This is my weekly serial, written raw as a writing exercise.
You can find the first post in the series here.
“Who is Diamond Silvermane to you, Lily?”
“Honestly Ragnar, sometimes your stupidity astounds me. Picture Diamond, subtract all the gems and the flair. I think she looks an awful lot like her mother.”
Ignoring Lily’s habitual insult, I considered Diamond. She looked an awful lot like many of Myrrhn’s high class Doxies; tall, slim, and fair. But how many women did Lily and I both know.
“Yes. One of the reasons that the woman you knew as Sapphire was exiled from the Gemarkand family was little Diamond. My sister was fifteen when she gave birth, as I understand it. She joined the Doxies’s Union so that she could get proper care during the pregnancy, working as a laundress to start.”
As she spoke, the first act of the play began. A tall muscular man dressed all in black and bearing blades spoke words of love to a beautiful woman on the stage.
“It seems odd to me then, Lily, that you would try to destroy the very same organization that helped your sister in her time of need.”
“My sister should have come to me,” said Lily. “I am family. I dislike what the Doxies’s Union represents because it is good business for me to do so, Ragnar. Imagine if the miners in my families holdings got the same idea; it would cost me a fortune. I am hardly alone in this.”
“So Diamond is your niece and you want to control or weaken The Union through her, correct?”
“Yes. Initially I wanted to break the Union, but that was anger over my sister’s death and Madame Glorianna’s part in it. I wanted to ruin her life’s work for what she did to Sapphire.”
I nodded; it was a surprisingly human sentiment coming from Lily Gemarkand. Even if it fell within the realm of spite, it was on behalf of someone else.
“But that is not what you wish to discuss with me, is it Lily?”
“Would you leave us?” Lily looked at her bodyguard. He seemed ready to protest, but nodded after giving me a cold stare. I waited while he walked out of the box and took up position outside.
On the stage the Assassin’s lover was dallying with another man, never a good sign in a Myrrhnese play.
“Do you remember Cinder, Ragnar?” Lily asked.
“I do. It is hard to forget someone who tried to kill me several times. The Bloodhydra now figures in to my saga, I am told. I now know that one of the crates that she was trying to escape with had the sword of King Siggurd in it. Why?”
“Have you ever wondered how Cinder came to have the sword?”
“And you wonder at Wolki’s involvement with Cinder and myself.”
“Cinder originally worked for me, as did Wolki. I hired the Lord of your clan to track down an errant claimant to the family fortune who remained beyond my reach. As you might expect, Wolki required something big in return. I hired Cinder and her crew to retrieve some Nordan artifacts. The sword was one of these, but I kept it instead of handing it over to Wolki.”
“I liked the way it looked. I had no idea that it was significant. Cinder felt that I cheated her on compensation and turned against me. That is when she began the whole ‘Cinder’ nonsense actually. Wolki came looking for the sword once he heard that I had it. He threatened me. I’m glad you killed his pet.”
“Ulfgorr. Aye. It was a tough fight, but few will miss him.”
“Wolki will. Without the werewolf protecting him, more Nightblades are likely to be tempted by the money that I am offering for his head.”
“Wolki seemed particularly interested in the sword, and where we acquired it, Ragnar. He seemed very, very interested in making certain that he was the only one who understood the circumstances of how and where it was found. I lied to him and told him that Cinder did not tell me. I am curious to know why he was interested, perhaps you could help me piece it together?”
I laughed. “I think I will.”