Wednesday, December 17, 2014


The Heroes of Fannen-Dar, Chapter 7

Nighttime in Fannen-Dar is quiet. It's not silent, because there are certainly noises that the town makes. Rats squeak and scurry across the empty streets. The Crook hums from the result of whatever magical experiments the wizards who reside there were up to that day. The town is not slumberous either, for there are very few who actually sleep at night in Fannen-Dar. Many are up to what is often referred to as “no good,” but what the perpetrators themselves would rather call “entrepreneurial endeavors.” Many others are awake because they are wary of the first group.

Yet, Fannen-Dar is quiet at night. Movements are made slowly, carefully, stealthily, but there is always someone who hears you when you sneak. Voices are kept to whispers, until a trade goes bad. A sudden shout cut off short does so much more to make the night quiet than silence ever could.

A whispered curse does its part as well.

“Tratten lock picks!” A short figure was flattened up against a door on an empty street. The guards were conveniently absent from their patrols as he fiddled with the handle and, more importantly, the lock underneath. He did not need to crouch, for he only stood three and a half feet tall. The keyhole was at eye level.

The thief put the thin bits of broken metal back into one of his many pockets and pulled out a dagger. “Should'a done this in the first place,” he muttered, jamming the dagger into the keyhole. The blade began to glow red, outlining the faint runes etched onto its side with dim light. The metal keyhole melted as the blade slid through, until the door swung upon with only a soft creak.

The thief looked around before slipping his dagger back in its sheath and stepping inside, where he figured it would be safe to talk to himself.

“Fine place they got here,” he said. His voice was rough for someone with the body of a ten-year-old human child. He chewed on pipe-gum in between his out-loud thoughts. “Too bad for them.”

The building was mostly one large room, with rafters above that were eerily devoid of avian or insect life. Stacks of barrels and crates formed the only landmarks around the room. The halfling opened the lid of one marked with a thin green leaf. “They sure keep this place tidier than back in the Hill.” Chew, chew. “Then again, we only got one type of supply.”

“Ah,” he said after walking down a side isle. Pressed into the groove between the floorboards, in such a way as to be invisible unless one was looking for it, was a black string. The halfling followed it, noting that it ran through each stack until he reached the center of the warehouse. There was a pile of boxes, stacked together a bit more unevenly than the others, that were each labeled a purple squiggle.

He opened one of the crates, and what was inside did not, in any way, resemble a purple squiggle.

“Looks good. Looking good,” he murmured, around the gob of gunk against his gum. “Seems a shame to waste it all,” he added with a laugh.

The halfling bent down and found where the wire entered the pile. He brought his dagger back out to cut the line, then took the pipe-gum out of his mouth. The sticky glob had turned black from seeping in his saliva for so long. He molded it until it was as thin as the wire, then connected the severed wire to either end of his slimy sculpture. He stood back up when he was finished, and from his new vantage point, the wire looked untouched.

“Nothing to it,” he said. He chuckled to himself as he walked back towards the front door, making sure to snag a few chunks of yellowish chalky material from an ajar barrel before leaving. He closed the door behind him and popped out the now useless lock, then swapped it with a fresh one from one of his pockets and jammed it into place. The halfling looked over both shoulders before slipping back into the shadows, not quite silently, but at least quietly. The building looked no different from before he had entered.

Except for the broken lock pick lying on the floor next to the stack of crates marked with purple squiggles.

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