Daughter of the Siren Queen - Tricia Levenseller
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because you said I could write a book instead of getting a summer job.
I love you.
“AND THAT WAS WITHOUT EVEN A SINGLE DROP OF RUM.”
—CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
THE SOUND OF MY knife slitting across a throat feels much too loud in the darkness.
I catch the pirate before his corpse hits the ground and gently lower him the rest of the way. He is only the first of Theris’s—no, Vordan’s, I remind myself—crew who will die tonight.
My own crew is spread out across the cobblestone streets, dispatching Vordan’s men one by one. I cannot see them, but I trust all of them to do their parts tonight.
It’s taken me two months to track down the pirate lord and gather enough intel to infiltrate his holding. Vordan thought to make himself safe from me by traveling inland. We’re miles from the nearest port, and though I don’t have a way to replenish my abilities, I came fully stocked.
My source inside gave me all the details I needed. Vordan and his crew are living in the Old Bear Inn. I can see it now up ahead, a four-story structure with a near-flat roof and painted green walls. The main entrance is composed of an impressive archway, a large sign depicting a sleeping bear jutting out from its top.
Vordan’s crew of pirates have transformed themselves into a gang of land thieves, preying on the inhabitants of Charden, the largest of the Seventeen Isles. He bought the inn and pays the wages of all the staff, keeping it as his own personal stronghold. It would seem he has no fear of living in plain sight. The men in his employ number near one hundred, and there isn’t a united force stationed on this island large enough to dispose of them.
But I don’t need to dispose of them. All I need is to get in and then get Vordan and his map piece out without alerting the rest of his men. His questioning and inevitable torture will happen once we’re back on my ship.
I slide down the street, keeping close to the roughly constructed townhome on my right. The city is asleep at this hour. I haven’t spotted a soul moving about, save Vordan’s men on watch.
A tinkling sound stops me dead in my tracks. I hold my breath as I peer around the next corner, into the gap between this home and the next. But there is only a street urchin—a young boy perhaps eight or nine years of age—searching through a pile of glass bottles.
I’m surprised when he turns his head in my direction. I’ve been as silent as the dead, but I suppose to survive on the streets, one must sense when a threat may be nearby.
I put my finger to my lips, then toss a coin at the boy, who catches it without taking his eyes off me. I give him a wink before crossing the gap to the next home.
Here, I wait, watching my breath fog out in front of me in the slim moonlight. Though I could use the heat, I don’t dare risk the sound of my hands rubbing together. There is nothing for me to do now except to hold perfectly still.
Finally, an owl hoot comes. Then another. And another. I wait until I hear all seven of them—signaling that each crossing street and guarded rooftop has been cleared.
I watch the windows of the large inn in front of me. There’s not a single candle lit, nor a silhouette of movement behind the glass. I take my chance and scurry up to the inn.
A rope already hangs down from the roof. Sorinda has beaten me here. I hoist myself up floor after floor, avoiding the windows, until my boots steady on the stone tiles of the roof. Sorinda is just putting her sword away, four of Vordan’s men dead at her feet. There is nothing she excels at