Ward, ruler of Hurog, joins the rebels against the tyrannical High King Jakoven. But Jakoven has a secret weapon. One that requires dragon's blood. The very blood that courses through Ward's veins.
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October 16, 2005
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Excerpt from Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs
Chapter One: Tisala in Estian
It takes many years of hard work and dedication to produce a
competent torturer. Young men just don't want to take the time
to learn the craft.
~Lloth of Edelbreck, Royal Torturer~
"It's just like skinning a rabbit," the old man said to his grandson. There was strength in his grip that belied the age on his face as his sharp knife removed another sliver of flesh from Tisala's finger.
"I've never skinned a rabbit alive." The boy looked ill, like a newly blooded recruit thought Tisala.
The old man lost all patience with him. "Don't be an idiot. Now watch."
The next move of the knife forced Tisala's attention back to her body. Eventually she would tell the old man what he wanted to know, but if she could wait long enough, they could trust none of what she said. But she'd only been there something under two days and already her body ached and her mind flinched away from what had been done to her.
"What do you know about Alizon's rabble, little girl Tell me and I can quit hurting you," he crooned as his knife worked its magic. "I don't like hurting little girls, but you are hiding something our king needs to know. A brother shouldn't try to hurt his own kin. What Alizon is doing is wrong and you know it. All you need to do is tell me who's helping him and I can stop."
She didn't fear death, not even death by torture. Death was a constant companion in the battlefield, as often a friend as an enemy. Betrayal, though, betrayal was truly frightening. Best she die fast, before she could hurt someone she cared about. She'd bide her time and see if she could use her tongue as a goad to make the torturer slip. Someone had once told her that her tongue was her most formidable weapon, and it was one they hadn't taken from her.
"How can you do this all day " asked the boy passionately. "Grandfather, cannot the mages make a person talk "
The old man snorted. "The mages can make a person say anything the mages want him to, but they can't get real information from magic. Good information comes only from men like me. We save lives on the battlefield, give our king his victories."
"Why are you doing this one here, instead of in the castle " Bravado not curiosity sparked his question. Tisala could tell that he knew the answer to his own question.