Thinblade by David Wells

Book: Thinblade by David Wells Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Wells
Tags: Fiction, General, Fantasy, Epic
it.” He shook his head. “Why would city guards be there?”
    “They’ve probably been paid,” Abigail said. When everyone looked at her, she shrugged. “You don’t really believe it’s a coincidence do you?”
    Alexander shook his head, “Of course not. How many did you see, Jack?”
    “I saw three, but there are probably more; they travel in squads of seven, a commander and six guards.”
    “Is there another way out of the city?” Lucky asked.
    “There are several other breaches in the walls but none close by and I’d bet they’re all being watched as well,” Jack answered.
    “Are there any buildings that butt up against the wall?” Anatoly asked. “We might be able to go over the wall from a rooftop.”
    “I’m afraid not. The wall runs along a perimeter road. If we want to go over we’ll need a rope or a ladder and we’ll have to risk being seen by guards along the road,” Jack said, shaking his head.
    “What about under? Do you know a way through the Southport sewers that passes under the outer walls?” Alexander spoke calmly, but he could feel a sense of fear rising within him. He felt growing certainty that these men had been paid to kill him.
    “The sewers are all barred where they flow under the walls. I doubt we could get through and we’d have to backtrack quite a bit to find a way into the underground. We could make our way to the docks and try our luck on the water but I suspect we’d run into the city guard there too,” Jack said.
    Alexander nodded. Anatoly stood silent, arms folded on his chest, waiting for Alexander to make a decision. Alexander could feel the big man-at-arms appraising him while he deliberated. He felt the burden that had been placed on him by an ancient curse. The mark on his neck still hurt when his collar chafed against it. He knew from his own studies of the Reishi War what would happen if Phane was allowed to reestablish the House of Reishi under his command. He’d seen it back at Valentine Manor when the zombie demon attacked. Creatures of the netherworld would haunt the innocent people of the Seven Isles at the whim of a tyrant and murderer.
    But more than any of that, Alexander wanted to live. He wanted his sister to live. He desperately hoped his parents were still alive. He hadn’t asked for any of this. He didn’t want it, yet here he was.
    He knew they couldn’t wait around until dark. Phane had abilities far beyond Alexander’s understanding. He could summon agents from the netherworld to hunt them. He could probably divine their location and send word to the men searching the city for them. In truth, there was no telling what Arch Mage Prince Phane Reishi could do.
    The two things that Alexander knew for certain were that Phane would offer him no mercy and that he couldn’t afford to underestimate the Reishi Prince. The night he watched his home burn had convinced him of that.
    In the back of his mind he knew what had to be done. He just desperately didn’t want to do it. Until just a few hours ago, Alexander Valentine had never killed a man. As they’d fled through the alleyways, he’d tried to keep the thought of it away from his awareness, tried to push the cold truth away into the dark recesses of his mind where he wouldn’t have to face it.
    Now, standing in the narrow alley, weighing his choices, he called the ugliness of the deed out of the shadows and stared it full in the face. He, Alexander Valentine, had killed a man. He considered the truth of it and felt a sick feeling well up in the pit of his stomach. A wave of nausea swept over him and then he heard the words of his father: “Motives matter.” It was one of his father’s favorite sayings and one that Alexander could always count on hearing every time his dad had occasion to reprimand him. The sickness in his belly subsided with that thought.
    He hadn’t sought out that man to kill him. That man had brought death to his door. Alexander was fighting to survive

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