Victorian-esque urban fantasy setting. The main character, Valdrin, has an empathic link to the city he lives in. Another man, Diarmid, has the same ability--but he uses it in less innocent ways. What happens when the two meet?
"I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be.”
-Percy Shelley, Julian and Maddalo
Expecting a pickpocket, he whirled around and saw a woman dressed in an old, patched up dress, her hair wild around her face. Krios reached for his sword, but Valdrin had a feeling about this. "No, Krios, it's all right."
"Ghost boy." The woman turned his hand over, peering at his palm. "Soul seer, memory keeper. Light of the city, but where's the dark? Where's your counterpart, boy?"
"I don't know what you mean," Valdrin said.
"Bars can't keep the city in," she intoned, and Valdrin felt ice along his spine.
"There you are!" A man pushed through the crowd, grabbing the woman by the shoulders. "She ran away from me. She tell your fortune? That'll be two small coins." He stretched his hand out.
"I'm not paying anything," Krios sniffed. "Let's go, Valdrin."
"I wasn't done talking to her..." Valdrin said, hesitating.
"This one doesn't need to pay you. He's got the magic, too," the woman interjected.
"Oh really?" Grinning, the man reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of scissors. Before Valdrin knew what was happening, he had reached over and snipped a lock of hair right off his head.
In an instant Krios had his sword out and pointing at the Southerner's throat. "Touch him again, I dare you."
"Wasn't planning on it. This is payment enough." Clutching the red strands in one hand, he disappeared into the crowd, pulling the woman after him with the other.