It is Thursday once more and time for some Shadow Wolf. <wolf noise> This is my weekly serial, written raw and unplanned.
All eyes turned toward me as the woman, ragged and vulnerable, yet undeniable in her seeming grief called me out.
“It was him! He killed Rake. Look at the body: only a savage would do this!”
Savage being another word for Nordan, of course. It was doubtful that this was just a random act of prejudice either. I was not just any Nordan, I was a well-known enforcer for The Twins, probably the most famous of my people connected to the Doxies’s Union. I would have wagered with old Garm himself that this was the work of Lily Gemarkand or her proxy Diamond Silvermane. The rumour would be spread that I killed Rake because he went against The Twins; that I was innocent of the deed would not matter. By the time that was established distrust would run rampant through The Union and others would break away.
I turned to Vethri. “You both need to go and try to get ahead of this.”
“Fuck that,” said Eiskra. “Rake was my friend.”
“I can handle it, for now,” said Vethri. “What are you going to do?”
“I have friends among the watch here,” I said. “Best turn myself in for questioning.”
“What have you gotten yourself into now, Nordan?”
The speaker was a short haired Dwarven woman, neat and sharp-eyed in spite of the fact that my request for her presence had no doubt robbed her of sleep.
“This one is Union business Murith. Someone wants to turn as many people against The Twins as possible. I asked for you so we can establish my innocence as quickly as possible.”
“Aren’t you worried that our friendship will make that suspect?”
“I’m willing to take advantage of your untarnished reputation rather than rely on a watch officer that I do not know or trust.”
“Officially then: you had nothing to do with Rake’s death?”
“I did not. Not only that, but the way that he died is reserved for a truly hated enemy among my people; one who has shown great cowardice as well as evil.”
“Sounds like a grudge killing,” said Murith, referring to the sacred oaths of vengeance of the Dwarves.
“There is some similarity.”
“Do you have an alibi that is not The Twins?”
“I’m not sure. We were at The Union and took our carriage home. People will have seen us at both places. But there wasn’t enough blood at the scene. Rake had to have been killed earlier Murith, so until you can determine his time of death–“
“–Fine, fine. We will go over that later. Who do you think did this, and why?”
“Ultimately it comes back to Lily Gemarkand.”
“I can see why she would want to get back at you, but why would she involve herself with The Twins?”
“This is about breaking the The Union. Lily has some plan that involves her own brothels, or perhaps a Union master under her control. We know that from Sapphire. She bought the Pink Pearl yesterday and sent her ‘representative’, a woman called Diamond Silvermane to announce that they were breaking away at tonight’s meeting.”
“Who would join them?” asked Murith inredulously. “The Union is the best thing ever to happen to prostitutes in Myrrhn. I’ve looked at the statistics, Ragnar; even under a beast like Gentleman Jim, The Union is vastly safer and fairer than street pimps and unaffiliated brothels.”
I laughed. “Not everyone looks at the statistics, Murith. It can be hard to explain the tithe that goes to the guild to someone who is beautiful and successful. That is what Lily and Diamond are counting on.”
“I really hate when you are right, Nordan.”
“I know. So, shall we investigate?”