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|continuation of prologue||
Moving from shadow to shadow, Sarcanirin and her three comrades slowly got into position. Trying not to make too much noise, she carefully pushed trash and offal from her line of sight. Her heart jumped into her throat as a couple of rats jumped out of the pile of garbage she had just moved. Ignoring their angry squealing, she signaled her team she was ready. Looking at their choice of hiding spots, Sarcanirin thought to herself that these piss-ants are not going to live long. Jarok was three years older and was supposedly the leader of their little group. The only reason he was leader was his size. At twelve, he was already three heads taller than most people three years his senior. Although he was big, he was dumb as a stump. Quick to violence, he always rushed into a fight without regard to his companions’ safety. Looking over to where his ambush site lay, Sarcanirin could see him fidgeting, waiting for the first mark to pass by, impatient as always.
“He’s gonna get us all killed someday,” she muttered to herself.
Suddenly of a bottle clinked off a trashcan freezing the blood in her veins. Cautiously, Sarcanirin turned her head toward the sound. Slowly letting out her breath, she glared at Saverok. He saw her looking at her and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “I didn’t mean it”. Saverok was Jarok’s twin brother although they weren’t anything alike. Where Jarok was quick to a full frontal assault, Saverok was more inclined to take the beating then slip a dagger between your ribs from behind. He was a slim, shifty type who had the profile of a weasel and a disposition to match. Sarcanirin lifted her finger to her lips and he waved it aside as if nothing had happened. Sarcanirin then looked at the last member of the group to see if she was ready, a small whelp everybody called Mouse. Nobody knew where she came from: just that she one day she showed up and had never left. She had the non-descript look that every good thief needed. She never spoke, followed every order without complaint and never varied her expression. She always looked like she was suckin’ on a lemon. However, the thing that surprised Sarcanirin the most was that Mouse was one of the most deadly daggerman in the guild. As she tried to spot Mouse, Sarcanirin wondered how long Mouse would stick around. If she stuck around long enough, she would no doubt be a high-ranking member in the guild. Maybe even Guild Master.
Suddenly, there came voices from the mouth of the alley. Sarcanirin hissed a warning and shrunk back amidst the garbage. Seeing three shapes swaying drunkenly towards her, she breathed a sigh of relief. This should be an easy one, she thought to herself. She flashed three fingers to Mouse who in-turn flashed the message to the twins. Waiting for just the right moment, she let the three sailors pass her hiding place. Gathering her courage, she quietly stalked behind the three men. At just the moment Sarcanirin was reaching for the closest man’s purse, a heap of garbage tumbled in front of the sailors. The one Sarcanirin was trying to pickpocket jumped back in fright and in doing so, stepped right on Sarcanirin’s left foot.
“Hey now, what’s this?” the sailor demanded. “Are ye trying to steal me steel?”
Thinking quickly, Sarcanirin put on a sweet face and replied, “No suh. I caught the rat that was going to bite you on your ankle. I’m to small to steal anything from a big brute of a man like you.”
“Ha! You urchins could steal the hoard out from under a red dragon. Ya don’t fool me, now come ‘ere. I’ll tea…urggh!” A bubble of dark, foamy blood interrupted his last syllable. The man wiped his chin, looked at the sticky fluid staining his hands and glared at Sarcanirin as if damning her to the abyss. With a strangled gurgle, the man fell with a dull thud like a diseased tree on moist soil amidst the garbage in the alley. Sarcanirin took a quick glance at the dead man and noticed Jarok’s dagger buried to the hilt in the man’s back. It seemed to Sarcanirin that timed had slowed as she pulled her own dagger. Looking at the two remaining sailors, she saw their expressions turn from puzzlement to something dark and sinister. Knowing she had to do something before the men sounded an alarm; she quickly flipped her dagger and grabbed the point. Rearing back, she put all of her strength of her small frame into the throw. She watched the blade spin end over end toward the closest sailor. Just when Sarcanirin thought the sailor was dead, he unexpectedly moved toward his left, advancing on Jarok. Swearing under her breath, she ripped her other dagger from her belt and took off after the man. That’s when she noticed the other sailor move into the flight of the dagger. Praising Lothar Nimble-Fingers, patron God of thieves, Sarcanirin watched the dagger catch the man in the throat. Gagging on the hot spurt of blood, the sailor dropped to his knees grabbing the hilt of the dagger in a vain attempt to pull it out. Forgetting the man she just killed, Sarcanirin resumed running after the first sailor, who was slowly advancing on Mouse and Jarok. Saverok was nowhere to be seen-which was typical-when things deteriorated. Sarcanirin uttered another curse as the sailor reached down and grabbed Mouse by the throat. Jarok rushed to her defense but couldn’t get past the sailor’s belaying pin. Stroke for stroke, Sarcanirin could see that the sailor was just playing with Jarok. Ignoring the clash of steel and Mouse’s whimpers, Sarcanirin mustered her courage to jump on the sailors’ back, when out of nowhere Saverok emerged from a pile of garbage at the sailors feet. Sarcanirin could only cringe when she saw Saverok thrust his dagger straight up, right into the man’s groin. Howling at the invasion of cold steel into the soft flesh of his private area, he simultaneously dropped Mouse and grabbed his crotch. Sarcanirin walked up to the whimpering fool, grabbed a handful of hair and slit his throat from ear to ear. Mouse and Saverok ducked out of the way, but Jarok caught the fountain of exploding blood directly in the face. Sarcanirin bent over and cleaned her blade off on the dead man’s tunic, then started rifling through his pouch.
“Three steel pieces, that’s it!” she exclaimed. Kicking the body, she spun on her cohorts, a dangerous stone hard rage in her eyes and venom dripping from her voice. “Which one of you blew our cover? Dammit, I have told you repeatedly, when I give the signal you freeze! You!” She turned on Jarok, cutting off his protest before he opened his mouth. “I thank you for the save, but if you had kept quiet we wouldn’t have had this mess.” Noticing a deep red blush creeping up Jarok’s face, Sarcanirin couldn’t help barbing him. “Is that anger you’re feeling Jarok, or embarrassment? Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it later.” She turned her back on the seething Jarok. “Mouse, go loot the body by the wall and return Jaroks’ dagger to him.” Sarcanirin took several deep breaths trying to control the rage that threatened to envelop her. Just when the rage was about to boil over, Mouse came running up the alley obviously agitated. “What is it Mouse? Gods, I wish you would talk sometimes. What did ya find?” Sarcanirin asked impatiently. She snatched the satchel out of Mouse’s hand so violently that the bag ripped in two. What dropped out of the bag astounded Sarcanirin, for what she saw on the rubbish strewn ground had to be worth a king’s ransom. Lying there by her feet had to be five of the biggest gems that Sarcanirin had ever seen in her short life. Quickly before the other three could blink, Sarcanirin scooped up the gems. Stopping the others with a threatening glare, Sarcanirin carefully gave the gems a quick appraisal. Two of the gems were obviously diamonds and had to be worth on-hundred gold pieces after the fence and the Guild Master got their shares. The other three gems were smaller emeralds but just as valuable. Flipping an emerald over to Jarok, who deftly caught it and secreted it away in his boot. Forcing a slight grin, Sarcanirin wondered if the Guild Master would see any of the proceeds of the emerald. As Saverok walked up, Sarcanirin handed him one of the diamonds as if to say “good job on the takedown.” He in-turn handed the other sailors purse and her dagger to her. Sarcanirin casually flipped an emerald at Mouse, not bothering to see if she caught it or not. Turning her attention to the purse Saverok gave her, her puzzlement grew when she saw it only contained two steel pieces and one copper. That got Sarcanirin thinking, but she pushed the thought to the back of her mind, having to deal with the present situation. “Okay guys, lets get moving. I don’t understand why two of these sailors had a few coins while the third had a fortune in gems. Let’s split up and head back to the hideout, and we’ll divide the loot there. Jarok, help me hide these bodies first so no one finds them. Luckily they won’t be found until after the rats have finished gnawing on their bones.”
While Sarcanirin and Jarok moved the bodies near the alley wall and began covering them, Mouse scaled up the closest drainpipe and scampered away by rooftop. Saverok adjusted his clothing and sauntered out of the alley as if he belonged, blending into the crush of drunks and disappearing from view. As soon as Jarok dumped the last armful of trash on the bodies, he turned on Sarcanirin.
“Don’t ye ever talk at me like that in front of me brother and the Mouse. I’m supposed to be the leader, not you! In fact, I should get a bigger piece of the booty tonight because of that.”
Standing with his arms crossed and a self-serving grin on his face, he wasn’t prepared for Sarcanirin’s assault. When Jarok was dumping garbage on the corpses, she had grabbed a bottle from the pile because she had a feeling that Jarok would try something like this. She waited until Jarok stopped his ranting and threw the bottle at him. She knew he would easily dodge it, but before he could recover, Sarcanirin ran toward him and delivered a vicious kick straight between his legs. She kicked him so hard; she raised him a good foot off the ground. Jarok’s eyes rolled back into his head and dropped to his knees, clutching his rapidly swelling gonads. Sarcanirin nimbly jumped back as Jarok covered the alley floor in a sudden torrent of vomit.
“You might be the so-called leader in your mind, but there is no way I am going to follow a kobold smelling, orc kissing, troll like you. And if you ever try to muscle me again, it will be my dagger in your crotch instead of my foot. Now get up and get back to the hideout!”
Sarcanirin spun around and stalked out of the alley, leaving Jarok writhing and squirming on the dirty, rat infested ground.
Mouse and Saverok were already in the alley when Sarcanirin arrived.
“Where is Jarok?” Saverok asked nervously. “I don’t think he liked the way ye treated him, so ye better watch you back.”
“I don’t gotta do nothing,” Sarcanirin replied viscously. “We already settled back there so don’t worry your whiny little head unless you want to feel for yourself what Jarok went through. Oh by the way, you had better take your hand off that dagger before I take it away from you and do something nasty. In the mood I’m in it would be welcome!” She waited for him to take his hand away, and when he did, she was secretly disappointed. She was still fuming about the encounter with Jarok and would welcome a chance to blow off some steam. “All right, let’s get the loot divided and separate for awhile…So nice of you to join us Jarok” Sarcanirin called sweetly. She had noticed him limping into the hideout and couldn’t resist pulling his string one more time.
“Taneshea take your eyes Sarcanirin.” Jarok said invoking the Goddess of Bad Luck’s name. “Someday you’ll get yours you bitch, and I hope I’m there to spit on your cold dead carcass.” Jarok limped up to her and held out his hand. “ Just give me my share and I’m outta here.”
Sarcanirin had a fleeting thought to put her dagger in his gullet, but restrained the urge and just gave him his share. “Gladly, and Jarok, I think our partnership is over. If you ever cross my path and give me an attitude, I swear by Thelemar The Destructor, I will rip out your still beating heart, take a big bite and watch as the last of your life leaves your eyes. Nothing against you Saverok, but if you cross me, you’ll share your brothers fate. Got me?” Seeing him nod with a fearful look on his face, Sarcanirin knew she had nothing to fear from Saverok, but she will probably end up killing Jarok just to be safe.
“Don’t worry bitch,” Jarok growled. “You won’t see me again, but you just might feel my blade between your shoulders if you’re not careful.”
“Reduced to threats now Jarok? It is so unlike you. Don’t you like to see the pain on your victims’ face when you gut them? I always knew you were a coward at heart, you sniveling fool. Just get out of my sight!”
Sarcanirin continued to divvy up the rest of the loot, for she knew Jarok would not leave without his brother and his money. As she finished handing out the money, the uneasy feeling overcame her again. Sarcanirin couldn’t understand why the one sailor had that many gems with him when the others only had a few steel coins. Puzzled, she turned to Mouse to ask her if there was anything else in the pouch when suddenly; from the mouth of the alley came a deep sinister voice. Sarcanirin felt a chill run up her spine because she knew that voice. The last time she heard that voice, it was at the last public executions she went to. Scared, Sarcanirin turned to the mouth of the alley and her worst fears were confirmed. Standing there, in the full trapping of his office, was the one man Sarcanirin had hoped never to run afoul. The High Priest Sevastian.
“So these are the hardened criminals that bested my acolyte? Killed my acolyte!? Four small children. No, your size might suggest youth but I can see in your eyes the years you have lived in such a short time. That’s going to change by the way. You see; I can not afford to let an affront like this go unpunished. I hope you have enjoyed life up until now because your lives are now forfeit. First though, I would like to have my acolyte’s holy medallion returned to me. No need to admit to who has it, let us see if I can find it on my own.” Slowly turning and looking at each one of them in turn, he raised his holy symbol and pointed at each of them in turn. He did this twice until settling on Mouse. The holy symbol flared with an unholy blackness. With the smell of brimstone and foreboding doom, it shot out of his hand with supernatural speed. There came a sound of snapping bone accompanied by a wet meaty thunk. A fine red mist and chunks of flesh suddenly covered Sarcanirin. Mouse blinked once and looked down to the gaping hole where her chest once was. Sarcanirin could see the confusion in her eyes as she slowly toppled over, her final breath hissing through the garish wound. Calmly the High Priest walked over to Mouse’s body, knelt down and snapped the drawstrings of her pouch. Upending it on the ground, Sevastian sifted through the steel pieces and assorted junk until he found what he was looking for. Sarcanirin cursed when she saw what the High Priest grabbed.
“How could you be so stupid Mouse. We always leave medallions where they lay. You stupid girl!” Sarcanirin muttered under her breath, fighting the tightness that threatened the swell her throat. Putting a passive look on her face, Sarcanirin strained to get a good look at the medallion. It was the size of a baby’s fist with onyx carved in the shape of fire surrounding the medallion. The face of the medallion had a lightning bolt sundering a tree in two. Sarcanirin shivered when she saw that, even though she didn’t know why.
Sevastian retrieved his own symbol, wiped the gore off on Mouse’s pants and turned to face the others. Sarcanirin looked to her left and was surprised to see Jarok and his twin still standing there. With the shock gone, Sarcanirin ran over to Mouse’s body and started kicking it and screaming, “you stupid runt. You knew better.”
With an amused chuckle, the High Priest let Sarcanirin vent her rage and turned his attention to the brothers. “Araxtha Nou Verbra Noretha,” Sevastian chanted and moved his hands, casting a spell. Suddenly he pointed at Saverok. Jarok, in typical fashion, threw himself away from his brother. Sarcanirin heard a loud “whoosh”, and as she turned her head, felt an intense heat. Shielding her eyes against the bright glare, she saw something that terrified her and yet intrigued her at the same time. Where Saverok was standing moments before, there was now a pillar of flame. The strange thing was that the flame was coming straight from the sky and it wasn’t spreading. Then as sudden as the flame appeared, it dissipated. Saverok was nowhere to be seen. The only thing Sarcanirin saw left of him was a blackened and charred skull. As she looked at it, it popped once and cracked into three pieces from the intense heat. Sarcanirin kneeled down behind Mouse’s body in hopes that it would protect her when she saw Jarok. His face contorted into a primal look of anger as he drew both of his daggers and charged the priest. Sevastian saw Jarok bearing down on him, and to Sarcanirin amazement, smiled. The Priest gestured and muttered something that Sarcanirin didn’t understand and she realized that he was casting another spell. Finishing with a shout, the priest motioned Jarok to stop. Sarcanirin saw Jarok shake his head as if trying to clear it and slowly come to a stop. Standing before the priest with a blank look on his face, Jarok dropped his daggers.
“Come to me my little man,” Sevastian beckoned. “Yes, I am your friend, your only friend. Won’t you come stand by your friend?” Jarok obediently came to stand next to Sevastian who turned and addressed Sarcanirin. “Now what do you suppose I do with you? Do I have your partner here hack you into little tiny pieces? Or do I finish you myself, hmmm?”
“I don’t care what you do!” Sarcanirin yelled defiantly. “You can go sit on the business end of a sword for all I care!” Having said that, Sarcanirin stood and threw her dagger in one swift move.
The priest’s eyes widened for just an instant, but before the dagger could travel the distance to him; he motioned to Jarok who stepped right into the path of the knife. Crumpling to the ground with the dagger in his shoulder, he looked up to Sevastian with adoration in his eyes. He looked just like a puppy, praised for getting his masters slippers.
“Why thank you my young friend,” he told Jarok. “Well really, did she think that she could actually kill me?” My dear friend, could you do me a favor? I think we need to show her what she’s up against. This alley really does need a new opening, so be a friend and break down that wall for me. It’s a tough wall, so you had better use you head.”
Nodding dumbly, Jarok picked himself up, ignoring the dagger in his shoulder, and ran full speed into the wall to which Sevastian was pointing. With growing horror, Sarcanirin saw Jarok hit the wall with such force, that he landed three feet back from the impact. Shaking his head, Jarok slowly got back to his feet, looked at Sevastian and seeing his nod, ran at the wall again. This time Sarcanirin closed her eyes before he hit the wall and shuddered when she heard the violent splintering snap of Jarok breaking his neck. Giving in to the inevitable, Sarcanirin prepared herself to die. Drawing her last dagger, she took a deep breath and readied to charge the High Priest. She got one step when Sevastian pulled a rod from his belt and said. “No no, my little one. Death isn’t an option for you. I just might have a use for you in the future. If you prove yourself worthy.”
Sarcanirin hoped she could get in one good shot before death greeted her, not believing Sevastian for a moment. She thrust her dagger, aiming for his heart. He parried easily, chuckling, and delivered a bone numbing hit to Sarcanirin’s right shoulder with his evil looking rod. Sarcanirin suddenly found herself unable to move. Panic-stricken, she could only wonder what the man had in store for her.
“Do not worry my little ball of anger. You will soon learn to use that anger. For my benefit I might add” The High Priest grabbed Sarcanirin tightly by her shoulder and mumbled a word. Suddenly Sarcanirin’s world went dark.
|Destiny chapter2||Destiny Prologue|