Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chapter 4

Clovis paced the Venician market place 'til he could recognize anywhere he stood on those few blocks. We watched shop keepers haggle with customers, hold out trinkets which shone with splendor, intricately carved hair pieces, jewelry and chests for wives or girlfriends. But no matter the amount of activity that flowed through the shops, Clovis had a disturbed feeling about the city. It was the people, he observed, that were setting him off. A majority of clothes were worn with holes, and most no one smiled, let alone laughed. Men and women wore hard faces, often accompanied by a dagger or sword hanging at the waist. The wealthier wore pistols draped on their belts. What everyone shared in common was the tension. Not one person walked with a relaxed stride. Venicia was a town on edge.

What most always triggered stiffened shoulders of every citizen here were the Mages that passed through. Mages said a word to no one. Conceit followed them like a shadow. Clovis often spotted them taking whatever items they desired without sacrificing a single coin to the dismayed shop keepers.

As troubled as Clovis was to his new environment, his mind was continuously distracted by the girl he'd met earlier that morning. Dusk was quickly casting itself over the city. As the sun left, suddenly so did the people. Nearly all the shoppers dispersed, and shop keepers wasted no time closing up. Nervously, he eyed the streets as they quickly descended into desertion.

“What are you doing?” an urgent, unfamiliar voice barked at him. Clovis turned, startled from being singled out. He faced an elderly gentleman with a stern face worn down by life's grievances. He wore a messy head of feathery white hair and a salt goatee around his mouth. He wore an apron over a stained white shirt. The frown on his face darkened the deep lines chiseled into his features. “Well?” insisted the man.

Clovis's eyebrows raised confusedly. He stood alone, slightly dumbfounded, then jolted himself into action to force a response. After uncomfortably shifting his weight, he awkwardly admitted, “I'm not sure I get your mean, sir.”

“Don't get smart!” barked the elder menacingly. Clovis jumped slightly. No one in this town had the manners that required eloquence, politeness and absolute respect that he had grown accustomed to in his home town.

“Sir, I assure you, my intention is not to trifle with you. I must press my insistence that I don't understanding your inquiry,” he replied as calmly as he could manage. He relaxed his countenance to try to illustrate his sincerity.

The man eyed him suspiciously and finally retracted his tense and guarded demeanor. His face changed from irritated to exasperated and sympathetic. “Come inside,” he sigh with a role of his eyes.

Clovis hesitated a moment before following the man into the shop behind him. Inside was a dimly lit tavern with several tables scattered around the room, each with a set of upturned chairs. A long counter stretched along the back of the room with several types of bottles, glasses and mugs shining dully in the low light. The old man lit a handful of candles, pulled down the shades to block the street and quickly fading sun light and then turned over a chair, beckoning Clovis to take a seat. The old man poured himself a glass of a dark liquid from an eccentric bottle, and leaned against the counter. “What's your name, son?” he asked politely.

Clovis, both exhaustively and nervously, took a seat, silently savoring the relief on his legs, and then replied simply, “Clovis Dussouier, sir.”

“Benjamin Thomas, though people here just call me Ben. Let me tell you, Mr. Doussouier, I've met a lot of folk in my time: old, young, dull, lively. Because of this, I can just tell about some people, know what I mean? And you have a story to tell.”

Clovis furrowed his eyebrows and asked, “Sir?”

“Knock that 'sir' shit off. You draw attention to yourself. It's Ben,” the old man snapped impatiently.

“Alright, Ben, what story are you referring to?” Clovis asked, a hint of exasperation flaring up in his voice.

“You're foreign! Look at you. You're wearing gentleman's clothes, or you were before they were torn and blood stained. There are fresh wounded that have gone untreated on you. You looked dazed and confused on the street like a lost dog! Not to mention you talk strange. How many people here do you think are formally educated? Worst of all, you stood around oblivious at dusk! Do you even know about the night guards?” Ben was watching Clovis with a critical eye. “What happened to you, kid? Where did you come from and why are you such a clueless mess?”

Clovis was taken aback by the blunt language Ben used so freely. Through his aching body and exhausted will, he was unable to retain his confident, cool exterior. He opened his mouth to reply, but upon not knowing where to start, shut it again. He cleared his throat when he noticed Ben raise an eyebrow in irritation, then tried again, “I come from a city shrouded in fog. It's located north beyond the mountains of Zel'therr, about a league west of Lake Drogmaer. Our town's name should be unfamiliar to most. I've never known anyone to come or leave, 'til that of late.”

Ben listened intently. He could see sincerity in Clovis's batted frame. He gently pushed for Clovis to continue by responding, “I'm much older than you, son. I've seen and heard many things in my years. Just try me.”

Clovis sighed, shrugged and said, “I'm from the town of Dre'nir.”

Ben nearly choked on his drink. His eyes widened and the creases in his forehead deepened in concerned disbelief. He quickly stalked to the window and peered out of the shades before turning back to Clovis. “Do you know why I beckoned you inside, Mr. Dussouier?” Ben asked earnestly. Clovis simply shook his head. “It's because the night guards patrol these streets searching for 'suspicious activity.' In other words, they clean our streets of lesser valued people while going unnoticed. Maintaining social control. Preventing groups of rebels from forming against the Mages. Night guards are Mages with armor and the silent mask of night on their side. Anyone caught out after dusk disappears, with no scrap of evidence as to what happened. They're looking for certain people in particular. A certain race of people they want dead. Son, do not make it common knowledge here that you're from Dre'nir. Its been long believed that the town you speak of was destroyed from the Great War 15 years ago.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Misplaced Title - Chapter 3

A smirk formed on Raven's lips as she inspected the new accessory she acquired. It was a thick leather band that fit a bit loose on her slender forearm. The inner most portion of it bore a socket that fit perfectly a clear blue orb of a stone she was unable to identify. The bruised boy was dejectedly avoiding her in the corner of her cambers. He hadn't spoken a word since she pulled him away from downtown Venicia. Though his countenance was cold and stand-offish, her patience was extended farther for him than what was normal for her. She noticed him looking every so often in her direction while she played with his bracelet.

“What's your name, kid?” she asked casually. She attempted to adjust her demeanor to be more inviting and friendly than what was commonly expected from her.

He snarled at her condescension. He was shocked by both her arrogance and her appearance. To wear pants! A woman. With her jacket, no less. Her hair cut so jagged and unrefined, falling all over her face. The nerve to call him, 'kid!' It was incomprehensible.

“I'm sure it is of no importance to your lady-ship to put a name with my face, miss Raven,” he replied coldly.

Raven was taken aback, and for a quick second a sneer formed on her lips. But as fast as it came, she regained her pleasant composure. “Your blatant disregard for being grateful aside, I'm sure you wouldn't prefer me to call you 'kid' for the rest of our acquaintance,” she said playfully. His ignorance to the way Venicia functioned was bordering on incredulous. It was because of this alone that she hadn't abandoned him to fend for himself.

“Grateful? To an androgynous female whose speech is so blunt and vulgar, throwing all decent social conduct to the wind, not to mention a thief?” he spat aggressively.

Any shred of pleasant air she had in her vanished at this verbal attack. Her lips grew thin, and her eyes, gray and red, bore into him with intense animosity. If he didn't know any better, he'd say her arterial eye began to illuminate a low crimson hue. His face started to flush red, and he noticed his skin quickly becoming moist with sweat. “You nameless fool. You've never been to Venicia, that's become quite clear. Let me give you some hints on how this city functions. I saved your life; whether or not you'll admit it is of no importance. There are a hundred other things out there far more dangerous than those two moronic thugs who mugged you. This accessory, I stole not from you, but from the two who managed so well to beat you out of commission. They handed it over without the slightest resistance. It becomes quite clear, by that notion alone, that you are not to talk to me unless it is with the utmost respect. And if not respect? Then fear. Your incompetence interests me not. Would you like to go back out there and die? I have no problem with that. If you don't, however, then I suggest you listen to and appreciate every word I have to say to you.”

She strode over to him during her speech, and quickly loomed over him, piercing through him with those eyes. Bullets of sweat were now running down his face, and his dampened clothes stuck to his skin. The whole room seemed to have drastically risen in temperature. “Paris,” he said meekly. “My name is Paris Wolfric.”

She shook his hand, and the intensity in her demeanor immediately vanished. In the same moment, the temperature in the room seemed to plummet back down to its original air. The iris of her eye returned to a normal state. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Wolfric,” she replied coolly.

Paris didn’t understand Raven, but the strange effects that took place when her emotions were readably heightened was familiar to him, though he said nothing about it. Instead, he made a conscious decision to try to keep her at a level state of mind around him.

Paris had dark brunette hair that hung straight down to his chin. His current lack of hygiene took his already stringy hair and clumped it together with grease and dirt into thick, grimy tresses. His hazel-green eyes were downcast; inconspicuously he observed the random valuable objects assorted around the room. Classy rugs, lamps, weapons gleaming in the low light, jewels, clothes, miscellaneous apparel, paintings, and other artful decorum lined the walls. The delicate features of Paris’s face were bruised and cut during the scuffle in the streets of downtown Venicia. His porcelain complexion was marred by the bright red and purple marks on his cheeks and lips, not to mention how flushed by frustration and confusion he’d become. A t-shirt and jeans hung loosely on his food deprived structure, the cloth hung in strands in several places across his frame.

Raven saw the potential in his broad shoulders and long legs which, with proper nutrition and training, would be strong enough to intimidate foes on sight. She took a gander at his shoes, which were absolutely ridden with holes, and a deep frown spread across her face. “Where are you from, Mr. Wolfric?” she inquired, with a concerned and puzzled look displayed on her features.

“Everywhere,” he said under his breath, in a tone barely audible to her. He didn’t even bother to look up from the pieces of treasures he admired around the room.

Raven furrowed her eyes at the minute response given. “A ranger. Why would you come here, of all places? Surely you must know the intense oppression of the Mages that goes on here.” She could not hide the very small amount of concern and distress in her countenance.

‘It’s not just here, miss Raven,” he said solemnly, looking up into her eyes. “The oppression of Mages grows every day, in towns around the world. It’s not a matter of time that every town functions like this one does, if the rumors I’ve heard about Venicia hold any weight.”

The two of them sat in an ominous silence. A blanket of fear fell across the room as they sat in a dreaded state of mind, contemplating what would happen when the day came that the Mages could get away with anything they wanted. Then, without warning, the door to Raven’s chamber flung open noisily, making the two of them twinge in surprise. Raven had her pistol cocked and drawn within a second, pointed at the man who meandered leisurely into her chambers, completely oblivious to his startling intrusion. Laine walked into the room while holding a tray loaded with food and drink on it. He looked up and started to find a gun pointed at his face. He put the tray down slowly on Raven’s table centered in the middle of the room and backed away slowly. Raven bitterly glowered at Laine for barging in unannounced. “Laine, you will do better to knock next time you enter here,” she hissed menacingly. The color quickly drained from Laine’s face, and within seconds his body began pouring sweat.

“Miss Raven, my most sincere apology, I was foolish.” He coiled back in fear. Raven’s crimson eye was now unmistakably emitting a blood curdling red light. Laine’s eyes showed such terror that explained how he hustled out of the room as fast as his legs would carry him, and absently didn’t think to shut the door on his way out in his state of panic.

Raven found herself so startled and infuriated by the intrusion that she was seething. The room was boiling hot, and she stormed over to the door to slam it shut. Each of her footprints left behind, to Paris’s horror and amazement, a patch of fire, burning into the floor in the shape of her shoes. Raven turned around and cursed under her breath when she saw what she’d done, and quickly put the small fires out by simply laying a hand on top of the flames. When she finished, she took a deep breath to calm herself down, and the temperature of the room, on cue, sunk back to a tolerable degree. Paris was so stunned that he could utter not a word.

“Here… eat this,” she said, motioning towards the tray of food. “You look like death, Mr. Wolfric,” she continued exhaustedly, in a state of over-whelming embarrassment for allowing herself to slip in emotion so easily from someone as worthless as a common thief.

Paris ate slowly and without saying so much as a word. The soup he sipped quietly, and the bread he ate in small bites. He cast the occasional side long glance at Raven. The latter of who was sitting silently on a large heavily cushioned chair reading a book from the vast library of books she kept in the room. He examined the holes burned into her once pristine rug. Had he seen correctly? Did her footprints really spontaneously combust under her feet as she walked? And her hands, they weren’t burned at all. He’d watched her put live flames out with her bare hands. At length, he found the courage to ask, “What are you?”

“I’ve avoided answering that question. Better to keep a low profile than to catch the attention of Mages, am I right, Mr. Wolfric?” she responded without taking her eyes from her book.

He inspected her thoroughly. Her pants were now singed at the base; her jacket for the most part hid the feminine frame underneath; her bangs hung loosely in front of her eyes. She was so androgynous looking, and so pensive in nature. She was older than him, her demeanor showed as much. But her features were beautiful. She was very handsome, though it was hard to notice because of the way she carried herself, the way her clad her body in particular apparel. She was feared, that much was obvious. As they walked from the streets to her chamber, she raised her head high and moved for not a single person. They made their way into the basement of a run-down looking building in a shady portion of the city. From this basement, they made their way through underground halls and basements attached to all the near-by buildings until he had lost all sense of direction. There were people everywhere down here, carrying shiny, tacky objects to and fro, trading each other; there were noisy people eating obnoxiously loud, smacking their gums, talking with their mouths full. These people were disgusting, and Paris nearly gagged in walking past. All the while, these foul people rushed up to Raven and offered their greatest finds. She picked a couple items from time to time, but for the most part disregarded everyone. When she was seen coming, everyone rushed out of her way; some even bowed as she walked past. Many hushed their vulgar speeches when they saw her approaching. After she passed, they all turned their gaze towards at the stranger that trailed close behind Raven. Paris couldn’t move an inch without ten sets of eyes watching him intently. For a woman who most likely only had a few years over him, he was amazed at the status she was able to make for herself here.

His eyes again lingered over her figure, and it was then he positioned his pale eyes on the leather band she still wore around her wrist. He stared intently at it, debating in his head how he was going to con her into giving it back without getting himself killed. “I have to ask the obvious question, miss Raven,” Paris started. “What do you want me to do? I know well enough you’d have me here for no other reason than if you thought I was able to do something for you,” he continued confidently.

“You’re a waif, Mr. Wolfric,” she said levelly. She noticed the aggravation that flashed behind those hazel-green eyes of his. It was endearing that he couldn’t ever hide the way he felt. “You’ve managed to travel the globe and hold a low profile you’re entire life. To be able to conceal yourself in necessary moments is a highly valuable asset.”

He raised his eyebrow at this assumption, and was taken aback by the acute accuracy in what she said. She then continued, “However, the fact that you were so easily overtaken by Laine and his grotesque, recently one-handed friend is unacceptable. You’re going to train with me. After your training, you’re going to be of much use to me,” she said assuredly. There was not a doubt in her mind that he’d do what she said.

Paris knew he didn’t have many options. A large portion of the underground thieves already knew who he was, and he wasn’t about to confront Mages of Venicia without knowing more about them. Not to mention the fact that he wasn’t about to fight her. She had some kind of ability in her. She was manipulating magic without a spell book, which not even Mages could do. Though the type of magic he’d seen come from her was weak in comparison to Mages, and it was only triggered by intense waves of emotion as far as he’d observed. “I see that I don’t have much option here, miss Raven. Though, I have a proposition for you,” he suggested gently.

Raven quirked an eyebrow and smirked. She leaned forward in an intrigued manner. “I’m listening, Mr. Wolfric. What do you think you have to interest me further?”

“I’ll train harder and do more than is asked of me for you if, when the training is done, and I’m ready to go out doing chores for you, you allow me to wear that bracelet your men snagged from me that you now wear,” he said confidently. He searched her face for an answer.

Raven examined the simple leather band with the sapphire colored orb set in the center of the inner portion of band. “This is valuable to you, is it?” she started slowly, choosing her words carefully. “Fine, Mr. Wolfric. You will be given this back when, after your training is done, you bring back something of equal value on your first chore in out Venicia for me.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Misplaced Title - Chapter 2

The market place bustled with life in the crisp cool morning of Venicia. The sun had just risen and the light was pale and soft, illuminating the morning dew. The low drone of constant cacophony rose from the market place. Merchants were negotiating with the lower class residents of the city who had hardly a dime to spare. Mages glided with such an air of conceit it was enough to make one sick. Their countenance reflected just how separated the social classes were. They paid not the slightest attention to the common passer-by. Loose change was flung at the merchants who meekly scooped up the coins and avoided eye contact with the Mages. They knew better than to argue the pathetically low exchange of money they received. Better to accept what was offered and live another day than to confront the Mages.

Thieves were busy at work conning merchants and pick-pocketing bags of coins customers wore off their belts. Other, more experienced thieves worked together. While one haggled away with a merchant, the second would snap a couple items from the booth while the frustrated merchant was distracted. The former would seemingly give up, unsatisfied with the prices offered. The two thieves would hit several booths a day, often switching partners every day, and then split the days earnings. What every thief shared in common was who they reported to. The Lords and Ladies in charge of each gang were shown the days earnings, picked their favorite items, and left the rest for those who earned it. This exchange was made to offer the thieves protection, and keep them safe. The gang was always exchanging information and keeping tabs on what was happening throughout the city. Rarely were the Lords and Ladies found out in crowded areas in the day. There there were crowds, there were Mages, and even the strongest didn't stand a chance against them; not since the war and genocide that took place a decade and a half ago.

Clovis looked a mess. His flame red hair hung in thick tresses, stuck to his dirt and sweat covered face. What once looked a high class outfit now was torn and stained. His stark white top hat was obliviously tilted to one side. His white vest was unbuttoned and splashed with dirt. The cuffs of his pin-striped black dress shirt were torn open, and his shirt wasn't tucked into his matching slacks which were starting to become tattered and frayed at the bottom. His once white leather gloves were now patchy brown, though the small jade colored stone embedded into the palm of his right glove remained unscathed. His face showed a combination of disgust and conceit as he strode through the market place. His pale complexion was marred by how intensely flushed he appeared. He flashed his piercing emerald eyes at the passer-bys who couldn't help but stare at this disheveled fellow who walked naturally with the elegance of those highly education and of upper class. He was not one to know how to be inconspicuous, and he was walking amongst those who made it their profession to be such.

He strode along, becoming increasingly perturbed by his growing hunger. Being hungry was not something he was yet accustomed to. On the contrary, he was once used to having food before him within a minute of him pondering whether or not he was even hungry at all. Now he wandered from shop to shop, inspecting each bakery for its cleanliness and quality. He ignored the irony that he bothered to inspect what shop he intended to steal from. The longer he waited to take, the stronger his hunger became and the more patient he grew. Clovis certainly never was one for patience, either.

Finally, he entered a bakery whose fragrance of fresh bread permeated out into the market. He entered the store and admired the different hand crafted loafs of bread. Once the baker was busy with a couple more upper-middle class customers, who could afford his baking, Clovis reached out to take a large, fluffy roll. A hand suddenly reached out before he could even land his own hand on the chosen prize. He started, sure that he hadn't been watched. He caught the eye of the young woman whose hand laid on his arm. She smiled a beautiful and gentle smile and handed him a loaf of bread. Caught up in his hunger and her beauty, he ignored his pride for the moment and accepted the offering. They walked outside, and he started to eat slowly, in small bites, keeping his gentleman demeanor.

"You draw too much attention to yourself, to steal from such a nice store, sir," she stated, looking at him with genuine empathy shining in her eyes. "You looked so famished, and so new here... Mr...?" she inquired shyly.

Clovis removed his top hat and bowed gracefully for her, and she in turn curtsied politely. "Clovis Dussouiae, miss. I extend a deep thanks for your kindness and discretion."

"Vercta Radley. Pleased to meet your acquaintance, Mr. Dussouiae."

Clovis couldn't stop his gaze from being so strongly drawn to her. She looked like an angel in comparison to the normal filth creeping through the Venicia market place, at least for what he'd seen so far. She wore a prestine, simple, white a-line dress. It was strapless, and hugged her waist, while the rest flowed away, cut off right above her knees. A small white hat was clipped to the top-left side of her head, and a small white vale of fine mesh hung in front of her eyes. Those eyes, a perfect sapphire pigmentation they were, that shone with the clarity of diamonds. Golden, curling tendrils bounced playfully around the tops of her shoulders. Around her neck hung a silver band, the bottom top of it which was tucked protectively under the top of her dress at her chest. To complete her look, she had white mesh gloves covering the delicate features of her hands.

Clovis noticed that Vercta looked away from him bashfully; he hadn't realized that he'd been staring at her as he ate in silence. He'd been flushed already, but now his face flooded with a beat red color as he averted his gaze. He would, under normal circumstances, not have been caught dead so obviously and rudely admiring a woman's beauty, especially of one he hardly knew.

"You don't belong here, do you Mr. Dussouiae?" Vercta quizzed softly, her eyes full of wonder and curiosity.

Clovis shook his head. "No Miss Vercta, I do not. Although, if I may point out, you don't appear to belong here, either."

A small frown formed on her lips, and she shook her head, her hair swaying with the movement. "I'm afraid I must contradict you, Mr. Dussouiae. I was just cursed with favorable genetics."

As she spoke those words, a Mage glided past them. He stopped, and observed Vercta, who smiled meekly under her vale. "Girl, come here," he demanded without the slightest air of respect for her. she followed obediently, and cast a final glance at Clovis.

"Wait!" Clovis started.

She turned quickly back to him and said, "No! Please, don't ever get in the way of the Mages... you'll get us both killed." And with that, she and the Mage disappeared within the crowds and were gone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Misplaced Title - Chapter 1

The clear night brought with it a complete absense of warmth. Raven's heels clicked loudly on the cobblestone streets, in the hollow alleys of homes that made up Venicia. The city had an ominous moan, the wind licking with perverse aggression at her slick tresses of midnight hair. Most people knew not to venture outside their homes after sunset unless in desperate urgency, but for a young woman to walk alone, with no particular direction or destination, was most certainly asking to never be seen again.

Raven walked along, however, troubled naught by the threat of darkness that lay like a suffocating mass, relief achieved only by the splinter of sunlight that splashed across the roof tops every morning. Raven's hair lay in straight, choppy layers just hitting her collarbone. Her attire was not becoming of a fashion wary woman. She clad herself in black wide leg trousers, flat light weight boots, and a black blazer to match. Though Raven already appeared strange by her androgynous styled wardrobe, what was most disturbingly captivating about her outward appearance was her eyes; the right was a pale, pure orb of gray. All of the beauty that would have been recognized by every gentleman in Venicia, however, was quickly vanquished by her left eye. Within the iris was a stain of crimson. To stare into her eye was as if to stare into a foreboding pool of blood. Often the most brave of men got shivers down their spine when caught in the impatient and challenging glare of her eye. To those naive enough to know her only as a mystery, it was rumored that she was a living gateway to Hell itself.

So beautiful a city ought to be appreciated for its splendor, thought Raven as she turned at the end of the street, no matter the danger that notoriously hid around every corner. She began striding leisurely down a hill that lead from the tight knit cluster of townhouses, to the maze of thin, twisted streets of downtown.No sooner had Raven reached the outer limits of the packed in buildings of downtown, did she hear a quarrel erupting, with multiple voices echoing off the cold stone buildings. Raven's eyes flickered upwards in a quick response to subtle movement. Tenants in the immediate upscale apartments drew their shades in an attempt to avoid getting involved. Raven clutched her gun held securely on her belt underneath her blazer and tensed. She was confident, especially for a woman, but she was not reckless or careless. Gingerly she removed her weapon, pressed herself against the wall, and inched closer to the alleyway where the scuffle was taking place. She listened tentatively so she might make out what was being said.

"What do you make of this worthless worm?" croaked a hoarse voice. The way it scratched and gurgled saliva sounded nastier than the gutter itself.

"I'd say the scared little mate is lost. Like a filthy, vermin covered pup. Disgusting waif," replied a second voice, this one much sharper and educated than the first. The thick thump of impact was heard of boot to body. This was quickly joined by a barely audible whimper of hopeless agony.

Raven took a deep breath and in one swift move, cocked her gun, raised it straight, and turned around the corner. Guns were immediately drawn and raised. "Wait, don't--!" cried the more intelligible of the two muggers. But before he could stop his ghastly partner, he had leveled his gun to shoot. However, in his drunken state of power, and probably liquor, he had hesitated and fired a shot that was far off point. Raven hardly had to move in the moment to avoid the direction the barrel of the gun was aiming. She fired a warning shot into the putrid thing's hand. His gun fell, as did he. His knees hit the cobblestones and he moaned as he clutched what shreds were left of his hand. The gurgling of his saliva as he cried gave Raven half a mind to shoot him in his throat.

"Miss Raven! A thousand apologies, my lady! Please, this man is a fool, he knows no better."

She snarled and glared menacingly. "And you always were a cocky fool, yourself, Laine. One day your carelessness will be the end of you." Her tone obviously lacked empathy or patience. There were far worse things here than two fools for thieves.Laine's face twisted into frustration and embarrassment by gut reaction before he could hide it. That was all the proof of carelessness she could take for the evening. "Make yourself scarce before I leave you out as bait for the night guards," she hissed venomously.

Before the two could clamor away, Raven held out her hand with expectation. Laine hesitated, but saw that her arterial eye seemed to start glowing slightly, and his heart sank in utter defeat to his ego and anything else he had. He searched his pocket and pulled out a leather bracelet and a piece of a bread loaf. This is what they mugged this sad sap for? Although, she had seen worse for less. She knelt down by the wheezing boy on the ground, and shook his weak hand, then said gently, "Hey, I'm Raven. Welcome to Venicia. Come with me; the night guards most surely will have heard us," while quietly equipping his bracelet. When she saw the fear and hesitation in his eyes, she added, "I might not kill you yet, but if the night guards reach you, you'll never see the sun come up again."