Here is another unedited excerpt, this time from chapter 5. It introduces a supporting character named Dedrick who is the uncle of one of the main characters, Evie, whom my protagonist Mikos accidentally handed over to the law. Please remember that comments and feedback are welcome!
‘Look at him – he’s nothing more than a weedy little bag o’ shit.’
These words snapped Mikos’s mind back into clarity. His head was a garbled mess of hazy recollections of what he last remembered – being smothered by a filthy bag going over his head and clouted into unconsciousness with some implement or another.
‘That’s as may be, but he was the one who got my little niece captured by those brainwashed simpletons in the guard. I will not let this go!’
He tried to adjust his aching eyes in the poor light of a weak candle but could only just make out a couple of silhouettes standing in front of him embroiled in, what he could only ascertain as, a heated debate about him.
He flexed his biceps and found that his hands were restrained behind him by some toughened rope that dug into his wrists like a razor. He should’ve guessed that he would awake all tied in knots. Typical.
The taller figure in front of him, a deeply exotic voiced man, paced around with a masterful air to him as if he was a position of power and influence in the group that had kidnapped him.
‘If my Evie comes to any harm then that shit bag will be the first to know about it.’
Evie? Was that the girl he had inadvertently apprehended in the market? If it was then he was kicking himself now – she was obviously part of something bigger. Bollocks.
The not-so tall figure, a timid sounding male, clasped his hands as if praying to the gods for some sort of resolution for his sins. ‘Please Dedrick calm down. He could be of some use to us.’
Mikos’s ear pricked up at the mention of this. What possible use could he be to them? Being of use would be better than not being of use he supposed. He kept his head low, maintaining his unconscious demeanour.
He could afford a little movement in the dankness of this room. All around him was bare floor space – the floor being a cold, hard stone surface moistened with rainwater that was leaking in through cracks in the ceiling. He was tied to some kind of stone pedestal by a series of chains and rope around his feet and ankles. No chance of getting out of these things anytime soon.
‘What use could he be to us?’ Dedrick protested.
‘Listen Dedrick… if we persuade him to help us in our cause then he can be invaluable. We could send a message to the commander stating that the man who apprehended one of the most wanted people in Donnol wants to arrange a meeting.’
Dedrick remained sceptical. ‘Then what?’
‘We could either kidnap the commander or get the trader to scout the area where Evie is being held. Remember she isn’t in the maximum security place yet. Maybe he could ask to see her before she goes off to be hung, drawn and quartered.’
‘And why would he allow that?’
The smaller man paused, an awkward silence hanging in the air.
Dedrick snorted. ‘Didn’t think that one through did you dipshit?’
‘I’ll work on it, but it has the basis of a good plan.’
‘I suppose it might have some use,’ Dedrick finally conceded. He raised a hand and pointed to the other side of the shrouded room. ‘Leave us. I want to talk to him alone. No interruptions… you get me?’
The shadowy man nodded silently and hastily exited through a far off doorway. This Dedrick character certainly had a way of intimidating people.
It was as clear as crystal why; after moving up to him, Dedrick’s features became sharpened by the nearby candlelight – a middle-aged man with shoulder length grey hair, black headscarf, a scarred face and a couple of silver teeth. Aside from his face there was his body – a powerful, rhino-like stature giving him a physical edge by all appearances. His broad shoulders were petrifying and Mikos had no doubt that a well-kept set of muscles were resting underneath the man’s apparel.
‘Ah fuck!’ Mikos yelped as Dedrick’s hand came thundering onto his cheek to wake him up.
‘I was already awake Dedrick.’
The old man scoffed and chuckled. ‘For a while by the sounds of it if you know my name already lad.’
Mikos breathed out heavily. ‘Get to the point – why have you brought me here?’ He didn’t appreciate being taken out of a warm lounge and into the biting cold just to be knocked out and tied up.
‘Oh we are snippy this evening aren’t we?’ the old man replied in a sickly sweet voice. His aged yet strong hand yanked Mikos’s hair back; his sour breath radiating onto his face as he moved closer. ‘The rest of the group don’t want to see you hurt just yet but they answer to me so what I decide goes a long way. Understand?’
He grunted as his head was released from the man’s fearsome grasp. ‘Help you get your niece back? Why can’t you just break her out?’
There was a sudden whisper in the air from Dedrick’s reaction that seemed to echo Mikos’s sense of confusion.
‘Oh come on… any kid still wet behind the ears knows why we cannot just break in.’ Dedrick sucked in the dusty air through his gritted teeth, his face changing into a frown. ‘We would have our asses handed to us on a platter if we tried that. Without knowledge of where we’re going then we’re like blind rats amongst hellfire.’
Mikos’s heart began to pound against his chest – he knew something was going to be dropped into the conversation to twist his arm – he had a sense for impending doom. ‘I suppose you want me to scout the area? Or go meet the commander and steal a map of the grounds? Maybe even break her out myself.’
The old man laughed whole heartedly with genuine amusement. He had quite a jolly laugh when he wasn’t interrogating someone. ‘We hadn’t come up with a plan as of yet but thanks for the input!’ he said still chuckling.
Mikos tilted his head forward and muttered under his fatigued breath. ‘And why should I give you a hand anyway?’ He was well aware that he was fighting a losing battle; his mind was not completely there after being beaten on the skull.
The room seemed to darken as Dedrick moved closer once more, his breath not as rancid this time around. Maybe he was getting used to its foul odour. He lowered his voice to a harsh rasp. ‘You’re a trader right? Reputation is everything…’ He left his sentence to hang in the air like a mist.
‘And what the hell is that supposed to mean old man?’
He laughed again. ‘Oh I think my implications are clear enough wouldn’t you say?’
Mikos knew exactly what he was on about – a trader with a bad reputation may as well not be a trader. Word of mouth by the right sort of people would render his standing more or less null and void, leaving him with a worthless profession and an equally bleak life – no one would want to know him. The thought of this was earth shattering; a fate worse than his own death. ‘Why should I believe that you have the influence to do that?’ He tried to remain sceptical.
‘Trust me lad, I have enough influence remaining to make a significant impact.’ With that Dedrick strolled off with almighty satisfaction, leaving the now troubled Mikos to his own devices.
If there was thing he valued above all else it was his reputation for being an honest and valued trader across Salarias. He had travelled all over the place making business acquaintances, friends, contracts and the like, but now along came a man who said that he could threaten his entire image. He knew in the back reaches of his mind that it could be all talk; however, something about the old man seemed frightfully sincere and meaningful. How had he gotten himself into this mess?