CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT: COINCIDENCES
On an otherwise unremarkable day, in an otherwise unremarkable alehouse, on the wide-flung borders of the once-remarkable city-state of Avenel, a remarkable set of coincidences – so unusual in their nature that one might hardly call them coincidences at all – intersected like perfect pieces in a puzzle.
Across Avenel and its urban sprawl hung a low, heavy heat, but there was also an edge to the atmosphere, like the faintest tang of electricity in the air. As though the world itself was ready to inhale, expecting something significant to happen.
Within the Drunken Archer there could be found four brothers, only two of whom knew they bore any relation to the other. Three of these brothers were intimately yet hostilely known to one another, and all three were out incognito under the effects of a certain glamour, which would exactly protect them from detection by the other two. As the glamour worn by each brother had been brewed by the same hand, it so came to pass that the trio were each haunted by the frustrating, intuitive knowledge that they ought to know one another very well indeed, even though they seemed to be looking upon perfect strangers.
The fourth brother knew very much about the other three, but was absolutely invisible to them, a feat for which no glamour was required. For Nimrod was known generously as an eccentric, but most commonly as quite mad. People were often known to go out of their way to not see – much less speak – with him.