Preview: Of Shadows and Flute

Art by by Paul Slinger, Design by Rob WakefieldThis is the fourth preview for the Farewell, Something Lovely short story collection that I will soon be Kickstarting. You can find the first, “the Spear,” here, the second, “Flotsam Jewel,” here, and the third, “For Simple Coin,” here.

OF SHADOWS AND FLUTE

Decamaris stood outside the circle of illumination cast by the bonfire. Silently, he watched and listened as the man calling himself Laersun whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his visions of a union of thieves, a great guild that would take a place of power in the city. No one stood near Decamaris. Wrapped in shadow as much as in cloak and hood, he watched and waited. Across the bay, the lights of the Reach winked and twinkled, beckoning. Above, clouds blocked the stars and moons. A great storm approached, on this all the weather witches agreed.

The wind moved through the common forest that covered most of the peninsula between the village on Beacon Hill, at the north end of the Horn, and the one at Bridgend, in the south. It didn’t have strength enough to drag away the words that blustered through it. Decamaris considered that unfortunate.

Laersun’s harangue became more impassioned. He might be a speaker, but he wasn’t a leader. He was a nobody. He ran a small gang in an unimportant quarter of the Reach. How had he gathered so many cutpurses and cutthroats? He didn’t work alone. Someone was behind him. Someone with money and with power. Decamaris had tracked down Laersun, had found the meeting, now he needed to follow the money. Who had hired Laersun, who fed him his cues? And was there more beyond that? Levels and layers. Nothing in that city was simple.

Without a question, this pack of dogs had welcomed him, thinking Decamaris a representative of the Shadows’ League. Only fools made assumptions. Though he bore the twin silver daggers that marked him as having completed the Twelve Trials, Decamaris wasn’t from the League. It thought him dead. Would any even recognize Decamaris as an old comrade? Unlikely. Decamaris didn’t even recognize his own craggy face, and short, dark, graying hair.

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