The city of Vanadur suffers under the thumb of the Night Court, whose bailiffs snatch random people off the streets and whose masked judges know only one verdict: guilty.
Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, is one of those who are snatched off the streets and put on trial by the Night Court. The accusation: murder. But while Meldom may have done many questionable things in the past, he knows that he did not commit this particular murder.
However, the Night Court is not inclined to believe him and so it’s up to Thurvok, Sharenna and Lysha to save him from the gallows.
This is a short story of 7100 words or 25 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.
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- The Night Court is a short story of 7100 words or approximately 25 print pages in the Thurvok series, but may be read as a standalone. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- The Night Court was one of the stories written during the 2019 July short story challenge, where the aim was to write a short story per day in July 2019.
- Like many of the July short story challenge stories, The Night Court was inspired by two pieces of fantasy art, namely this one and this one.
- The titular Night Court is loosely based upon the Vehmic courts of medieval Germany or rather the legends surrounding said courts.
- I have described this story as a sword and sorcery courtroom drama. As descriptions go, it’s totally apt, though not a genre mash-up you normally see. It’s also not a genre mash-up I set out to write, but something that just happened.
- This time around Meldom gets to be the damsel in distress, as his not quite savoury past catches up with him – sort of. Meanwhile, Sharenna (with a little help from Lysha) is once again the one who saves Meldom’s and Thurvok’s bacon.
- The Night Court is another “last minute rescue from execution” story. Both Richard and I have a soft spot for those.
- Unlike my other stories, the Thurvok series is credited to Richard Blakemore, whom regular readers will recognise as the pulp writer protagonist of the Silencer series. As for why the Thurvok series is credited to Richard Blakemore, in the Silencer story Mean Streets and Dead Alleys, Richard purchases the January 1936 issue of Weird Tales and is pleased to find a new instalment of a Conan serial by Robert E. Howard, a Jirel of Joiry novelette by C.L. Moore, a Jules de Grandin novelette by Seabury Quinn as well as one of Margaret Brundage’s famous covers. He also muses that he would like to take a stab at writing something like that one day. This throwaway scene got me thinking, “What if Richard actually did write a sword and sorcery series for Jake Levonsky?”
- When I found myself writing a sword and sorcery adventure for the July short story challenge some time later, I suddenly wondered, “What if this was Richard Blakemore’s lost sword and sorcery series?” And so I decided to credit the story to Richard and pass myself off as the editor who rediscovered him. I even created a blog, a Twitter account and an Amazon author page for Richard and filled out a Smashwords interview in his persona.
- The cover is stock art by Unholy Vault.