But this will not be the first time that a book set aside from the main action of The Malazan Book Of The Fallen has been written. In book three of the series Memories of Ice, readers were introduced to a pair of particularly unlovely, but somehow humorous necromancers named Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. Accompanied by their manservant Emancipor Reece, they move from town to town one step ahead of the law and leaving a trail of disemboweled bodies in their wake.
For those of us who had wondered how Emancipor Reece ended up in the company of such vile customers as Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, Erikson wrote the novella Blood Follows in 2002, where we meet the ill fated Reece. He's run into a patch of bad luck in terms of employment as all his employers have taken to dropping dead. The most recent of the lot has fallen victim to the killer, who is plaguing the city of Lamentable Moll on the island of Theft.
Even for the inhabitants of a city with that name Reece's luck would be considered abysmal were it not for the fact that no one cared and that there were others with even worse luck — the victims of the night murder, for example. Not content with simply killing his prey, the killer also removes various organs he seems to be collecting for purposes its better not to think about.
When we enter the story, the killer's tally has reached eleven in eleven nights, and all the victims have some connection to the nobility. Sergeant Guld, of the city guard, is starting to feel the pressure of an investigation going nowhere and the realization that if he doesn't get results soon it will be his neck on the block just to keep the surviving nobles off the King's back.
By chance, both Guld and Reece are directed to the same help wanted noticed pinned up in a city square. Emancipor being unemployed, and desperate to appease the wife, is interested in the opportunity offered by the notice to keep the wolves from his door. The sergeant, on the other hand, wonders who would put a spell on a help wanted notice that would kill anybody stealing it. True it would discourage thieves, but how many would want to work for people testy enough to kill over the theft of a help wanted ad?