J.F. Posthumus

J.F. Posthumus

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Virginia, United States
A computer tech and artist that thrives on writing fantasy to escape the harshness of reality.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teaser Tuesday Teaser

I've decided to go with the introduction of the main storyline. And yeah, this one is going to end up being a true muder-mystery. (the next time I EVER decide to do a murder mystery, I hope someone will just kill me...) anywhos.... What's come before: Shyndra has arrived in Valpoor to kill off the High Priest of a temple dedicated to light and knowledge. A good temple in an evil city. After completing her contract (she's an assassin, obviously), she bumps into Alyn, a renowned/infamous mercenary known to be a ladies' man. They go to a tavern for a drink (Alyn, btw, knows who Shyndra is due to his being the childhood friend of the current Guildmistress). There, Shyndra's two cousins and their childhood friends drop in to annoy her. All four men are human and treat Shyndra as though she's a little sister. That's the general gist of what's come before. So here's the teaser: Shyndra laughed at Arden, enjoying the familiar feeling of being with her family. Or, more truthfully, the only family she ever loved. Turning to Crau, who was still behind her, she asked, "What injustice brought you four here? I know I won't get anything from those three. They're always forgetting I can take care of myself." "We... did not presume you wanted to discuss it here," Arden said, with obvious reluctance. He glanced briefly at Alyn. "It is something of a... family matter, after all." Shyndra's brows furrowed as she turned around to her cousin. "What? Alyn knows about the bounty on my head. Gods, I think everyone at the Guild knows about it by now." She paused, tilting her head to the side. "Have you four been following me? Is that why you're here?" "The bounty?" Crau leaned forward. "We aren't here for that, although we'd happily volunteer to execute your former betrothed and his mother. No, we are here about your uncle's murder. Isn't that why you are in Valpoor?" "I was here to complete a contract," Shyndra replied, shaking her head before correcting the Brethren, "It was my mother who placed the bounty on my head. It was in return for leaving Rafis before the priest, taking my dowry, and returning to Fellhaven and my guild." "Oh, very well done!" Aldryn said, coming more out of his stupor. "That must have been quite a haul." Turning, her hand sweeping up as though she were going to slap him or pat his cheek, a dagger instead made itself known beneath his chin. She hoped her bluff would not be called as she demanded, "Tell me which uncle before I lose my temper." "Your uncle Clytus. This is unknown to you?" Crau had lowered his voice further, perhaps to prevent others from hearing their conversation, or to try and calm her. If it were the later, he had failed. The hand holding the dagger dropped as she turned around, facing Crau completely. "Uncle Clytus? But... but... he was a priest for Dridean," she whispered. She drew a deep breath, returning her dagger to its sheath. "Tell me how and tell me what you have planned." "We will be infiltrating the temple here in Valpoor, just after the morning meal." Arden began. "He was slain two weeks ago just outside his Rectory. You are truly unaware of these details? You say you have been to the temple? You were not there to take his killer, or seek answers?" Shyndra sighed and slumped back in her chair. "All four of you know my profession. I was there for the High Priest. I didn't know anything about Uncle Clytus. You four are the only family I've spoken to since leaving Bakaar." "It seems the Fates have brought you all to this place," observed Alyn. "Shyndra? You will, of course, want to join your, ah, 'family' in pursuit of the parties responsible for your uncle's death?" "Yes, yes I will. I know the temple and I remember everything my uncle ever told me about Dridean and their way of life," Shyndra replied wryly. She slid her hand across to Alyn, grabbing his hand and squeezing lightly. Ignoring the other four men around them, she asked softly, "Stay with me tonight?" He gripped her hand and nodded. Sitting back, still holding her hand, he glanced at the men around them. "So... what drink do you favor? Do you have a name for your merry band?" "We all take rum for business like this," Arden replied. "We are just the Brethren, nothing more glorious than that." "We tend to keep things simple," Crau amended. "A more memorable title raises our visibility. We depend on being mostly forgettable when we leave an area." "The better in case your true natures are borne out." Alyn nodded again. "It's quite good; your little ruse." Shyndra shoved Aldryn lightly. She refused to give in to her grief, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to use it to her benefit. "Switch seats with me, cousin. I want to sit next to Alyn." Aldryn shook his head, and Shyndra thought she might have an argument coming. Aldryn stood up, however, making Shyndra realize that he was still trying to clear his head since regaining consciousness. He switched seats with her, and aside from a scowl from Borin, there were no objections. Any objections?" Shyndra asked, raising her brow at the Brethren. She deliberately left the question open to interpretation; curious as to if they would object to her relationship with Alyn. "I'm waiting to see if the revered Alyn Kysis is buying rum for the table." Crau commented. "He is," rejoined Alyn. "No objections," replied Arden, Crau, and Aldryn in unison. Borin just shrugged and shook his head, once. Chuckling, Shyndra leaned against Alyn, knowing it would annoy Borin that much more. She knew that they would raise their objections and complaints the next day, if they had any. Not that it mattered to her. Especially since each of them was far worse than her.