an alternate version of my book
|The flute played mournfully as Thane Matthews made the final preparations for his date with the Hangman's Daughter.
He knew not her true name, and he had dreamed of her many a night and woken on the morn to find the sheets were soiled with more than just his own excretions. He had never met her, but he knew her as intimately as he knew his own name.
As he was finishing a final brush of his graying red hair with a tortoiseshell comb, 'clank, clank, clank' went the knocker against the ship cabin door that he had found on the shore near where he was wont to vacation during the hottest part of the summer in Seekhome.
When Thane opened the door, there stood his bride to be. She was taller than most men and gaunt with brown hair that was styled in a way that was popular among the nobility in Clivos a century ago.
She spoke in a lilting voice that had no discernable source: "Let me in, love." Part of him knew that if he let her in he would not survive the night. He would not die, not truly. She would make him crawl and beg for death. That blessing was not in her power to give.
Before his mouth could form the words, her dry cracked lips were on his.
An icy cold wind blew through him, his mind was screaming at him to fight her, but he had no will left to fight.
In the morning, few witnessed a beautiful young woman dressed in clothes that were least a century out of style; emerge from Thane Matthew’s house on Beak Street in the Alchemist quarter of Blood Respite.
The Hangman’s Daughter was trying hard not to laugh as her husband began to kiss the back of her neck. She turned to face him, her husband Tim Michaels was still wearing his Guard Captains uniform
"why haven’t you changed out of your uniform." she asked "we have to go to dinner at the palace in 45 tolls." her life began with a kiss she had no memory of anything prior to the kiss. it was as if she had not existed up to that point. she had woken as if from a deep sleep. with no memory. she only knew her name if it was a name. what kind of name was The Hangman’s Daughter?
Tim had found her in the devils hour sleeping on a bench in the city square.
when he had asked where she was staying she had told him she had nowhere to stay. he had said this was because the inns were all booked for the Feast of Flames. where the priests would burn the burn the king in effigy to appease the gods of the sea and ensure a bountiful harvest "you can stay with me until we can find a more permanent solution."
Two days later Tim had suggested they get married.
The Hangman's Daughter was contemplating a mystery. Tim did not come home last night. They'd had heated words before he left for work. She always knew his job was dangerous. Though it never occurred to her that something like this might happen to him. The Hangman's Daughter decided that she needed to keep her own existence a secret. She quickly set to work removing all traces of herself from Tim's home. when she was done with that task. She remembered that they were married by a magistrate named Brahmwell. They had been married in a private ceremony. she could already feel her youth starting to slip away. she used a judicious amount of makeup to hide her deteriorating complexion then left Tim’s quarters in the barracks. she ignored the catcalls from the guards at the gate to the magistrates quarter.
she caught magistrate Brahmwell as he was locking up his office before heading home for the night.
Magistrate Brahmwell looked into the Hangman's Daughter's amber eyes and found himself unable to move. His last coherent thought was that he needed to tell his wife Jensa that he loved her. Then everything went black.
when the Hangman's daughter came back to herself she was sitting on a bench in the magistrates square
The Hangman's Daughter had been walking for several tolls when she heard someone whisper ”I should never have let you talk me into this." the voice came from an alley off to Hangman's Daughter's right. "go on, do it, you know you want to." the reply came from directly behind her. the Hangman’s Daughter turned languidly to face her would be attacker only to hear the voice say from behind her "back here, witch." she felt an uncomfortable pressure in her knuckles. She lashed out with lightning speed. she felt rather than heard the impact as her stiletto shaped fingers bit into the neck of her assailant.
the second one came running with a hissing shriek but the Hangman's Daughter was unconcerned. as her bony hand closed around the neck of her attacker she asked in a whisper that peeled like thunder "why?"
however, instead of waiting for an answer, she slammed her hapless attacker into the wall of the alley hard enough to crack the surrounding bricks.
she slammed her attacker into the wall again then heard a groan coming from the first attacker. holding her current target at arm’s length. The Hangman' Daughter strode slowly over to the moaning creature inching its way toward her.
She had dealt it a grievous blow but the wound was already starting to heal. if these two hunters had found her so easily others would soon follow.
The mages from the Blood Dawn school of climatology (mages who use magic to manipulate the weather) were in senior investigator Cumulo Rand's experience, the most disagreeable group of human beings he had ever had the displeasure of meeting. He brushed his long white hair out of his eyes as he stood in the sparsely furnished waiting room of the senior administratrix's office. Finally, just as he was about to leave, a short rail-thin woman came out looked Cumulo up and down as if judging his life's worth then shrugged and said in a clipped tone, "The headmistress will see you now." As he was entering the head mistress's office he saw the secretary scratch a line of text into a wax tablet with a bone stylus, then place both objects into her pocket. Cumulo entered the head mistress's "office". He watched as the door closed, then slowly faded into a wall of greenery. God, how he hated mages! He thought about doubling his rate just to see the look on Kalishna Grenald's face but decided as much as he would enjoy tweaking her nose, it would not help his case when it came time to collect his payment.
As he rounded a corner of the path something came whizzing towards him Cumulo caught on pure instinct he hefted the bag of gold coins testing the weight. "Kalishna, it looks like you are a little short on this moons payment," he growled. The peeved reply when it came, came from several directions at once. "According to my reckoning, next payment is not due for another ten moon rises." now it was Cumulo's turn to sound peeved. "Then why am I here," he asked in annoyance. "You are here because I want to hire you to find someone or more likely something that crippled two of my most promising students."
The Hangman's Daughter sat back, admiring her handiwork. Well done! Father would be proud ... Her senses sparked, cutting thought off as movement sent her diving to the right just in time to avoid being caught in a weighted net. She scrambled to her feet and was about to turn and run when she heard a voice whisper, "This way, this way." she looked around, spying, a river dwarf with a diamond set into his forehead, In a second, she reached a decision and moved toward his position. "Why are you helping me?" The annoyance in his voice was clear, "We don't have time for this, All your questions will be answered ... but not now." Touching the diamond on his forehead, he seemed to be communicating with someone. He removed his hand from his forehead then lightly brushed a stray lock of green hair from his eyes, "This way," he commanded, leading her down an alley. As they walked quickly away, the sky began to brighten overhead.
the Count of Brigand's Hope read the letter for the fourth time then crumpled the parchment in his fist and tossed it into the corner of the sitting room. He had received news that his old nemesis The Hangman's Daughter was loose in the city of Blood Dawn. their last battle had nearly killed him. it was now 40 cycles later and he still did not have full use of his right hand where she had tried to feed on him. “
The Hangman's Daughter took a deep breath counted to nine then moved to jump the chasm that was blocking her escape, however just as her feet cleared the edge a heavy hand grabbed her by the shoulder yanking her roughly off her feet.
The Hangman's Daughter brushed a lock of curly red hair out of her slate gray eyes. The dwarf's taciturn manner was beginning to get on her nerves a bit. He was always quick to point out the flaw in any plan but had yet to offer a plan of his own. They were holed up in a warehouse on Dock Street. At first, the patrols had been light, but now they had a sketch of the dwarf. The Hangman's Daughter considered her options. The Hangman's Daughter judged she only had enough reserves left for one portal that would transport her, and only her, an unknown distance in a random direction. Finally, after what seemed like an interminable wait the dwarf came up the ladder "They are gone." he said gruffly before heading back down. That irked her no end. "screw it." she muttered as placed her fingertips together then drew them apart slowly as if fighting a force that wanted the hole to remain closed. When her hands were shoulder width apart there floated a knot of nothingness that pulsed rhythmically as if it was the heart of some slumbering giant. it flared wide then she was gone leaving a single strand of hair that quickly turned to dust.
it was just Cornyn Brightwains luck that the biggest case of his career would literally land in his lap the day after he took an indefinite leave of absence from his position as the head advocate at Brightwain, Cumberson, and Coxburr an independent legislative body that represented the legal interests of the whaling industry. he eyed the bedraggled figure that sat across from him speculatively.
The disheveled figure gave Cornyn a deathly grin as she said "You have stolen something from me and I want it back.' "what is this nonsense, I did not steal anything." She gave an exaggerated sigh "It was such a small thing but still I need it back." Cornyn grimaced "What is it I supposed to have stolen." she sighed again and shook her head "You stole my life."
The Hangman's Daughter adjusted the lace that was covering her hair over the past several months she had taken on the appearance of a woman middling years as befitted her station as the primary Midwife of the small settlement Sea Kings Bounty she was currently involved in a heated discussion with one of the village elders over weather or not to impose a tax on people wishing to settle in the village she idling stirred her tea then clicked her spoon on the side of the teacup the sound seemed to linger in the air for a long time before finally fade Into silence the conversation had been stimulating but now she was ready to go about her day before departing she helped herself to the last of the cookies
The Hangman's Daughter woke unexpectedly to find herself leaning against a tree, as she took in her surroundings, she found she could not account for the last few days. as she searched her memory, the Hangman's Daughter kicked at the ground until her foot contacted something solid. glancing around she slowly bent down and began digging with her fingers until they closed around the neck of a stone jar.
The Hangman's Daughter felt a hand roughly grasp her chin but she kept her eyes closed. She heard a guttural voice say "leave her, she will be out for a while yet." a lilting voice said "no, she is only pretending." a soft hand struck her hard across the face sending her head rocking to the side.
Her ghost floated for an interminable amount of time above a sea the color of red glass. in the far distance the Hangman's Daughter could see a wall the color of bleached bone, as she focused on it she felt a baleful gaze regarding her
i didn't write that the Hangman's Daughter whined as the officer waved the letter in front of her face. "you are saying this is not your signature." the officer growled. " I already told you it's not," she said in a haughty tone
there it is she thought to her see I can't believe I found it after all this time as the Hangman's Daughter reached down and picked up the object which looks for all the world like an earring in the shape of an eight-pointed star/b} but was, in reality, the source of her power.
the Hangman's Daughter watched as the fly landed on her thumbnail she had given up trying to sleep and now was hovering slightly above the floor watching as the moon sank towards the horizon.
The Hangman's Daughter decided to go to the theater on her way there she was accosted by an unruly mob of beggars the leader of the mob only had one eye as she approached her he grabbed her hand and bade her walk with him. When they had reached an isolated alley he spoke softly saying "I know who you are why have you returned."