Happy Monday, and thank you for tuning in again.
Please allow me to present to you the fourth teaser for Seeds, Book One of The Heterogen Chronicles, scheduled for publication January 2016.
For this particular teaser, here is some context. This scene follows closely after the previous teaser, where Shade and Brass, after adjourning the Neolisk Lounge, find themselves promptly brought to Anax by a squad of Enforcers. Although he has never met Brass before, Anax vouches for the heterogens, then they all, along with Savina, go to Anax’s room in the Hasturn Inn to talk in private…and I’ll let you read the rest for yourself.
From Act One, Part Two of the novel, this is Scene 10…
[PLEASE NOTE: Seeds is intended for a mature audience.]
From A Boiling Kettle
Shade is the first to enter their room, followed by Anax, then Savina. Though he is their guest, Brass is last. The three men recline upon the couches on either side of the long, low table and Savina pours goblets of wine for them all.
“May we?” Shade asks of Anax, bringing his gloved hands to his hood.
Anax lights a cigarette, blows a plume of smoke at the ceiling, nods his approval. Then he sits back and crosses his legs. Savina takes her place beside him. Shade and Brass, on the couch across the table, lower their hoods and remove their gloves.
“Back to the matter of your employment,” Anax begins the conversation.
“Yes, that,” Brass says. “It may seem a curious matter to yourself, but I am not employed by a Manor proper.”
“Then you are not employed?”
“Not in the conventional sense,” Brass answers.
“Who, other than a Manor, is in the business of employing heterogens? Some factory in Thorne, or a Petroleum Baron? What is it?” He drags deep on the cigarette, shoots smoke from his nostrils like steam from a boiling kettle.
“I work for a group that is in the business of helping those who find themselves short of luck. Shade told me of the attack you suffered, and your hunt for the Outlaw Chief Czerko.”
Anax strokes the head of his cane, slowly, steadily. Savina and Shade sip their wine.
“Well, I don’t really care who employs you, if he can help.”
“Of course he can,” Brass assures. “He always does.”
Anax turns to Shade. “I take it you learned nothing in Thorne.”
“Correct, Sir,” Shade says.
“Neither did we here,” Anax tells them, shooting a quick glance at Savina, who casually looks down at her wine. “So, how do we get there from here?” he asks Brass, drains his goblet in just a couple of swallows. Savina moves to refill it, but Brass interrupts her.
“Allow me,” he says and gently takes the bottle from her. As Brass pours, Anax leans his head back and exhales a large plume of smoke, watching it gather into a cloud on the ceiling. “I have a covered wagon with two hexequines,” Brass informs him, “and can guide you to my leader.”
“Leader?” Anax asks, finding his fingers suddenly on the ruby lid of his ring. “Just what kind of organization are you with?”
“It doesn’t really matter,” Brass says. “Getting the help you need is what is truly important.”
“Never mind.” Anax exhales more smoke. “Getting the help I need is what is truly important.”
Savina glances at Shade who looks back with one eyebrow slightly raised. She gives him a little smile, he grins, neither aware of Brass’ eyes upon them.
“What would be your price, then?” Anax asks. Another long drink.
“You can negotiate that with my leader. He handles all of those affairs.”
“Fair enough,” Anax says and finishes off his wine. Brass refills his goblet. Another long drink.
“One more question.” Brass takes a small sip of his own.
“What is that?”
“How serious are you about your hunt for Czerko?”
“More so than I will discuss at this moment,” Anax states, flatly. “Why do you ask? Some reconnaissance for your leader?”
“No, no, nothing like that,” Brass says, gives a laugh like a big bass drum. “My concern is about our exit from the City.”
“What is the concern? The Enforcers think you are working for me now.”
“Yes, but they have their eyes on us, since bringing Shade and I to you tonight. And I must admit that our situation is not the only unconventional aspect of the group to which I belong.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Anax asks, smoke billowing out thickly before him. “Are you some kind of Outlaw?”
“Of course not. Let’s just say that I have run into…difficulties in the Cities, and we may have some challenges in the morning.”
“I can pay for whatever we need.”
“It may not be a simple matter of flashing your card,” Brass advises, soberly. “And I must be assured you are all three willing to take whatever steps are necessary to exit the City. If I am then to take you to my leader.”
Shade leans forward, sets his goblet down loudly on the table. He glances at Anax and abruptly says, “I’m in.”
Savina sits forward, her eyes on Shade. “Me, too.”
Anax looks over them both through the haze of his own smoke. “I’m not quite convinced. Not to mention that I will speak for these two.” He waves his goblet at Shade and Savina, who both settle back into their places. “There is something I need to know.”
Brass nods and waits.
“You work with Nails.”
“Will we see him when we meet your leader?” Anax rubs the dark red stone of his ring with the tip of a single finger.
“I guarantee it.”
“Very well, then” Anax says. “Be outside at nine tomorrow morning.”
“I will be.”
Anax stands, the cane firm in his hand. “I’m suddenly quite tired, so you will have to go. But first, I want to know one more thing,” he tells Brass.
“And what is that?”
“Who is this leader of yours?”
“His name,” Brass says, “is Storm.”
Please stay tuned for more teasers…
Ciao, for now, Stephen~