The two escapees now rushed to the docks of Claville, followed by the old drunk. The waters of the great river Artavanus were glistening in the light of the morning sun, but this side of the docks was still quiet. Vadal knew there would be no fishermen here.
There was only one boat in the water, as always. Two big men were loading crates on it, while a smaller man watched over. Smugglers, no doubt, moving contraband east to Valgaard. (more…)
Vadal stepped into the room and locked the door behind him. For the first time this night he had a moment to catch his breath, if only a brief one. He walked with haste and moved a table aside. The pain in his leg returned. He lowered himself to the ground and drew a knife from his right boot and used the blade to pry open a section of the floor planks. It took him a while; the better one wants to hide something, the longer it takes one to reach it. But even if news of his escape couldn’t be far behind, the prize hidden here was worth the delay. (more…)
Vadal could not tell how long they had been running. As a thief, he knew sprinting was part of the job, but he was not used to running long distances, or on uneven ground. Yet at the moment he felt no fatigue. Perhaps more disturbingly, his injured leg was not feeling as heavy as earlier.
Ezekiel was running next to him. He was not showing any signs of slowing down either, but that was expected from a mutant, a bred soldier. (more…)
They had been walking for a long time, too long, thought Vadal. Sometimes noises would come from beyond the light of the torch, but not even Ezekiel with his mutant eyes could spot anything. At other times there was complete silence, and everyone seemed too afraid to break it by speaking.
So all four of them jumped at the sudden noise that came suddenly, too close for comfort – the rattle of a chain, then the scraping sound of metal on stone as something was dragging itself away from the light. (more…)
‘Who killed him? Who killed Renie? I’ll tear you all limb from limb!’ howled Aymon.
Vadal, Ezekiel and Gramps were on the receiving end of the howls. The twins were standing by the corpse. Aribert was weeping in pain nearby.
One crossbow bolt was still stuck in Aribert’s stomach. Vadal knew enough to understand the man was dying. And he believed the story about how a patrolling watchman heard Aribert in the dark and shot him. But that explained nothing. Why had he left? And if not Aribert, then who had slaughtered Renie? (more…)
Four corpses were strewn across the floor. Aymon spat on one of the dead guards. Ezekiel wiped his blade clean and stepped over a pool of blood, towards a sound that had come from the darkness ahead. Vadal brushed past him with swift but silent steps.
A few meters ahead into the darkness, he discovered the source of the noise. A short, lean man was cowering against a wall, half-naked. (more…)
‘Bite your tongue, murdering scum, I’ll gut you now!’ howled the guardsman.
‘You pigs got no balls! Your dead friend at the Carafe would’ve stabbed me in the back!’ cried Aymon.
‘Gris was a man! You’re an animal and you’ll be butchered like one, don’t speak of him!’
‘Your friend pissed himself when I cracked his head!’
‘I’ll fucking kill you!’ (more…)