The Stars of the North
What happens when a master assassin and thief has too many enemies hunting him? He lays low.
I was minding my own business – I’d smuggled my daughter and I to the Rough Edges of the world and away from the influence of Sizael Kingdom and it’s inhabitants, some of which really really wanted to see me dead and had so far bloodied their way through my guild and my wife.
But it seems if just one person knows you’re an assassin with the skills of a thief and were considered a master of both skills in the Reach of Sizael, that laying low on the other side of the world wasn’t possible. In fact, it turns out that your slimy uncle-in-law that smuggled you into his very own city had plans for you in the first place. One: to blackmail you. Two: to force you to find out what’s killing off the other people he smuggled or kidnapped to be inhabitants of his city where everyone becomes his prisoner. I should have done my research into Moonshade City before going. The wife always said her father was trouble. Even the religion in the city was corrupt as the stars picked me to save them just as her father said they would!
Rodaki spitting aardvarks. Time to sharpen my blades and quicken my steps. It’s time to find a monster.
Series or Standalone: Standalone.
Character World: Seno
Genre: Epic fantasy-adventure
Expected Release Date: 2018.
Expected Formats: Kindle exclusive, paperback, hardback and audiobook.
“Shush, little one,” I whispered, holding my three year old daughter to my chest with one arm, whilst I used my other to make sure we didn’t bash into a side of the crate we were in. “They’ll let us out in a minute.” I listened closely to everything on the other sides of our hiding spot, watching the few streams of light that crept in between the planks of wood. I wasn’t bothering to school my breath – the hiding part was almost over and anyone opening the crate would need either a key, lockpick or a crowbar to get at us, and I knew that we were on our way to our reluctant savior.
A few more jostles of our crate and scared whimpers from my daughter saw us come to a jolting stop. Alexis’ small fingers clung tighter to my weapon belt, preventing me from being able to use most of the knives I carry with me at all times. Thankfully in my profession, you find ways to hide more blades around your body – I drew a fifth knife from my left sleeve, where it usually sat against the underside of my forearm in a belted sheath. Metal striking metal reached our ears and I smiled; the soft clink suggested the two pieces were small and that one was smaller than the other. The crate door rattled then and was followed by the clank of the padlock being removed, followed by the shriek of the swinging metal arm that linked up with the padlock loop. Daylight sliced into my eyes and I turned away, twisting at the torso to shield Alexis from any harm.
“Damned assassin’s still holding a blade,” grumbled a voice I reluctantly recognised. “Get out of the box then, Sizaeling.”
I stepped out into a brightly lit room, surrounded on three sides by walls made of glass, and a fourth to mine and Alexis’ left painted a bright white with two doorways gaping at us. In front of us, four men stood looking back at us. One I recognised and the other three held their weight like they knew how to handle themselves. Their muscles were a dead giveaway too – mercenaries. Looking out of the windows briefly revealed a city sprawling underneath. We’re high up. I looked to my father-in-law, Mortimer Blackstone.
I still suspected his and Rhonda’s last name wasn’t really that. By Reach of Sizael profession classifications, they had been pirates before Moonshade City was built. Which meant anyone that worked with a boat or ship. Normally not a happy bedfellow for one classed as an assassin, even one that followed and helped craft the Reputable Assassin Laws but Rhonda and I had surprised everyone (even me) and made it work. At least until we were forced to go to her father’s city in the Grasp of Charopa, where most people that lived in the kingdoms and countries within the Reach of Sizael didn’t come. The laws and rules were different and the long journey by boat, and the entry tax, was a pretty good deterrent. A reputation in the Reach of Sizael often didn’t have any sway in the Reach of Charopa or the third section of the world commonly referred to as the Rough Edges of Seno. That fact made me fairly certain our enemies wouldn’t come for us here. I just wish that Rhonda had lived to get on the boat too. “It’s been a while,” said Mortimer without a smile.
“It has. Thank you for agreeing to take us in.”
Mortimer glanced at the three men. “Part of your payment is to hide the fact from anyone other than you, Alexis and I that you entered the city this way.”
Now I understood why he had looked at the three henchmen. He wanted me to assassinate them. I eyes them suspiciously. Except when unknown enemies came for me, I rarely knew nothing about a man I was asked to kill. The more you knew, the safer you were.