* * *
Lyram strode up to the tent boldly. ‘Report from Holbrook.’
‘His lordship’s sleeping.’ The speech of the guard on the left was more polished than that of the mercenary from the previous night.
Lyram shrugged and turned to go. ‘I’ll report to Luie, then.’
‘No, wait.’ The guard on the right stopped him with hand to the arm and ducked inside the tent.
Lyram waited, arms folded. Bradlin likely had tenuous control of the mercenaries, and his greatest need would be information. If reports came to him only via Luie, he must know the mercenary captain would withhold critical details. He’d wagered on that supposition to gain entry.
The guard reappeared. ‘You can go in. Leave your belt here.’
Lyram unbuckled his sword-belt and dropped it on the ground next to the tent canvas without comment. He ducked his head to enter.
The only light came from a brazier. A shadowed figure sat on a camp stool, rubbing at his eyes, and his mouth opening wide in a jaw-breaking yawn. Lyram clenched his teeth together at the sight. The man stretched.
‘Report, man.’ Bradlin’s voice, without a doubt, and he would know Lyram’s just as well.
Lyram stooped and drew a knife from his boot, and lunged cross the tent in the same fluid movement. Bradlin’s eyes widened as Lyram stepped into the circle of light. He seized the viscount by his hair, stretching his neck back until the tendons stood out. The knife point pricked the hollow of the other man’s throat.
‘Who killed her?’ Lyram kept his voice low. The guards might hear the hum of conversation, but it was imperative they did not hear the words.
‘What are you doing here?’ Bradin’s eyes rolled like a horse’s, trying to see Lyram crouched behind him. ‘How are you here? The gate is guarded, sentries along the wall – ’
Lyram jerked on his hair, and Bradlin cut off with a muffled grunt. ‘Who killed her?
* * *
Thanks for dropping by! Don't forget, this is a first draft, and as such won't be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I've temporarily had to shelve it while I work on Stalking the Demon, the sequel to Confronting the Demon. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site.
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More about In the Company of the Dead:
Lyram already crossed a prince - now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.
Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.
As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.
Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.
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