With the release of Heart of the Raven looming, it’s time to meet the characters! But why just read a stale bio, when you can have a flash-fiction introduction? These take place the day before Heart of the Raven begins. Think of them as mini prologues. They will not appear in the book and this is the only place you can read them. Enjoy!
Verchiel whistled to himself as he walked through the empty audience chamber. It was getting late; the sun would be up soon, and he’d had a long day already. There were still a lot of repairs to make and the Executioners and Greater Guards had been put in charge of overseeing them. Though he had to admire Oren’s style – the explosions had created a brilliant distraction and plenty of damage – he didn’t have to enjoy cleaning up after it.
At the back of the room was a secret door, hidden in the paneling. He knocked and it opened to reveal a long table ringed in chairs. Eileifr, the new leader of The Guild, sat at the head of the table. His long blond hair fell around his shoulders, intermingled with braids. He had the air of a weary Nordic king.
Verchiel bowed. “You sent for me, Master?”
Eileifr nodded. Though he didn’t have the power to read thoughts, Verchiel could feel him scrutinizing him. He wondered if the silent inquiry came away with anything.
“We’ve been in contact with the True Council in Munich. They’ve asked us to send a pair of Executioners to testify about what happened here.”
Verchiel suppressed a grin. “You’re sending me?”
“That was a consideration, yes. But, at this time, only a consideration. Jamie is another likely candidate, one that outranks you. However, you were in the atrium with us when Malick made his exit, so your testimony might be of more value.”
Verchiel clasped his hands behind his back respectfully, though his eyes danced. “Yes, of course.”
“However, I need to be convinced that you and Jorick can work together.” He held up his hand as if to silence the other. “I know about your… differences, and they concern me only so far as your work is concerned, do you understand? If you are sent, I expect you to conduct yourself with the decorum and professionalism of one who is representing The Guild.”
Verchiel bowed his head. “Yes, Master. Of course.”
“Good. The… network is still down, from what I understand, but as soon as it is operational again we will generate the necessary paperwork for a trip to Germany. Assuming we decide to send you, that is.”
“Of course, Master.”
Eileifr made an appraising noise that sounded like “hmmmm.” He looked on the point of speaking further when a knock sounded on the door and he instead called, “Enter.”
Ark strode through the doorway, his long black coat swooshing behind him and a stack of paperwork in his hand. He glanced at Verchiel and then directed his attention to Eileifr. “The Executioner applications, Master.”
Eileifr took the stack and dropped it on the table in front of him. “Very good. Thank you, Ark.” He turned to Verchiel. “You may go. And might I suggest that, for the benefit of all, you stay away from both Jorick and his human for the time being?”
Verchiel’s smile was tight and obviously fake. “As you say, Master.”
“Good. I will see you tomorrow. We will have to choose the replacements, and I want everyone’s input.”
Verchiel bowed again, mumbled, “Of course, Master,” and then let himself out. Despite the last minute edict, he was still delighted. A trip to Munich would be just the thing.
Even with ol’ grumpy boots!
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