The Sixth Taste
The tenderest meats are cooked low and slow — and with a dash of profane love for seasoning.
Make sure to read to the end for all of Shay Plummer’s fantastic art! —Eds.
The next bard leaps onto the dais. She surveys the Great Hall, waiting for the applause and cheers to dim away. In the ensuing silence, she can hear the slosh of beer and wine in hundreds of half-empty cups.
When the silence has stretched on long enough for her liking, she stomps her foot and smacks her lips.
“Listen up, you drunks,” she proclaims, “I’ve got one sick tale for ya…”
The Wandering Sage departs from the Cape of False Promise at sunrise and sets sail for Amalcross.
The voyage is approximately three-thousand-three-hundred-eighty-four nautical miles northwest and should take no more than seven days for the topsail schooner.
She bears two masts and eight twelve-pounder carronades. She’s typically hired to deliver messages and ferry dignitaries who cannot be magicked. But for this journey, she has been repossessed and commissioned to a new captain to transport his captive.
Just a few weeks ago, Captain Ario ‘ja Hawthorne had been a lowly warrant officer. Then one day, quite by chance, he stumbled upon the second most-wanted man in the Empire: Lorenzo Stratton, drunk at a tavern and moaning something about curtains. Ario recognized the man immediately.
Everyone in the Reaches has seen the wanted poster and the striking photo of the handsome killer in his mid-twenties, smiling miserably. Despite the decades that had passed since the notorious photo was taken, the man did not appear to Ario to have aged a day. And anyway, he’d recognize that face anywhere. After all, the bounty is worth two-hundred-thousand drams if brought in alive.
It is a large sum of money. A life-changing sum.
And soon enough, with his new ship under sail, the bounty will be Captain Ario ‘ja Hawthorne’s.
Of course, there is one bounty worth more: That of Lorenzo’s supposed partner, an Uncanny being known only as “The Great Evil.” A crude drawing of a creature — some amateur cross between a manticore and a dragon — is the only depiction of it. No one has ever laid eyes on this creature and lived.
Except, perhaps, for Lorenzo Stratton, the notorious gun-for-hire, the man once called “The Fastest Gun in the ‘Cross.” Rumor has it, Lorenzo’s done more than just look at The Great Evil. It is said he’d joined forces with it.
For forty years, their bounties awaited collection. And now Lorenzo Stratton is held prisoner, under lock and key, in the deepest hold of The Wandering Sage.
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