“The Sorrowless Thief” is actually the first Ahn-Tarqa story I completed, so this is where I originally discovered the Sorrow and the Shapers and the concept of the “Devil Claws.” I revised the story later to match it better with the evolving series, but the core has always remained the same.
This was also my first paying fiction sale, so it was quite the event. John O’Neill purchased it for Black Gate. The backlog at the magazine meant that many more sales and publications have come along since, including my first pro sale with “An Acolyte of Black Spires.” I am glad to at last have the original Ahn-Tarqa tale available, and I am still proud of five years after I completed it.
Here is the sample:
At the time I had lost interest even in the meager profession of begging. I gave up my alms bowl and crawled into a smoke pit in the most dismal part of Ahn-Tarqa’s most dismal city.
I do not know how many days I droned away on a cot in a sweltering common room filled with narcotic smoke before I heard that voice. Its tone spoke sharp and clear from a place outside drugged dreams. I propped myself onto an elbow so I could listen to it.
The voice belonged to a tall man perched over the dreamer in the cot behind mine. The speaker was pestering the dreamer with questions. “You’re a fool to bother,” I muttered.
My head swam from the smoke, but I could see the man turn to look at me. “I’ve heard that sometimes the best knowledge in the city comes from men in smoke pits.”
“Sometimes. But this near to the Month of the Moon we’re all close to dead. You’re better off pestering the sots drowning themselves in a tavern.”
“Taverns are filled with other thieves,” he answered. “I don’t want to make competition. Not with the haul I plan to make.”Read the whole story here.
Then get more Ahn-Tarqa with “Farewell to Tyrn”