The alleyway is dark. Moonlight shines on the roof tiles, but shadows hide the features of the ruffian brandishing the sword.
“Time to pay up,” the thug snarls, “We don’t like people trying to avoid our ‘taxes’!”
Three more sinister shapes sidle out of doorways and three more blades glint in the darkness.
Seltyiel flexes his fingers slightly. Faerie-fire flickers on his fingertips as he watches the sword-points advance towards him. His back presses against the rough wall and he prepares to strike.
Suddenly four sharp cracks echo around the alley. The bitter smell of gunpowder fills the air. Four bodies slump to the ground.
“Not bad if I say so myself,” comes a voice from the rooftops, “Four out of four, and in the dark too!”
Seltyiel relaxes. “Where have you been?” he says, “I’ve been leading them around for hours.”
Lirianne drops lightly to the cobblestones and holsters her flintlocks.
“Stop fussing,” she says, “You are being like Dad.”
Seltyiel grimaces. “Why do you keep saying things like that?” he says, “Just because you were old enough to know him before he left and I wasn’t.”
Lirianne hooks her arm around his neck and rubs her knuckles into his scalp.
“Come on,” she laughs, “Let us get out of this miserable port. I am sick of the smell of fish.”