Fatal Empire Part One: Keeper of Secrets

Jacquelyn Smith

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2013 Jacquelyn Smith

Cover design by Jacquelyn Smith

Stock images: “OLD BLANK PAPER” by Silverv

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My name is Raziel, and I am a spy. Actually, my full name is Raziel ben Moriah al-Zamad, though few people know it. I am commonly known as Raziel al-Zamad when among polite society, Admon’s Bastard when I am not, and Razi by those precious few I count as true friends. Such is the nature of a name in the Dharakmeni Empire that it must be fluid and adaptable, hiding what it can by omission with some, while making use of misconceived insults with others. Even the countless names of our Thousand-Faced Goddess are cryptonyms, shared only with those sworn into her service.

Perhaps my mother somehow knew when she named me what I was to become. ‘Raziel’ means ‘hidden truth’ in the old tongue—the language spoken by our ancestors before they conquered this land and commingled with its natives. Then again, perhaps she simply thought it a pleasant and respectful sounding name, and chose it for that reason, as most mothers do. But knowing the kind of woman my mother was, I do not believe this was the case. I like to think she named me as a proud parent, who hoped one day to have her son follow in her footsteps.

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