Teaser Tuesday: “Rogues”

So this week I’ve been reading Rogues, an anthology edited by George R.R. “What Do You Mean I Should Be Finishing Game of Thrones Instead of Editing Anthologies” Martin and Gardner Dozois:

As you may have surmised from the title, Rogues is a collection of stories about, well rogues: Thieves, villains, scammers, fraudsters, highwaymen, and other abusers of public trust and institutions.

Amarelle stood up nearly straight and, after a few false starts, approximately squared her shoulders. “I’m not some marshmallow-muscled tourist, I’m the Duchess Unseen! I stole the sound of the sunrise and the tears of a shark. I borrowed a book from the library of Hazar and didn’t return it. I crossed the Labyrinth of the Death Spiders in Moraska TWICE.”

“A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”, by Scott Lynch, in Rogues

Hmm, no doubt someone like Amarelle has a lot of people on her trail, but who she really needs to watch out for is this guy:

Now normally with Teaser Tuesdays I let the Gods of Randomness pick an excerpt from one of my own novels as a teaser, but in this case, since the book I’m reading is called Rogues, and my books Shards and Ravels prominently feature a rogue, sort of, I decided to make an executive decision to pull a teaser from the inside front cover of Shards, in which one of Our Heroes, Bernard, discovers that he’s going to be playing a rogue in his friend Mercy’s new game, whether he wants to or not.

“So what kind of character do you want?” Mercy asked.

“I don’t know.”  Bernard inspected the options.  “What’s a rogue?”

“A rogue is like a thief.”

“What, you mean they go around robbing people?”

“Well, sort of, but not like a mugger.  More like, you know, Robin Hood or Ali Baba.”

“Mmm.  What are you?”

“I’m Ambrosia, the elf sorceress.”

“Of course you are.  I’ll be a human rogue.  Male.  Good.”

“Good?  You can’t be good.”

“Why not?”

“You’re a rogue.”


“So you’re a thief.  You burglarize castles.  You waylay people and take their stuff.  Does that sound like good behavior to you?”

“You just said rogues weren’t muggers.”

“It doesn’t take any skill to be a mugger.  All it takes is a weapon.  Rogues are like, like, like gymnasts.  Acrobats who steal.  Cat burglars.  They jump around, they run along tightropes, they climb up walls.”  She had no idea if this particular game actually presented rogues that way, but she was getting a little impatient.  “Trust me, you’ll love being a rogue.”

“Hmm, I don’t know.  Maybe I should be a scout.  What would a scout do?”

“Help old ladies across the street.  Oh, come on.  Live dangerously.”  Before he could protest further, she had made him a neutral male rogue.  The computer then prompted her for the character’s name.

She gave Bernard a sidelong glance.

“Can’t I just call him Bernard?” he said.

“Ambrosia the Sorceress is not going to pal around with someone named Bernard.”

“Well, I can’t think of a name,” he said, sounding cross.

“Fine, I’ll make one up for you.”  She typed Brannoc and accepted the character; the screen went black for a moment, then returned to Ambrosia standing alone and motionless in the forest, as if she’d started down the path and then forgotten where she wanted to go.

“Where’s my character?” Bernard asked.

“He’s probably sitting around somewhere complaining about his name and wondering if he should have become a scout,” Mercy said.

Shards, by James Viscosi

Well, you know, what rogue hasn’t sat around questioning his (or her) life choices once in a while, right?

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