The Short Stories
The short stories of Judah Lamey,
as well as the Stories of Quillville.
as well as the Stories of Quillville.
Fire With Fire Part 1: The Leader
Theron, a sprawling country laying across the land like a child napping after a brisk adventure, and a warm meal. To the north the border was as crisp a line as could exist. The constant strain with its bordering country of Ruthrien kept Theron in check. However, to the south the land simply grew harsher and colder to the point where no one had been able to find out what lay beyond the snows bite. Just out of the reach of this white desert lay the city of Midura.
Built almost from the first stone to be a beautiful city. Designed all in curves and graceful lines. The lord’s home was nestled in with the mansions of the wealthy merchants, surrounded by a wall of smooth and polished stone. Impossible to defend against any but the most slovenly of attackers. Adorned with vines, and flowing flowers, small trees grew from artfully crafted nooks. On the outside of this less than daunting defense spread the homes of the comfortable folk. Men and women who had worked their way out of the streets, who still had to keep a shrewd eye on their coins, but who rarely wanted for much. Their homes stood, less ornamented but mirroring the beauty of Midura none the less. These homes acted as a shield of wood and stone, protecting the wealthy from the assault of the third section of town, the market district.
There was nowhere you could go to be truly free of those aiming to sell you something, but the market district is where the song of coin reached its crescendo. Midura was a very successful quarrying town, or that is how it had made it’s start. The merchants started the town, and it was the worst kept secret that they had ruled it ever sense. However, the city had not really made its mark on the maps until the artisans moved in. They were drawn from all over the realm. And one could see at least two aspiring artist hawking creations from nearly any point in the market district. Over the years, of the names revered in the artisan community, at least two in three lived for a time in Midura.
And so, through merchants and artisans, money had come to Midura. And like a mold growing in the dark recessed of a beautiful home, crime began to grow in the shadows of this beautiful city. But, as shadows grow, so do the few lights.
Hunching his shoulders, Daniel Rickman, did his best to hide his imposing frame. He tried not to march down the street, feeling somehow naked without his uniform. Today, unlike most, he did not wear the green and silver that would have marked him as a City Guard, nor did his sword hang on his hip, that was the herald of his station as Captain of the Guard. No, today he had donned the stained leathers of a common workman, a cloak across his shoulders. More than a disguise, the cloak also concealed a pair of long bladed knives that were tucked into the back of his belt. His shuffling gate, and slumping posture further concealed his identity, he had even left off his morning shave. It was hard not to itch at the stubble.
Daniel Rickman was after a fashion both on and off duty today. He answered only to the lord of the city, Gregory Stint, the supposed leader of Midura. Stint did not see the merit of, nor did he encourage the pursuit of Daniel’s goals today. Though his station as captain over the city guard demanded of him to do his duty, and guard this city. For he loved Midura, like a sailor loves the sea. No matter how fickle, or treacherous, it was his life, pure and simple.
These thoughts, led him to take a moment and stop and observe his city, to truly see it, smell it, and feel it. His attention was drawn to an elderly woman standing behind a table laden with fruit, calling out that her sweet cherries were the finest around. Walking over he pulled a handful of coins from his pocket and thumbed over what she was asking without barter. She said nothing, but he noticed the twitch at her lips and eyebrow that told him he had overpaid, to her surprise and joy. However, as he watched he saw her toss out a few bad cherries as she gathered his into a small woven bowl, and his smile was genuine as he thanked her and continued on his way, briefly scratching at the stubble on his chin.
Popping one of the dark red fruits into his mouth he bit into its meat and had to admit they were very good. He spit the seed into the gutter, and tossed another into his mouth. Daniel let his mind wander as he walked and ate, and unsurprisingly it drifted back to what brought him out today.
Nearly half a year back, he had been standing over the body of a murdered man, barely more than a boy. His throat cut, and everything in his rented rooms gone. Leaving his men to send for the grave diggers, Daniel had gone straight to Gregory Stint’s door, interrupting the lords dinner much to the dismay of the doorman. Daniel had barely held his temper in check as he nearly demanded time and resources to hunt down those responsible. Stint had set his dinner down, picking up his goblet and had begun a long winded and well rehearsed speech, with small breaks to sip at his wine.
Crime would be stopped with vigilance. Focus not on the past, and those things that can not be changed, focus instead on the future. Walk the streets and keep a keen eye. Other such meaningless drivel that all meant the same thing. Daniel had been dismissed with a pat on the back, his fury smothered under hopelessness.
To hunt down criminals would stir up interest, and on some level it would be admitting there was crime in Midura. As if ignoring it could somehow keep it at bay. Ignore the wolf in your bedroom before sleep, and you would never wake. Daniel would not stand for it. If the city guard were the shield of the city, it was time for a knife. A new guard that in many ways would have to be as hidden as the criminals they would hunt. He had told his idea to a good friend over a mug of ale, and his friend, being a wide eyed dramatic, had insisted the group be named the Shadow Hunters. It had a ring to it, and Daniel had nothing better to call them, so the idea had been formed, and named.
Time had passed, and Daniel had watched and listened, waiting, and today was the day all his waiting would pay off. His Shadow Hunters would have to be few to keep from coming to the attention of Stint.
There was a bit of risk to his plan. In order for it to work he would need people who knew the mind of the criminals they would hunt. Hunters who knew where to ask the right questions, and how things were done in the shadows of Midura. He had combed the ranks of his men, and found none that would fit his needs, he had found one that would fit A purpose, but that was for later. For now, Daniel found himself in need of a trustworthy thief.
Part 2: The Thief if now live. Read it HERE
Here you will find a growing collection of my Short Stories. From pieces I wrote for competitions, to some of my world building stories. Some of the longer ones, will be broken down and released as Chapters.