Bloodsticks - Chapter 11
“Farrah, I’m sorry to have to ask this—but is there anything else you can tell me? What did they take? Did anyone see the killer leave the room?”
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 11 — Trail of Blood
My time is quickly running out and frankly, there’s not enough here to warrant the FAF releasing those funds to me. There’s just enough on bloodsticks to provide a tidbit of knowledge. Most of what I’ve discovered is hearsay. The rest is mere theory and hunches, which I couldn’t prove to the board. I could always fabricate my facts, but then I’d be lying.
I’m feeling desperate. Of course, I could withhold information and evidence, but then I’d be going against my personal beliefs and professional practices.
I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the face again.
No, I’m not that desperate.
Nishant’s visit was a breakthrough, but it was time for me to leave Castle Andilain and head south. At least I can stop by to see Toshi Szeli and inquire if that slant-eyed genius has a solution for my horrible stomach pains.
There’s enough coin left to rent a carriage. I sleep during the trip, which helps my cramps. The driver’s old and doesn’t want to chat anyway — which is fine by me.
For the next three days, I stop at each town along our path and seek the gambling establishments. I hope to collect enough filler — creative tales — to feed the minds of my employers. See if I can scrounge up enough information to be useful. The smaller villages don’t have gambling houses, but once you hit a population of three hundred or more, they pop up.
They serve as a poor substitute of ale or grog in dark and dank places and fry up the latest desecrated animal found dead and rotting on the road.
Something interesting, however, pops up during the trip.
Each time I interview an owner about players in the region, they mention the same name repeatedly: Sabin Bathos. A player that, according to the people I talk to, walked away with a fair chunk of change from every game he played.
No one’s that lucky.
We pull into Ashbrook on the third night, and I dismiss the driver. I’ll catch a ride home with Toshi and figure out how to package the information I have. Maybe I can do a presentation piece — enough to pay the rent. Of course, there’s nothing I can do about Keeley now. His thugs are more than likely looking for me, watching the new arrivals at the market.
Ashbrook is a hub for traders and merchants, both in traditional goods like furs, food and arms…as well as for those with discerning tastes. Those looking for rare animal parts, herbs, precious gems and even mägo rudimentary spell scrolls don’t always have to visit the Gypsies. Ashbrook is a great place to find what you’re looking for, merchandise-wise.
If you know who to ask, that is.
The moonlight is bright enough to walk by, so I wander through town on a casual stroll. Shops are closed, street deserted…and I can see only an occasional candle in the widows.
I don’t remember Ashbrook being so peaceful.
My heart sinks as I round the corner near the stables. Black ribbons wrap around the front pillars of Toshi's home.
…a sign of a family in mourning.