We were almost there when Gigot suddenly scrambled, grabbing my sleeve and pushing Gaspard into the recessed doorway of a shop.

“What the—”

“Shh!” he put his hand over my mouth. Michel had ducked in after us, but now leaned out to peer down the way we were headed.

“What is it?” I whispered as Gigot released my mouth.

“The guard,” Michel answered. “At the Prince’s Head.”

I leaned out to peek around the corner. The inn was maybe forty yards away. There was a man standing in front of the door. The dusk was making detail difficult, but the rusty orange of his tunic was visible. He was leaning against something, about hip-height. An axe. No, a crossbow.

“Shit.” I pulled back. “How did they find us?”

“Us? Why do you think they are looking for us?” Michel asked.

I glanced back. The guy shifted, looking briefly down the road, then leaned back against the wall.

“He’s not there for a quick drink,” I said. “Maybe he’s there for someone else, but we can’t take that chance.”

“We need to go,” Gigot said. “They’re coming out.”

I peeked back. Three or four more of the guards were emerging from the Prince’s Head. And then:

“Shit.” Whatever doubt might have lingered about their purpose or who was behind it evaporated. A fifth guy joined the guards. A big guy, with a sword at his belt. The details were blurry in the darkness, but one thing was clear: Where he should have had a right hand there was only a bandage.

That guy. Holy crap, what was he doing here?

I’ll be honest with you: I wasn’t certain I was going to keep posting chapters after Chapter 10—maybe that would be it until the whole thing was finished. But I’d hoped to have a complete draft by the end of February, and instead got handed a 10K- or 15K-word freelance assignment with an emergency deadline. Plus, the final chapters are running a bit longer than I’d expected. I’m still making good progress, but I think I’ll be lucky to have a complete draft by the end of March.

And then there’s first-round revisions, and editing. So maybe June before there’s an entire novel to share.

So, in the mean time, here’s the front half of Chapter 11. Enjoy, comment, and spread the word—the more feedback and downloads I get, the more likely I am to keep posting chunks!

Click through for PDF.

And if you’re joining us for the first time, you can get the first 10 chapters in one nice, neat file here.

Comment below; you know you wanna! And receive an email notification of every update to this site by subscribing (see the link to the right). Converse with me on Twitter at @charlesmryan, or follow my writing diary on Facebook at Charles M Ryan.