I promised myself if I got over 100 views in one day I would post chapter 1 of my book, unfortunately this happened yesterday so I’m going to have to post! Please bear in mind this is a work in progress and isn’t the finished draft. If you are kind enough to read it and want to comment pleases don’t worry about any typos and spelling mistakes but rather on what you think of my main character, the pace and weather it’s enough to hook you. I would also be interested to hear where you think the story is going. If fantasy fiction is not your thing then pass on by I will not be offended.
Chp1 The Thief Trap
Tybalt peeked out from behind the crates his green eyes hungrily searching for a mark. His stomach growled he hadn’t eaten anything for three days and pain was becoming unbearable, but it was not as bad as the pain of losing his friend and protector Will. The cities watch’s crack down on pickpockets had left five of his friend dangling from the gallows and the streets safer than they had been for a long time. Will had been caught three days ago trying to snag a purse from a merchant, three members of the Watch had been lying in wait, he hadn’t stood a chance, they dragged him off to the square and strung him up, there was no trial, no one spoke up for him. Tybalt still felt anger towards Will, the older boy had made him stay behind, and if he had been there he might have saved him. Tybalt knew their chances on the street weren’t good but his fragile existence hadn’t robbed him of his childish belief in his immortality until he saw Will die. He had fled to the sewers grief stricken and scared he had hidden. But now hunger had driven him out.
Tybalt wiped the sweat from his forehead, smudging his dirty hand. His threadbare clothing already clung clammily to his body from the usual heat of Jandan. Typical of a town with no sea breeze to grant its citizens relief, it was only going to intensify as the day progressed. He’d have to get food soon before the ground beneath his bare feet became a furnace.
A patrol walked passed, three watch men in their ill fitting chain mail carrying a variety of weapons eyes searching for their next prey. Not wanting to be the next victim Tybalt shrunk back further behind the crates, his heart pounding and his mouth dry. He waited for as long as he could then started shuffling forward to get a better view of the street. Then he saw him, a man ambling along looking at the sights. He was very tall and lean with dirty blond hair down to his shoulders. He was simply dressed with black breaches, a white shirt and black jacket. They weren’t fancy but then they didn’t look cheap, the clothes fitted to well to be cheap. He carried a wooden staff. But thing that interested Tybalt the most was his purse tied to his belt. His eyes scanned the crowd as he could tell the man was on his own, he knew this was a huge risk, but then if he didn’t he would starve. He was scared; he needed too pee really badly, but the hunger pains were worse.
He darted out, weaving around the other people in the street his eyes only on the tall blond man’s purse. He deftly slipped his small knife out and moved towards the purse, then suddenly there was blue flash Tybalt was suspended a foot in the air held in a dome made from blue light emanating from the blond man. Terror griped Tybalt he knew he was going to die just like Will or worse. He felt a warm wet sensation spreading down his left leg, his right hand became hot, it broke free from the dome. He looked at his hand his small knife was glowing with a red light. Without thinking he plunged the knife in to the dome it flickered then disappeared, releasing Tybalt. He landed next to the blond man he was staring at him with a look of stunned disbelief. As quick as a flash he grabbed the purse cut the strings and then ran for it. The street around him erupted.
A well-built man dressed in dirty leathers pointed and bellowed. “Grab him; the watch will pay five silver marks for a pickpocket!”
Tybalt was away, his bare feet barely making contact with the dusty dirty street, hands came from nowhere he ducked and swerved, legs trying to trip him, he jumped over them. He could hear pursuit from behind but he didn’t look back. A cart was blocking the road, he rolled under it straight through some horse dung but it didn’t slow him down. He was back on his feet, he darted down a side street, then turned again into adjoining road he heart was pounding he risked a look behind him there was no sign of his pursuers the cart must have stalled them. He slowed down he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. He forced himself to walk normally for a few minutes his heart was still pounding but he was starting to feel week, the combination of an adrenaline rush and lack of food was starting to take its toll. He slipped into a tiny alley and slumped on to the floor. With shaking hands he opened the purse in it he found ten coppers and two silver marks. This was a fortune and would feed him for ages. He kept two coppers out and put the rest back in the purse then tucked it back in his waist band.
His heart beat had returned to normal, he brushed the worse of the horse dung off, the heat of the day and his run helped dry his breaches off so thankfully they didn’t cling. None of this had helped improve his smell but then it hadn’t made it much worse. If you don’t count the very rare rain storms then he hadn’t had a bath since his mother disappeared and that was three years ago, could be four, anyway a long time ago. Now he was feeling calmer he started to think about what had happened, he was relived he wasn’t now dangling from a rope but felt confused. What had made his knife glow red? It must have been something to do with the weird blue dome; he guessed the tall blond man had been wizard. He had been trying to find one ever since his mother had disappeared but the only ones he ever saw where petty conjures who either too drunk or stupid to tell him anything. But even if he was a wizard that still didn’t explain his glowing knife. Tybalt realised all this speculation wasn’t going to fill his empty belly. He stood up walked innocently out into the street he started heading back to his hideout.
As he walked down the road slightly shaky but relieved to still be free in fact to still be alive. He came to some shops they were open to the street with their wares displayed to tables. Tybalt approached a bread seller.
‘Go away, I give generously to the goddess I feel no need to give charity to likes of you!’ Barked the shopkeeper as Tybalt approached.
‘I have money.’ replied Tybalt rather indignantly, he held up one of his copper coins. The shop keeper eyed it suspiciously.
‘Stolen, no doubt from an honest citizen.’ He snatched the coin from Tybalt and handed him a small loaf. As he passed him the loaf with his right hand he grabbed the scruff of his neck with his left. ‘Instead of 2 copper coins I could get five silver marks for handing in thief.’
His breath stuck of garlic and alcohol making Tybalt feel slightly stick. ‘Unless I pass out from your smell before they arrive!’ Tybalt turned his head and sunk his teeth into the shopkeepers hand, the man screamed out in pain realising him Tybalt ran for it! After a few minutes he looked back over his shoulder no one was chasing him.
With the bread secure under his shirt he made his way back to his hideout in the sewers. He kept to the shadows as much as possible. As he left the relatively well kept Main Street where the shopkeepers did their best to keep their patch clean. He made his way down the side streets he found himself dodging piles of rotting rubbish and the dumped contents of people’s privies. Not for the first time he wondered why Lord Falk didn’t get the watch to do something more useful like clean the streets? Fortunately he didn’t see any of the watch most probably having their lunch avoiding the heat of the midday sun.
After weaving through the streets he came to a small alley. Out of sight from the main road down the small the alley there was a door made from rusty iron, the lock was broken years ago, Tybalt deftly pushed the door open and went into the dark tunnel. The tunnel lead a short way down in to a larger opening. Will had found this place two years ago and shared it with Tybalt. It was part of a failed attempted to build a sewer system, there where random half-finished tunnels all around the city. So the sewage was either collected by night soil men from cesspits or just thrown in the streets.
Tybalt looked at their home, it was domed shaped made from bricks the mortar was rough and not properly pointed, It smelt dank but it was cool, which was a relief to Tybalt after being out in the midday sun. They had made beds by filling sacks with straw and had an upturned box as a table. He sat on his bed and greedily devoured his small loaf to quickly all too soon it was gone and his belly ached this time not from hunger but over filling his shrunken stomach. He slumped back down on his bed with arms tightly around his middle; he started to drift off to sleep.
Someone was roughly shaking him; he opened his eyes and was staring straight at the face of the blond man. Tybalt jumped back, but there was nowhere to go just a wall. He heart was pounding fear griped his stomach.
‘Calm down boy,’ the man said softly ‘I’m not going to hurt you’
‘You haven’t brought the watch?’ asked Tybalt fearfully.
‘No, just me.’ He replied with a reassuring tone.
Tybalt looked over the man’s shoulder he couldn’t see anyone else, currently his exit was blocked, but if he could keep him talking he might be able to slip past him. Now he had a plan his heart started to return to normal.
The blond man moved back and sat on their box table. He gave Tybalt a searching look. ‘Tell me how did you do it? How did you shatter my thief trap? I had been working on that spell for over a year, the first time I tested it on a real thief you broke it like it was nothing, how?’
‘So you’re a wizard!’ Exclaimed Tybalt he had been looking for a real wizard for so long he felt his fear turn to excitement finally he would get answers to his question. Life on the street had taught him to be cautions he need to know what this wizard wanted even though he was now aching with longing.
‘Yes of course I am, answer my question!’
‘But how did you find me?’ asked Tybalt all thought of trying to escape gone.
‘I put a tracking spell on my purse just in case, now answer my question!’ This time even Tybalt couldn’t miss the edge to his voice. He reached out and pulled his purse from Tybalt’s waste band. Tybalt felt his heart sink, it was a simple trick he had hoped the wizard had a spell for finding people.
‘I don’t know I’ve never had anything like that happen before, please don’t take me to the watch they will kill me, they killed my friend.’ The tone of fear creeping back into Tybalt’s voice.
The wizards face looked quizzical. ‘How old are you boy?’
‘I’m 12 or maybe 13.’
‘Well my name is Walter I’m a Sorcerer from the order of Tuitus, and I have the power to change your life if you come with me to meet a friend of mine.’ He smiled as he said it.
Tybalt weighed his option, he was intrigued by the offer his life here was going nowhere but Will had always told him he was too trusting, too quick to believe anything he has told. He needed Will to tell him what to do. He had wanted to talk to a wizard ever since his mother had left him, he knew it was a risk but he couldn’t turn down this opportunity. ‘Ok then I’ll come with you.’ He said in a more confident voice than he was feeling
As they emerged from the alley, Walter still holding on to him, three watch men blocked their way. Tybalt looked at Walter with disgust, he had betrayed him, he had just tricked him to hand him over to the watch!
To Tybalt the three watch men looked like harden thugs. One stepped forward, he was past his prime, shorter than Walter by at least two feet he had the look of a man whose muscles where turning to fat. He had hard eyes that he couldn’t imagine smiling. He held a cudgel with a short sword at his belt. His two companions both younger fitter and taller than him both carried crude crossbows, loaded, but to Tybalt’s relief not pointing at anyone yet. Tybalt’s eyes darted around looking for an escape route.
‘Thank you sir I’ll take the boy, he’s a thief, and I’ll see you get your reward for capturing him’
Walter gave the man a withering look. ‘You are mistaken this boy is my page, I hired him at Blackedge two months ago.’ Tybalt stopped looking for an escape route and stared at Walter, he was standing up for him!
‘Sir hand him over, if you want a boy you can get one at The Defrocked Priest in Warble street, they’re a lot cleaner and more obliging than this one.’
Walter took his hand off Tybalts shoulder calmly lifted his staff a few inches above the ground he then brought it down hitting the ground, as the foot of the staff hit the ground a blue light covered it, Walter looked in the eyes of the watch man. ‘I have an appointment, I’m leaving with my page, you can stand aside and let us pass with your dignity intact, or I can throw you across the street, either way we are leaving!’
‘Lord Falk don’t have no truck with Wizards, hand over the boy then bugger off.’
‘Yes I have heard Lord Falk’s wife ran off with a petty conjurer of tricks.’ Replied Walter with a sneer on his face. Tybalt looked at Walter in awe, he had never hared anyone speak to the watch like this.
The lead watchman gave a hand gesture; his two companions brought down and fired their crossbows at Walter. At the same time Walter flicked his wrist. A blue wall of light appeared, stretching three feet either side of his staff, the cross bolts stopped at they hit it and fell to the ground. He then pushed his arm, the blue shield shot forward, and the Watch men were thrown across the street.
Tybalt looked opened mouthed at Walter ‘That was amazing!’
Walter smiled, ‘just a simple projectile shield. We had better move before any more turn up. Stand closer to me boy.’
Walter spun his staff 360 degrees a blue web descended on both of them flickered then disappeared.
‘What was that?’ asked Tybalt
‘A disguise shield, we now we look like a middle-aged woman and a small girl.’
‘You made me look like a girl!’
‘Stay here and wait for the watch, then.’ Walter walked off. Tybalt knew there was no way he could not go with Walter he had just saved him from the watch. Tybalt ran to catch him up. Walter looked down at him a smiled ‘Hello little girl, are you lost?’
‘No need to rub it in!’
Walter led him through the streets. This was part of the city he and Will had never dared go in before. The road was clean and paved although with bare feet Tybalt decided he preferred to walk on dirt. The houses were bigger and set back from the road with front gardens with bright flowers in. ‘They must be rich.’ thought Tybalt if they can afford to waste water on plants. The streets were less crowed but Tybalt noticed more Watch men, but Walter disguise appeared to be working as to Tybalt’s relief they didn’t give either of them a second look. He knew if they could see what he looked like they would arrest him for just being here. Tybalt looked up at Walter, he was walking with a confident look on his face which Tybalt evened him for.
Tybalt was still suffering from his earlier exertions and lack of food, within ten minutes his feet felt like lead. After 10 minutes more he could barely put one foot in front of the other. Walter looked back at Tybalt lagging behind, he asked, not unkindly. ‘Do you want me to carry you?’
‘No! I’m not a baby, I can look after myself’ snapped Tybalt. Although he slightly regretted refusing help as he trudged on. After what felt like a life time they arrived at a large imposing house. Unlike most houses in Janden it wasn’t made from mud bricks but a light grey stone. There wasn’t any balconies or awnings to give relief from the sun’s rays. Instead it had wood framed windows and decorated columns half protruding from the front. It made the building look very strange and foreign.
‘What is this place?’ Asked Tybalt.
It’s a chapter house for the order of Commutatus, but because it’s the only one in this city they let members of other orders use it.’ ‘It’s a house for wizards to use!’ he said slightly exasperated when he saw Tybalt’s blank look.
‘I thought Lord Falk didn’t like wizards.’ Asked Tybalt
‘He doesn’t but even Lord Falk isn’t stupid enough to tangle with the Order of Commutatus, you might wake up as a frog!’ he laughed at his own joke and the look his young companions face.
He pushed open the door and walked in, Tybalt followed reluctantly.