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The Queen’s Witch

Karen Chance

Smashwords Edition.

Copyright 2010 Karen Chance

Chapter One

Light from inside the weather-beaten structure leaked out through the shutters, striping the plank of driftwood over the door in flickering bands of gold.  There was no name on the sign, but most of the tavern’s clientele couldn’t read anyway.  And the image it bore was really quite good enough.

The corpse-green paint was starting to peel, adding to the gruesomeness of what appeared to be a rotting body surrounded by waving tentacles.  In fact, the Dead Spaniard was named after an unfortunate sailor who washed ashore while it was being built, wrapped in seaweed like a shroud.  I’d always thought the name appropriate, considering the tavern’s reputation as the best place to get a knife in the back in London.

Not that anyone was likely to bother stabbing me.  Two days in a stinking gaol and another three on the run had left me looking like a beggar, with the filthy gown, dirty face and staring eyes of a madwoman.  Anywhere else, I’d have worried about my reception; here, I fit right in.  I skirted a puddle of sick, ducked under the low hanging sign and pushed open the door.

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