Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
I glanced up as Jasmine walked into the kitchen and smiled as the small jeweled hawk flew to her shoulder and landed, “how is the new workroom?”
She caressed the hawk and grinned, “once I have everything I need, it will be perfect.”
I had found a narrow house not to far from Silver’s shop and bought it for Jasmine. Silver seemed more than grateful when I helped her move. I stood and kissed her, “Your father wanted me to meet him.”
She smiled, “I have a project. Tell father thank you for the supplies he sent.”
I nodded and started for the door as drakes filled the room to follow. Dragon and Griffin joined them when I walked out the front door and they disappeared into the foggy morning sky. When I walked into Silver’s shop a man was talking to him and turned to look at me. He frowned as I stood waiting before looking at Silver, “You have three days.”
He turned and brushed past me on his way out. I knew him and looked at Silver as I raised an eyebrow. He shook his head, “they want me to pay for protection.”
I opened my mouth but he waved, “I need you to retrieve something for me. Merchant Martinez bought a floating illusionary display to advertise his wares. He was supposed to pay me the second half of the purchase price. He has ignored that and so far refuses to honor the deal.”
I shook my head, “You want me to steal the display back?”
Silver smiled, “inside the display is a small silver locket. Close the locket and the spell ends.”
I nodded, “sounds easy enough.”
I grinned, “payment?”
Silver smiled, “what would you like?”
I looked toward the curtained doorway, “To read your copy of The God’s Lost Treasure?”
He was silent, “hunting for their treasure can be very dangerous Sinclair.”
I smiled and he nodded, “very well but I did warn you.”
I turned and left thinking about the arm breaker that had been in Silver’s shop. The gang that ran this part of the city had always ignored the magic users. It didn’t take me long to find Martinez’s large shop. The display was above the door floating in the air. A large man was beside the door sitting in a chair.
I looked up and grinned before walking down to the alley next to the shop. I used the drain to climb up to a ledge between the first and second floor. I was facing out and side stepped back to the street. I carefully turned the corner on the ledge and moved along it slowly. Quick movements draw attention so I moved slowly.
When I was above the door, the display was almost in front of me. I slowly turned sideways and knelt before carefully reaching out. My hand pushed through and into the display and I felt around for a moment before I found the locket. I glanced down at the large man before closing the locket.
I stood and carefully and slowly moved back the way I had come. I had just turned the corner when I heard someone shout. I moved a couple more steps before quietly dropping to the alley below. I walked to the other end of the alley as Dragon settled onto my shoulder and the others flew around above us.
I was thinking about the gang that was trying to force Silver to pay protection. The small shop I stopped at didn’t have a sign or advertise. The narrow faced man that turned after hastily closing a cabinet grinned. He glanced at Dragon on my shoulder, “Looking to sell the mage pet?”
I shook my head as I stopped at the counter, “What has changed in Gregor’s gang?”
He glanced at the door as he licked his lips, “I really can’t...”
I leaned forward over the counter, “You know me. They are touching something I am... concerned with.”
He sighed, “okay, I owe you. The gang is expanding, Gregor and Doles are merging with Doles in command.”
I shook my head, “Thanks.”
I walked out of the shop and a man leaning against a wall nearby straightened, “You owe us dues thief.”
My hand sliced sideways as he drew closer and he staggered before dropping to his knees holding his spurting throat as blood fountained out of it. I continued walking and ignored the man and everyone in the street as I put the dagger aaway. The tavern I walked to was half full even though it was early in the day.
The drakes and Griffin followed me in. I looked around as the room went quiet and started for a table against the back wall. The drakes, Griffin and Dragon found perches before a weasel faced man stepped in front of me and held out his hand, “No one...”
I cut his throat and continued without stopping. The room came alive as everyone stood. I stopped at the table and shook my head at the tall fit looked man standing on the other side, “you want to challenge me Doles?”
The room went quiet as everyone stopped moving. The man smiled arrogantly, “You don’t scare me Sinclair.”
I smiled and gestured to the small open area, “Then step up and take a shot.”
He licked his lips and looked at a couple of men. I shifted to glanced at them before looking at him, “You are interfering in my business and trying to shake me down. Now unless you want me to kill your pitiful gang of sneak thieves and bullies, step out and face me.”
He sneered before moving sideways, “It’s about time someone killed you thief.”
I turned so that the men he had looked towards were in front of me. I side stepped as he came around the table and he frowned as I backed up. I shifted and then stood waiting as he pulled a dagger and suddenly rushed me. At the last second I dropped and lifted my feet. I caught him in the belly and my legs were smashed back.
I kicked out and came to my feet as a man screamed and Doles crashed to the floor. I pulled a slim throwing knife as I came to my feet and threw it to kill the man Dragon had attacked. Doles came to his feet and charged me. My left hand grabbed his knife hand and twisted as I side stepped and turned. He spun with me and screamed as my left foot shot out and broke his right knee.
He went to the floor as I twisted his wrist and turned towards him to slice across his throat. The room went silent as I stepped away from his spasming body. I looked at the man with my throwing dagger in his throat and then around the room, “Anyone else want to interfere in my business?”
They shook their heads and I looked around, “Leave the magic users alone.”
I crossed to pull my knife out and stood as Dragon landed on my shoulder. I walked out and they quickly moved aside. Griffin and the drakes swarmed around me as I left and then took to the sky. I glanced at Dragon, “Thanks.”
She rubbed her head against my cheek before sitting up.Chapter five
I quietly slipped out of the merchant’s house and held onto the ledge while closing and locking the window. I moved sideways before climbing up the wall to the roof. I reached out and up to grip the edge before swinging away from the wall. I lifted up and moved onto the roof slowly because of the extra weight I was carrying.
Dragon dropped onto my shoulder as I stood and started towards the other side of the building. Griffin came out of the night and landed on my other shoulder and I stopped. I looked at the small creature and then at Dragon, “what now?”
She sighed and nodded towards the narrow board across to the next house. I moved on and crossed before turning to pull the board after me. I looked at Griffin as it held out a tiny message roll. I took it and nodded as I slipped it into a pocket, “Thank you.”
I crossed the roof and knelt as Dragon and Griffin leaped into the air. I lifted the now heavy pack off and picked up the end of the rope. I tied it and lowered the pack down to the ground before dropping the rest of the rope. I grabbed the edge of the roof and dropped over the side before swinging under the eve and reaching for the stone drain.
Once I reached the ground I coiled the rope and added it to the pack before putting the pack on. A small drake dropped to cling to the front of my shirt and looked towards the street. I nodded and gave it a caress before it leaped away. I turned and headed down the alley and across to a small gate.
The small garden was well kept and I moved through it carefully. I used a narrow side gate beside the building to let myself out onto the street. I checked before stepping out and starting to walk. It wasn’t long before I slipped in the back door to my house. I glanced at the closed door into Jasmine’s workroom as I headed through the kitchen.
I went down into the basement to a corner where several large cedar chests sat. I took the pack off and opened it and one of the chests before pouring the gold and silver coins into the chest. I went back up to the study and sat in the stuffed chair Jasmine had gotten for me. I dropped the almost empty pack beside the chair as I pulled the note out.
Dragon, Griffin and the drakes flew into the room through a half open window and swirled around before finding perches. Dragon landed on my shoulder as I unrolled and unfolded the message.
I need a favor again. The Dukes council has opened the Dragon Mage’s tomb. They wish to use the treasure he was buried with. They have yet to enter and I need you to retrieve anything that looks like it might be for a workroom. There is also a tall red staff that you absolutely must get.
I will be in your debt and will accept any bill you wish to present.
I glanced at Griffin on the bookshelf, “Did he give this to you?”
He nodded and I relaxed before looking at Dragon, “I guess we are going back out.”
She rubbed my cheek before looking toward the hall doorway. I nodded, “I know, I need to leave a message for Jasmine.”
I stood and lifted the pack and went into the kitchen. I used the thin charcoal stick and a scrap of parchment to write a note, I left it on the table before leaving. Griffin and the drakes appeared around the side of the house and Dragon began to hum softly. I smiled as I looked at her, “Feeling good tonight?”
She nodded and I smiled, those that haunted the streets knew me and stayed away. The noble and mage tombs were just outside the city walls on a large hill. The gate guards didn’t even come out to see who was leaving. There was a half moon above us that seemed to glow brighter as we moved away from the city and the lanterns in it.
I moved through the small and large stone tombs and went towards the crest of the hill. The tombs here were larger, almost mansions. A huge tower rose from the very crest. It had a full sized dragon wrapped around it. I stopped beside the two sleeping guards and looked to the left at the huge Dragon’s head.
The black eyes almost seemed to flicker as they looked back. I smiled and bowed, “I mean no disrespect my lord. One of your kind wishes to make sure what you have will not be used to harm others.”
I waited a moment before looking at the large stone doors pried open. I moved closer and knelt to pull a tiny mage lantern. I carefully began checking for traps, Dragon nudged my cheek and pointed towards one of the carven stone tiles. It was only a couple of steps inside but I could see how one corner was raised.
I nodded and kept looking, one of the things I was wondering about was why they had buried the wizard with everything in his workroom. I finally stood and stepped inside on a tile carved into a dragon. Those were the only ones that appeared safe. The entry brightened and I looked around at walls draped with black curtains.
I moved to the stairs and knelt to look at the lower steps. Right away I noticed a pattern, like scales on the tail of the dragon. I shifted and stood before stepping on the first step. The drakes flew in suddenly and then Griffin. The drakes clung to the curtains as Griffin wheeled and dropped to land on my other shoulder.
He patted my face and pointed back towards the door. I glanced back and murmured, “Someone is coming?”
He nodded and I moved swiftly but carefully up the stairs, weaving from side to side. The workroom was on the next landing and I stared around before stepping off the path of carven tiles. A roar and scream split the night and my drakes were suddenly flying around me as flames exploded from below.
I barely even glanced back before I crossed to a stone worktable. I set Dragon and Griffin on the table before taking my pack off. I started with metal vials and small bottles. When the bench was cleared my pack was full and bulging. I glanced up at the drakes, “go up and look for another way out.”
They had all crowded onto the large candelabra hanging from the center of the ceiling and dropped and flew up the stairs as I picked up Dragon and Griffin. I let them climb onto my shoulders before heading towards the stairs. Smoke and heat were starting to fill the stairs as I carefully stepped on a scale and started up.
I stopped on the landing to look around and Dragon turned my head so I would see the drakes. They were crowded around a narrow oval window and I nodded and lifted Griffin, “Check outside.”
It leaped and headed towards the window as I turned back to studying the large comfortable room. There was a central fireplace with a fire still burning in it, two large cushioned chairs were by it. There were beautiful pictures on the walls and sparkling statues sprinkled around the room.
To the side was a raised stone bed with the robed wizard laying on it. I crossed the room and stood beside the bed. The red almost crystal looking staff was beside him. I sighed at the magic I saw and slowly reached for the hand of the wizard. As soon as I touched it there was a tingling, I closed my eyes to see the wizard looking at me.
I bowed, “Lord, the nobles are planning to enter your tomb. They wish to use anything you might have left. I cleaned the items off your worktable but I was told they must not get your staff. I wish not to disturb you but they are foolish men and the Mage that sent me...”
The wizard waved his hand and seemed to look around before looking at me once more, “Take the ring on my finger and the staff. Those that have waited with me will go with you.”
He faded away and I opened my eyes, I glanced at the cold lifeless hand in mine before carefully working the bright ruby ring off. I hesitated before lifting the impossibly light staff. I slipped the ring into an inner pocket before turning towards the window. I crossed the room and turned as I heard movement. Two large cats were following me, one Emerald and one Sapphire. I smiled, “Your master said you would go with me.”
I turned to the window and the drakes dove out and down. Outside the window was like a curving tunnel that curved around the outside of the tower as it dropped. I knew right away that this was inside the dragon around the tower. I took the pack off and slipped into the tunnel with it and the staff against my chest.
Dragon dove down and spread her wings and I waited and looked at the two cats before wiggling and starting down. As the cats leaped into the window and the tunnel, the fire went out. I slipped further down as I felt the stones begin to shift. I started moving faster, wiggling and sliding. It seemed like a long time before I reached the end.
Smoke was thick everywhere so I didn’t hesitate and dropped out of the tunnel. I turned to see I had just come out of the huge dragon’s mouth. The cats dropped out as the dragon moved and began to turn. I moved away quickly and felt Dragon drop onto my shoulder and turn my head.
I headed in the direction she wanted me to go as the huge dragon behind me roared. I felt flames and moved faster. I bumped into another tomb and used a hand to move to a corner. I turned as the smoke began to clear. The tower was gone and in its place was the stone dragon. It mantled huge wings before leaping into the air with another roar.
All around in the tombs were running people. I glanced down as the Emerald cat patted my leg. It nodded and pointed towards a small path down the ridge. I nodded back and started walking as Griffin and the drakes found me and began escorting me towards the gate. The two cats trotted beside me as I walked up to the gate but all the rest slipped up and over the wall.
The guards took one look and the sergeant moved out to stop me. I smiled, “Can I help you Sergeant?”
He gestured back towards the ridge, “Were you inside?”
I snorted and gestured to the cats, “My lover is a mage and wanted me to gather certain... items from the graveyard. Those stupid nobles disturbed the old wizards tomb.”
I looked towards the ridge, “Would you believe they ignored common sense. Everyone knows wizards and mages always trap their burial places.”
I looked at the sergeant to see him nodding and sighed, “I only managed to get half the moss I needed but I’m not staying to look for more.”
He grinned as the other guards chuckled. He nodded through the gate and I started walking, using the red staff as a walking stick. People were in the streets talking and I carefully made my way to Silver’s. I slipped in the back door and wasn’t surprised to see him at his kitchen table.
I was surprised to see Jasmine across from him. He was frowning as I crossed to the table, “You were careless.”
I snorted as the two large cats leaped up onto the table, “I wasn’t the one to trigger the traps. Those stupid nobles couldn’t even wait until it was light out.”
I smiled at Jasmine before glancing at Silver and pulling the wizard’s ring out, “The wizard said to take his ring and the staff.”
Silver stirred and looked at Jasmine. When he reached for the ring the Sapphire cat’s paw reached out to slap it. I looked at the cat but they both were looking at Jasmine. I cleared my throat, “You want her to have the ring and staff?”
They nodded and I looked at Silver. He actually laughed as he looked at his surprised daughter, “well, I do already have a staff.”
She smiled and looked at me as I held the ring out to her. She hesitated before taking it with a smile, “giving me a ring like this is permanent.”
I grinned as she slipped it onto a finger. It shimmered and then shrank to fit her finger. I held out the staff and she accepted it, as her hand closed around the staff her eyes widened and she gasped. I looked at her sharply and she shuddered before laughing and looking into my face, “He sent a message, he said you are a bold but very respectful thief.”
I grinned as Silver laughed, “To bad I didn’t find his library.”
Jasmine smiled and caressed the staff, “It’s all in here.”
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