First Page: Unpublished Manuscript
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It was the most perfect of nights.
There was good wine, good music and good food. Not good women, but he really wasn’t being picky at the moment. Just having a bed to sleep in that didn’t have a maggot nest hidden in the middle of the mattress was good enough. Oh, and the sheets. The sheets. The bed actually had them. Wasn’t that marvelous?
Best of all, he was alone.
He wasn’t jammed into a dormitory with other men that smelled and snored and did all sorts of things in their sleep that caused him to stare at the ceiling and count the hours until morning. He wasn’t sharing a bed with his partner, which wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but she was a bed hog. He wasn’t sleeping under a tree, in a ditch or a cave, or any place else that was exposed to the elements.
The gods had finally blessed them with a meager amount of luck and a job that paid enough to net them two rooms, hot meals, even a bath. It was enough to make his toes curl. It was like all of his dreams had been answered.
He fluffed his pillow, closed his eyes, and prepared to sleep like the dead.
No, no, no, no.
Felix shot up as the door burst open. His partner ran in and slammed it behind her, pressing her back to the wood. “I think we better leave.”
He buried his face in his hands. “Nora!”
“There’s a mob coming for you!” She ran to the window and tried to open it. Her nails scraped against the glued-down wood. “Couldn’t you get a room with a window that actually opens?”
“That cost extra!” He could hear the mob now, thundering up the stairs, chanting his name and probably armed with the usual assortment of pitchforks, old swords and torches. He grabbed his clothes from where he’d left them beside the bed. “It was a choice between you getting your own room and a window that actually opened.”
“I think the point is moot now!” She raised her fist to smash the glass. He hopped across the room — one leg in his pants — to grab her arm. “Oh, come on, it’s not like we’re coming back here!”
“I still don’t want to pay for that glass, and you won’t shatter it with just your fist. You hit like a girl.”
“I am a girl in this form! Well, get us out of here then.” Nora’s braids whipped around as she quickly took in his appearance. “Aren’t you ready yet?”
As the mob began to hammer in the door, Felix swirled on his cloak and grabbed a bag that he’d hung over a bedpost. He rummaged through it as Nora shifted from foot to foot. “Where’s my gamil root?”
“Oh, I don’t know, just teleport us out!”
The wood splintered.
“I can’t unless I have the root!”
She threw her hands in the air. “What sort of sorcerer are you?”
“One that’s out of gamil root!” Felix gave up and turned to the window. “Epxil!” The glass exploded, thousands of tiny shards shooting into the night sky and falling to the street below.
“Maybe I should transform,” Nora said as she grabbed the sill to boost herself out.
Felix covered her back as the door burst in. There was nothing like an angry mob that spurred one toward making poor decisions. “Do it!”
Nora leaped, removing her pendant as she did so.