The Winterstone Plague (The Carrion Cycle)

Read The Winterstone Plague (The Carrion Cycle) for Free Online

Book: Read The Winterstone Plague (The Carrion Cycle) for Free Online
Authors: David Scroggins
Tags: dsfg
is truly important, we have a right to know about it.”
    “We are better off doing as we were told, Tomas. Now let’s help mother clean up these dishes. I have some studying to see to before bed. I am sure you have some unfinished work of your own.”
    “But—”
    Valthian waved his hand. “Just once will you not argue? Our father is perfectly capable of handling matters of concern without our nosing about.”
    “If you say so.”
    Tomas stood from the table and grabbed an armload of plates. Valthian was determined to get to the bottom of matters. If his father did not want to include him, he would just have to wait for Tomas to get out of his hair and investigate on his own. He had a bad feeling deep in the pit of his stomach that would not go away, no matter what he did.
    Something was just not right.
    * * *
    “A lain,” Philip said, stepping into his study. “Are you a madman? That smithy of yours is well outside the village and the snow is falling furiously! Please, have a brandy and warm your bones. I insist.”
    He grabbed a glass from a hook on the wall and filled it with potent drink. Alain accepted it, nodding in thanks.
    “This couldn’t wait. I fear the reports from earlier are true. I do not know this for sure, but events that have transpired at The Hound’s Rest seem to back up those claims.”
    “The inn? What in the name of Alvanshia happened there?”
    Alain’s eyes were harder than usual; his gaze was wooden. “You know I am not one to spread rumors. Before I speak further, please tell me that you understand this of me.”
    “Of course I know this. You are an honorable man; one I would trust with my life if it came down to it. Now speak! By the gods, tell me what happened!”
    “I don’t believe there are gods anymore,” Alain said. The quiver in his voice was darker than the words he spoke. “Philip? The dead have risen. I have seen it!”

Chapter 4
    ––––––––
    P HILIP DISMISSED Alain as soon as he had been prodded for enough information to locate the victims and their attacker. They had been moved from the inn to keep patrons from panicking. Olivar Bastrik, the mystic, had them in his custody now. Alain’s immediate needs had been seen to. He now had thick furs to protect him from the bitter cold; Tomas and Valthian were to escort him back home before the snowstorm got out of hand. Philip had mounted the fastest horse in all of Vintermore and rode off to get to the bottom of things.
    Midnight , the gelding in which he rode was of the highest bred horses raised by Master Nuru, specifically for riding quietly into battle. His refined head and elegant gait bespoke of countless years of selective breeding, and Philip trusted the animal with his life. Though he was not riding into war, he had chosen Midnight for his quick, yet silent step.  A distracted soldier would not hear horse and rider approaching until his throat was slick with his own lifeblood, for Midnight was also so black in color that he often blended in with darkness itself. On a night like this, Philip wanted no one to know where he was going until he had already arrived. Any precautions taken to keep more rumors from spreading were more than worth the trouble.
    He dismounted and tied the horse to a nearby post.
    “I am sorry you have to endure the cold tonight,” Philip said, stroking Midnight’s short mane. “It won’t be for long, Old Boy .”
    Shielding his eyes from the torrential snowfall that threatened to blind him, he scanned the area until the mystic’s shop could be seen. Approaching the building proved to be somewhat difficult due to the frozen earth below, but with some concentrated effort he finally made it. Once inside, Philip stripped the extra cloak and scarves from his body and hung them on a hook protruding from the wall.
    “Olivar?”
    The shop looked to be abandoned; the nubs of several candles still flickered, casting an eerie glow all around. Bottles and vials filled with contents

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