Legends of Cobalt

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Skyway Road

“How do we get to Dawnsky Wharf?” I stood in the assassin’s armoury with Fayaad, Katsu and Althaea.

“We’ll use the skyway road.” Althaea slid a matched set of stilettos into her boots and synched a brace of throwing knives to her waist.

“The streets get dangerous at night,” Fayaad dabbed oil into the joints of a wrist-mounted crossbow. “The skyway road ees just as dangerous eef you don’t know where you are going. Eets not too late to back out.”

Katsu stepped around a rack of spears. A long sword with a gentle curve hung at his hip. “He’ll manage. It’s time to go.”

“You’re only bringing one sword?” Althaea slid two more slender elven blades into scabbards on the small of her back.

I shrugged, “I don’t need more than one.”

“Don’t beg any of us for a spare eef you lose eet.” Fayaad shoulder checked me as he walked out of the armoury.

“He’s upset that you’re coming with us.” Katsu offered me one of the assassin’s blowpipes and a dozen feathered darts. “He spent fifteen years training and he still isn’t allowed out on solo missions. Don’t worry about Fayaad. He’ll get over it.”

I refused the offered weapon. “I don’t want to join your secret society. I’m here to help my friends do what they need to and leave.”

“We know that,” Althaea smiled. “But Fayaad thought Aramil and I should have killed you in Ringtown.”

“That’s not reassuring.” 

I followed the assassins up to the hidden library. My friends and the other assassins sat in near silence attending to personal distractions.

“What are we doing back up here?”

“The skyway road doesn’t run along the ground.” Katsu unlatched the floor to ceiling window. A gust of damp air flickered the fire and the candles. “Fayaad, go.”

Wyanet grabbed my shoulders and pulled my forehead to hers. “Be careful. I will not be there to get you out of trouble.”

Fayaad launched himself out the window.

I winked at Wyanet. “I’ve got a few extra tricks up my sleeve.”

“Althaea, go.” Katsu waved at the sea elf.

Althaea stared at me. “This is the fun part.” She sauntered to the window, crossed her arms and fell backwards out of it.

“Percy, your turn,” Katsu ordered.

I approached the window and stuck my head through it. The flat-topped roof of the next building stretched up from the ground. Fayaad and Althaea waited fifteen feet below on the neighbouring roof.

“Don’t worry,” Katsu clapped me on the back, “The ground will catch you.”

“Not helpful.” I kicked off the window sill. Cool air rushed past me. The roof hurried to meet me. I braced for the landing. My foot connected with something soft. I tucked my head and dropped my shoulder to roll out. I pushed again with my front foot. Whatever I had landed in slid back and I flopped onto my face.

Fayaad snickered. Althaea gasped and offered me her hand.

“Did you think we risk breaking a leg every time we leave?”

I brushed myself off and made sure none of my gear broke. “Hard telling.”

Katsu landed behind me. “I’ve never seen anyone so graceful.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Come on, it’s a half-hour jog to Dawnsky Wharf.” Katsu jogged to the edge of the roof and hopped onto the ledge. “Last one there has cleaning duty.” He jumped to the next roof and continued running.

Fayaad and Althaea chased after Katsu. I chased all three of them south-east along the rooftops. We dodged crumbling chimneys, vaulted over pungent alleys and scaled walls where we had to. The flap of our cloaks, the creek of leather armour, and the slap of our feet marked our passage through the grave silent night. The stench of brine and rotting fish filled the air the farther we ran.

Katsu and Althaea sprinted up the sloped roof of a rowhouse and vanished over its crest. Fayaad wheezed on my heels. I reached the peak and stopped. Wind-tolled bells and ship rigging whispered in the wind. The first two assassins waited on top of a monger’s pavilion thirty feet below. A wide cobblestone road made a chasm between us.

A swift blow blasted into the back of my knee. My legs buckled. I twisted and landed on my back. Clay shingles broke beneath me and dragged me toward the roof’s edge. Fayaad jumped over me, a smile on his face.

My hands scrambled over the clay shingles. I tipped off the roof. Shingles smashed on the dark road that hungered to grab me. I calmed my panicked and racing mind. I focused my chi and fell into the plane of shadows. I ran as far as I could the dark plane and forced myself back into the material plane. I landed in a three-point stance behind the assassins.

Katsu caught Fayaad’s armour and hauled him the rest of the way onto the pavilion. “What happened?”

“Percy tripped.” Fayaad took a few steps further onto the roof. “I tried to catch him, but he fell too far for me to do anything.”

I pushed katsu and Althaea out of my way.

Fayaad’s eyes expanded in the gloom. “Percy! How did you…”

I jabbed my fist into Fayaad’s nose. “I didn’t trip, he pushed me.”

Fayaad staggered back to the precipice. His eyes rolled around and snapped into focus. Tears and snot rolled down Fayaad’s face. He balled his hands into fists and took a meaningful step toward me. Rage burned in his eyes.

I slid my right foot into a fighting stance, narrowing my body.

Katsu stepped between us and put a firm hand on Fayaad’s chest. Althaea wrapped an arm around my abdomen and pulled me back.

“Enough.” Katsu turned his head to look at me. “Whatever issues are between you can wait. Right now we are a team and need to work together. If we don’t, none of us will survive the night.”

“I’m sorry,” Fayaad relaxed. “I did try to catch you.”

I shifted back into a normal stance.

“That’s settled for now.” Katsu pointed at a building to my right. “Masinissa is up there. Let’s move in for a closer look.”

Katsu and Fayaad ran together across the monger pavilions and boat sheds lining the shore. 

“That’s an interesting trick you did.” Althaea ran beside me. “I know magics for teleportation exist, but I thought only wizards, druids, and the arcane gifted could use them. How did you do it?”

“Like I said, I’ve trained for years to fight from and manipulate shadows.”

The story will continue, October 8th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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