Title: The Knackers: Spit in the Crown’s Eye
It was said Mullerburgh wine was actually collected from the unfinished glasses of the king’s court, and then poured into casks built from wood meant for coffins. It was rumored that Mullerburgh women bled smoke, breathed envy and drove their men to bloody back-alley deeds. It was whispered that the lust for witchery ebbed and flowed in Mullerburgh, with one year warlocks gallivanting down the rough stone boulevards, and the next their charred teeth could be picked out of the cracks between those same cobbles.
So it was said.
“She’s a sight, ain’t she, boy?”
Pellegrin Eider twisted in his saddle. “Pardon?” His wide-chested horse snorted at the new arrival. Pellegrin knew he had been lost in reverie, gazing down from his position on the hill to view the city, but no old peddler should have been able to sneak up on him.
The peddler, dressed warmly in layers of tattered furs, eyeballed Pellegrin and his horse as if both were tradable goods. Pell fought the urge to protectively pat his coin sack. The old man grinned and his eyes, gray and merry, squinted up at Pellegrin. He said, “The cock from the country doesn't crow in the city, eh?”
Pellegrin wanted the peddler to go away, and take his jokes with him. Pell had been warned that as soon as he spoke, he would be seen as a rube, marked out as a dirt-worker despite his title.