Darkness fell over the town of Pirn. Shopkeepers carefully locked up their shops and retreated to their homes. Carts were packed up and rolled away. Lights began to come on in the taverns as what little activity occurred after dark moved to those few establishments.
In the narrow streets of the Quarter Market, all was quiet, except one slim figure moving carefully through the shadows at the edge of the street.
Badger checked the location of his cudgel tucked into his cloak once more and continued quickly along the street. He had hoped to waylay a late closing shopkeeper but had tarried a little too long in his den and now it was late.
Then ahead Badger saw one shopkeeper closing and locking a back door to a shop. Edging closer Badger readied his cudgel. If he could get close, a quick rap on the head and he could make off with the shopkeeper’s purse. He peered at the shopkeeper thirty feet ahead of him. The shopkeeper held himself like an older man, stooped and thin. It appeared he had a beard though his back was too Badger.
Suddenly, from the corner of his eye, Badger saw movement. A large figure stepped out from an alleyway. Badger was shocked that he had not noted him. Badger edged back into the darkness. The figure raised a crossbow and aimed at the shopkeepers back.
Not thinking Badger yelled a warning and leaped forward his cudgel raised at the ready. The shopkeeper began to turn at the noise. A crossbow bolt struck him at that moment in the back and strangely fell to the ground.
The shopkeeper turned to face his attacker. Badger could see he had a short, white beard and a narrow face. The shopkeeper raised one hand and mumbled something in a strange lyrical speech. Balls of violet light flew from his fingertips striking the assassin multiple times. Badger faltered in mid-step his mouth hanging open as the smouldering corpse of the assassin crumpled to the cobbled street.
|Badger meets a surprising Shopkeeper|
The shopkeeper looked up at Badger and murmured again in the strange language. Badger felt his muscles tighten. He could no longer move. The shopkeeper stepped toward the corpse lying on the street. Badger strained his muscles with all his might. Only his eyes moved. There was a moment of panic while Badger struggled to breathe but he realized his breathing was still normal he had just been holding his breath. Blackness briefly swirled in front of his eyes but he fought it away and refocused.
The shopkeeper, no the wizard, Badger could no longer consider the old man a shopkeeper, stood up and glanced toward Badger. The old wizard had finished his inspection of the smoking corpse and was now up in Badger’s face staring intently at him.
“So. Who do we have here?”
The old man looked into Badger’s eyes appraising him.
“Not an assassin I think. A thief perhaps?
“Hmm?” the man groomed his beard.
“Well I have a use for you young man”
The old man snapped his fingers and turned to the corpse. “You can start by disposing of that”.
Badger felt control returning to his body. He fell to his knees and took a deep breath. He had to flee, run, get out of here and away from this crazy wizard. Shopkeepers were safe prey, but magic was something else entirely.
As Badger got to his feet and turned the old man glanced expectantly at him.
“I’ll need a cart”, Badger heard himself saying.