He could see the moment you would die with just a touch.
“Only two points in our lives are fixed beyond reason,” Tomshin’s mother used to tell him, “the moment we are born, and the seconds in which we die – everything else is entirely up to us.”
Those words had hung heavy round his shoulders since he was a small boy of four and his unusual talent had manifested itself when he placed his hands on the Dock Keeper’s daughter, Sandraelle.
The icy wind from the Sea of Heirs made him shudder as he thought of that first vision. The streets were empty but for a few stragglers, too proud or stupid to leave this horrid little town, in search of riches where riches truly lay. And that was not by the Docks of Righport. Once a mighty and prosperous trading hub, the Third door To the Kingdom – as some had once called it – now stood as nothing more than an impoverished fishing town. Clutching desperately onto the coast of Hailreim, afraid that it would slip into the sea of obscurity.
Dark, olive hands wrapped themselves around her fragile neck.
Tomshin shook his head.
Crushing they squeezed until here eyes popped with bloodshot and wept tears of crimson.
He slapped his temple, trying to drive the vision from his mind’s eye.
A primal rutting was shaking her body as she tried to cry out one word of true love.
Laughter jolted him from his nightmare.
Three golden haired girls were gigging uncontrollably, while staring at the poor market son turning crazy in the streets. Their gowns of fine blue silk and jeweled clasps that kept their hair off of the cream of their perfect skin, all hinted at wealth.
Draymen bayed at them as the sauntered by, arses wiggling in the dying light that was setting behind the blanket of grey clouds that covered the sky. Thick copper bands rung the dark blue crates they heaved down the gangplank of the Pylian beer cog, bobbing restlessly in the growing tide. Oar men clustered around the docks, eager to stretch their legs after the hard ride against the unpredictable Great Solent.
“Captain’s daughters,” the grim face of Kinto Peeling muttered behind yellow teeth. His eyes were stained red with grief and he stank of TeMor and week old sweat. His clothes had become ragged and filthy, large yellow stains spreading outward from his armpits and deep blues raining down from his collar. “They shouldn’t be without guard.”
And with that, he strode off to follow the girls down the pier.
Peeling strode off towards the docks, his arms like jelly, wiggling by his side. He barely seemed to notice the cold, even though he had only that thin tatty shirt to warm him. The Draymen seemed to know him and immediately ceased their rambunctious flattery of the captain’s daughters.
The guilt poured through him like piss through snow.
He knew where Sandraelle was.
The clip-clop thunder of a dozen horses echoed down the tight cobbles that hinted at Righport’s former wealth. Tomshin turned, with lead in his stomach, towards the Highwaymen barreling angrily towards him.