Nelek Dyngannon, Duke of Kiavana, must choose between making peace with the Human realms known as the Borderlands, and the life of his wife.
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Saboteur is the sequel to Sedition (on sale now from Wings ePress). In it, we watch as Nelek Dyngannon attempts to bring peace between the Eldur nation and the Human realms known as the Borderlands. But his wife has a past that no one can ignore. Once the General of the Dyngannon Armies, Trenna Silvanus-Dyngannon brings an element of fear and anger to the peace talks.
When the Humans demand nothing short of her death to appease them, Nelek is forced to choose between peace and Trenna's life.
((Coming December 1st from Wings ePress))
Alehouses were not supposed to be clean; that was Brock’s first thought upon entering the place. No stains from spilled drinks marred the floor, no dust gathered in the corners, and almost all the tables looked new. Brock was so startled by the sight he almost lost his composure. Remembering where he was and what he needed to do, he made his way to a table in the middle of the laughing crowd and tried to settle in.
This should have been an easy task since he was Human, but instead he felt unease. Most of the townsfolk were rough, not nearly as well kept as the alehouse itself, and the tension in the room simmered under their laughter. Brock had very little in common with the Humans of the Borderlands. Distaste, distrust, displeasure curled through their conversations, most of it aimed at the Eldur in general, but a good deal of it was meant for Trenna alone.
No, he thought with a frown, he might look Human, but he certainly didn’t feel like he was a part of this race. He’d seen gritty people before. Hell, Kiavana Fortress was crawling with unsavory sorts, but there was still something different about these men. Brock felt helplessly naďve amongst them. He imagined that had everything to do with Kiavana’s general seclusion. His home wasn’t quite located in the heart of Dyngannon, but it was far enough from the boundary of the Borderlands to be set apart.
“What’ll ye have?” The serving girl’s
voice was surprisingly low and husky.
Brock cleared his throat and tried to summon his most casual voice. . “Uh … ale.”
The girl looked at him for a moment, her homely, gaunt features passive. Her beak-like nose had an unfortunate bump at the center, making the lower half dip downward at a dramatic angle. Brock tried hard not to stare, concentrating all of his being on appearing casual as the woman appeared to debate internally about him. It almost looked like she had no chin; the lower half of her face concaved toward her neck, giving her a ghastly overbite that did nothing to improve the poor child’s looks.
He almost squirmed in his seat, but then she smiled--which was mildly traumatizing--and bent to lean more one palm on the table.
“Seems as ye’re new,” she said. “But ye’re a handsome fellow, so I won’t be runnin’ off to give you away. Folk are pretty uptight at the moment, what with the goings on at the castle, and we wouldn’t want that nice face of yers upset in any way.”
Brock nodded slowly.
“Now smile and flirt with me so’s no one knows the wiser.”
He was struck dumb for a moment but managed to smile. She arched her back some and angled her head aside, which he assumed was meant to display her cleavage, but he got distracted by the bony protrusions of her collarbones instead. “Well … uh … Aren’t you a fetching young creature.”
She tittered. “Oh, ye’re just saying that.”
“You have quite … striking features.” Brock squirmed a little in his chair. Were Trenna sitting beside him, she would have scoffed and said something truly unkind about the serving girl’s appearance. Something like, Oh, aye, striking like a smack in the face with stinging nettles.
The thought of his sister managed to focus him, and Brock produced a real smile. “Which ale would you recommend?”
“Which ale would you recommend, Miss Norry. That’s what you meant to say.”
“Norry, what a pleasant name,” Brock glanced at the surrounding tables and relaxed. By all appearances, no one was noticing him.
“We’ve eight families who stock ale here.” Norry leaned a hip against his table and gestured. “Townsend’s are normally the best, but little Toby Townsend recently took over brewing for his father, Big Toby, who broke his foot during the summer. Little Toby doesn’t have the sense his father does so it doesn’t taste right.”
“So I should stay away from Townsend Ale.”
Norry winked down at him. “If I were you I’d stay clear of anything Townsend. They’re bitter all around. But they’re not half so bad as the Rickshaw Ale. Rickshaw’s the cheapest and you pay for what you get--it’d be watered down before it reaches the table.”
“No Townsend, no Rickshaw.”
“And no Forma. Rianna Forma only makes girlie ale, which is lighter and easier to stomach, but the men around here would give you hell for it.” Norry’s mouth twitched into a smile as she nodded back to the bar. “What you want is Lexiander. Lexiander Korby Ale. It’s reasonable price-ways and has a low kick so’s you keep your senses about you.”
“Korby it is.” Brock looked to the bar, where a scraggly dressed man was gathering a crowd.
“Good choice.” Norry slid around the table and moved off.
With a slow, quiet breath Brock settled back in his chair and started to listen. Nelek needed information about the villagers more than he needed a bodyguard at present, and Trenna’s life was in the balance. While Brock was humbled that the duke trusted him with such a sensitive matter, he didn’t like being away from the people he’d been charged to protect. It felt like a dereliction of duty.
That and the idea of Trenna under the guard of Cadell Conroy unsettled him, which he tried to tell himself was a matter of the boy’s lack of training and not Cadell’s race. He frowned at his own thought process. Cadell was Eldur, but he was a good Eldur, and he looked at Trenna with that awe-struck naivety of youth. The duke and duchess were safe under Cadell’s care; Brock had to trust in that.
His ale arrived, and Brock cast his attention to the crowd.