Hello! this is my weekly serial, written raw as a writing exercise.
You can find the first post in the series here.
Last week’s post is here.
“What was that?” asked Carmen as our carriage lurched into motion and began to roll down the cobbles and away from The Pink Pearl.
“We cut Diamond Silvermane loose,” said Eiskra. “Now no one can claim that we are forcing them to remain in the Union.”
“Without membership in The Doxies’s Union she cannot speak at our gatherings, either,” said Vethri.
“And without the Union she will have to find her own doormen,” I added. “Some of the bouncers that I saw there were mercenaries. It takes a very select temperament to tend the door at a brothel; mercenaries are prone to violent solutions and intimidate the patrons.”
“I’m glad it was well thought out,” said Carmen. “The look on her face as you left was pure gold. I loved it. This is fun.”
“Good, I’m glad you think so,” said Eiskra. “We have your first client waiting at our house.”
Carmen laughed, looking down at the array of devices that were part of her costume. “I would hate to be that guy.”
“Who said that the client is a man?” asked Vethri flatly.
Carmen’s eyes went round. Even I had trouble telling when Vethri was lying. After a moment they both burst out laughing.
“Sorry, Carmen,” said Eiskra. “There actually is a client waiting for us at the house. After all this I’m eager to see to her. Our business requires strict confidentiality though; you never know what they will let slip during the… interrogation.”
“It does sound like fun,” said Carmen.
“Should you be discussing this in front of me?” asked Murith.
“You would need to join The Union, and swear an oath,” said Vethri.
“I will get back to you,” said Carmen. “We have members in The Doxies’s Guild, of course, but I am not certain what my superiors would think.”
I was about to respond when the driver lost control of the horses. The carriage rocked violently and then came to a stop.
“You better come out and see this Ragnar,” said the Driver.
I stepped out of the carriage, hand on the hilt of my hammer. I could smell him. There, standing in the street like a lunatic was Ulfgorr. He was in human form, wearing an old overcoat. There were still signs of burns on his face, but I was dismayed at how quickly the damage seemed to have been undone.
“I see that the burns have made you less ugly, Ulfgorr. Did you come back for more?”
Ulfgar rippled, a grotesque sound rising from his throat. I heard Murith load a bolt in her arbalest behind me. Then, with visible effort, Ulfgorr relaxed.
“Wolki…” he began, spiting out the words as if they were spoiled. “Wolki bade me speak to you Grimfang. He wishes to meet and settle differences. To negotiate, or fight if that is your desire. At the fortress, in the challenge ring.”
My heart sank. The challenge ring was used for single combat. For a warrior of renown to refuse a challenge there was a great dishonour. This was a setup for humiliation or death.
“I will be there.”