Here’s Chapter 2 of The Lone Wolf. Meet Caladin and Quinn. Thieves… or, gentlemen procurers as Caladin calls them. I hope you enjoy the introduction.
Chapter 2- “The Gentlemen Procurers”
“Come, Cousin, we must get a move on. It is time to vacate this shanty,” Caladin said to Quinn as he neatly folded his clothes that he had meticulously laid out on his rented bed. “Our reputation has become of ill repute, and unfortunately for the ladies of this town, we are now personae non gratae by the local authorities. I’d rather not like to end up in irons; they are quite unbecoming, clashing heavily with my most panache new wardrobe.” Caladin looked at the new shirt he purchased, admiring it immensely.
“Caladin, why should we run?” answered Quinn as he relaxed in his bed with his hands behind his head. “The constable can prove nothing. Besides, if push came to shove, and I always love a shoving match, the constable and his lackeys cannot defeat us in a straight up fight.”
Caladin stopped his folding and turned to regard Quinn. “Tsk-tsk, Cousin. First, do not look at the current situation as running. We are simply rendering this town obsolete for the time being. Second, I do not want to shed blood unnecessarily. It leaves a bad taste in the community’s mouth, and it has bounty hunters on your arse for moons.” He stopped mid-thought. “Side note, that was a lovely pun.”
Quinn rolled his eyes.
“Besides, I usually get some on my clothes, and you know how I loathe ruining my attire, especially when it is new. Third, ‘the powers that be’ have enough evidence to throw us in the stockade, maybe even hang us. Word is that the stable master saw us transition from our disguises back to our true identities.”
“I know what is being said about us. I’m the one who gathered the information, remember? If you are so concerned with being brought to justice by the law, then we should eliminate the problem. Let’s get rid of the only witness against us. No witness, no trial.”
Before Quinn finished his thought, Caladin was waving his index finger to and fro as if he was admonishing a child. “Ah, no unnecessary bloodshed, Cousin.
“More importantly, we have been in this town for a fortnight and it has become an exhausting existence, since but not two days ago, we have begun recycling the most honest drink and fetching lasses in this one horse stop to nowhere. I mean look around us,” Caladin held his arms out wide, as if showing Quinn their rented room for the first time. “It is so drab.”
Quinn sat up in his bed. “I don’t need the luxuries that you do. I’m fine with drab.”
“Yes, I know. You say it every day with your choice in clothing.”
“Hey, there is nothing wrong with wearing all black.”
“If you say so.” Caladin then mumbled under his breath, “But there is something wrong with looking like a land-locked pirate.”
“I heard that.”
“Think about it, Cousin, what does this place have left to offer? I mean, the local temple, the only real establishment to offer us any type of wealth, has been all but depleted of its meager riches. We have suckled the tit of this town dry.”
“You have a point.”
With his hand cupped at his ear and a smile on his face, Caladin said, “Aww, I hear the sweet singing of another town, nay, city, beckoning us. I believe it wants us to enrich it with our presence. So, the debate is over. We need to be going. Now, pack your belongings.”
Quinn slowly stood up from his bed. “All right,” he said in a defeated tone. “I’ll collect my things.”
As the cousins were packing, they heard a pounding at the door. The two thieves stopped what they were doing for the moment, glanced at the door, and then at one another. Quinn whispered, “They have already discovered us.”
Caladin motioned for Quinn to continue packing his final things as he cooed, “Who is it? “
A voice on the other side bellowed, “I know ya know this is the Chief Constable Yangel, ya scoundrels. Now, open this door and show yer faces. It’s time ye meet justice for yer thievin’ ways,” said the chief constable.
Caladin declared sarcastically, “Oh dear constable, how I take umbrage to your use of the word scoundrels to describe my cousin and me. That is a complete impugnment of our character and quite frankly… erroneous. Your words are tantamount to our good names being assassinated. We prefer to be called ‘gentlemen procurers’ if you would not mind, good sir.” Caladin smiled at Quinn and motioned with his head for him to escape through the window.
Quinn moved swiftly, opening the third story window. Pulling open his backpack, he whispered, “Adfigo” and a rope slithered its way out of the pack, finding the middle of the metal frame of the window. Quinn tossed the other end out into the waiting street below.
“It’s chief constable! Look. Yer on the third story. Ya ain’t got no place to go but through this door. I’m gonna count to three, and then ya need to come out, unarmed. I know ya still have the jewels from the theft in there, and we got an eyewitness that can identify ya two. Yer dead to rights. Hand over the stolen items, come out peacefully, and I’ll be puttin’ in a good word with the magistrate. Might be able to keep you from being strung up. That’s a fair deal, ain’t it?”
“A most equitable one, chief constable,” Caladin said. “But I do not know what it is you speak of. We haven’t any stolen items, as we possess them. I mean possession is nine-tenths of the law, as my mother always said. And, although your offer is very generous, I think we shall stay where we are.”
The chief constable let out a muffled grunt of frustration. Then, he yelled through the door, “All right, have it yer way! Since ya ain’t comin’ out, we’re comin’ in. Bash her down, boys!”
There was a loud thud, and the door bowed slightly as if several men had charged against it.
Caladin turned to regard Quinn. “My Cousin, they do build a sturdy door here. Thank the gods for this town’s wonderful craftsmanship.”
By this time, Quinn was on the edge of the window, looking down into the street below. He placed his hand on the hilt of the sword at his left hip, closed his eyes and jumped, conjuring a picture of a feather floating in the air as he did. That mere thought invoked the power of one of his twin short swords, and Quinn glided all the way to the ground.
Caladin scooped up his belongings and followed suit, but instead took hold of the magical rope and descended it with the nimbleness of a cat. With less than fifteen feet to reach the street he heard the door splinter and crashed open, as men charged into the room. Caladin let go of the rope, hit the ground, but tumbled at the last second, obviating any real damage to himself from the drop. He rolled right up to his feet. Quinn grasped the rope, commanded it to unfasten, and was already rolling it around his arm when the chief constable and his deputies appeared at the window.
“Ya won’t get away with yer treachery. We’ll hunt ya down like dogs!” threatened the chief constable. But even as the words left his mouth, Caladin knew they were idle ones.
As Caladin brushed himself off, he yelled, “Chief constable, I wish you all the luck of the gods with that endeavor. For now, my cousin and I must be off, but we bid you a fond farewell, and Godspeed.” He tipped his black, wide-brimmed hat toward the chief constable and his deputies. Then, he and Quinn moved away swiftly, blending into the crowded street.
The deputy looked to Chief Constable Yangel at that moment, “That was a mighty fine-looking feather in that fella’s hat, don’t ye think chief?”
Yangel removed his own hat and hit the deputy with it, “‘That’s a mighty fine-looking feather ye think chief,’” he repeated. With little he could do to catch the cousins, he turned to watch them flee, thinking, Me deputy has a point. That is a fine-lookin’ feather.
I hope you enjoyed meeting your new acquaintances: Caladin and Quinn. Look for excerpts from Chapter 3 coming out soon. In the next chapter we will see how Remence’s village deals with the news he brings home. Let me know what you think by visiting my website, johndpepeauthor.com, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or by simply posting a comment here at godamonggeeks316.com.