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 The armed and very obviously dangerous guards beside her didn't seem to make this woman nervous. On the contrary, she looked bored. That was a point in her favor. Gribs hated sniveling idiots.

"What is it you think you can offer me?" He raised an eyebrow, fingering his wine glass.

"I think I can assist in something both of us want to see done." She didn't flinch at his stare, either.

She was a lady of some standing, that much was obvious by her clothing.

Gribs scoffed. "I don't think I need your assistance, woman. Get on with it. You're wasting my time, and I hate having my time wasted."

He narrowed his eyes. If he could have been called hospitable before, the word certainly couldn't describe him now. In the hardness of his features could be read all the many reasons for his weighty reputation.

"How did you come to find this place, and what fool told you I would be willing to make deals with lowlifes?" He looked her up and down again. Definitely rich.

"That doesn't matter. You said you don't like to have your time wasted, and neither do I. I should like to get out of this filthy place as quickly as possible, so find it in yourself to give me the respect I deserve, or I shall go elsewhere with my offer." She bit back. Fiesty. Hmm, that might serve him well.

"What is it you want?" He lifted the wine to his lips.

"Revenge," She snarled like a wild creature. "On Lord Ezra Antrucha."

Gribs hand closed violently on his goblet, causing it to shatter in his grip. A vile taste entered his mouth, and he looked at the woman with newfound interest.

"What do you know of him?" He rose from his chair, trying to cool the raging beast inside him.

"Much. And I'm willing to share my great knowledge with you, to assist you in bringing about his downfall." She whet her lips. Obviously, the thought of Lord Antrucha had the same effect on her as it did on him.

Gribs paced the room several times. He had built up his empire of crime just to crush Ezra Antrucha. All these years, he'd watched and waited, looking for a way to stab a dagger into the hauty lord's heart as had been done to Gribs himself all those years ago.

Finally, he stopped, rubbing a hand across his forehead. He'd started out as nothing and made himself great. Could he really give himself up now to be ruled by the whims of some socialite? But to have revenge on Ezra. . .well, wasn't that worth paying any price?

He turned back on her, his eyes narrowing further. "What's in it for you?"

"Seeing him crumble and collapse. Watching him suffer as I have suffered. I don't want him to go quickly. I want to take everything from him and watch him grovel before his life is taken. All the payment I require is that you do it slowly and cause the most pain possible." The vehement words surprised Gribs, for they echoed his own thoughts.

"Well then, m'lady, I think we have ourselves an accord." For the first time in a long, long time, Gribs smiled, and it was not a nice smile.

Hope you guys enjoy this! I didn't quite like the way the other prologue fit with the story, because to be honest, it didn't. Well, happy reading until my next post!

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