Here’s another excerpt from War of Nytefall: Rivalry. It’s a very low key scene, but it involves Decker who doesn’t get a lot of page time. I feel bad that I don’t use him as much as I want. He was going to have a bigger role in this book, which was cut down because it did more harm to his character than help. He’s actually turning out to be more like Timoran Wrath from Legends of Windemere where he works better with a few scenes than the spotlight. Enjoy.
Sitting on one of the yardarms, Mab watches the halfling crew work hard to counter the choppy waters. Having had little experience with ships, the burglar has done her best to stay out of the way and be alone with her thoughts. After half a day of thinking, she is no closer to figuring out what her enemy is planning. With her temper roiling beneath her calm surface, she is repeatedly pushed to the edge of her patience every time she spots one of her companions enjoying the journey. She growls at the sight of Bob annoying the one-legged captain about seahorses, which is his newest mount obsession. Refusing to believe that there are no species big enough to ride, the lanky elf has driven the sailor to the point of drinking. Mab is about to drop down and drag her friend below decks when Luther intervenes to become Bob’s newest target for irritation. When she notices Archillious looming over a female halfling and Stephanie starts yelling at him for going too far with his words, the burglar decides the sky deserves more of her attention. She is barely aware of the assassin getting tossed high into the air, his body a hazy form at the edge of her vision. She considers climbing down to figure out what is going on, but decides Nyte’s side of the rescue party are none of her concern.
“I want to be alone,” Mab says when she feels someone step onto the yardarm. Letting her head dangle over the edge, she scowls at Decker, who is leaning against the crow’s nest. “Get your idiots in line before I have the crew toss them overboard. Our temporary alliance doesn’t mean I can’t throw out anyone who becomes a problem. If you have to break Archillious’s limbs then I saw a sledge in the storage room.”
“I already considered that, but I prefer to use my bare hands,” the dwarf replies while he pulls his night cloak tighter around his body. Being the only old-world vampire on the ship, he has spent most of his time napping below decks, which has left him looking bedraggled. “I know we aren’t friends anymore, but I still need to ask you a personal question. My hope was that Bob or Luther would broach this topic, so don’t think this is a sudden curiosity. I want to know what we’re sailing into. The only people who have any experience with Jewelz are you and Titus. He’s gone and you aren’t telling us why this is happening. What is your past with her?”
“You can ask her when we get there,” the burglar stubbornly replies. A splash below causes her to sit up out of fear of someone going overboard, but all she sees is a whale breaching near the ship. “None of it matters because it’s the past. All you need to know is that she wants revenge against me. Taking my brother and partner is only the beginning. I’m sure she’ll either kill them or use some enchantment to turn them against me. Those are my best guesses and they aren’t much. Last time I saw her was long before Clyde and I teamed up too. So, it isn’t like ancient history will help us now.”
Decker adjusts the coil of rope on his arm before taking a few cautious steps further along the narrow beam. “Let me attempt another tactic. It is obvious that you are angry about this and I worry that you’re going to put everyone in danger. We may be on opposite sides of this war, but I hold no malice towards you or Clyde. If you need someone to speak to then I’m willing to listen and keep your secrets. My loyalty to my maker doesn’t force me to break a promise of confidentiality made to another. This may sound ridiculously formal, but I can see that you’re on the verge of snapping. Talk to either me or one of the others before you make a mistake that will get someone killed.”
“You mean somebody on your side, right?”
“I mean anyone, Mab.”
“They knew what they were-”
“And what if Clyde gets killed because of your actions?”
“He can’t die.”
“It only has to happen to him once for you to proven wrong.”