Chapter Twenty Nine

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Vintish cities shared many things with one another, yet were entirely different depending on exactly where they were located and what lord they paid homage to. Dunmont was not an extremely large city, but it was located on the Gurdia River—the western branch of the Thine—thus making it a city worth its weight in gold. It was a mere thirty leagues southeast of Garr, and paid its allegiance to the Merchant Lord, not directly to the king. Lord Idris moved through the crowded streets with an almost palpable annoyance. He brushed a man off of his coat, pushed a fat woman out of the way, and continued his trek to the northern end of the city. It was near Night’s First and the streets would be clearing shortly, making way for the darkness to fall upon the city. He needed to be ready by then. The stone walls were no more than fifteen feet high, and the mayor did not mind people coming and going—at least for now. It took him half of an hour to make it through the street markets and travelling carts, from the blacksmith district to the tailors, and finally the merchant’s quarters. The scenery constantly changed from damp wood and shoddy patrons, to polished stone and silk embellished wives and mistresses. Lord Idris had to admit that the smell had improved as well, though he didn’t mind the dank and putrid.

He smiled at a young girl and glanced back at the three men that followed him not twenty paces back. One of them flashed the slightest nod, acknowledgement of his duty, but the motion was gone as quickly as it had come. The foreign lord moved on through the streets until he saw a man in an expensive leather doublet with two figs splayed on his chest.

“Good day, sir. My name is Tyson Gailly, and I bring the mayor a message from the Merchant Lord, though I am quite embarrassed to say that I lost the slip that had my directions on it and I am dreadfully lost.” The lord’s voice sounded friendly, though slightly odd due to his accent.

The man smiled at him, not a hint of apprehension on his face. “Of course, Mayor Prichart lives at the top of the hill, the big house there.” He pointed and nodded his head. “If he isn’t there you will find him in the Stanchion, an inn not a block away. You can’t miss it, nor should you,” the man said with a wink.

Lord Idris bowed generously. “Thank you, kind sir. I am undoubtedly in your debt.”

The lord quickened his pace, cautiously checking around him as he moved. There was no alarm in the city, no impending doom from the news of the surrounding villages. They had used the news of Dunmont’s demise to strike fear into the villages located around the lower Gurdia, though they had yet to hit Dunmont. Destroying villages was simple, with no skill required, and little in the form of preparation was needed. Townsfolk were generally docile, and those that did fight back did not possess the means or the skill to properly defend themselves. A city, however, would be a different story entirely. Dunmont had a decent guard for a city of its size, with well-trained men and fairly uncorrupt motives. It had taken more than Lord Idris initially thought to buy out the second in command, whom was now on the fast track to being first in command. The main problem was the city gates. They were not large or impassable, but they were still fifteen feet of iron, and thus more than his small, seemingly inconspicuous band of thieves and murderers could handle without help. That was where the mayor came in.

Little was known about Mayor Prichart other than that he had a short fuse and a taste for young, seemingly innocent girls. Idris assumed that he would find the man at the Stanchion, and not his house due to the hour. The house would be easier to garner a private meeting with the mayor, but he was prepared to take the man regardless of where he was or what he was doing. Dunmont would fall, sooner rather than later, and the empire will blame their precious Lost Prince. Soon the tides will turn, Lord Idris thought with a blazing smile.

The Mayor’s manor was large, larger than he had anticipated. It had the structure of a small keep, the stone walls of a fortress. A long line of steps led up to the double mahogany doors and the walkway was lined with fruit trees and shrubs that were definitely not native to the area. The stone walls were built up with what he could only imagine as polished marble, giving the manor an odd shimmering effect that was easily distracting. When the lord glanced back, he was not surprised to find the three men gone and the street somewhat empty. He finished the climb to the top of the stairs and put a hard fist onto the large wooden door a number of times. It took only moments for the door to groan open and reveal a long, slender-faced, frail-framed man with long hair pulled into a pony tail and the wardrobe of what could only have made him the butler.

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