So I am not completely heartless. I have decided to bestow upon you yet another excerpt. *Chuckles* I know, I am so full of myself. Well, full of something at least. I hope you enjoy it. I am not going to give you specifics or tell you anything leading up to it, I just want to share. So here you go! Oh, and just so you know, none of this is edited. This is merely a rough draft. We are talking about National Novel Writing Month here, I can't edit. So be nice!
Sorcha walked down the little path that led around the side of the building where, she knew from past experience, a little garden with benches had been placed for visitors.
As she rounded the corner, she heard someone crying and halted where she stood, not wishing to intrude.
“Please let him be all right,” a female voice drifted out of the night, broken with little hiccups as she cried. “Aeviar, Kaigowen, if you are listening to the pleas of a pitiful wretch like me, please let him be all right. Ioweth be praised,” the woman finished her prayer to the gods of healing and miracles. As she invoked the name of the creator, Ioweth, Sorcha narrowed her eyes.
“Nightshadow?” Sorcha whispered.
“Who's there?” the woman growled, her voice hard. Sorcha saw the woman stand up and turn towards her, a dagger glinting in the moonlight.
“Calm yourself, woman. It's me, Sorcha.” Sorcha stepped over to where Nightshadow stood, still holding her dagger.
“What in all hells are you doing here,” Nightshadow snapped.
“I could ask you the same question. I never figured you to be the praying type. Who did you almost kill?”
“That is none of your bloody business.” Nightshadow concealed her dagger and sat back down on the bench.
“Yes, the business is bloody. I'm here dropping someone off.” Sorcha turned in a circle, taking in the sequestered area. Seeing they were very much alone, she plopped down on the stone bench next to the infamous assassin. “I'm taking running in to you as a very good sign.” Sorcha smiled warmly, her mind working quickly as usual.
“I'm taking it as a very bad omen,” Nightshadow muttered.
“Now don't be silly. This could be a very prosperous coincidence. Are you game?”
“That all depends,” Nightshadow said. “How much will I be gaining from this venture?”
“Let us speak of coin later. First let me tell you what I have in mind. However, if your mind works like mine, I'm sure you will see the future gain.”
“I'm listening.” Nightshadow pulled out a small silver case and tapped the lid twice, then tapped the bottom once. The lid sprang open and she pulled out a slim cigarette. Placing it to her lips, she worked her flint and tinder, lit the stick and inhaled the smoke deeply, tucking the little silver contraption away.
“Cute,” Sorcha commented. She waved a hand in front of her face, the smell of the cloves and other herbs in the cigarette were too sweet for her taste. Nightshadow just blew the smoke in her face and remained silent. “I told you I came to drop someone off. Tell me, what news has reached Moordigan in the last few days?”
Nightshadow frowned slightly as she took another deep pull on her cigarette. “Let's see,” she mused and smoke blew out with her words. “The king and queen of Paridzule are dead. Apparently an accident on their way to a negotiation meeting in Relavia. Li'endrin has to be behind it.” Sorcha leaned forward, her elbows resting on her knees as she waited patiently for Nightshadow to finish. “The ship carrying their son Hedric and daughter Kayta was attacked by your good friend Toreg, no survivors.”
“That slimy dung heap is not my friend.” Sorcha huffed and shook her head. “What else?”
“And Senweis has renounced the Paridzule throne.”
“She what?” Sorcha asked, astounded. She sat up and turned to look at Nightshadow.
“I figured you were seeking specific news and all three of those are so closely related. The world is not going to be the same if Li'endrin waltzes in and takes over Paridzule. The only other news is petty compared to all of this. Some Noble dies, others declare war then kiss and make up. You know, the usual.”
Sorcha stood and paced back and forth in the little circular garden. One hand rested on her hip as she walked, the other tapped her lips.
“Oh, and Alabassin has gotten himself in to an arranged marriage. Apparently to Senweis.”
“That might prove to be a good solution.” Sorcha said.
“Do you think Li'endrin will allow it? He already has the majority of the family out of the way. Kienna and Aldhem are all that remain and he just has to wait for them to die of old age. He'll have Senweis snuffed in a heartbeat.”
“By your hand?” Sorcha paused to look at the woman sitting on the bench in her tight, black leather skirt and corset. Her red-gold hair hung loosely to her waist and shone in the moonlight.
“Not by my hand. I refuse to help that bastard with anything.”
“Seems the world of Eir du'Brusai at least has one thing in common.” Sorcha continued to walk slowly around the circle. As she passed by the bench, she paused and sat next to Nightshadow, her body turned to face her. “What if I told you Kayta is not dead?”
“I'd call you a liar. Oh, you are a liar.”
“Very funny. I have proof.” Sorcha pulled the insignia ring indicating Kayta's station as Guardian of the Realm from her pocket. She held it out for Nightshadow to see.
“Where in all hells did you get this?” Nightshadow hissed, grabbing the ring and quickly looking around to see if they were alone. She dropped the last of her cigarette to the ground and smashed the embers with the toe of her boot. She held the ring up to view it in the moonlight. The ring was a large, flat onyx shaped like a crescent moon. Silver flames cradled the moon before blending in to the rest of the band.
“I told you, Kayta is alive. I happened upon the aftermath of Toreg's attack. She looks to be the only survivor. I want you to take this ring to Nikkolani. She's got to get back to Paridzule, she will straighten things out and if not, she'll just hang her sister and take the throne.”
“We could only hope. I cannot believe that selfish little whelp renounced the throne.” Nightshadow turned the ring in the light before tucking it away.
“Will you do it? Will you bring her back?” Sorcha asked.
“I'll do it on one condition.”
“I don't have that much coin on me, Night. So whatever your price, go easy on my purse.”
“No, don't worry. This will only cost you Toreg's head. You kill him and we'll be square.”
“Done!” Sorcha clapped her hand into Nightshadow's and they shook on it. “What a strange world we live in when an assassin asks a Pyrate to kill someone for them.”
“Strange indeed when Pyrates pick up floating stragglers in the ocean.”