Orth surged to his feet, roaring, as a small thief
the half-eaten pastry from his plate, while the server and
other patrons cursed and grabbed at darting bodies. Those
who sat further back, or had already eaten, laughed and
called encouragement to either side, only swiping out if
urchin came too near. The vagabonds twisted and dodged
clear, racing away with their booty.
Safety, Kalan saw, was a tangle of godowns at the town end
of the dock, and the raiders took full advantage of wharf
traffic to make their escape. All, that is, except the
ragged lad who had snatched Orthâ€™s pastry. His swerve to
avoid one of the alejack drinkers brought him too close to
Tawrin, who stuck out a foot and brought him down flat. The
boy sprang up again immediately, the pastry still clutched
in his handâ€”but it was too late. Orthâ€™s giant hand had
closed on the tattered tunic and now hoisted the thief
his other fist poised to smash into the dirty, terrified
â€śStand!â€ť Kalan ordered the horsesâ€”one of Jarnaâ€™s
painstakingly inculcated commandsâ€”and sprang forward,
intercepting Orthâ€™s blow. The giant snarled and tried to
hammer the fist into Kalanâ€™s face instead. Checking the
strikeâ€™s momentum felt like trying to prevent a mountain
toppling, and Kalan called on the combined strength of five
years working in the Normarch forge, and training in full
Emerian armor with sword and lance, battle-axe and mace.
arm and shoulders were rock, his mind cool as his eyes met
Orthâ€™s. â€śHeâ€™s just a child,â€ť he said, keeping his voice
The Sword giantâ€™s expression was almost comical as he
from Kalanâ€™s hand, locked on his wrist, into his face.
a sniveling Haarth thief!â€ť
â€śHeâ€™s hungry,â€ť Kalan answered, countering Orthâ€™s shift in
weight and alert for a head butt, or knee to the groin.
â€śLook at him.â€ť
Orth glared, his head lowered. â€śA thief!â€ť he roared, and
shook his captive so violently that the boyâ€™s head snapped
back, his teeth jarring together. But the threadbare tunic,
unequal to such treatment, tore apartâ€”and the boyâ€™s body
dropped clear, leaving Orth with a handful of fabric.
~ from Â© Daughter of Blood: Chapter 6,
The Pastry Thief