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  The Welcome Grave mainly murder

 

That winter smell had come to Solis. Fresh winds penetrated deep into her intricate alleyways and boulevards sweeping away all taint of warmth; it was as if the summer had never been. Multitudes of garishly clad street hawkers proclaimed their wares as excellent protection against the coming cold and the food markets dwindled with every passing moon. The fervent days of high summer were gone like long lost friends. Heat wrought apathy was replaced by the anxiety of lean times to come. The nights drew closer, extending the dark hours when men feel the calling of their blackened hearts for activities nefarious.

Winter was coming.

Rain descended like a thin gossamer web from a sky the colour of old straw, almost imperceptible but it left everything soaking. The ramshackle buildings of Dockside glistened in its oily residue and many were the occupants who wished they'd paid more attention to roof repairs.

One such tenement, a drinking hole called the Welcome Grave, sat at the nether end of an open courtyard, its rotten and stained facade defiant in the prospect of another hard winter.

Malice sat alone in the main room, all other patrons having left with the passing of the night or been dumped outside to sleep off the drink. A full mug of flat ale rested on the table in front of him and a small black pool of dried blood stained the floor by his right boot. Malices' dark hard face was splashed with mud or something, a two day growth of stubble shadowed his chin and his piercing eyes were red rimed. No one had come near him after he had entered last night, staggering slightly and carrying that pitch-black sword. Only the barman, unbidden, had approached to place the mug at his table. Malice hadn't even acknowledged his presence, and the barman did not ask for payment.

He sat there all night wrapped in his own dark, dangerous thoughts.

Extract from 'Wintersign'

 

 

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