The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Chathrand Voyage)
Robert V. S. Redick
Six hundred years old, the Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand is a massive floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the Mzithrin Empire. But Thasha, the young noblewoman in question, may be bringing her swords to the altar.
For the ship’s true mission is not peace but war—a war that threatens to rekindle an ancient power long thought lost. As the Chathrand navigates treacherous waters, Thasha must seek unlikely allies—including a magic-cursed deckhand, a stowaway tribe of foot-high warriors, and a singularly heroic rat—and enter a treacherous web of intrigue to uncover the secret of the legendary Red Wolf.
his heart Pazel thanked the nameless soldier a thousand times for directing him to their care. The Swan took him east, into the heart of Arqual. She had been pressed into service as a troop-carrier, but with the seizure of Ormael complete her captain returned quietly to trade, mostly in the bays of Emledri and Sorhn. Pazel supposed he would never see his mother or sister again, even if they had somehow dodged slavery and death. It was dangerous to think of them too often: when he did he became
exhausted reporter from the Mariner, jotting furiously in his notebook in the mouth of an alley past which the poor had flowed. Nor did anyone observe the four men who came upon him from behind, calmly, one with a taut wire between his hands. At the gangway, the turnstile clicked and clicked: each click a parent, a child, a tidy sum. Waving, shouting them on (“To the ladderway, follow my man, down you go and swiftly please!”), Mr. Fiffengurt wondered if any of these wretches knew that they
very softly. “I honor your concern for your friend, m'lady. But I fear you would put yourself in danger for his sake. The assassin is still aboard. Any one of these men behind me could be him.” “Hercól is more than a friend,” said Thasha. “He's as dear to me as an older brother. Whatever becomes of him, I must know what happened.” “Very well,” Ket sighed, “but it will do you no good. For in the end, what did I see? A man I took for a sailor, crouching by an open hatch, swinging a hammer at
mate,” he said. “Be careful with this one,” growled Neeps. “She's a trickster. She wants to get me jailed as a thief.” “I wouldn't really have done it!” “We can't stay here long,” said Pazel. “Thasha, what's this secret you want to share? Anything you can tell me, you can tell Neeps.” “I have two,” said Thasha. “But you have to swear not to betray me.” Neeps scoffed, but Pazel said: “We'll swear if you like. We're not tattlers.” After she had their promises, Thasha told them about Hercól
guarding us?” she said. “I received new orders,” he said. “When you get to be as old as I am, your Emperor must consider how he will replace you. I was given the honor of training a new generation of the Imperial Guard. You were but five or six. Now that training is complete, and in his generosity the Emperor has allowed me to protect his favorite admiral—and new ambassador—one last time.” “Was it you who shot that man in my garden, then?” Ott shook his head, pursing his lips with regret.