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Joe Martin of Ragnarok Publications asked me if I would put a story in for this anthology back before it had a name and was just an idea. I said yes because Joe and fellow Ragnarokian, author Tim Marquitz, had shown themselves to be supportive good fun guys on facebook and I had a story bubbling at the back of my mind.
The story I've got in the Blackguards anthology concerns Brother Sim, of whom Jorg Ancrath has said:
i) Assassination is just murder with a touch more precision. Brother Sim is precise.
ii) Shakespeare had it that clothes maketh the man. The right clothes could take Brother Sim from a boy too young to shave to a man too old to be allowed to. He makes a fine girl too, though that was a dangerous business in road company and reserved for targets that just couldn’t be killed another way. Young Sim is forgettable. When he’s gone, I forget how he looks. Sometimes I think of all my brothers it’s Sim that’s the most dangerous.
iii) Brother Sim looks pleasing enough, a touch pretty, a touch delicate, but sharp with it. Under the dyes his hair is a blonde that takes the sun, under the drugs his eyes are blue, under the sky I know no-one more private in their ways, more secret in their opinions, more deadly in a quiet moment.
iv) Brother Sim holds himself close and you will never know him no matter what words pass between you. He whispers something to each man he kills. If he could speak it to a man and let him live, then I might have lost a killer.
Here's a small snippet from the story:
“A name has been given.” Brother Jorg spoke behind Sim. He’d climbed the spiral stair on quiet feet.
“Which name?” Sim still watched the road, leading as it did back into the past. Sometimes he wondered about that. About how a man might retrace his steps and yet still not return to the place he’d come from.
And Brother Jorg spoke the name. He came to stand by the wall and set a heavy gold coin beside Sim. In a brotherhood all brothers are equal, but some are more equal than others, and Jorg was their leader.
“Find us on the Appan Way when this is done.” He turned and descended the steps.Assassination is murder with somebody else’s purpose. Sim reached for the coin, held it in his palm, felt the weight. Coins hold purpose, they bear it like a cup. A murder should always carry a weight, even if it’s only the weight of gold. He turned the coin over in his scarred fingers. The face upon it would lead him to his victim.