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Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread Well here it is, I had fun with this one and tried to get both the joke and real themes incorporated. Hope you enjoy.

It's called The Contract and comes in at 1454 words.

Happy to receive feedback (useful only please don't be one of those people...)

I'm on twitter @Jaeulk where you'll find me mostly re-tweeting things of interest. Cheers.

Spoiler for Hiden:

The Contract

‘Watch it arsehole’ the fruit vendor spat as Dran brushed past causing the man’s box of Caya to wobble precipitously on his shoulders, threatening to spill the contents into the street. Dran paid little attention, today was not the day to be distracted by mouthy street merchants. The potential opportunities of completing the Royal contract did not escape the sell-sword, he knew a successful conclusion here would lead to other and better jobs for the Royals, enough to get him out of this Goddess-forsaken city. He quickly thumbed the copper crowns he pick-pocketed from the merchant, estimating their value. He was on task but not one to pass up a gift.

The Inn came into view once he passed the crossroads of the dying dragon and he walked cautiously towards the entrance past horses nibbling at the strung up bales of straw hanging from the awning. While fronting onto the main street the Inn was notorious for cut-throats and thieves and while Dran could handle himself in a fight, a dagger to the back of the neck was always a possibility for someone with his background. He pushed on the swinging saloon doors and stepped in, pausing once past the threshold to give his eyes a few seconds to adjust to the dimmer light inside. The Inn was quiet, most of the tables unoccupied and the bartender barely noticing the newcomer’s entrance, nothing to alarm him of impending peril. A wiry figure sat slumped in a large plush chair before the hearth. Dran walked over, and sat next to him. The pair conversed for a few minutes and finally Dran nodded and rose to leave. He had the information he needed. The girl was being held at the docks.

The smell of fish kept Dran moving in the right direction. Moving through the bustling crowd and getting slapped in the face by the tail of some large fish was all part of the journey for anyone moving around down here and Dran kept his emotions in check, focussing on the task he needed to complete. His informant provided only the pier she was being held, but not which specific shed she would be in. Fishmongers yelled out their prices and tried to entice Dran and others in the crowd to purchase ‘the freshest catch of the day’, he acted the interested shopper to a particularly overweight and pungent fishmonger, using the time to take a good look at the area behind the stalls and noted that one shed had two men laying around outside one of the large doors. They were trying, and failing, to be fishermen but were clearly military. No fisherman Dran had ever met walked with a back that straight. Dran moved on, inspecting more fish and repelling the advances of the mongers to purchase ‘the best priced fish in the land’ and other claims of similar ilk. He left the area, having confirmed where he needed to be. Now came the hard part, he only had this one night left to finish the task.

The waxing moon shone brightly, the gibbous had started two nights ago and there was enough light to provide Dran with the ability to move about confidently. Of course this mean that the guards would be able to see as well but that couldn’t be helped. Dran backed himself in a fight over the guards on even terms. He preferred seeing what he was doing than risk tripping over a rotted piece of wood or a discarded piece of netting. This one night and he would be a hero. All he had to do was get past a few guards and to a young imprisoned girl.

Rather than risk a ground assault, the pier provided little cover and a narrow approach, Dran planned to go underneath. He was shown a little trick by the Corsairs of Myeth years ago involving the stomach of a sheep which gave him an extra two or three breaths when underwater. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to allow him to swim below the surface far enough that when he came up, it was underneath the shed where he needed to be. Keeping still and listening he could hear the sounds of people inside, the wooden slats above bent downwards tracing their steps. He figured 5 in all, three inside. Dran brought himself up and out of the water to cling to the scaffolding that exists below the piers, the web of structural support assisting provide great movement for someone of Dran’s abilities and, like a spider, he moved towards the front of the doors. His plan wasn’t the most complex one ever devised. Get as close as possible to the front doors and kick them in. The most difficult part was over, the guards likely thought the openness and restricted access points of the shed was its strongest defense. Wrapped carefully to avoid getting it wet, Dran pulled out a light grenade. packed with magnesium the explosion itself wouldn’t hurt the two guards at the door but if they were staring at it during the night and it went off, the flash upon detonation would blind and disorient them for a while. Enough for Dran to swing up onto the decking and dispatch them. After that it would be all action. Drawing the guards out would also get them away from their captive.

The two guards did indeed look directly at the grenade, they did get blinded by the flash and Dran swept up over the ledge of the wharf. The first guard he struck down with a throwing knife and, not even looking to see if the knife hit, he rushed the second while drawing his rapier, and stabbed the man through the heart. The bang and the cries of the guards had already alerted their comrades and Dran could hear them coming. The doors slid open and he shoved the dead body into the first man out the door. The two fell, collapsing on the floor. The distraction worked on the next man out who acted as if the body of the dead guard was the assailant. Dran moved forward quickly and slid the point of his sword into the base of the skull, an instant kill. The fourth guard had drawn his sword and came out swinging. Dran pivoted and blocked the thrust, drew a dagger and stepped inside his opponent’s guard to thrust it into his chest. That left the last guard, now on his feet after untangling himself from the dead body thrown at him only moments ago. The guard entered into a proper fencing stance and lunged at Dran who blocked with ease, riposting immediately. The guard had clearly been trained properly and that was his downfall. Dran knew proper fencers, many of them, tournament and ribbon winners but all lacked one thing. They didn’t know how to fight for their lives. Dran assaulted the guard with speed and ferocity. Against a proper, street-wise fencer this would have been a mistake. Against a rent-a-guard it caused enough panic that a glaring opening in the defence became available and Dran struck lightning fast. The guard went down. Dran took a breath, this one might live through such a thrust - it didn’t take anything vital. He turned back to examine the scene. All up it was only a few moments but 4, maybe 5, dead. Not bad.

Dran stood still for a moment, if anyone else had seen the fight there would be sounds of alarm. Silence indicated he was safe. He walked slowly into the shed, a few candles stood flickering light over where the guards had kept their equipment. Moonlight pervaded the many cracks in the ceiling and walls where wooden slats and rotted away over the years. At the far end he could make out the cage where the girl was being kept. Picking up a candle he walked over to the bars, the light bouncing strangely off them. The lock was a standard tri-tumble, an easy pick for Dran. The door swung open silently and could make out the sleeping form huddled into blankets. He reached out and shook the figure. Yellow eyes opened to look at him.

In hindsight he should have been alert to it. A full-ish moon, and prescribed night attack, and if he had paused, only for a single moment, he would have considered the implications of a cage made of silver bars. The vamps had won the night-wars long ago but a Lycan on the loose in the city was enough for the night-king’s subjects to remain loyal. Too bad all this only came to mind as a huge set of jaws wrapped around his throat.

April 05, 2015, 08:09:37 PM
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