I do want to finish the Black Rose, and I will, but writing it is a bit emotionally draining at times! Right now I wanted a bit of fantasy, something that's entirely fiction and not just partially. So I decided to start work on something else, and this is the intro...
Oh and Happy New Year!
A heavy purple fog settled around the customers in Brackenrig’s bar, conveniently obscuring their features. The place was frequented by magical types, but mainly those intent on keeping out of the public eye. One such man entered on a quiet night twenty-eight days after the festival of Ostara. He was dressed in a dark green shirt, mostly concealed by a well-worn black leather coat that fell to his heavy boots. Those who could see his face through the fog would guess he was young from the lack of wrinkles, but would also say he seemed wiser than most men in their thirties: it was something in the cold, dark eyes.
Ignoring greetings from acquaintances, Wyrdan headed to the table in the far right corner, nodding at the bartender as he passed. Seated at the table was a bald, muscular man who had to be the largest in the room, approaching almost seven feet tall. It was clear that every man in the bar was afraid of him, as although the place was overcrowded everyone would clearly rather stand than take the two empty seats at his table.
“So, what news from Estehra?” he rumbled as Wyrdan took a seat across from him and removed his ragged hat.
“Little of importance,” Wyrdan replied quietly, placing the hat delicately on the table. “The search continues, if that’s what you mean.”
Aurochs frowned. “I thought Hirian was sure.”
“Looks like he just wanted me out of Dien. I’ve just paid him a visit,” Wyrdan said, taking a grimy rag from his pocket to clean a small black knife. “I’ll ask around again but I’m running out of leads. Someone knows, and we will find out who.”
“I dunno,” Aurochs replied slowly. “Who’s to say anyone knows?”
“Just trust me on that. I didn’t spend eighteen months in Estehra just sitting around.”
A very skinny, tanned man in a blood-red suit watched the conversation from beside the bar. His long black hair fell over his left eye, and the right glowed red as he smiled. Everyone watched with disbelief as he put out his cigar in the remains of his drink and strolled casually over to the table.
“Forgive my intrusion,” he said in polite, honeyed tones. “I believe I may have some information that two gentlemen such as yourselves might value.”
Within seconds Aurochs was on his feet, one hand easily wrapped around the stranger’s neck. Wyrdan held the obsidian-bladed knife against the man’s cheek, but his grin still didn’t falter.
“What makes you think we’re interested in anything a rat has to say?” Wyrdan hissed.
“It’s not in Estehra,” said the stranger, with difficulty.
Wyrdan’s eyes narrowed. He nodded at Aurochs, who loosened his grip slightly.
“Keep talking and you might live,” Wyrdan replied.
“Oh, you don’t want to kill me. That’s a hard enough feat and I’m not entirely sure it’s possible, though doubtless your good friend here would give it a sporting try,” the man’s red eye gleamed as he spoke. “Just like the two of you, me. Well, a bit skinnier, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I know what you seek. It’s most definitely not in Estehra, and the key to finding it is practically under your distinguished noses: extend your search to Memoria, sirs.”