Sashi wiggled her dagger in the lock uselessly. Her sister was the thief, not her. Sashi was born for the freewheeling life of an acrobat. Lately she had found it necessary to add sellsword to her resume as well. Truthfully, her sword figthing wasn’t up to the level of her tumbling. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much call for tumbling these days. Well, not as much as there was need for a decent swordhand. The world was troubled and you either learned to run or you learned to fight.
Her sister, Kariah, had learned to run pretty quickly which was why Sashi was stuck tring to pick the lock on the chest. Her sister had been way better at larceny. The chest had the General’s plans in it which the government apparently couldn’t ask nicely for. However, they could pay handsomely for the plans which was coincidentally the right price to hire the Leva Troupe for this sort of mercenary work. It would have helped if the locks were more cooperative though.
As it was, the distraction provided by Abelli and Rista would cease being so distracting pretty soon. At that point, the guards would return and the game would be over. The lock was never going to surrender to such clumsy approaches though.
It was at this moment that Caban’s axe came down hard on the chest. With a grunt, Caban pulled his axe from the wood and something cracked near the lock and the thing popped open. Sashi shot him a look that was equal parts frustration and gratitude. He responded with a trademark sheepdog grin.
“Getting bored. It is open. Grab papers?” He asked.
Caban’s native language was not Etlyan. From what the rest of the troupe could tell, his native language was hitting things which made him the perfect strong man. He had come from Ceylar which explained the thick accent and why he spoke only broken Etlyan. He was a broad-shouldered man with a strong jaw and a prominent brow. He looked big and scary but he was kind to those who were kind to me and especially delighted in putting smiles on children’s faces.
Sashi grabbed the papers and tucked them into a leather bag and cinched the bag to the small of her back. She arranged her cloak over the pouch and ran for the door. She could feel Caban close behind her like a sprinting grizzly bear. She looked over her shoulder and locked eyes with Rista for a moment. A split-second later and Rista and Abelli vanished in a cloud of smoke. Their distraction was gone and they had to get out now or risk a life in chains in the capital.
They reached the wall and Caban braced himself against the wall and bent down and offered his hands. Sashi stepped into his hands and Caban tossed her up and over the wall. She smiled brightly as she felt that familiar thrill as she tumbled through the air. She somersaulted and landed carefully in a crouch at the base of the wall. She looked up and saw Caban’s massive hands suddenly appear at the top of the wall and then he vaulted over the wall with a massive grunt. She cleared the area as he landed with a massive thud.
“Come on, rendezvous on the King’s street.” She yelled as they navigated the alleyways. She knew they all wanted this job done as soon as possible. The money was good but the risks and complications could be huge getting involved with the military and the government. Maybe this job was a mistake but they all trusted Leva to take the jobs they could handle.
They rounded the corner and Sashi stopped short.
“Why stop?” Caban asked.
“Our contact is supposed to be here.” Sashi said, drawing both of her swords. It never hurt to be prepared.
“Your contact? And just who would that be?” A tall, spindly man said as he pushed open a shop’s back door and stepped into the alley. He wore all black and he was carrying a long, silvery chain that looked strangely menacing.
“Why is that your business?” Sashi asked, holding her swords between her body and the creepy man in black.
“Well, we must have spooked your contact and we would very much like to know who it was. In the meantime, we would also like the papers from your satchel.”
“Hell no. That would be a breach of contract. Come on, we’re getting out of here.” Sashi said, walking toward the busy street just a few yards away. Caban fell into step behind her.
“I don’t think so.” The man said. He opened his coat and fingers of smoke trailed from underneath. The smoke turned into seven armored soldiers, armored in flat black armor. The soldiers soundlessly drew swords as they blocked the path. “Hand over the papers.”
It was eight on two and neither Sashi nor Caban had any armor on. Suddenly an arrow whistled through the air and found a gap in the armor of the soldier right in front of Sashi. It slumped to the ground with an arrow in its neck. There was a stunned silence and then more whistling arrows found their mark. Then, from the other direction, knives flew through the air and more soldiers slumped to the ground. Sashi drove a sword through the last one. Somewhere during the action, the man in black had slipped away.
Abelli and Riva hopped down from the north wall. “You keep getting into trouble.” Riva said, slipping her bow over her shoulder.
“And you keep getting me out.” Sashi said with a grin. “I have no idea what’s going on.”
“She alerted us to the danger and we got here as soon as we could.” Abelli said.
“She who?” Sashi asked, sheathing her swords.
“How about your sister?” A familiar voice asked from up high. A shadow dropped from a window and when it landed, she took down her hood. It was Kariah, the prodigal sister.