No Honor Among Thieves (Part 6)

Posted: October 11, 2017 in Fantasy, Fiction, No Honor Among Thieves
Tags: , , , , , ,

Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here. Part five is here. Comments are always welcome! (And yes, it’s been eight months since this last updated. Oof.)

Gray and Tamara slipped through the back door of the Golden Hide, hoping to avoid any curious eyes as they stumbled upstairs to their rented room. Tamara took the time to check the simple ward she’d placed on the door, nodded to Gray when she confirmed it hadn’t been tampered with. Sure, the own provided a lock and a key, but keys had a way of being duplicated a trust wasn’t a vice either of the two women commonly indulged in.

Tamara collapsed on one of the beds as Gray drew the bar on the door shut. “So… we’ve got some coin, but we’re short Artair. What’s our next step?”

“We need to hit Barrion, or at least make sure he can’t hit us back. I gave it some though and I think we should go see Rook.”

Tamara sat up, her mouth turned down in sharp disapproval. “That scum?”

Gray nodded. “I’ve heard the same stories as you, but I think that’s our best move. Rook can give us cover we can’t get on our own, and well, he doesn’t hold any love for Barrion, so he might look at it as a bonus.”

“Or he might gut us, stuff rocks where our guts used to be, and dump us into the harbor.”

Gray held up one of the pouches they’d gotten from Jayce in exchange for the gems. “That’s why we’ll make sure he knows we’re earners. We can pull our weight. Working for Rook will give us some space, and might make sure Barrion doesn’t go for us hard.”

“Thought you wanted to hit him?” Tamara replied.

“I do, but, well, there’s only three of us.”

“Two and a half, really, what with Artair injured.”

Gray pursed her lips and nodded. “And hitting Heron’s and killing Travers, well, that’s a start, isn’t it?”

“Okay, so we go see Rook then. Do you know where to find him?”

“I’ve got a good idea. Get some sleep, we’ll go see him in the morning.”

#

Gray and Tamara left The Golden Hide after a breakfast of cold meat and cheese washed down with weak tea. The streets of Milieux were already bustling, merchants and tradesmen jostling each other on the narrow streets, the air rank from the filth of the night before sluicing down the open sewers. They pushed their way through the crowd, Tamara trailing slightly behind Gray as she headed for the docks.

“Think Artair is okay?” Tamara asked, her voice pitched low to avoid being overheard.

“We’ll check in on him after we meet with Rook, all right? He should have met us at the Hide… but, well, maybe something happened.”

“You think the cutter sold him out?”

“Doubtful. I’ll still want to ask around though.”

Gray ducked down a side alley, quickening her pace now that she was free from the crowds. The buildings crowded close together, so there was only space enough to proceed one behind the other. She drew up sharp when a figure emerged from the shadowed concealment of a doorway, light glinting off the curved blade in his hand. The knife shimmered like crystal, sending a prismatic spray dancing along the walls of the alley.

“Fuck.” Gray spat.

“Can’t go back that way,” Tamara said.

Sparing a quick glance over her shoulder, Gray saw a man built a keg blocking the way they came. A heavy club rested on his shoulder.

“Barrion sent you?” Gray asked the man with the crystal knife. She racked her memory, trying to remember where she’d heard of a killer with a crystal knife before. Her eyes widened in alarm. “You’re Matryc aren’t you?”

The killed bowed, a sardonic smile on his scarred face. “My reputation precedes me.”

Gray pulled her sword free from it’s sheath and could only hope Tamara was following her lead. “We can pay-” she started to say, but Matryc held up his blade to his lips.

“Please. You insult me. I do have a reputation to maintain, and if every target could simply buy their way out… well, I’d quickly be out of business, wouldn’t I?”

“I heard you work alone.” Gray shifted her feet, studying the ground between her and the assassin. The last thing she needed to happen was to fall on her ass because she slipped on a bit of trash. “What’s with the hired help?”

Matryc snorted. “I’m not an idiot.” He pointed at Gray with his knife. “I hear you barely know how to hold a sword, but your friend there has quite the reputation with a blade. I don’t know where your third friend is, but I’m sure I can find him a bit later.”

As he talked he danced in, blade flicking out. Gray bit her lip, concentrated on following the sinuous pattern of the blade. She heard the heavy tread of boots on stone behind her, and the soft scrape of Tamara’s boots. She parried a strike that came at her arm, but her return thrust was evaded when Matryc slipped under it. She felt a sharp sting along her thigh where he sliced her.

“Clumsy,” the assassin chided her. He feinted for her arm, and she overcommitted on the parry, making a wide circle with her own sword. He avoided it, then sprang off the wall on his back foot. She dropped to a knee and turned her shoulder, gasping in pain as the blade split cloak and leather and skin. She swept her blade in a low cut, but Matryc leaped over the blade and back into a ready position.

“How are you doing?” Gray asked through gritted teeth, her wounds hurting all the more for being shallow cuts.

“Lousy,” Tamara bit back. “Working on a plan to get us out of this?”

“Not sure I can plan my way out this.”

“Shit.”

Gray stumbled back as Matryc came in again, trying to follow the shimmer of his blade before he struck. She cut down at his head, but he knocked the blade aside and struck her with his free hand, sending her sprawling backward onto the ground. She scrambled to get back to her feet, then paused, smiling.

Matryc raised an eyebrow, then twisted as Artair’s cudgel narrowly missed his head. He lashed out with his blade, but Artair kept his distance, using the reach of the cudgel to keep Matryc at bay. The thief launched a series of blows, but Matryc covered up, taking them on his arms and legs instead of his body. Gray got to her feet and lunged at Matryc, but he slipped to the side. His face a mask of outrage, he spoke a series of rapid fire syllables. A brilliant flash of light filled the alley followed by the sound of a thunder strike that sent both Gray and Artair stumbling, deaf and blind. When she could see again, she saw Tamara standing over the bloody corpse of Matryc’s partner, but no sign of the assassin.

Getting to her feet, she helped Artair to his feet, wincing from the pain of her cuts.

“You okay?” she asked.

He nodded, resting his hand against where he’d been hit with the bolt. “Don’t think I even reopened the wound. Who was that?”

“You hear of Matryc?”

“Oh. Fuck.”

“Indeed.”

“Tamara you okay?” Artair called to her as she cleaned off her blades.

“Bruised but alive. Bastard hit like a bull, but wasn’t smart enough to keep me from getting in close. Had breath like rancid butter though. Phaw.”

Artair grinned. “Lucky I spied you headed this way, otherwise I’d have only been in time to pay the corpsetakers.”

“Lucky indeed,” Gray replied. “And you’re in time to see Rook with us.”

Artair frowned and shuffled his feet. “Ah, are you sure about this, Gray?”

“Is there a problem I should know about?”

“Ahh.. probably not. It’s been years. I’m sure he’s forgotten all about it.”

“Artair…”

“I well, sort of slept with his sister.”

Gray blinked at him.

“How do you sort of sleep with  girl?” Tamara asked, a smirk playing across her face.

“Nevermind that. I’m sure he’s forgotten all about it.”

“If not, let’s hope we have enough coin that he can pretend not to care.”

Comments
  1. It’s been eight months? Wow does time fly! But yay, new post! Love to see more of this story.

  2. […] jennifermzeiger on No Honor Among Thieves (Part… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s