“Ahm Dominic.” He finally confided. No longer shouting, his voice was rough and gravelly. “Dominic Darkbeard.”
Hope fluttered in my chest and I took a moment to look Darkbeard over. The old man was almost certainly one of Asphodel’s many homeless; his rotten greasy clothes clung to his frame more out of public decency than design. He only had one shoe, which looked more like a cardboard sock, and he seemed reluctant to put any weight on his bare foot. A great dark beard, for which he must have been named, flowed down past his knees, streaked with grey and dinner.
“Alliterative and nature reflecting?” You often got one, but rarely both. “Sucks to be you.”
It was a gamble, but the whole idea was to keep him focused on something that wasn’t jumping. Lucky for me Darkbeard had a sense of humor.
“Aye.” He let out a rough snort. “Yah dinnae ken the half o’ it, Jack… Jack Reynolds…?” I really didn’t like how he said my name. Surprised recognition with a dash of anger. “As in, Jack Reynolds the Champion o’ Heroes?”
“Well…Uh…Yeah… But that’s not-”
He spat something in his impenetrable accent. It was a thorny phrase I was probably better off not knowing.
“Yer the dobber who gots them tae close the Edgeway last week.” He stabbed an accusing finger my way. “Wi yer arrogance and yer gloryseeking and yer… and yer think you can talk tae me?”
I felt hope die quietly. Darkbeard mangled the quote but he clearly read the Asphodel Herald, which made me the last person in the world he should be talking to.
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