Thief (Excerpt)

So. I decided to give an excerpt, for no one in particular. This is from a book I started writing in May, finished the first draft in June-July, typed it up during the summer break, edited it, and had it mostly done by the end of September. Which doesn’t mean I’m not still making tiny tweaks to it. I mean, there was one thing I had to really fix and that was…Nope. Too embarrassing. Only a few people would know what I’m talking about if they read this and I’d like to keep it that way.                                                                          The title’s Thief, if you hadn’t already guessed. It’s, like a lot of my books, fantasy and one of those cases where I got the idea from a dream. Although the final product was barely anything like the dream. Extremely different, I am not exaggerating. Only one kingdom in the world of my book is originally from my dream I had about half a year ago and the story line is as far off as can be. But, that’s probably not too unusual. Books go through a lot of changes, right?                                                                                                  Without further ado, here is the first chapter of Thief. Um, enjoy, I guess.

Note to self: The next time a shady figure slips you a pouch of gold coins and tells you to steal something, just say no.

Actually, I probably wouldn’t follow that note. As long as I wanted to eat the next day, my whole life revolved around shady figures slipping me a pouch of gold coins and telling me to steal something. But this, oh, this had been a step too far.

I snuck towards the giant structure ahead of me. It had been a long trip to get from Zybinaro to The Dome in East-Arcane. It had taken me…how many days? It didn’t matter now. All that mattered was finishing my job, and getting out of there. Not getting spotted would be ideal, too.

The Dome is a hard place to get into. Crossing the kingdom’s borders had been easy, the East-Arcanians dwelling place was what had me worried. Built into the side of the Edge of the World, this cylindrical building was big, easy to get lost in, and heavily guarded. You’d have to be an idiot to try and break into the place.

I stared up at the pastel coloured building, re-thinking my life choices for a moment, then I ran over.

I inched along the wall until I found a large window at ground level. I set down a sac I’d slung over my shoulder and rummaged through it silently. It was my bag of tricks-everything I needed was in there. Well, hopefully.

Out of the bag, I retrieved a thick blanket. I grabbed a large enough rock from nearby, placed the blanket against the window and kept it there with one hand, while with the other I rammed my rock into the window. There was a tinkling of glass.

I winced. Had the guards heard that? The blanket muffled the noise a little bit, but that had been audible. I briefly considered running, however no cavalry was coming to skewer me, so I continued to break the glass until there was a big enough hole for me to crawl through.

I stuffed the blanket back into the bag. I stepped carefully over the shards of glass, all the while assessing my situation. The Dome had several rings, levels with houses and marketplaces picturesquely sitting together like matching flowers in a garden. Guards patrolled each of these levels, and in the center, was the castle.

The Arcanian castle would definitely go against every law of physics that exists. Since these people love their magic so much, in the center of The Dome the castle sat suspended in the air, grand and tall and ultimately impossible. There was only one bridge connected to the structure and that was the one connected to the level I stood on.

And it was absolutely crawling with guards.

I ran through The Dome, using the many pillars to hide behind. I counted the levels of the castle in my head-one…two…three…Once I was sure I’d found the sixth floor I pulled a long piece of rope with a hook out of my bag. Then, I had to get as close to the castle as possible.

I was mentally kicking myself the entire time for accepting the job. The idea of running floated in my mind, taunting me, telling me how completely stupid I was. But if I wanted my full pay, I had to get my employers item. So I launched my make-shift grappling hook up into the air and towards the castle.

The hook hit its mark, lodging onto a castle window. I ran towards the edge of the level and climbed onto the railing there. With as much momentum as I could manage, I leapt off of the railing and flew fast towards the castle wall. I bumped against it so hard I almost thought that the whole structure would go plummeting to the bottom of The Dome.

When my ultimate demise by a falling building didn’t seem to occur, I started climbing. Don’t look down, don’t look down… I told myself. Naturally, of course, I looked down. My stomach did its own little gymnast routine. The depth of The Dome seemed to never end. It just dissolved into darkness. Suddenly my hands were way too sweaty. Suddenly the castle window was too far away. Suddenly that same idea of running was hitting my consciousness over the (metaphorical) head with a log.

I gulped and forced myself to look away from the never ending abyss. Just a little farther. You can do this. Don’t let go of the rope… I attached the end of the rope to a metal clasp on my waist, then I pulled my good old glass breaking rock out of my bag. Quickly I broke the glass, got into the castle, and touched solid ground before I had a heart attack.

Trust me when I say I would have loved to just lay there for about a day, but I still got up and kept moving. I replayed the conversation I’d had with the shady figure back in the kingdom of Zybinaro:

“A drunk Arcanian guard that had been out of Arcane on official business said it would be on the sixth floor of their castle. You’ll know that you’re in the right place if there’s large gold double doors at the end of the hall, with half a dozen guards standing in front of it.”

Well, I guess I’m in the right place, I thought with slight disappointment after I’d explored the castle a bit. If I peered around the corner I could see the same gold doors the shady figure had talked about, along with, yes, half a dozen very alert guards. I reached into my bag and closed my fingers around three small circular objects. I threw them behind me before ducking further behind a pillar. The second the objects (oh yeah, those objects were bombs) hit the ground they exploded and filled the hall with a thick cloud of smoke.

Several guards’s footsteps echoed through the area as they came to investigate. I watched them from my hiding place then I peeked at the doors again. To my dismay, two of the guards had stayed behind to guard the door. I grumbled internally before running over to them.

The two remaining guards raised their long silver staffs and yelled. The yelling only increased when I threw a couple of my bombs at their faces. The two flailed around, running into everything-walls, pillars, each other. I took it to my advantage and found the doors through the mist so I could pick the lock.

I slipped into the room and closed the golden doors behind me. And, just for good measure, I dragged a nearby cushioned bench over and placed it against the only thing separating me from the guards. It wouldn’t be long before they got in, so I had to move quickly. I looked around wildly. The shady figure had been very vague on what I was supposed to steal, saying simply that I would “know it when I saw it.” My eyes landed on a pedestal in the middle of the room, and what sat on top of it.

It almost made me scream. It was a little porcelain dove, carved to look as if it was taking flight. It could have easily fit into the palm of my hand. I’d gone through so much trouble to collect a common knick-knack? I sighed and pulled out the small lock-picking device I’d used earlier. I flicked it onto the pedestal, and ducked down.

My justification for these actions? Well, there were rumors of the spells East-Arcanians put on their valuables. You heard all over that thieves often found themselves teleported to a dungeon, frozen in time, or-and this seemed to be a favourite of most people-turned into a frog.

So I didn’t know what to expect. A small explosion, even a puff of smoke, but nothing happened. Nothing at all. I peeked up at the pedestal. The lock-picking device laid safely on top, just touching the doves foot.

That’s when, despite my bench lock, the golden double doors burst open and the guards filed in. All hesitation left, and I grabbed the porcelain dove. I found a single window, broke it open, jumped out and mentally kicked myself for the second time that night.  I fell. I fell fast and hard, tumbling down the hollow center of The Dome. What had been my thought process when I jumped out the window? Hey, I might fall to my death, but at least I won’t be a frog?

I put the dove safely into my bag and pulled out my grappling hook before throwing it up to the ring at ground level. I missed.

My scream probably woke up all the inhabitants of The Dome, and the neighbouring kingdom at that. I continued to plummet until my hook caught onto the railing of one of the levels. Then I swung about in the air, keeping a death grip on the rope until I stopped moving.

“Near death experience, check.” I muttered to no one but myself. I climbed up the rope, taking my time, because although I wanted nothing more but to get out of there as quickly as possible I didn’t want to shake the rope so much that the hook came loose.

When I got up onto the level I left the grappling hook, figuring I didn’t have time to stuff it back into my bag, and instead ran to a nearby ladder. I climbed so fast that I might have been traveling at the speed of sound. It turns out my hook had caught onto the ring just below ground level, and now I was close to the window I’d entered The Dome through. I threw a couple of bombs at some guards coming my way, then crawled through the window and ran.

Little did I know that my actions would lead to the biggest riot the world had seen in fourteen years.

(…Wow. It took me eleven days to actually post this. Somebody give me a medal.)