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Calum scratched at his stubbled cheek. Mandas wasn't his friend. The Blackhands certainly weren't his friends. Why hire him? "What are you offering?"
"I need something collected. I figured you'd need the work."
Mandas the Grunt was a real boot-tread for Josak, the local boss for the Blackhands. What worried Calum was that since Mandas wasn't collecting, that meant Josak didn't want his own involved.
"Who's got what, and who wants it?"
"You know Tanos Six-Toes?"
Tanos worked for the Mashaam, the other major Night Guild. He had lost four toes in a fight with a whore. No one could actually explain how he had lost the toes. The two Night Guilds warred incessantly, and if Calum got between them, the scavengers wouldn't find much to pick off his bones.
"You know I can't touch one of the Mashaam," Calum said.
Mandas' leer widened. "How would they find out? I mean, if Tanos isn't around to tell them and all."
These are tales of Sword Noir. Characters' with shifting-if not entirely absent-morals. In these dark places, hope is frail or completely absent. Trust is the most valued of commodities-life is the cheapest. In these pages, grim leaders weave labyrinthine plots which entangle innocents. And then there is the magic-powerful, certainly, but it extorts its price as surely as the moneylenders in the alleys and on the docks.
For Simple Coin is a short fantasy fiction collection. You'll find stories that have been published in On Spec, Forgotten Worlds, and AtFantasy, as well as one entirely new tale. The intent of the stories is to meld the heroics of sword & sorcery with the attitudes of hardboiled detective fiction.
For Simple Coin is available in the PDF, epub and mobi formats.
If you enjoy this style of fiction, look for Sword Noir: an RPG of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery, and the adventures the Kheufer Scrolls and Crossing the Millers, available now from Sword's Edge Publishing.