Here’s a fun little piece of Legends of Windemere: Family of the Tri-Rune! Finding it harder to put action pieces up than I expected, so I don’t think I’ll be able to stick to that idea every time.
“You sure the thief went this way?”
“As sure as I can be.”
“This’ll be the tenth time we cornered him.”
“I don’t think it’s a him.”
“I don’t care what’s between the thief’s legs. I’m tired of this one making fools of us all week.”
The seven guards slowly step into the crate-filled alley, their swords drawn and their shields held out. The rising sun casts some light into the mouth of the alley, but it is not enough to destroy all of the shadows. A shaggy cat screeches and scampers out from its hiding place as the guards continue their cautious advance. They stare at every shadow, each guard looking in a different direction. After ten minutes, they reach the back of the alley where the white brick of a house blocks their path.
“At least you guys are persistent!” shouts a deep, baritone voice from behind them. “The guards in Rodillen usually give up the chase after three days.”
The guards spin around to see a muscular shadow stepping out from behind a nearby stack of wooden crates. They are about to charge when the shadow holds up its fist and casually waves with its other hand. A nervous murmur passes through the squad of guards before the mysterious thief turns to run out of the alley. They start to follow, but the swaying towers of crates begin crashing to the ground as the thief runs by them. Before they can get out, the guards are trapped under a heavy pile of crates filled with pillows, empty bottles, and other random trash.
Racing across the street and ducking into another alley, the muscular thief weaves his way through the shadows. Eventually, the shadowy figure leaps onto a low ledge and proceeds to gracefully bounce between the two closely set buildings. Grabbing the edge of the roof, the thief flips out of sight and rolls into a crouch. The sun washes the muscular figure away, leaving a slender form clad in a full-body leather suit. She casually tucks her short, blonde hair behind her pointy ears before stretching her arms over her head.
“Come home, Flitter,” the elf whispers into the wind. She sits down on the roof to count the money she stole during the night while a young barn owl swoops out of the sky. The small beast lands on her head, leaning forward to stare into her golden eyes. She pulls a dead mouse out of one of her belt pouches and hands it to the hungry owl.
“You did a good job finding marks,” the thief says, dropping her new wealth into an empty pouch. “Still, we should find a way to gather more attention. It’s been a week and the guild has been quiet. In Rodillen, I would have been threatened or recruited by now. These guys seem to be pickier.”
The barn owl begins making noises as it excitedly hops along the far edge of the rooftop. The thief creeps over to the bird and peeks over the edge to see the seven guards standing in the street. In the middle of the guards is a large knight with orange hair and a pronounced lower jaw. A fancy war hammer is strapped to his waist, but his hand is gripped on its handle in case he needs to draw it quickly. He begins pointing around the street, sending the guards to search the surrounding area for something or someone. The thief grins as she realizes that she has gained the attention of a fully-armored knight. After watching the knight for a few minutes, she notices that his left gauntlet is a lot thicker than his right gauntlet.
“I think I found a way to get some attention,” the thief whispers, licking her ruby lips in anticipation. “I need you to draw the guards away, Flitter. The knight won’t move until they call for his help. Get them about ten blocks away and fly high to look for me because I’ll probably be on the run.”
The owl hoots at her and walks to the center of the roof before taking to the air. Its shadow transforms into a faint, humanoid silhouette bounding over the rooftops. She patiently waits for the sound of the guards shouting that they see something. Using her ears to track the differing footsteps, she listens for all of the guards leave the area. To her relief, she never hears the heavy steps of the knight. Reaching into her dark velvet and leather boots, she pulls out a vial of thick, red liquid and a strap of flesh-colored adhesive cloth with a horizontal slit through the middle. Still listening for movement from the knight, she sticks the cloth to her neck and covers the entire area with the red liquid. The liquid starts to shimmer and flow down her chest as if it is seeping out of a wound. To anyone who takes a quick look at the thief, it would appear that somebody has slit her throat.
“Time for a performance,” she chuckles, stepping off the roof over the alley and drifting down to the ground. As soon as she hits the ground, she slams herself against a stack of boxes and screams at the top of her lungs. The scream cuts off with a horrifying gurgle as she stumbles and trips her way to the mouth of the alley. She pitches forward, landing face first on the ground and sending the fake blood splattering ahead of her.
“Help me,” she whispers, reaching toward the towering knight, who is swiftly approaching. Her other hand squeezes her neck, squirting some of the fake blood through her fingers.
“Hold this to your throat,” the knight urges her. He presses a soft, yellow handkerchief to her wound to stop the bleeding. “I will get you a healer immediately.”
The thief grabs the knight by his left wrist when she feels him attempt to move. “Please don’t leave me. It’s getting cold and dark.”
“You need a healer if you are going to survive,” the knight insists. He looks around the street to see if there is anyone he can call to for help.
“You’re very kind, but the wound is too deep and I’ve lost too much blood,” she says, her voice getting so low that the knight has to lean in to hear her. “Just don’t let me die here alone, sir.”
“My name is Lord Highrider,” the knight says, gently stroking the elf’s head. “I promise to stay with you until the end. Can you tell me who did this to you?”
“I was attacked from behind,” she answers with a weak, trembling voice. Her eyes suddenly go wide and she tries to point across the street. “Him . . . that guy has my blood on him. I can see it on his arm.”
Lord Highrider tries to hold the panicky elf down without causing her pain while he turns his head to look across the street. A few people have left their homes to go to work or get some early shopping done, but he doesn’t see a man with blood on his arm. In fact, it is only women on the street and all of them have stopped to stare at the gory scene. A suspicious feeling washes over the knight before he suddenly notices that he no longer feels the dying elf in his arms. He looks down to see that his gauntlet compartment has been pried open, the hidden money pouch no longer inside.
“Guards!” the knight shouts, his voice echoing along the street.