“Are you sure this is the right place?” Dion asked.
“The smuggler said it was a blue door on the south wall. This is the south wall, and that is a blue door,” Brema said.
“Yes, but it looks a bit – well, too convenient for a secret way out of the city.”
“Maybe that’s why it’s a secret exit, because it seems too obvious for the authorities to suspect it,” Brema retorted.
Dion pulled the key they had paid the smuggler handsomely for from his pouch and placed it into the lock. The two spies then pushed the door open to find six members of the city watch standing there with weapons drawn, while a seventh handed a bag of gold to the smuggler.
Arit was a fairly skilled pickpocket and shoplifter, but when the opportunity to join a real expedition was offered to him, he jumped at the chance. He was in awe of Benhayat, the axeman who led the party. Willow, the archer was something spectacular to behold. She could split her previous shaft with her next arrow at 200 paces.
But when it came to the funny looking hunch-backed magician, Milnar, Arit couldn’t help but snicker at his halting, stumbling steps. Milnar’s eyesight wasn’t great either and on at least two occasions he mistook tree stumps for adversaries and blasted them with rather feeble lightening bolts. It was just too much for Arit though when the old wizard chose coppers instead of golds for his share of the booty.
“I don’t get you old man,” Arit said scornfully. “Are you any use at all? I bet you don’t even have any real skills left.”
“Those are rather bold words for one so young,” the wizard said.
“Well, do you?” Arit asked.
“Do I what?” Milnar asked.
“Have any ‘real’ magic.” Arit said.
Now as Arit slowly made his way home, he was having second thoughts as to the advisability of his words. You see, the old wizard gave the young thief a new perspective on life. In fact, the road home looked far longer and much more daunting as a toad.
After four years, Antaná could take it no more. She had daily been tormented my the hubris of the individual which stood before her. Long hours of combovers and fake tan application became too much for her to endure. Yes, after thirty years of dedicated service in the executive washroom, Antaná Klasi ended it all.
Alax didn’t know exactly what to expect as he prepared to enter the Mystic’s chamber. All he knew for sure was that he had played out all his other options. The forge was being repossessed by Sir Galor and he had neither the connections or the means to avoid eviction.
At seventeen Alax was the eldest of five siblings, and “provider” for them and their invalid mother. Alax’s father a powerfully built blacksmith had died suddenly after a brief illness and thrust young Alax into this situation.
Several of Alax’s so-called friends said that he should join the army and send his family to the work house. But Alax was not prepared to sacrifice his family with such a satisfice.
So there he was at the door of Madam Ursa’s seeing parlour. Just as the blacksmith’s son was preparing to know on the door, the word “enter” sounded in his head. He started, and then reluctantly pushed the door open.
Before he could utter a word the Telepathtouched her lips with a finger in a gesture to be silent, and then lowered it to a crystal ball on her table.
“Sit,” a voice said in his head, and with reluctance he complied. Alax could feel his own heartbeat in his chest as he settled into the chair, and sweat was beginning to dot his forehead.
“You seek answers to your fate,” the psychic voice said. It was a serene voice, that comforted him a bit, and he immediately began to question himself as to whether a voice in your head could have an accent.
Ursa laughed aloud, the first physical sound she had made since his arrival.
Alax felt embarrassed and looked down and tried to think of the cottage or the ford, or anything that he might not mind being “heard.”
“The army is not for you, young Alax,” the mystical voice said in his head. “You and will however need to go on a voyage, and there you will make your fortune. When you have completed the task I will set you, you will return and serve me. Your family will be under my care until you return, and Galor will not trouble them.”
Alax was confused, and conflicting thoughts raced through his head.
“If you are willing to accept my terms, allow me to affix my mark upon your breast.”
After a pause, Alax nodded and opened the front of his tunic. Ursa laid her palm on the centre of his chest. The touch was soft, and strangely arousing.
Ursa laughed again, as Alax blushed and tried to move his mind to other things.
When she removed her hand, a diamond shaped mark was on his skin.
“Now kiss me and depart,” the Mystic said in her mind-voice.
Alax again complied and as he did, he knew all that he would need to do to save his family.
Ferdinando was put simply a party animal. He was renowned for his decadence. For Nando late nights followed by champagne breakfasts, and sirloin lunches were the norm. But when his lifestyle started to catch up with him in his late forties, he decided to bite the bullet and see the doctor.
The medical advice was clear, he would have to get more sleep and eat a more nutritious and balanced diet.
Well after consulting his dietary plan he decided that “avocado toast” sounded a good breakfast option. How bad could a slice of avocado be in a martini anyway?
The local police tracker stooped over the cluster of leaves, and then stood and addressed the official from the National Crime Bureau.
“Seven people have passed this way since high tide yesterday. As you can see here – a woman wearing heel-less sandals stood here talking to a large man wearing business shoes. You can see that his left foot nearly rested on the toes of the woman, who stood with her feet together, while his right foot was placed to the side of her left foot as they conversed. The talked for about fifteen minutes, then he continued northwards, and she exited to the south.”
“That’s amazing Sergeant. And you got that all just from looking at the tracks?” the Special Agent asked.
“Well – Yes Sir. That and from the closed circuit video recording from that post over there,” he said pointing.
Herold Kurtz was a fourth generation bean farmer, but the margins had been dwindling of late. Herold also considered himself a bit of an inventor, and decided that with the world calling for new sources of renewable energy what would be better than to put his passion for innovation, and his family business to work. It only took Kurtz one evening to work out his plan, and three days to fabricate the world’s first bean powered turbine. All it took was a healthy diet of beans, a suitably sized outhouse, and a wind turbine – the rest as they say is history.
“So did you find her or not?” the tycoon demanded.
“Yes Sir, I have” the investigator replied.
“Where is she then?”
“I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to say.”
“What do you mean? Isn’t that what I paid you for?”
“Not exactly, Sir. What you hired me to do – was quote -‘Find her and see if she is all right’. I can confirm that your wife has been found, and that she is as far as I can surmise not only well but happy.”
“And I’m to take your word for it? Do you think I got to where I am by just accepting people’s word for things? Where is the evidence?” the businessman challenged.
“Sir, I do have photographs, but I really think you don’t want to see them.”