NaNoWriMo2015 – Day 21

Corbus returns for some conspiratorial action.

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Corbus shot the older man a glance. He certainly has his priorities, but as an information trader and intelligence hunter, he has his uses. “I don’t play cards. For money or fun. I have better things to do.”

“Like getting airsick?” Fustus retorted, his face coloring from Chalbys’ last remark.

“No, like planning our future.”

“What future? We’ll deliver the ‘merchandise’ after which, the Mongols will renege on the deal, and then kill us. Or we’ll return to Rome, where we’ll be killed to avoid word of the Emperor of Rome paying off our worst enemy. Or, Constantine Appius will have secured the throne somehow, and kill us either in Rome, in Ctesiphon, or somewhere in between when we’re captured by his air fleets.” Fustus said. Chalbys, still counting his winnings, scoffed.

“It isn’t like we’re a bunch of ignorant savages. We have enough skills to disappear, should my lord Corbus choose that option.” How many times have I told him to stop calling me ‘my lord’?

“It’s true, Corbus. We have enough money here to buy a small city. We could depart at the next port of call. That money will allow us to disappear, and let the Romans clean up their own mess. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to kill more Romans. Let them fight the Mongols until the deserts and rivers of the Levant are drowned in blood.” He was fervent now. Corbus wouldn’t have been surprised to see him foaming at the mouth. Fortunately, Chalbys interrupted.

“Come now, man. Lay off the wine for a while. It does you a great disservice. If Corbus wants us to continue on, we continue on. If he wants us to change course, we will. There is nothing else to do about it. I am more concerned about our traveling companions.” He turned to look at the adjoining door. Through that door lay Corbus and Aura’s private chamber, complete with separate lavatory and larger portholes than the bunkroom. Aura and Janus were in there now, talking. “Why they needed to come is beyond me. Whether to keep an eye on you, or you keep an eye on them. Wheels within wheels of complications, my lord. And while I enjoy making other people’s lives complicated, I hate complicated things in my life.”

Fustus opened his mouth to speak, but the door to the hallway opened, and he clamped it shut.

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

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