A brutal fantasy tale of piracy, friendship, romance and revenge on the high seas…
Mary showed her teeth. “Sensible. Now. Jack. How’d you know she had a knife and it would be poisoned?”
By way of an answer he turned wrist he was holding over, so that anyone who might be looking could see the runes that glowed against the white skin.
“Oh. One of them is she?”
“Yeah. Except she ain’t no ‘she’.”
A bewildered voice spoke from the background. “What is them two on about?”
A heavily moustachioed Viking answered, in the deep guttural tones that characterised his race. “The blonde is a paid assassin. A Jinje. And probably a shape shifter.”
At the word Jinje, most of the room stepped back from Jack and his captive.
“If’n her is a Jinje shapeshifter, why don’t her change?”
Another voice spoke from the doorway. It was as cold as the coldest winter’s night and as unfeeling as one of the monkeys that scampered through the palm trees chittering and swearing. “As long as the pirate holds its wrist, the creature cannot change. His dwarfish ancestry means he is anathema to magics.”
The figure that moved into the room was dressed from head to foot in a black so dark it seemed to steal the light from around him, but his hair was gleaming silver and his skin was white as milk.
Jack smiled, but his voice when he spoke wasn’t a bit trusting.
“What would a Master Vampire want with a renegade Jinje?”
“Why do you say renegade, dwarf?”
“Half dwarf. And of course it’s a renegade, it has no familiar.”
The vampire showed his teeth. “Neither it does. But I cannot help wondering how the child of an earth crawler knows it should have a soulmate.” He walked forwards with the ineffable grace that was part of his glamour and leaned over the Jinje to within an inch or so of Jack’s unprotected neck. “I have often wondered what dwarf blood tastes like.”
The vampire made a peculiar retching sound as Mary’s hand closed about his neck.
“Think again, leech.”
“Put him down, Mary. Tempting though it is to let you wring his overly clever neck, I think we’d be better served by giving him the assassin.”
She released her hand and the vampire massaged his throat. He turned his burning cold gaze on the red-haired giantess. She laughed and crossed her own eyes.
“You can’t whammy me, bloodsucker. Give it up before I get irritated.”
The vampire was beginning to understand that these people couldn’t be intimidated or beglamoured, so he fell back on courtesy. He spread his hands and bowed gracefully.
“My apologies.” He turned to Jack. “My Maker would deal with the creature in your hands should you so permit.”
“Why does your maker want it?”
“Because it killed a child who was under our protection. By stealth and by poison.”
Jack studied the cool perfection of the vampire’s face. “Very well. But play me false and I will hunt you down.”
The vampire blinked slowly. “That is understood.”
Jack nodded. “Take it, then.”
The vampire placed its icy hands around the throat of the Jinje and Jack loosened his hold on its wrist. Came a bang and a scream and both vampire and would-be assassin disappeared leaving behind a small, probably poisoned, knife and faint smell of sulphur.
Mary stared belligerently around the room. “What are you lot staring at?”
Almost everybody thought of something they would rather be doing, and even those souls who were hardy enough not to run away couldn’t find it in themselves to actually brave that basilisk glare. She snorted her disgust before banging her fists on the table and shouting for hot stew to replace that which had gone cold and a fresh bottle of wine.
There will be more from Bony Mary and her crew next week…