‘Major West!’ came a voice from the shadows down the street. Jezal paused, uncertain, steel halfway out. Jalenhorm scrambled to his feet, the back of his uniform crusted with mud, pulled out his own sword. The pale monster stared at them unblinking, not retreating a finger’s breadth. ‘Major West!’ came the voice again, accompanied now by a clicking, scraping sound. West’s face had turned pale. A figure emerged from the shadows, limping badly, cane tapping on the dirt. His broad-brimmed hat obscured the upper part of his face, but his mouth was twisted into a strange smile. Jezal noticed with a sudden wave of nausea that his four front teeth were missing. He shuffled towards them, ignoring all the naked steel, and offered his free hand to West. The Major slowly sheathed his sword, took the hand and shook it limply. ‘Colonel Glokta?’ he asked in a husky voice. ‘Your humble servant, though I’m no longer an army man. I’m with the King’s Inquisition now.’ He reached up slowly and removed his hat. His face was deathly pale, deeply lined, close-cropped hair scattered with grey. His eyes stared out feverish bright from deep, dark rings, the left one noticeably narrower than the right, pink-rimmed and glistening wet. ‘And these are my assistants, Practicals Severard,’ the lanky one gave a mockery of a bow, ‘and Frost.’ The white monster jerked the prisoner to his feet with one hand. ‘Hold on,’ said Jalenhorm, stepping forward, but the Inquisitor put a gentle hand on his arm. ‘This man is a prisoner of His Majesty’s Inquisition, Lieutenant Jalenhorm.’ The big man paused, surprised to be called by name. ‘I realise your motives are of the best, but he is a criminal, a traitor. I have a warrant for him, signed by Arch Lector Sult himself. He is most unworthy of your assistance, believe me.’ Jalenhorm frowned and stared balefully at Practical Frost. The pale devil looked terrified. About as terrified as a stone. He hauled the prisoner over his shoulder without apparent effort and turned up the street. The one called Severard smiled with his eyes, sheathed his knife, bowed again and followed his companion, whistling tunelessly as he sauntered off. The Inquisitor’s left eyelid began to flutter and tears rolled down his pale cheek. He wiped it carefully on the back of his hand. ‘Please forgive me. Honestly. It’s coming to something when a man can’t control his own eyes, eh? Damn
An extract from Book #1 of The First Law.