Bloodsticks - Chapter 10
There’s no way this guy is a mägo. He has manners. I wonder if the scribe mistook Nishant for an opportunity seeker. Answer a few questions I wouldn’t be able to check…and get a free drink or three.
This is the second award-winning work of Höbin Luckyfeller, and the second book in his Field Guide series. The script is hot and fresh and we also have a new cover for the book!
When Höbin is contracted to research the popular game of chance, he quickly learns the truth surrounding its history is anything but. Circumstances unfold faster than he can anticipate, pulling Höbin from his assignment and thrusting him into the shadows of intrigue, magic…and murder.
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Chapter 10 — Mr. Nishant
There’s no chance of mistaking this man for a janitor, let alone a mägo.
Even in the candlelight, the silver streaks in his combed hair and beard almost glow against his maple skin, looking like metal strands pulled back into a loose ponytail. He isn’t wearing the traditional robes of his Order, either. The light weave vest barely covers a hairy chest and the loose trousers rest on dark, sandaled feet. He isn’t even using a staff or walking stick. He looks more like a gypsy than a user of magic.
I rise from my chair to shake his hand, but he smiles brightly and shakes his head, “Sit…sit! Don’t get up on my account, my friend. You must be tired after a day of connecting the scattered dots, no?” His hazelnut eyes reflect the light back at me and I have to admit…I have no clue how old this man is.
He leans over the table and clasps my hand in a firm handshake, “This is a most exciting opportunity, to meet you at last, Mr. Luckyfeller.”
He’s…excited? I open my mouth, but nothing seems to come out. It’s strange enough that a person of his Order would acknowledge me…not associating with people of a ‘lesser’ class. Well, other than Chuck, anyway, but excited?
I stare at him. He keeps smiling back.
“You…know of me?”
He laughs. A clear baritone sound that fills the deserted library without resistance. “Oh, I do indeed!” Without pausing, he reaches out and snatches up the carafe of wine, pouring it into a fluted glass. “There are few who would take us to task, telling the blunt truths of our Order.” He raises the glass to his face and sniffs the wine, instantly wrinkling his nose. “You make many assumptions about my profession, my little friend,” he sets the glass back down, “…but whether a mere janitor is worth a fine bottle of wine should not have been one of them.”
“I’m sorry, Mr…”
“Oh, Nishant is fine. Just call me Nishant. May I call you Höbin?”
There’s no way this guy is a mägo. He has manners. I wonder if the scribe mistook Nishant for an opportunity seeker. Answer a few questions I wouldn’t be able to check…and get a free drink or three. Then it hit me—how can I even know if this guy is a mägo?
As if on cue, Nishant picks up the empty bottle of wine next to the carafe. He studies it carefully. “Hmmm,” he mutters, biting his bottom lip. “Not to sound ungrateful, my friend, but this is offering is completely unacceptable. Do you…have a coin?”
He rubs his thumb and index finger together. “A coin. My Order rarely deals in coin, but it does bar us from enjoying some of the more wonderful pleasures of life. Preferably a silver one, if you don’t mind…for a better bottle of wine?”
“Oh, uh…” and before I realize what I’m doing, I’ve handed him money. I could almost slap myself.
“Thank you,” Nishant replies, rolling the coin over the tops of his fingers, “I don’t like to steal.” It flips effortlessly across the smooth knuckles and jumps up to spin on the surface of his pinky nail. Before the coin can waver, he flicks his finger and the silver piece leaps into the air, tumbling faster and faster as it arcs high. I watch the flashes of light reflect off the silver as it drops into the bottle now held in Nishant’s hands. Right through the wall of glass! The coin rattles as he swirls the residue of liquid around.
Well, I’ll be…
Pouring out the past drizzles of wine into the carafe, he scribbles a quick note on a scrap of paper, rolls it up and inserts it into the empty mouth of the bottle. He looks at me and winks.