The Telastrian Song

The Telastrian Song by Duncan M. Hamilton

Book: The Telastrian Song by Duncan M. Hamilton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Duncan M. Hamilton
course my loyalty to Ostia.’
    Ranph snorted with derision. ‘I’m intrigued. What could possibly bring you down here in that regard? Do you plan to offer me the Ostian throne? Seeing as I’ve a better claim to it than the incumbent? Legal too, although I gather that’s not of so much importance these days.’
    Dal Lupard smiled insincerely. ‘No, that’s not why I’m here. I’ve reason to believe a fugitive from Ostian justice passed this way in the last couple of days.’
    Ranph snorted again. ‘Ostian justice? That’s as dead as the Empire.’
    The snort lacked its previous spontaneity. Dal Bragadin knew Massari had been there. He had seen him. Dal Lupard smiled. He ignored dal Bragadin’s comment and continued.
    ‘Yes, a Banneret Massari, family name unknown.’
    Dal Bragadin frowned, before masking his expression. The slip had only been momentary, but it revealed that dal Bragadin was not familiar with the name. Yet dal Lupard knew for a fact that the man calling himself Massari had visited dal Bragadin. Dal Lupard smiled at the discovery that ‘Massari’ was a false identity. Now all that remained was to discover who he actually was. He decided to press farther. ‘He was in the company of a woman, going by the name “Vittoria”, also known as Bevrielle, formerly a whore in Ostenheim. I believe her real name is Alessandra. Perhaps you’re familiar with her. I hear she was very popular among the aristocracy.’
    Dal Bragadin’s face darkened, and for a moment dal Lupard feared he had overstepped the mark. He didn’t have the resources of the Grey Tower to back up his insinuations—something he often forgot, a dangerous mistake—and his agents were still out spying on dal Bragadin’s manor, so that safety net was absent also. He would know the reason why none of them had warned him of dal Bragadin’s approach before the day was out.
    ‘Haven’t a clue who you’re talking about,’ dal Bragadin said.
    ‘Perhaps you’d let me have a look about your manor, just to be sure.’
    ‘You mean your men haven’t been able to tell you anything useful?’
    Dal Lupard smiled, but remained silent, as he was always sure to do when there was nothing to say.
    ‘I’ll return them to you later,’ dal Bragadin said. ‘Or perhaps not. I haven’t decided yet.’
    ‘I presume an invitation isn’t forthcoming then?’
    ‘Ordinarily it wouldn’t be my practice to refuse an Intelligencier’s request, but then again, you’re not really an Intelligencier anymore, as you said yourself. And even if you were it wouldn’t matter a damn, so my answer is go fuck yourself.’
    ‘Now, there’s no need for that,’ dal Lupard said.
    ‘I’m afraid there is,’ dal Bragadin said. ‘I won’t have one of the Tyrant’s bottom feeding lackeys fouling up this lovely little village. I’ll be back in an hour. If you’re still here, I’ll call you out and kill you. You’re a banneret, as you’ve reminded me—or what’s left of one—so I’ll offer you that courtesy. Don’t bother waiting for your thugs. They might not be following. Your breakfast’s getting cold. You have time to finish it.’

Part Two

Ostenheim
    S oren was excited when his ship dropped anchor in the Ostsea, the roadstead by Ostenheim where all large ships had to wait until they could go into the harbour. When he’d fled, he never expected to see Ostenheim again, and from the moment that the old castle on the hill became visible, shortly followed by the great lighthouse out on the Breakers’ Isles, Soren had been glued to the bulwark, watching.
    Returning was perhaps the most dangerous and stupid thing he had ever done, and he had done a great many dangerous and stupid things in his life. For all he knew the City Watch—or even worse, the Intelligenciers—could be waiting for him at the docks when he stepped ashore. It was unlikely, but a possibility nonetheless; it was dangerous to discount anything. However, it did nothing to dampen

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