The Great Rift

The Great Rift by Edward W. Robertson

Book: The Great Rift by Edward W. Robertson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Edward W. Robertson
Tags: Fantasy
vessel. "It looks like we're about to be rammed."
    "Then what the fuck are we doing up here? Drawing them a target?"
    "We're here to stop them." Water splattered from oars, spilling off the Ransom 's glinting ram. The galley closed, impossibly fast yet horribly slow. A lone silhouette ran from the rail of its high topdeck. A voice bellowed through the darkness; the oars retracted from the water, slipping smoothly through the slots in the hull. The ship hurtled closer and closer, as massive as the wing of a castle. Dante grabbed hard to the rails.
    The Ransom gashed by mere feet away, near enough that anyone on its deck could have leapt down to the lower Boomer . Its crew was braced for impact, though, and Dante didn't see a single enemy face as the ship's slick wooden hull whisked by, stirring the cold freshwater air. The Boomer 's crew groaned in relief at the miss. The topdeck of the Ransom blossomed with a string of tiny orange fires.
    "Get down!" Dante shoved Blays to the deck and followed him down.
    Blays socked him in the shoulder. "Ask next time!"
    Lines of light creased the sky. The flaming arrows whacked into the deck, slashing through the sails. One thumped into the prow feet behind Blays. A man fell screaming from the rigging and thudded on the deck.
    Men with buckets rushed to douse the flames. The warriors of the Clan of the Nine Pines swarmed from below, bows in hand. Others carryied heavy furs taken from the walls of their yurts which they draped over the railings. The archers took up behind the makeshift screens, pelting the men on the Ransom with return fire. Dante narrowed his eyes and focused the nether. Flame leapt up from the rear of the enemy vessel. It was quenched before Dante made it five steps toward the stern.
    The two boats carried their opposite ways, firing arrows back and forth across the widening gap. The Ransom 's oars dipped back in the water and the ship began the slow business of circling around. Dante neither saw nor felt further sign of the Bloody Knuckles' sorcerer. By the time the Ransom came about and took up chase, the two boats had fallen out of bow range; the enemy still took the occasional shot, gauging range with their fiery arrows.
    "Ugly," Blays said.
    "The deck of this ship once they start boarding it."
    "Suppose I'd better fetch my sword." Dante started for the staircase down. "Oh, don't forget. Leave at least one of them alive to torture the slaves' location out of."
    Blays' mouth quirked. "Do you have to put it like that?"
    The planks were slick with water, scarred with scorches, and prickled with arrow shafts. Dante hadn't been belowdecks in a couple days and the stench of sweat was thick as mud. Torn-apart yurts scattered the floor. Clansmen loaded their arms with swords and spears and thudded upstairs. Dante found his sword in a chest near the rear and returned to the surface. Arrows whispered from the norren archers, who'd relocated from the larboard railing to that on the back of the aftercastle. Others hid at the aft's base, the wooden rise sheltering them from enemy fire, and emerged to batter down any fresh flames with their furs. Blays was there too, along with Mourn, who carried a curved, single-edged blade.
    "You might want to get belowdecks," Dante said.
    Mourn glanced up from rubbing his sword with a rag. "Why would I want that?"
    "To avoid anything unpleasant. Such as dying."
    "I would rather die than hide downstairs to listen to the screams of my clan."
    "That's the kind of thing that sounds a lot less noble when you're moaning in the blood with a sucking chest wound."
    Mourn cocked his head, meeting Dante's eyes. "I'm not trying to be noble. I would literally prefer to die fighting for my friends and blood-family. Why would you suggest I wouldn't? Do you think I would enjoy crying in the dark?"
    "Forget it." Dante climbed the steps to get a glimpse of the Ransom . It was closing rapidly, oars circling through the water while the Boomer relied

Similar Books


Cassie Black

The Origin of Sorrow

Robert Mayer

Milk Glass Moon

Adriana Trigiani

Dead on Demand (A DCI Morton Crime Novel)

Sean Campbell, Daniel Campbell

Gypsey Blood

Lorrie Unites-Struff

Of All Sad Words

Bill Crider