12/01/21 Snippet, TINSEL RAIN.

A smart one.


“I want to know everything, Mr. Vargas.” The Banshee sipped her drink. “So start lying to me.”

“Sure,” I immediately replied. “There’s a plot by the other Archmages to go after you before you can get settled down here. Probably you’ll get assassins in the night. Unless you strike first.”

“Not bad,” she allowed after a moment, “but I said to lie. High-probability guesses and basic common sense I can do myself. You’re the barbarian from a tribe of shrieking storytellers; surely you can come up with at least mildly diverting nonsense.”

My gut doesn’t always like me, or maybe it just enjoys being punched. I ain’t judging. But it doesn’t try to get me killed, so I listened when it told me to push things a little: “All right. The Castle’s cleaning up after the Royals. They got a little careless with their toys, and I’m the trained seal, barking away and blowing the horn so the rabble won’t figure it out.”

“Much better, Mr. Vargas.” She actually sounded pleased. “That is exactly the nonsense you people would spew, for the usual fools we’ve sent. They’d eat it up with a spoon, the smug buffoons. And they’d probably compliment themselves on coming up with such a clever ploy of inadvertently getting the truth out of you. Because who would dare lie to a Dominion ambassador?”