"Light as a Feather"
by Rich (aka dragoman)
Ch. 6 - Rescues and Revelations
"Owwwwwww" I moaned as I moved my head. The last thing I remembered was getting hit in the head. As I cracked my eyes open, I saw with relief that there wasn't a strong light source. I tried to move, and immediately pain wracked me as muscles severely bruised protested. Apparently, I had been beaten after losing consciousness.
"Ooooofffff." I rolled off the stone bench I was lying on, and landed on my hands and knees on the stone floor, causing a second spasm of pain to run throughout my body. As I rose slowly to my feet, I glanced around. I was in a cell of some sort, small and cramped. Thick steel bars lined one wall, with the other three being composed of rough-cut stone. A stone bench completed the only furnishings, and there was no toilet.
A faint light was coming in through the bars, and eventually upon inspection this turned out to be a guard patrolling the hallway with a lantern. Noticing I was awake, he came towards the cell. As he came closer, I noticed that he was a Hammerite.
"Thou wakest at last. Well, pagan, thou shoulds't know that thou are but hours away from your divine-mandated punishment." "What punishment?" I wanted to know. "The punishment all thieves must receive," replied the guard, and with that he walked away. My shouts after him yielded no response.
After pacing around my cell for a while, trying to think of something to do, I sat down and leaned against the wall. After a while, I drifted off to sleep....
...and awoke to the sound of a small thud. Immediately alert, I noticed that the light from the guard was no longer visible. I listened intently, but heard nothing. Suddenly, out of the deep shadow next to my cell, I heard a voice. "Hello, Thomas." "Garrett?" I sputtered. "How did you..." "Never mind. Here."
The keys were passed through the bars to me. Quickly I unlocked my cell door and crouched in the corrider besides my teacher. "Follow me," came the quiet order, and we moved off down the hallway. In less than an hour, the master thief had led me through the various guard posts and patrols to a small back window and out into the streets. I did not recognize my surroundings, but surmised that I was somewhere in the warren of sidestreets surrounding the Hammerite temple.
"Where are we?" Garrett did not answer. As he led me back to the area around Cutty's, he did not say a word. As we came to the practice building, my question died on my lips as I saw his face. I walked into the practice room. As I turned to face Garrett, a heavy blow caught me in the back and drove me to the floor. Looking up, I saw Garrett, grim faced, staring at me like he was looking at a pile of human waste.
"What the hell did you think you were doing?" he asked. I looked blank. "First, you were stupid enough to leave an identifying mark at Nonnus'. Then, while in the midst of Hammerite patrols on the street, you proceed to rob the only rich man in sight, in front of dozens of witnesses eager to gain the reward for news of you!" Garrett's voice, never soft, grew increasing harsh as he went on.
"Did the idea of 'subtlty' ever occur to you? Do you think this is all a game? Why do you think I spent so much time instructing you?" He glared at me. Since he seemed to want a response, I tried to explain my feeling of pride at my new-found skills...."That's bullshit. The only skills you have are those I have given you, and you are far too enamored of the romantic side of this business than you are the practical side!"
As Garrett spoke, a newfound awareness came over me. He was right. I had been very careless, and not taken the risks of what I was doing seriously. Garrett, even though obviously disgusted at my behaviour, had still risked his life to sneak me out of prison. I resolved to take more care with myself and with others in the future.
A sudden heaviness came over me, as the injuries combined with lack of sleep caused my eyes to close of their own violition. Noticing this, Garrett almost smiled (his smile was more terrible than a scowl on most people) and said, "Why don't you get some sleep." I gladly took his advice, crashing on the mat.
The next morning, I awoke, feeling every bit as painful as the night before, and a whole lot stiffer. A scroll fell off my chest as I rolled over: a note from Garrett. "Get yourself to Cutty's, I have already told him what has happened. Rest for a day or two, then meet me back here."
As I walked back to Cutty's I reflected on what had happened to me. I was so wrapped up in thought I started to automatically take the main road back to Cutty's. Just then, I heard a low whistle coming from a side street. Looking up, I saw Willow, the small thief who had led me to Cutty's in the first place. Once again, I was struck by her prescence. Her face was small, oval shaped, with big green eyes and a small pert nose. Her mouth, wider than what would normally be considered pretty, was usually smiling, and her brilliant white teeth set off her tanned skin beautifully. Her hair, a dark auburn, was short for a woman, about ear length, but somehow kept clean. She wore the same loose cloak I had seen when I first met her.
"Hey, Feather," she called. "I wouldn't go that way if I were you." "Why not?" I asked. "Because everyone is on the lookout for you! The Hammers are probably still fuming about your escape! Follow me, I know a way that's a lot less public!" With that, she started off into the darkness of the alley. I followed her as she led me to Cutty's via the sidestreets. Once again, I vowed to get to know the city a lot better. It definitely would save me some time.
Once at Cutty's, I paused, wondering if she was going to enter with me. She solved the mystery by blowing me a kiss, and dissapearing down the street away from me. I turned at went to the door. Just as I reached it, it opened suddenly into my face, the handle hitting me square in the ribs.
If you have any feedback on this story e-mail it to Rich aka dragoman
Chapter 5 / Chapter 7
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