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The Thief and the Shadows: Chapter 1 by Chris McCartneySUMMARY: This took a dogs age and i hope people enjoy it. My apologies, i still don't know how to work italics here.
*With the fall of the Empire we saw our numbers dwindling. It was then that the schools were created. Were we to remain idle in spite of this, our enemies would have most surely fallen upon us. The decline in their numbers and the rise of our sun each day pushed them further and further into shadow, where they became what they are today. This we did see, but what all men have failed to notice are those working amongst us, hidden and dangerous, working against the chance of the next Shade War. These men have grown comfortable in the shadows their prey walk in and such men, though rarely seen, are not to be trusted.*
- First Chronicle of Tell; Grand High Druid
The thief sat on his perch. The land around him was dark, only small lanterns prevailed against the shadow of night. Try as they may they could never keep his city from him. That's right, this was his city and this was his daytime. No one moved in the night that he didn't know about.
The thief smiled to himself, an old peddler was moving on through the streets, a small bag under his arms – today's profits no doubt. Latch give the old man a wink that he would never see, thief or no, Latch wasn't a mugger, at least not of those too frail to defend themselves. Besides the bag wasn't that big anyway. He moved from the ledge of the tall building, off in the opposite direction.
A noise caught Latch's attention then, back the way he had come, he smoothly slipped off across the roofs and ledge-ways of his city. Ah, someone else was availing himself of the peddler's weakness, a dark-haired brute with a rude demeanour. Latch couldn't abide rudeness now could he?
Something shaped like a roof slate smashed the lantern near the mugger. In the shock he dropped the old man, who quickly ran off into the night. The mugger stooped to pick up the pouch and that's when the cruel looking dagger took him under the arm. Crying out, the man swung his left arm in the direction of his unseen assailant. Latch ducked silently and moved around to the man's front. Slowly he imitated the man's movements slipping back and forward in the night, his face a mere inches from the mugger's. Foul breath flowed down into Latch's face in quick gusts.
With ease Latch took his time and picked a spot, he moved his hand to the middle of his back and pulled a short sword, blacked with a special ink, from its sheath.
Finally the large mugger gave up and started to move off, then he felt the jolt. The short sword rammed deep between his ribs and into the chamber of his heart. The man grunted. The sound of his assailant's voice came to him as the lights went out: ‘Goodnight.'
A few quick breaths and it was over, Latch allowed the man to fall, taking the blade with him. The pound he made off the cobble stones was almost disturbing. Latch squatted beside his foe and slowly pulled the sword from between two ribs. Producing a small cloth he cleaned the blade.
Being a thief was a skill, an art form, and few could do better than he, but what he couldn't stand was the desire of large, brutish individuals to impress their wills upon others; a man didn't need to be strong, just capable.