This is a short (~900 words) selection from “Redeemer”. I will avoid posting too many spoilers, but I feel an obligation to let my readers see I am progressing and I like to show off sections I particularly enjoy writing. There isn’t much for spoilers here, unless you haven’t read “Snake Charmer” – the second book in “The Serpent’s Song” As always, I enjoy any feedback – positive or negative. Please do not hesitate to post comments, send me email, or go to my Facebook Page and like/comment there. Also, I am still looking for answers on your favorite character from the series so far – please take the time to fill out the simple (one page) survey:
Amoud was relieved to see most of his men return to the common room before the Prince. The time he spent with the heir to the throne of Urnamu had shown him the Prince would find any reason to be angry or upset with those he thought below him. Each of his Kin ordered a portion of the foodstuffs offered and populated the empty tables.
Gilgam, Amoud noted, didn’t leave his role as scout behind. The older man’s bearded face could be seen moving from table to table, engaging in conversation with the other denizens of the inn. When Prince Urukh entered the room, Samil at his side, Gilgam moved to join Amoud and the Ebru.
“Amoud, what have you discovered?” Urukh asked.
“I was just about to inform the Galkin what I have heard.” Gilgam answered.
The three newcomers sat at the table.
“Perhaps some wine,” Gilgam suggested. “The news may be more palatable that way.”
Urukh’s face turned to a frown.
“Spit it out, soldier.”
Gilgam nodded, taking a drink from his own clay goblet.
“Mardukai, all seem to agree, is dead.”
Amoud felt a shock of joy and fear course through his body. Could it be true? If Mardukai was indeed dead, it meant their mission was over and they could return home. He looked from face to face. The one-eyed Ebru, as always, was unreadable – his face shrouded by the deep hood. Samil looked shocked and confused. Urukh’s expression was a mixture of anger and disbelief.
“Dead?” Samil asked. “How?”
“Magick,” Gilgam spat.
The one-eyed Ebru’s head snapped up.
“Magick? Says who?”
“Everyone, I’m afraid. The story was the same from all I spoke to. A priestess, supposedly in the service of the Dread Goddess, killed him with magick in front of dozens of witnesses in the center of the slave market.”
“There is no such priesthood,” The Ebru hissed. “This is but fearful rumors.”
“They say she claimed it herself. She was dressed all in black and wore a golden glove – which sounds to me like the one stolen from Simmumah D’Guaran.”
“Ganz’ubi!” The Ebru snapped.
“The witch girl?” Urukh asked.
“It has to be.”
Amoud cleared his throat.
“Isn’t the use of magick illegal in Adummatu and the Great Fair? Surely she would have been arrested or seized by one of the other temples?”
Gilgam shook his head.
“They say she walked away as if nothing had happened. She had a retinue of guards, bewitched former members of the Adummatan Guard, if you believe the tales, and the protection of the Temple of Inanna.”
The one-eyed Ebru was muttering in his native language. Amoud didn’t understand the words, but he could guess they weren’t pleasant.
“Well,” Samil spoke. “I am…sorry you cannot finish your quest, Prince Urukh, but at least Mardukai is no longer a threat. My companion and I must…”
Amoud looked at the pale man. His face was flushed.
“Must what, Ambassador?” Gilgam spoke.
“Oh, yes. Be on our way. In the morning. I think we will retire to our rooms soon. I doubt we shall see you outside the palace of Urnamu the Builder again.”
“What about the girl and the glove?” Urukh asked.
“Not your concern, young Prince.” The other Ebru hissed.
“The glove is certainly my concern! It was stolen from my city, from the Simmumah of my temple!”
The one-eyed Ebru pulled his hood back, revealing his scarred face and still broken nose.
“Your city? Your temple? You are the heir, not the King, boy. It is nothing of yours. Not yet.”
Urukh’s face darkened.
“Tread lightly, boy. Unless you want to be a cautionary tale parents tell their children.”
Amoud’s hand went to his short sword. He didn’t care who this Ebru was, or if the Prince was in the wrong, nobody spoke to his Prince that way.
“Remove your hand, Galkin.” The Ebru snarled, his eyes firmly locked on Urukh’s face.
“My friend,” Samil held up his hands. “Prince Urukh. Please. We are all tired from the road and frustrated. Let us forget this. Tomorrow, we will be gone, and no harm will have come to anyone.”
Urukh swallowed hard and then nodded.
“You are not my subjects,” he spoke through clenched teeth. “And this is not my realm. I have no wish for this to…just leave.”
The Ebru smiled, a hideous rictus that split the scarred face in two, and stood up. For a moment, Amoud thought the man was going to say something else, or do something, but instead he raised his hood and walked off.
Samil sighed and stood to follow.
“I won’t forget this, Ambassador,” Urukh growled, his hand on Samil’s arm.
“My Prince, for your sake, I suggest you do. That man is not one you want to fight with.”
“I don’t want to see him in my city. You are still welcome, but should his mangled face appear on the streets of Nun-Ki, he will be arrested on sight. Make sure he knows this.” He released his grip.
Samil rubbed his eyes before following the other Ebru out of the room.
Gilgam coughed. Amoud let out a slow breath. Urukh looked around the room.
“Where is this lamb I’ve heard about?”
You can find more from “Redeemer” here.