“Remind me,” Rock asked, crouched low with the manse still far away. “Again, why we’re out here, in the middle of the night, instead of at home, enjoying what we already have?”
Grimacing, Gray’s eyes flashed in the night, green sparks almost filling his face. “Why, again?” Anger crept into his voice, “That bastard stole what’s mine.”
Rock shook his head, still confused.
“My reputation,” Gray snarled. “My journals.” He bit off the last, practically spitting out the words. “My very existence, that bastard stole from me.”
Looking out into the night, he stroked the hilt of his dagger, something akin to lust filling his voice. “I’m getting my journal back, and if any arrogant ass ever so much as dreams of taking credit for our works again,” his voice dropped, a threadbare whisper. “Ever.”
Echoing into the night, a sound so soft yet so crisp floated over the plants, the distance torchlight. Caressing his ears with the threat of violence so profound he felt goosebumps, Rock shivered in the night. He did not feel cold, but the calculating, angry and cold tone of the Thief took him by surprise. They had pulled stunts before, tweaked the noses of the nobility and peasant alike. However, they had never, ever faced off against a wizard before. Magic was rare in the kingdom, and the powers were unknown.
Hearing the promise in his friend’s voice, Rock could do nothing but follow the smaller man, as he crept ever more quietly into the dark night. Into the distance, a mere dozen yards ahead, was the first wall. Due to the mist, visibility was less than a dozen steps in any of the directions, up down or sideways. Feeling nearly invisible, Rock saw with apprehension that the Thief had unsheathed his blade.
Bloodlust signing in his veins, Gray could only twitch inside his cloak, the mist crowding out nearly ever sensation. All that he could feel was the singsong clarion call to arms, the lust for blood filling his veins. The wizard had powers, at least, it seemed he did.
However, Gray cared naught. His reputation was a thing he built, brick by prick, piled until it was the thing of legends in three kingdoms. A few put a price on his head, and now, with his goals accomplished, he had been busy writing his memoirs. Telling the stories he hoped that, if he had children of his own, perhaps might make it down into the family books. Something real, something meaningful.
Not that crap about magic, mayhem or death. The real reason Gray went on all those missions, again and again risked life, limb and torture. He had suffered, multiple times, and finished his mission with nothing so much as a glance from his government. Frustrated, he started to amass his own fortune, as the government grew more wary of his involvement, with too man successes, they had made it clear. Retire. Early. Have fun, drink and be merry.
Whatever he should do, one thing was clear. That chapter was done, the espionage, the secrets. The double life. Rock had trouble keeping it straight, which is why Gray managed the accounts with their various contacts. It was a large, complex web they traversed, with some players working in concert on one project, while bitterly struggling for advantage in another.
To be continued….