Brendell must obey the rules, but he will bend them as much as possible in order to do the right thing by his own instincts. Nook , 0 pages.
Published by Double Dragon Publishing first published January 15th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Matt Keevil rated it it was amazing Dec 14, Tr3n1ty rated it liked it Feb 07, Paul Browne rated it really liked it Nov 13, Aiculanda rated it did not like it Aug 14, George rated it it was amazing Jun 21, Ludovico Magnocavallo rated it liked it Mar 07, Shawn Liner rated it really liked it Oct 22, AshO marked it as to-read May 27, Imissmest marked it as to-read Dec 29, Matthew marked it as to-read Oct 22, It would be most unfortunate if I only retrieved your vest, wouldn't it?
I couldn't argue with that. She tried, not successfully, to hide a smile as I dutifully removed my vestments. The morning was cool and the flags outside revealed a steady wind from the west. I could only hope my planned execution was not going to be an all-day affair. It could be worse, I thought as I placed it under my tongue.
It was small enough to cause no difficulties. Guards," she said loudly and clapped her hands. Two armed men entered. You know your instructions. They nodded and seized me, one on each arm, then conducted me from the room. We said nothing as we went down the stairs, the main hall and through the front door. The crowd greeted me immediately with a chorus of jeers and laughter. I looked down with shame and humiliation as I was roughly brought to the awaiting pyre. A few threw rocks and rotting vegetables at me, but the guards quickly discouraged them.
I was lifted over the pile of wood surrounding the pole, then quickly tied to it. This was my first real concern. Since I had nothing with me save the magical tether, I would not be able to cut my way out of the knots. And I didn't want to leave my hands behind when Pipo Fess brought me back.
They didn't even bother to tie my feet. I held the rope and kept my hands behind my back anyway, in case an observant onlooker, or Assassin's Guild member, became curious.
See a Problem?
So I stood there, the rough pole burying into my back, stones on the ground cutting my feet, trying to ignore the angry horde surrounding me and the damp cold wind blowing in my face. Meanwhile the fine people of Houff continued to curse me, jeer at me, make degrading comments about my character and manhood.
At least one had to be an Assassin's Guild spy, and I wondered idly if they would make any attempt to rescue me. I had told Fess the truth; I was sure they wouldn't as they considered me a disposable tool. And since I had supposedly obtained what they wanted, they would see no need to risk a member's life to save mine. I did recognize one face, the tavern wench Cordita.
Brendell: Rogue Thief - an extract from the novel by Patrick Welch
She glared at me when our eyes met briefly and I sighed. How could I explain to her that what I was doing was to help her and her people? But that would be a problem to solve another day as I heard a sudden blare of trumpets. It must be time. The horde cheered, then hushed so that I could now hear the breeze and approaching footsteps.
I couldn't see what was going on behind me, but I could imagine. Pipo Fess had to be making her slow progression to where I stood bound and waiting. I could only hope she hurried as I was getting colder and more miserable by the moment. I was almost ready to tell the executioner to light the fire when she finally appeared. She was now dressed in all her royal finery.
A purple silk robe embedded with pearls and jewels covered her from neck to ankles. She wore golden bracelets on each wrist, golden earrings and a small golden tiara. She kept her back to me as she spoke to the crowd. This man has sought to steal from you, each and every one of you, by stealing from me. Our laws will not be violated!
Our homes and our land shall be protected and those who try to harm us must feel our wrath! You shall die within these fires, which will burn you to your immortal soul. Pray to your gods for forgiveness, for you shall receive none from Houff! Executioners, you may begin.
The crowd broke out in cheers and more insults--they were an imaginative group--as men stepped forward on all sides and set their torches against the pile of wood that surrounded me like a moat. It caught immediately, sending thick black smoke to the sky and causing me to cough uncontrollably. But the smoke also effectively hid me from the view of the crowd.
I could now drop the rope and not pretend my hands were tied behind me. I could have even tried to escape by diving through the steadily rising flames. Of course, with all the people still outside and watching my cremation, I wouldn't have gotten very far. Now I was grateful I was naked; the embers hurt, of course, but at least I didn't have to worry about my clothing catching on fire. But the heat was getting unbearable and sweat poured down my face, obscuring my limited vision even more.
I was light-headed and already gasping for breath, which only brought more smoke into my lungs, causing me to cough even more. And then I felt something. Something like a giant hand seizing me, wresting me from the here-and-now. And then the smoke and heat and fire vanished and I found myself standing next to Fess in her manor. But not standing for long. I've been possessed, albeit briefly, by the spirit of a deceased queen; I've been enveloped by a demon. This was the worst sensation I have ever experienced.
It was as if some mad chef had tried to make an omelet with my insides. I could do nothing but lie on the floor, curled up like an infant and whimpering in pain. I had no control of my limbs, wasn't sure I had limbs. Even my eyelids hurt. Ever so slowly I regained control of myself. Still it must have taken over an hour before I could even sit up.
Only then did I notice Fess had draped a blanket over me. I managed to look up and saw her standing near me. She was pale and trembling as well, and I assumed she was nearly as exhausted as I from bringing me here. I saw food and water on a nearby table. Summoning all my strength, I crawled to it and managed to obtain a glass.
It was filled with water, but it didn't taste like water. It tasted blue, which somehow I knew made no sense. I drank it anyway and it burned all the way down to my stomach. But it helped as I felt a burst of energy. I took the other glass and drank that as well, then had enough strength to take the pitcher and drink directly from it. I eschewed the fruit however; I wasn't certain my stomach was up to that. Then I felt someone lift me and lead me to a chair.
She adjusted the blanket around my shoulders, then sat gratefully across from me. She gave me a wry smile. If the distance would have been greater, you might not have survived. I wiped sweat from my forehead with a trembling hand. I'm afraid I will have to impose upon your hospitality another day at least.
Right now I couldn't pick my nose, let alone a lock. It sounds like the festivities are winding down. Would you like to look? She helped me to my feet and led me to the window. Below, the crowd had almost dispersed. The fire was burned down to nothing and I noticed several men sifting through the ashes. Bones and burned flesh I would think. Undoubtedly your friends from the Assassin's Guild. But we've taken care of that. I hadn't considered that.
Of course the Guild would want physical evidence I was now a mere memory. His body was hidden beneath the pile of wood. Ah, they've found it. One of the men was holding up something and waving to the other. They spent several minutes searching that one location, then left carrying what I assumed were charred limbs. That should make them happy.
Now how do you propose to save us? It was a good while before I could work up the strength to speak; just walking to and from the window had exhausted me. But first we have to find another source of income for Houff. The people you select are going to join me in the challenging yet rewarding field of thievery.
- Quick Links?
- Apprentice Thief [Brendell Series Book 1].
- The Cats Job?
- Brendell: Rogue Thief;
Order online using these links and infinity plus will benefit: Rogue Thief from Amazon. Apprentice Thief from Amazon. Elsewhere in infinity plus:. I don't like leaving you on your own. Your men informed you, I take it.
Brendell, Rogue Thief
To steal from you. And I can offer something as well. But they do it on their land and we are powerless to stop them. You kill thieves, don't you? Do you have any magical tethers? I don't want to retrieve only dentures. But the knots were purposely loose and I had my hands free in seconds.
Elsewhere in infinity plus: Apprentice Thief ; Brendell: Rogue Thief , an extract; Cynnador , an extract; and Usurper , an extract. Elsewhere on the web: Patrick Welch at Amazon. Patrick's home page includes a listing of stories archived, appearing or coming, including direct links to various e-zines that have featured his work.