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.
Carmen emerged from the shadow of a drainpipe beside a window ledge two stories above the cobbles. She grinned down at me and then dropped to the ground, making barely a sound as she hit the ground.
“Did you really hear me, or were you just guessing Old Wolf?” she asked.
“You are never as quiet as you think Carmen. Did The Twins send you to watch my back?”
“They suggested that they would be grateful if I did,” she answered, looking around the street. “But even without them, The Nightblades have a vested interest in seeing you survive until the Whores’s War is over and you have returned to the north.”
“Am I allowed to know that?”
“Yes,” said Carmen, turning to face me. “I took a risk giving you the sword. Had you died, The Guild probably would have discarded me.”
“Discarded is a nice way of saying executed…”
“It sounds worse to me, actually. Execution at least has a level of formality. But you killed Ulfgorr and disgraced Wolki and The Guild is very pleased with us both.”
“Did I earn you a promotion?”
“Yes, actually,” said Carmen, stepping in close. Her scent washed over me. “Feel free to claim your reward… Vethra and Eiskra don’t mind, I asked them.”
I laughed. I was certain that Carmen was serious, but her motives were not nearly as transparent as her body language.
“I think I will, but that will have to wait until I return from the North.”
“You’re coming back?”
“I am. If I am able.”
“I’m intrigued,” said Carmen, stepping back. “Care to share what you know?”
“With you or The Nightblades?”
“Ouch. Point taken.”
The days after my meeting with Lily were a frenzy of meetings with The Doormen and Bouncers of the Doxies’s Union. After my name was cleared, my former influence returned. Many of the old hands who provided security at the Union’s various brothels had trained with me in Madame Glorianna’s day. They were as loyal as you would expect, and it was not hard to convince most of them that Diamond Silvermane was not good for the Doxies’s. This was no surprise to me, in truth.
What was gratifying is how much my name meant to the newer Doxies. I was no longer old Ragnar the Nordan, I was Ragnar, the guy who killed a werewolf to avenge Rake. News of my deeds had spread throughout the Union and members greeted me wherever I went. My very presence helped our cause. That was gratifying.