It is Thursday once more and time for some Shadow Wolf. <wolf noise> This is my weekly serial, written raw and unplanned.
Vethri’s brow was furrowed and the scars on her cheeks dipped into a scowl as her lips twisted. It had to be guild related. Eiskra’s hand cupped her mouth and her eyes went wide as she finished reading.
“Rake,” sighed Vethri. “It’s bad, Ragnar.”
Rake was one of the Union’s most famed Cornerboys, Myrrhnese slang for a male prostitute with a primarily male client base. He was stylish and gentlemanly, and as flamboyant and quick-witted as one would expect from his street name. While he initially opposed The Twins in the early days after Madame Glorianna’s death he became a staunch supporter after meeting with them and listening to their vision for The Union. I wondered if his murder was connected to the chaos at the Union earlier.
We were all quiet on the way to Burning Hill. Carriage was one of the safest ways to traverse the City of Assassins at night, but even so I half expected every shadow fluttering past the shutters or strange noise to herald some attack. I was relieved when the carriage ground to a halt.
For once Eiskra did not protest when I insisted on leaving the protective confines of the carriage compartment first.
Even at night, the acrid air of Burning Hills was unmistakable. We were at The Haven, a bawdyhouse and tavern on a prominent corner on the lower hills. The streets were crowded with watchmen, Doxies, and onlookers. I stepped into the mob, moving toward the the door. I could smell blood and offal already and struggled to remain calm.
Then the crowd parted and I saw Rake, or rather his remains. Eiskra gasped. I stopped short. Rake’s body bore the signs of ritual abuse, a Nordan form of killing called the coward’s feast. His heart and his genitals had been severed and stuffed in his mouth. It was a cruel way to kill practiced mostly by then Nordan and reserved only for the most despicable of enemies.
My mind simply failed to process the scene. Why would one of my countrymen do this to Rake?
“He did this, it was him!” I looked up to see a tearful young woman pointing at me.
And it all fell into place.