Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Saving the prince|
I sat outside the inn sipping cold coffee and eating a late breakfast after a long night. The six men I had brought in had been more than worth the wait and the trouble of hunting them. I glanced at the busy marketplace as the voices grew louder. A trio of the king’s guards pushed through the crowd headed towards me.
I watched them as I finished and turned to call into the open door, “MARIA!”
The woman that appeared was tall and slim. She smiled as she took the plate, “are you coming back tonight?”
I grinned and ignored the guards as they stopped at the table, “that depends on if you are going to come home with me after.”
She laughed and swished her skirt as she turned to walk back into the inn. One of the guards cleared his throat and I turned to look at them, “yes?”
“Are you the thief taker?”
I sighed, “yes.”
He gestured, “the king and queen want you.”
I frowned and stood before fishing a silver out and turning, “Maria?”
She appeared from just inside the door and I gave her the money, “duty calls my lovely.”
She smiled as I turned to walk around the table and let the guards lead me away. I glanced at one as we walked, “any idea why they want me?”
One snorted, “the young prince went missing.”
I looked at him and then glanced around and thought as we walked. I touched one on the arm, “wait.”
I moved to a ragged looking beggar and fished out a silver coin. I dropped it into his lap, “I need everyone looking for the prince. I’ll give a free pass on anyone if they provide information.”
He glanced around, “a reward?”
I nodded, “there will be a reward but if anyone helps them I will do more than bring them in.”
He nodded and stood, “I’ll spread the word.”
I turned and headed back to the guards and we started walking quickly towards the palace. Walking through the throne room I saw it crowded with nobles. One of the guards tapped on the study door and opened it, “the thief taker.”
I walked through the door and crossed to kneel, “How may I help your majesty?”
The king turned from holding his wife, “find my son.”
I nodded and stood, “I need information. Where was he last seen? Was anyone with him? Was there anyone that made threats?”
The queen touched his arm, “we received a warning to lessen the merchant tax but that was it.”
The king nodded, “it was left and no one saw anything.”
I nodded, “when was he taken and was there anyone with him?”
The queen nodded, “he was in my private garden with his nanny.”
I frowned, “the nanny?”
The king growled, “dead. Someone strangled her.”
I turned towards the door, “I need to see the garden.”
The guard by the door turned to lead me out and through the palace. The garden was small and isolated, filled with lattices of flowering climbing vines and rose bushes. I saw the blood stain by a carved wooden bench and walked to it as I motioned the guard back. The nanny wouldn’t let a stranger approach and would have screamed if they had a drawn weapon.
I slowly turned and looked around before walking towards a lattices with a broken flower stem, “has the gardener been in here since it happened?”
I looked at the guard and he shook his head as the large form of the king’s captain stopped beside him. He was silent as I stepped between the lattices and looked at the gap between them and the wall. I moved to the right towards the palace wall and stopped when I reached a thick ivy covered section.
They had been disturbed and I parted them to see a door. I moved back and looked at the two men, “did you know there was a door here?”
They shook their heads but something about the way the captain had first reacted rang alarms in my mind. I moved back to the door and pulled and ripped the vines away before lifting the latch and pushing. It opened silently and I stopped to look at the well oiled hinges. I was in the much larger king’s garden but behind a trough that held a tall hedge.
The captain and guard followed me out and I looked around to see several nobles and a few merchants. To the left was a wide door in the wall for the gardeners. That was where I went and walked out behind the stables. I looked at the captain, “you have a list of those that used a carriage?”
He hesitated as his eyes shifted, “they were checked.”
The guard looked at him as I smiled slightly, “That wasn’t what I asked.”
He moved suddenly, lunging with a dagger. I slid aside and caught his wrist before I twisted and snapped a kick across into his knee. I pulled the dagger from his hand as he screamed and looked at the wide eyed guard, “go get the sergeant of the guard.”
I quickly tied the captain as he cursed and squatted in front of him, “who took the prince and killed the nanny?”
He spit and I smiled as I pulled out my small knife, “normally I don’t use a knife but for the young prince I will risk it.”
A squad of guards trotted around the corner of the stables with a sergeant leading them. I gestured, “first I am going to castrate you and then remove your fingers. When I finish I will ask you again who killed the nanny and took the prince.”
The sergeant cleared his throat behind me but I didn’t look back, “interfere and you will not live to reach the gallows.”
I moved towards the captain as he began to struggle. I cut his belt and then his pants before yanking them down. He finally screamed, “WAIT! MERCHANT PETERS AND DANIELS!”
I stopped and looked at him before looking at the sergeant, “lock him hand and foot. I will come back to take him to the city guards. Tell the King I have names and am going for them now.”
He nodded and gestured to a couple of men who growled as they yanked the captain up roughly. I turned and started walking as I thought. Peters was local and dealt mostly with locals inland. Daniels had ships and imported his merchandise. I headed towards the docks and started trotting.
I slowed before I reached Daniels warehouse just off the docks and walked towards a small grog shop. I walked in and stopped beside an old man at the bar, “I need information.”
He glanced at me and then grinned, “another missing ship?”
I looked around the shop, “Has Daniels put anything on one of his ships or seemed to be guarding one?”
He thought before nodding, “The Red Gull.”
I slid a silver piece across the bar and turned, “thank you.”
I left and pulled my sticks as I began to walk. Daniels had the whole end of one dock for his ships. Four large men were leaning on crates as I approached. They stood and moved out in front of me grinning evilly. I didn’t speak or warn them, one stick jabbed into a man’s gut and the other slammed into his head.
A back swing into the side of another’s head sent him crashing to the dock. I turned and side stepped as one lunged with a dagger and struck him just above the eye. There was a sickening crunch as he fell and I slapped a dagger away before breaking the last man’s wrist. Another back swing and he was falling to the dock too.
I started walking and saw several men on the last ship moving as if to set sail. When I reached the ship I jumped and landed on the deck as I lashed out. The sailor leaping towards me crashed to the deck as I started for the captain’s cabin. I twisted and turned as I brought a stick down on a sailors wrist and his knife spun away.
I lashed out and into the side of another’s head to send him after the knife. I kicked into the first sailors groin and began walking again, “if another man interferes he will go to the gallows.”
The crew moving towards me hesitated and I kicked the captain’s door open before walking in. He was across the room holding the prince and a dagger, “leave or he dies!”
I smiled as I started walking, “he dies and it will take you a long time to follow and I promise every second will be very painful.”
He looked around as if for a way out as I stopped, “let him go now!”
He licked his lips, “the merchant did it not me.”
I just looked at him and he slowly moved the dagger and let the prince go. I reached out to pulled the boy to me, “I will give you one hour before I tell the coast watchers. Return to Tide and I will see you hung.”
He looked at me for a moment before nodding and I turned with the prince and left. The crew looked but none moved to stop me as I led the prince to the dock. Word had gotten out and a crowd had gathered at the other end of the dock. I nodded to the old man and gestured to the prince, “Daniels?”
He grinned, “his warehouse. His workers know something is coming, they have already slipped away.”
I looked at the large building and then down at the prince, “stay behind me your highness we have a traitor that your father will want to see.”
He smiled and nodded and the crowd chuckled. I started for the smaller dockside door and walked through it before looking around. I headed to the left where several men stood, “merchant Daniels you are wanted for treason, anyone else interferes and they hang with you.”
Four very large men started for me as they pulled cutlasses. I gestured for the prince to stay and kept going. One lunged and I brought a stick down to break his wrist before slashing across to hit him in the face. He went down as the other three attacked. I turned and sidestepped as I broke another wrist and deflected a sword.
I slid in smoothly and brought a stick across and down to break an arm. I jabbed into a man’s gut and slammed the stick into his head as he folded. I moved to the side quickly as Daniels started around the fight as if headed towards the prince. The last two men were wary as I lashed out and knocked a last sword out of a hand, “run or die.”
They backed up and spun to run towards a back door and the merchant was left to face me. He was holding a fancy dagger and sweating, “I am trained.”
I smiled as I moved closer, “really?”
He jabbed and one stick snapped down on his wrist. He screamed as the dagger hit the floor and pulled his broken wrist back. I moved in and slashed across into his head and he tried to lean back. I jabbed with the other stick and he folded over it before I hit him in the back of the head.
I pulled out leather ties as I knelt, “come help bind him your highness.”
He looked frightened but had stood his ground and came forward. I woke the merchant and the other two men I had tied up. I searched him and beside the fancy dagger I took his purse. I slipped the fancy dagger onto the prince belt before I pulled Daniels into his office. I broke open his strong box and poured everything into a large rag.
The crowd was large when we came out and several spit on Daniels. They followed as I headed through the city. It wasn’t long before city guards were with me and I grinned and winked at the prince before borrowing a pony from a merchant. The prince rode beside me proudly as if on the tallest of horses.
When I reached merchant Peters warehouses and corrals his workers were gone. I pushed Daniels and the two men ahead of us and into the warehouse. I had the prince walk behind me and several guards followed. Peters had a few men with him but one look at me and the guards and they turned to run.
Peters started off trying to explain and then plead. I cuffed him as I spun him and tied his wrists before pulling him into his office. He protested when I broke open his lock box and one of the guards that had followed us in slapped him, “shut up.”
Like with Daniels I took everything he had and made him carry it. Back outside was a huge crowd that stirred as we brought out Peters. I whispered to the prince as I helped him onto the pony and he waved, “we caught them!”
The crowd cheered and followed as I headed towards the guard building. I knew word would have spread to the king and queen before we reached the building. One of the women in the crowd moved closer and gave the prince a broom handle, “prod them along your highness.”
The crowd laughed and the guards chuckled as the prince grinned and leaned forward to shove one end of the handle into the back of Peters. The crowd roared again and I reached out to slap Peters when he started to turn. The king’s guards were around the square when we walked in. The sergeant of the guard that had taken their captain stood tall with three lieutenants.
The king and queen were waiting by the steps. The king was smiling as the queen hugged his arm. I glanced back at the prince, “I think I can manage if you would like to greet your parents.”
He smiled and slipped off the pony to run to his mother. The king waited for me to write out my report before holding court right in the square with the crowd watching. His guard captain and the two merchants were hung less then an hour later. The other two men went to the mines for ten years.
Besides a large purse of gold the queen made me a knight and the king offered me a patient as a court baron, which was a polite way to give me a steady income.
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