Dominic’s body was stiff and sore when he awoke in the morning. He was momentarily confused about where he was, until he saw the thick beams of the ship and felt its movement in water. The events of the day before came flooding back; the race he’d lost, the fight he’d ended, being threatened by Corta and saved by Vidre, and the two assassins that had come aboard the ship. It felt like it had happened over the course of weeks, instead of in the span of a single day.
He gave a start when he turned his head and saw Gaelwyn standing in the small room. Continue reading Shadows of the Limelight, Ch 4: An Interlude at Sea
There were people waiting outside. Some of them had small glass trinkets with them, on chains around their necks, or held in their hands. It wasn’t one of the enormous crowds, not one like at the fight or down by the docks, but there were enough people that it was hard to see the gaps between them. Vidre’s followers tended to be younger girls and older men, the former because of some combination of envy and adoration, and the latter for more lecherous reasons. Continue reading Shadows of the Limelight, Ch 3: Nighttime Ballet
The Zenith was a small ship, with a complement of thirty men and women and little room for cargo. She had seven white sails that carried her all over the civilized world. When Dominic saw the ship, the thing that struck him most was artistry of it. By his estimation, half of the crew members must have been tasked with keeping every piece of wood freshly painted and every piece of gleaming metal polished. There were thin sheets of silver engraved with elaborate designs all over the ship, in the same style as Welexi’s ruined armor, and carved wooden accents that displayed organic curls. The ship’s railings were heavily lacquered, with none of the dents, gouges, or simple weathering that might be expected of a ship that saw regular use. And attached to the bow of the ship was an elaborate sculpture of glass, clearly Vidre’s work. It showed a muscular man reaching forward, a fragile glass finger extended in front of him, as though he was trying to touch the horizon. There were no cannons, and nothing of its design suggested it was anything more than a work of art. Yet it was said to be the fastest ship in the world, able to outpace naval flagships and express packet boats alike. Continue reading Shadows of the Limelight, Ch 2: The Queen of Glass
Corta was going to kill him.
She had a reputation to maintain, he knew that, but he’d gone and been stupid anyway. Dominic had seen a small handful of people visiting her restaurant with missing fingers, and it was no secret that Corta had been the one to take them. That was what she did, if you didn’t hold up your end of whatever bargain you’d struck with her. She wasn’t a cruel woman, but she wasn’t known for her mercy. She was a squat woman with thick thighs, broad shoulders, and large breasts, with a voice that was often louder than it needed to be. She had four sons, each larger and more muscled than the last, all essentially interchangeable so far as anyone who worked with Corta was concerned. Each of them was fearsome, but none of them commanded respect in the same way that Corta herself did.
She was one of the most important people among the lower classes in Gennaro, a woman who had clawed her way up from nothing until she was practically bumping elbows with the nobility. She had secured for herself a position at the very lowest tier of the illustrati, with enough fame to grant her the ability to shout a man to death—or at least, that was one of the stories that people told about her.
She was going to kill Dominic, he was sure of that.
The rooftop races were to blame. Continue reading Shadows of the Limelight, Ch 1: The Rooftop Races