NOTE: Somehow in the middle of the week, an old cloud save of the last post over-wrote the full post. Sorry about that. I have restored the post, in full.
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.
On the few nights in Myrrhn when it is neither raining, nor windy, the streets are hot and wet and the night closes about you like a trap.
The crowd from the Kaemoul’s Playhouse thinned quickly, with the majority of the theater-goers seeking shelter in nearby taverns or waiting carriages. The few groups that left on foot were large, loud, and boisterous. I was the only one who went alone into the night.
Moving through the streets, I watched the shadows, half-expecting to be attacked; while Lily and I parted on good terms, it would be foolish of me to think of us as friends. Still, I doubt she would antagonize The Twins with an attack that could be linked to her so easily.
Of course, Lily was not the only enemy I had. Wolki wanted me dead, of that I could be certain. At the very least he would seek revenge for Ulfgorr, but it was likely he would try to protect this secret route as well. I was fairly certain that he did not know about Old King Siggurd’s Killer, but he knew that I knew something. We Shadow Wolves know secrets, and Wolki was always better than the rest of us with intrigue. A knife in the back was his style, and despite recent humiliations, Myrrhn was not yet beyond his reach.
Thus I was not surprised when three forms materialized out of the shadow and mist on the street ahead of me. I sensed two more behind as I grabbed my weapons, a pair of Nordan daggers hidden in my coat-sleeves.
“Oh, look at this gentleman,” said one of the men, tall and lanky. His clothes were poor and worn, and he carried a brutal looking truncheon. He did not look like much of an assassin. “Wots wrong gent? you look a little lost, not right in the head. Give us your coin and we’ll let you be on your way.”
I laughed. Loudly.
As I laughed, one of the would-be-cutpurses who thought he was creeping up behind me moved. My ears picked up the sound of his feet on the cobbles and of his weapon slicing through the air. Still laughing, I stepped to the side and kicked him in the arse as he missed. The goon sprawled on the cobbles. The rest of his compatriots drew knives and started toward me. I stopped laughing.
“Do you sods even know who I am?”
I let them see my daggers as I asked. Nordan daggers are rather large and intimidating.
“You have picked the wrong mark boys. I am no soft gentleman on his way back from a play. Ragnar Skyggesson, Nordan Exile stands before you. I have battle the devout, killed a nasty werewolf, and stopped a mad vampire in this city recently. I helped the Doxies’s Union cast off Gentleman Jim. Maybe you’ve heard of me?”
“It don’t matter,” said the tall skinny one. “Your throat will part easily enough.”
“Maybe so. But I have tasted death and returned, boy. Is it really worth the risk for a little coin?”
They wavered. Somewhere nearby, a wolf howled. They back off and started to walk away.
“Be seeing you Northman,” said tall and skinny as he passed me.
“Step on son, there’s nothing for you here.”
I watched them go. It was possible they would return with reinforcements, but I would be long gone by then. When I was certain that they were out of earshot, I spoke.
“You can come out now, I heard you taking position.”