They say coin never sleeps, but anyone who’s walked the patrol of Hightown Market at midnight might disagree. The pickpockets and confidence men head to the taverns at dusk, the dwarven businessmen and nobles go back to their tiny palaces to fret over the ways they got cheated, and the market falls silent.
Donnen Brennokovic knew every angle of the market with his eyes closed. Twenty years of patrols had etched it into him so that he walked that beat even in his dreams. The recruit, Jevlan, was another story. The ring of steel striking stone told Donnen that the kid had stumbled into a column again. His new armor would be full of dents by sunrise.
“Torches would make this easier.” The sound of Jevlan hauling himself off the pavement was like a tinker’s cart crashing.
“Torches make you night-blind. You’ll adjust.” Donnen crossed the square to help the kid to his feet. A breeze scurried across the plaza, sending the banners and pennants shivering and carrying an old, familiar scent. Donnen stopped in his tracks. “Something’s wrong.” His voice was low, warning. He peered into the dark, up at the mezzanine just above them. “Follow me. Be ready for trouble.”
The two guards climbed the dark stairs and there, in a puddle of shadow, found the body. Gold-trimmed satin glittered through the blood.
“Get the captain,” Donnen sighed. “We’ve got a dead magistrate.”