Sample Sunday – 31 July 2011

It’s time for some more Sample Sunday action!

Here are the first 500 words from my short story, Falling Softly:

Through his spyglass, the assassin watched Lord Padmar disembark his carriage.  He was dressed in his best: a dark red coat with gold buttons, loose about the shoulders and tight at the forearms and belly, an off-white ruffled shirt with lace at the throat and cuffs, tight black leggings that tucked into polished, knee-high, black turned-down boots, and a golden sash from right shoulder to left hip.  He wore a jaunty hat of the same color as his coat and a broad black leather belt that supported a gold-pommeled saber on his right hip.  The rumors said he actually knew how to use it, a rarity among the upper nobility these days.

The Lord strode quickly to the front door of his manor, where his chamberlain waited.  In his late middle years, the chamberlain was tall, but portly, with thinning gray hair.  He stood with a pronounced slouch, probably from a lifetime spent bowing and scraping.  The Lord spoke with him briefly before he went inside, not bothering to acknowledge the other servants’ deep bows.  The chamberlain lingered for a moment.  He looked around, his back to the other servants, then nodded and touched his right thumb to the tip of his middle finger and raised both to the center of his chest.  That was the signal: all was in readiness.

The assassin smiled thinly.  Lord Padmar was well known as an overbearing, sanctimonious, and cruel employer.  Among the serving class, tales of the punishments he doled out for the smallest infractions were legendary, leaving only the most desperate willing to even entertain the notion of going into his service.  The chamberlain was immune from the worst of those punishments, but all the same it was ridiculously easy, and cheap, for the assassin’s representative to obtain his cooperation in this night’s hit.

Lord Padmar, it turned out, was a man of habit.  The assassin had been watching him for three weeks, and knew his routine by heart.  Tonight was his weekly card game at Viscount Ephrim’s estate.  The Lord always returned promptly at four bells, and was in bed by five.  Padmar’s wife found her own entertainment on this night each week: she had a lover in a manor outside the city.  It strained credulity to think Padmar didn’t know, but clearly he didn’t care.  Most weeks, a high-priced companion was ushered in through a side door before he arrived and awaited him in his bedchamber.  Perfect.

Putting down the spyglass, the assassin slithered back from the roof edge.  Careful to avoided showing a silhouette, he rolled behind one of the many chimneys atop the building.  Vargas was there, waiting.  Clad the same as the assassin, in loose-fitting black clothing that covered him from head to toe save his eyes, he carried a longbow and a full quiver.  A long-bladed knife was sheathed on his left thigh.

“All set?”

The assassin nodded quickly.  “I’m going in.  Keep a sharp eye out.”

“I always do.”

Falling Softly is available for purchase in all ebook outlets for $.99.  Or you can get it for free from Smashwords, as part of their July sale that ends today.  Obviously, I’d prefer you go to a paying site, but I put it on sale for a reason, so no hard feelings if anyone snatches up the free copy.

Right.  Have a great day, then.