Thursday, June 25, 2009

Heroes... Chapter Seven - Harbordown by Night

Howdy! This is Chapter Seven of "Heroes...", in which we start pulling our heroes together and introduce two more major characters. There's no point in describing them; you'll know them when you see them.

Remember, this is a rewrite of a novel I've already completed. I am actively seeking feedback from beta-readers for it. As I've stated, if it sees publication, I plan to thank anyone who has given consistent (or lots) of feedback in the dedication. No, I'm not kidding.

I thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!


Chapter Seven
Harbordown By Night

“Good evening, Dunbar.”

“Mr. Jerrold.”

“You’ve come for the bounty, I assume.”

“I have,” Dunbar said.

“Just a moment; it’s in the back. Watch the front, will you?” Titus Jerrold, Harbordown’s exchequer, left him alone in the front office. Dunbar drifted to the only wall that interested him. A dozen hand-copied posters hung there, the gallery of felons whom the city most wished to have in custody. A dozen hard faces drawn in ink glared down as Dunbar perused their crimes. Two-Dagger Hamish’s poster was gone, along with his list of crimes. The face of a church-thief was nailed in its place. Dunbar memorized the face, name, and list of crimes. Before Mr. Jerrold returned, he was waiting at the exchequer’s desk.

“I’ll need you to sign,” Mr. Jerrold said.

“Of course.” Dunbar signed his name in florid script on the receipt offered him and pushed it back across the desk.

“Ten silver sails,” Jerrold told him, placing a fist-sized sack in his hand. “I’ve broken it into shields and pennies, as you prefer.” As usual, Dunbar weighed it in his hand and slipped it inside his shirt.

“Is there still no word on Jaan Craymore or Den Tuller?” Dunbar pointed to the oldest posters.

“No,” the exchequer told him, folding the receipt neatly. “We’ve heard nothing from Tuller; he’s simply vanished. We believe Craymore took ship and left months ago. He has family in Northport, we’re told.”

“Another one gone to sea.”

“It’s the simplest way to avoid capture.”

“It’s cowardly,” Dunbar stated.

“Yes,” Mr. Jerrold said, “but not too many wish to remain here and be nabbed by the Watch or be caught up by the city’s finest bounty hunter.”

“I’m not yet the finest. Burrell the Bold still holds that honor.”

“He has retired, Dunbar.”

“Until I – or someone else – surpasses his number of retrievals, he’s the best.”

“Have it your way. Will you be attending the hanging?”

“The trial hasn’t been held yet.”

“What’s your point?”

* * *

“Are ye ready?” asked the man dressed in red and black.

The woman dressed as he was looked up and nodded. She pulled on her boots and stood up, flipping hair out of her eyes.

“I’m ready.” She spoke a language not often heard in Harbordown.

“Speak Talberan,” the man said. “Ye know I can’t understand ye.”

“Ready,” she said.

“Good. I’ve got our place picked out. It’ll do.” He turned and saw her blades lying on the bed, near where they had just been.

“Don’t faerget yer swaerds.”

“Knives,” she said in perfect Talberan, sliding the blades into their sheaths.

“Knives then,” Jaan Craymore said. “Let’s get moving. That lamplighter’s not going to kill himself.”

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