The tavern was so quiet that Elias could hear the wind whispering through the gaps in the walls. When the serving girl brought him his drink he paid her with a whole silver, saw her eyes widen, and patted his coat pocket. ‘Keep ’em coming.’ She nodded and darted away. Apart from one table near the door, every seat was taken. Elias counted the mercenaries, almost all of them Roderick’s, their necks marked with his brand. The King had called the practice draconian, but that didn’t stop him hiring Roderick’s men when revolts broke out. That was why rebels had to hire Elias.
Someone had strung lights from the trees, making up for the clouds creeping across the moon’s face. They drenched the clearing white, bright enough to illuminate the flakes of bark littering the feast table and the bad icing job on Elizabeth’s cupcakes. ‘There were more of us last year,’ Malvoc commented, hand hovering over a plate of pink wafers. ‘You always say that,’ replied Grot. He was perched, his feet hanging an inch above the ground. ‘It makes no difference, we’re still enough.’
Checking in proved to be… unusual. Standing behind reception, the woman with shoulder-length hair and purple eyes stared silently as Sam stumbled in. “Yes?” drawled the woman, pursing her lips at the wet leaves plastered to Sam’s clothes. Sam drew a hand through her own hair, suppressing a shudder as something slimy squelched between her fingers. “Is Rook here?” she asked. “Perhaps,” answered the woman. “Why?” “I need to talk to him,” Sam scowled. “Why?” “Because.” The woman’s gaze flicked over her appearance again before she reached behind the desk. “Room six,” she said, handing over the key. “Be careful.” I like messing around with old characters from partially completed novels. I found the start of a draft for Archer the other day, only the first few chapters were written but I’m thinking about coming back to it at some point. Darkened Daughter has to take priority for now though. I refuse to keep skipping from one idea to another. Something is going to get finished this year whether I like it or not!
You did not got to the Purple Pig to drink. You went there for whores and information. Before the new King’s reign Molly’s tavern had been one of the most successful in Dondara. Now it was nothing more than a crooked sign and a few worm eaten tables crammed into the darkness. “Are you sure we’ve got the right place?” Mole kept close as his Captain hurried down the city streets towards Rickets Den. Behind them the stone houses of the wealthy seemed to glow softly in the moonlight, oil lamps dotted along the cobbled streets to ward off the shadows. Rickets Den on the other hand was a mass of shadows, curling and twisting around the wooden buildings which tumbled into one another and disappeared into the depths of the old mining pits. Mole wasn’t a brave man. He was really quite timid by all accounts with a thin reedy voice and a thick, short stature that left many confusing him with a child. Danny found him useful for sneaking into tight spaces but …
“Innocence has no place between people like us,” Yikes said, eyes fixed on the glass in his hands instead of Sophia. With a flick of his wrist the whisky was at his lips and down his throat, the empty glass clinking against the desk as he set it down. They were alone this time, no soldiers waiting in the shadows to snap her neck if a wrong move was made, no murder friends dragged across the floorboards as leverage, it made her wonder if Yikes was perhaps starting to trust her. “People like is are never innocent,” he continued. “Fate knew us too well to ever let that be true.”
“This place is a ruin,” Evie breathed, pressing her fingers against the wallpaper and feeling it crumble beneath her touch. “I don’t think anyone since the Lord and Lady.” “I wouldn’t bet on that,” Matthew said, testing the door on the other side of the entrance hall. It creaked and grumbled but gave in to opening when Matthew braced one foot against the doorframe, half-wondering if the whole thing might come crashing out of the wall. “I’ve got a feeling that this place has been holding onto more than its fair share of secrets in the last hundred years.”
Gregory Yikes was dead. Becket grinned as he watched the mummer run through the House of Lords, the Speaker scowling as the gossip jumped from one person to the next in the furious chatter of panicked, desperate men who saw their worlds titling dangerously towards something very dark. “I see your father’s unimpressed with you again.” Henry Junt dropped down into the bench seat next to Becket and kicked his feet up onto the balcony railing. He’d changed little since Becket had last seen him, hair kept short in tight dark curls and bright green eyes that darted across faces too quickly. “You stink of opium.” said Becket, pushing his hand into his trouser pocket to see if he still had his cigarettes. “And you reek of gin.” Henry grinned, snapping up a cigarette when Becket held the tin out. “Did you spend the entire night in the South Banks?” “Most of it.” Becket admitted. “It seems I made somewhat of a racket finding my way back into the house this morning.” “Servants quarters?” “Burst …