink Pearl, today.”
“Tell me its not Gemarkand,” snarled Eiskra.
“I can’t say for sure, but few others have that kind of capital, and the timing is very suspicious,” said Vethri.
“What can she do if you have the votes?”
“We’ll soon see, I’m afraid,” said Vethri.
“Relax, Rat-ears, we’ve been through worse,” said Eiskra. “Let’s see what she has in store for us together.”
The Twins were not really twins. In fact they did not really look, or even dress alike most of the time. Vethri was a tall Dark Elf with long ears, which Eiskra swore reminded her of a rat.
They earned the name from the distinct scars that Gentleman Jim had left them with over twenty years ago. Most noticelable were the jagged cuts extending from the sides of their mouth toward each ear, like a monstrous smile. Their necks also bore scaring from a rope garrote, almost like they’d been hanged.
The Twins were Twiceborn, like me. Gentleman Jim had tortured them, raped them, and killed them along with dozens of others than night. The Twins, however, had risen from the ashes like vengeful furies.
The Union hall was full to brimming when we made our appearance. The Twins swept in from the back of the crowd rather than just appear before them, a bit of symbolism that I appreciated. I could sense excitement and some resentment, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Vethri and Eiskra wore neither masks, nor makeup to hide their scars. It was a statement, especially to those who knew they trade. As they took the stage, applause and cheering broke out. It was time to heal old wounds and get back to business.
But then the lady in diamond dress walked in, and everything changed.