The Thief and the Shadows: Chapter 3 by Chris McCartney

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SUMMARY: You may notice that this story continues on the same night as the first time Latch appeared. This chapter SHOULD appear in italics (shara's speach - nrml txt) to show the change in time. Anyway, enjoy, and as always comments are much appreciated. Thanks.

There are many things that I would wish to forget and many more that I wish could stay as dead as the ages in which I left them but the past rarely stays in its tense and old pains; old plagues, rarely ever leave us to our own devices. They have a way of returning to us at the most unlikely hour, and the most unfriendly one.'
-Nester Eldoragious Mortarman Zarman
From ‘the Book of Druids'

Latch's feet rested on wet cobblestones, his back against the thick wooden wall of a house. The alley which held him was cloaked entirely in darkness and as silent as its occupant. The rain had slowed down over the last hour and was finally cutting off. Latch decided that he would seriously have to think about whether a thin cloak for ease of movement was preferable to a thick cloak to keep the rain from reaching his bones.
Latch looked from warehouse to warehouse, his keen senses sniffing out his quarry. Damn her, Latch thought. It had already been three hours since he had stumbled across the Felmik servant, more than two of which had been spent here. Latch didn't much like the docks; after all there was a rather wide road between the last line of houses and the first line of warehouses. And that road was far too well lit for his liking. It was also home to the worst dregs of society that Halen had to offer but unfortunately it was also the home of his best source of underworld information.
After a while Latch decided that his present strategy simply wasn't working, instead he was going to have to do something really depraved: he was going to have to sit out in the open until she came for him. A few moments of thought passed and Latch decided on the best way to carry his plan out. Quickly, he scanned left then right and dove across the road and into the shadows of the port's warehouses. Coming up against the wooden side of the warehouse, Latch took a moment and listened for any noise, any sign that he had been seen. There wasn't any. Now happily back in the shadows he moved off. After searching around for a while he found a spot that suited his needs, and then settled down on his side and pretended to sleep.
The shadows kept his top half out of view but the lights of the harbour revealed, from his lowest rib down: a viable specimen. Latch hated this. It went against everything he was. His judgment was crying out to him to get back into the shadows, lying out in the open was no way for a thief to behave and the puddles lying between the cobblestones were leaving him feeling more than a little sickly.
He moved around a bit, not too much, but just enough to attract the right kind of attention and finally after enough time had passed to secure Latch with a violent bout of the cold, he heard her hiss. Mentally he rolled his eyes, his material eyes being rather busy at present, and waited. Just...a few...seconds...more...NOW! Latch rolled quickly out of the way as the dark figure dropped down to where he had just been. Putting his foot down in mid roll Latch swung up to a standing position, the momentum carrying him stumbling into the opposite wall.
The figure burst from her prone position, long nailed fingers reaching out for him.

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