Blades of Treachery - Excerpt 1
Rhys and Wynne Prepare to Go

This excerpt is a bit of conversation taken from a long scene wherein Wynne and Rhys prepare to leave on their journey. It appears here because it shows several dimensions of Rhys, from Wynne's perspective, and it's proven to be a favorite of my critique groups.

Before Rhys could get the rope around the crate, it slid off of the far side of the mule and crashed to the ground. Wynne heard the young smith mutter a few colorful words as he looked over at the pile of shattered slats and scattered straw. He walked around the mule and sorted through the mess, finally reappearing holding a large piece of iron that sort of resembled an anvil, but with a pointed wedge at the bottom instead of a foot.

"Are you planning on bringing an entire forge," she asked, glibly.

Rhys cast her an impatient look and began wrapping the mass of metal in oiled rags, binding it with twine. "As a matter of fact, I do have a small hood and bellows and a few rods packed on Storm, and I am bringing this damned bickern. Jen and Bernard can handle the day to day selling, and a lot of the restocking, but I've got a couple of special projects underway that I'd like to finish on the road."

"Oh," she replied, turning slightly red in the cheeks. "I apologize if my question offended."

Heaving a deep sigh, Rhys finished tying on the bickern. "Miss Bell... Wynne, I'm a tradesman, and a relatively inexperienced one at that. The majority of the business I get at this shop is based on my father's memory." He paused briefly, and Wynne resisted interjecting. She had noticed a trend in her new companion to withdraw when speaking of his father, and she did not wish to cause any injury.

"Leaving the shop now is risky, but I feel this is something I need to do. If Fiern Westlake, a fellow of mine, hadn't offered to oversee my apprentices, I couldn't even consider such a thing."

He double-checked the knots on his bickern. "But even though I've served my time with Guard, and I'm suited to serve as soldier or mercenary in a pinch, this is all I really have and all I've ever wanted to be. And I could never be offended by the suggestion that I might take pride in my art."

Wynne remained quiet for a few moments after he'd finished. The fact was, she understood how he felt, and would not have thought to fault him. Her art, the Art, was all she had ever wanted, and the thought of being without it made her sick inside. She scooped Willa up into her arms and walked over to scratch the mule behind the ears. "He is called 'Storm?'"

"Short for 'Stormchaser,'" Rhys answered, nodding. "He was afraid of everything when I got him, so I though giving him a name that sounded brave might help." Storm let out a loud bray, either to punctuate the smith's sentence or because he liked being scratched behind the ears... maybe both.

"Did it work?" Wynne asked, patting the beast on the head.

"Not in the least."

All characters and events depicted herein are © 2000 by Edward Robinson. Any resemblence to people living, dead, or living dead are purely coincidental. No part of these pages may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of the author, except in the case of review or short quotations for report purposes. All rights reserved.