Dissonant Tides: Chapter Five, part 3

The sea was on fire as the sun rose out of it, burning bright with hues of red and orange. A crewman wiped sweat out of his eyes and grumbled about the hard work of the rigging, while others busied themselves carrying crates and rolling barrels up the gang plank and onto the main deck. It was going to be a warm day. The cross-beams were being hoisted up the masts. The dingy canvas sails burned umber in the brightening sky, still furled and creaking in the morning wind. Two figures in leathers, one in a long coat and one…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Five, part 2

Rone stepped through the small kitchen into the sitting room and launched himself backward, flinging Charlotte to the ground behind him. Sitting in one of the chairs facing him, drinking a cup of tea, was the man from the inn. Rone scrambled, dropping his bag and trying desperately to pull his pistol or his dagger and cursing himself for thinking he was safe. He found his pistol in his belt, but as he drew, the hand of Getty settled on his arms and chest. “No need for that! Nobody is here to shoot!” He said. A gun barrel popped out…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Five, part 1

Chapter 5 The bedroom was sparsely decorated, with an old mattress on a low cracked wooden frame next to an occasional table with a single small chair. Charlotte put her bag against the door after she closed it, then put the pistol on the table. She sat on the mattress, which was creaked as it sagged under her weight, and clenched her fists in an effort to get her hands to stop shaking. “Sorry I got rattled,” she said, staring into her lap. “I knew this would be dangerous. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the violence.” “Don’t be…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Four, part 4

Charlotte felt uneasy as the moments passed by and Rone had not returned. Compulsively, she put her hand into her bad and rummaged until she found the leather bag that was stuffed with her gold. An itch in her mind had made her believe that somehow, in the rush out the door of the inn, she had left it behind. There would be no getting off of the Green Isle without that long-hidden cache, and feeling its immense weight, the majority of what she shouldered on her flight from Cataling. Rone had proven his word to her with that bag…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Four, part 3

Farthow pushed himself up against an edge of an old stone building and peered out. Behind him, Market Street had emptied, and he knew Vindrel would be leading his elite, along with the men the count had allowed attached to him under the token supervision of Colby, down toward the normally packed entertainment center. The Old Keep way was filling now with curious onlookers, wandering out of their boarding houses and apartments with lit lamps, curious now as to what the gun fire had been about, several minutes having now past from the shots and shouts. A few men that…

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Dissonant Tides, Chapter Four, part 2

The hill bottomed out into a dense marketplace, still busy after dark with people crowding watering holes and eateries. The sound of the shots had elicited a panic from those in the streets and alleys, and everywhere men and women were rushing inside as barkeeps and merchants pulled in wares and bared doors, motioning straggling patrons to hurry inside. Musicians, playing in the open air for the milling crowd were begging for help in moving their drums and chairs. Rone sheathed his blades and lead Charlotte into the midst of the crowd. “He’s following,” Charlotte said with a croak. Rone…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Four, part 1

Chapter Four Charlotte followed Rone down the narrow flight of stairs. He had his backsword in his left hand, tip forward, and his pistol in his right. Charlotte followed with the long gun, held awkwardly; with their packs on they barely fit through the stairwell, and that left no room for managing a musket. They stumbled into the kitchen to find two men, wearing bright breastplates and wielding basket-hilted broadswords, pushing through, with the inn-keepers wife shouting in protest. Rone leapt forward, his feet connecting with the shins of the first man, sending both of them toppling to the floor…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Three, part 4

Charlotte and Rone had paused for tea at a shop around sunset, enjoying a bite of fresh bread and jam and relaxing midway through the long walk back to the inn. The wind coming off the ocean had dried the sweat they had worked up climbing the steep slope back to the high part of town, and though they were well-dressed their hair had the crispy look of sailors. When they finally reached the inn in it was after dark. “I’m about ready to fall into bed; the second half of that walk just went on and on,” Charlotte said…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Three, part 3

Several gaunt looking men were stacking wooden boxes into hand wagons on the dock as Charlotte and Rone walked up the plank. They stepped back as a young man staggered down the plank with another box. “Who’s this?” A young shirt-less man wearing faded pantaloons walked up to the pair from behind a stack of boxes on the dock. “How do you do? My name is Phillip, and this is my wife, Halbara.” “Melanie, of the wetland Melanies,” Charlotte said. She felt Rone nudge her softly in the ribs, as if annoyed. The young man stared at them and spat…

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Dissonant Tides: Chapter Three, part 2

Rone and Charlotte turned down a long sloping paved street and the smell of the ocean began to fill their nostrils. The air had the dull stillness that characterized early afternoon near the sea, when the winds began to turn from blowing out to sea to blowing back into shore. “That smell has been a long time in the coming,” Rone said. His feet fell hard against the uneven paving stones on the slope. As they turned a corner, an opening between two huddled buildings revealed a vast and imposing series of docks, freight-ways, and canals. Rone held her arm…

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