Shadows In The Night
Copyright © by Nathan Readett

Chapter One

The man looked up at the roof of the carriage he was travelling in, having heard a dull thump. He dismissed it from his mind and went back to sleep. Garret, on the roof of the carriage, slowly let out the breath he had been holding.
While prowling the rooftops of the city, Garret had heard an approaching carriage and looked down at the street. His sharp eyes had identified the Lion insignia of one of the most powerful nobles in the city. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Garret had leapt from his precarious perch upon a nearby roof onto the top of the carriage.
The carriage approached an extremely large mansion. The mansion was surrounded by a moat and, after that, solid stone walls fifty feet high. The walls had been smoothed, providing no footholds for an interested thief. If that had not deterred them, there were towers every fifty feet, each manned by an archer and a swordsman.
Garrets trained eye picked up all of these details in seconds and he felt a rare tremor of fear as the carriage approached the gates. He lay down totally flat against the roof of the carriage, not daring to move a muscle. The guard at the gate passed them through and Garret smiled. 'Lets see what we can find in here', he thought to himself.
As the carriage moved up the main path towards the mansion, Garret rolled off, moving swiftly into the heavily shadowed garden. He stopped dead in the shadows beneath a large tree. Garret turned his eye towards the mansion. It was four storeys in hight, with smooth marble walls, a tiled roof, and most annoyingly, a distinct lack of wood in its construction. This ensured that even should a thief come this far, unless he was able to procure some extremely rare vine arrows from the pagans, he would not be gaining access through the upper floors.
Garret dropped to the ground as he heard the crunching of footsteps on grass close by. His sharp eyes picked up the shape of a guard walking through the gardens, happily mumbling to himself that it would soon be his turn to sit in the warm guardhouse with the crossbow. Garret leapt into the tree and took out the length of rope he always kept for situations such as this. He looped the end of the rope into a noose and waited. As the guard passed underneath him, Garret lowered the rope around his neck and jerked it up. The guard flew off the ground, kicking and jerking as he fought for breath. Garret jerked the rope again, this time producing a sickeningly audible crack from the guard's neck.
Garret dropped the guard to the ground and searched the body thoroughly. He ended up with ten gold pieces and a key. Removing his cloak, Garret put the guards clothes on and slung the corpse up in the tree. He rolled up the cloak and tucked it into the back of the guard's belt. He then strolled off across the gardens, approaching the small guardhouse that stood in front of the main doors.
As Garret approached the guardhouse he noticed something. The light that was previously burning within was now out. Not only that, he could hear no sounds coming from the guard. No snoring, no whistling and no grumbling about the pay, uniform or hours. Garret snuck towards the door and had a quick look inside. The guard was propped up in his chair as if he were sleeping, but the master thief instantly knew that he was unconscious and that another thief was at work here.
Garret left the guardhouse and approached the main doors. He tried the door and was not terribly surprised to find it unlocked and slightly ajar. What an amateur, he thought to himself. He had left the guard unconscious without taking out his replacement, who would have raised the alarm. The mystery thief had also left the door open. Garret chuckled to himself. Another late night at the office. His tall, wiry figure was framed in the doorway by the moonlight before he slipped inside and vanished into the shadows.

To Be Continued...

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Nathan Readett

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