NaNoWriMo Word Count: 11,727

Woo, I actually caught up today! Maybe now I can stay on track with this.

I actually wrote quite a bit that I don’t think is super awful, too. Here’s one of he last chapters i wrote today, minus the crossed out stuff that doesn’t make sense.


Night Fox

Weasel was not in his office when Kieran stepped inside; not that the thief had expected to find the older man here. He’d just been hoping to avoid the pushy, persistent woman. He could hear her bickering with Coe now – did the two realize just how loud they were? – And he had no intention of leaving the room, at least until they had gone off.

Kieran sat back in the chair he had used the last time, leaning back and putting his boots up on the old man’s desk. Tokala looked ready to spring up into her master’s lap, but when Kieran pulled out his twin short swords she sat back on her haunches. The swords were only just over a foot long, and curved at the tip. The hilts were worn, the leather binding blackened where the thief had gripped them over and over again, but the sharp blades were clean and hardly showed a scratch. Almost absentmindedly he began to twirl them in his hands, twisting his arms and wrists in the different blocks and jabs, things that he felt like he learned so very long ago.

Kieran almost never had to draw his blades when he was out on a job, and he had to actually use them even fewer times than that. But the swords’ lack of actual action didn’t keep the thief from being skilled at using them. He made a swipe and a jab, and thought of a time when he was ready to use them as more than a tactic to get a nervous merchant to drop his purse.

The door creaked open, and Kieran flipped the swords back into the sheaths hidden beneath his cloak, but not quite so fast that Weasel didn’t see them flash as they went under.

“Practicing again?” the old man asked as he moved to his spot opposite the thief.

“They don’t get much use when you’re just sneaking through the shadows,” Kieran admitted. “I have to make sure that I’m not rusty when the need for them comes up.”

The Weasel nodded.

“So, have you found anything out about the egg?”

Weasel smiled. “Ah, yes, our little friend.” He put on his gloves again and reached into one of his drawer’s desks. He puled out the egg, just as strange and shining as it had been when Kieran had pulled it out of his pocket the day before. “I think I’ve found a few people who may be interested in purchasing this little treasure,” Weasel began. “But there may be a little snag in the sale of it.”

“Snag?” Kieran asked. “What’s wrong? Did we finally steal from the wrong people?” The last remark sounded serious, but Kieran said it with a smile that showed the amusement he got from the thought.

“No, not quite that,” the old man said, “and stop having so much fun with the idea! We don’t exactly have a lot of friends, and we wouldn’t be doing to well for ourselves to add to our illustrious list of enemies.” He shook his head. “No, no, the problem is the egg itself.”

“What? Is something wrong with it?” His eyebrows raised. “It didn’t die, did it?”

Tokala jumped onto the table and began sniffing at the jeweled egg, but Weasel reached over and slid it away. “No, even with your rough handling it’s just fine. But that might be the problem.” He pushed the egg, closer to Kieran, careful not to wrap his fingers around it. “Touch it,” he said.

“Touch it?” Kieran asked, but reached out his fingers to press them against the egg.

“It’s warm,” he said. “So? It was warm as I carried it back to Purasa. Shouldn’t it be this way?”

“Yes, it should be warm,” Weasel admitted. “You might not have noticed because you kept it close to your body for a few days, but it shouldn’t be quite so hot as this – and its been getting hotter since you brought it here, even though it hasn’t touched a warm body since you popped it out of your pocket.”

Weasel tapped his fingers on the table anxiously, and Kieran leaned back in his chair. “So this egg will hatch soon?” the thief asked.

“Very soon. And if we don’t get rid of it within a few days, I don’t know what kind of a beast we’ll find ourselves dealing with.”

Kieran had the decency to look concerned for a moment, then shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I’m sure you’ll find us a proper home for the little guy,” he said with a smirk, and Weasel grimaced in a way that made it look like he was twitching his whiskers.

“Fine,” he said, and he picked up the egg even as Tokala was beginning to sniff at it again. “What else did you want to talk about?” he asked as he placed it back in the drawer and shut it tight.

“Our little guest,” Kirean said, and his voice lost a bit of that light tone he’d been teasing the older man with. “You told me you might finally have some answers about where she came from and what she wants us for by the time I came back from that job.”

“Ah, yes. Mai-ya,” Weasel said. “I had been wondering after you left the room why you didn’t ask that question right away.”

“I was tired after that trip to the north,” Kieran said. “And I didn’t run into the woman until after I was done talking to you.”

“Oh, yes, and her kind and gentle nature reminded you of how much you wanted to help the dear lady,” Weasel said sarcastically. “Well,” he went on, “I’ve definitely determined what country she came from, thanks to listening to her accent, the clothes she wears, and the weapon she carries that she doesn’t think we notice.”

“Oh? And where would that be?”

“She is from Kinnan. It’s weeks away by ship, on the continent north of this one.”

“So she’s from a colder country,” Kieran said. “That might help explain something of her demeanor. But how does that help us figure out what she needs?”

“You know, being in charge of a guild like this, you really should be more aware of what’s going on in the world aside from what happens right in front of you.

Do you recall any news about what happened there a decade ago?”

Kieran narrowed his eyes. “I was a bit preoccupied with other things at the time,” Kieran said, reminding the old man that he had only been a waist-high urchin at that time, only just recently plucked off the street by the old leader, Arlen.

“Oh, yes, quite busy,” Weasel agreed. “That doesn’t mean you can’t look into any history now.” He tapped his fingers on the table. “Well, ten or so years ago, there was a scuffle within the royalty. The emperor’s brother decided that he deserved the throne more than his sibling did, and staged a coup. He murdered his brother, his sister-in-law, and all the servants and advisors that weren’t on his side.”

“Sounds like something that would happen to a king’s family,” Kieran said. “I’m assuming he succeeded then?”

“Yes, very well,” Weasel said. “The tales of his coup could only be proven as rumors, and without anyone to speak against him he has every right to take on the throne in his brother’s place. He’s now the emperor of the whole country. But, also as far as the rumors tell, his plan didn’t exactly go off flawlessly.”

Now Kieran’s ears perked up. “Someone survived,” he guessed.

“Correct. The Emperor’s daughter woke up before her designated assassin could do the job, and one of the servants was able to whisk her out of the palace before any harm could come to her.”

“Now tell me,” Kieran said, “in this country, do they oppose to a woman taking control of the country?”

Weasel shook his head. “Not at all, actually. I’ve looked through a short history of Kinnan, and they’ve had many empresses, many of them remaining as the country’s main power even after they were married and had children. Were the old emperor’s daughter to make a sudden appearance, not only would she be the one to take the thrown over the new leader, but her word would actually carry more weight if someone were to lay down an accusation of some sort.”

“Anyone smart enough to stage a coup that successful is also probably aware of those facts,” Kieran said, “so even as the rightful ruler, getting back into the country wouldn’t exactly be the easiest thing to accomplish.”

“No, not at all,” Weasel agreed. “You’d have to be very sneaky. It would be almost like stealing something important, except in this case, you would be putting something back where it belongs.”

“Interesting,” Kieran mumbled. He put his hand up to his face, and though he stared right at the table Weasel knew he was not really seeing it, that his mind was turning and whirling as he thought over every possibility with this endeavor.

“Not that my advice has ever mattered to you at all,” Weasel said, drawing the thief’s attention, “but I do not think you should take this job on. This is much bigger than just taking a jewel, or an egg, out of pompous man’s overly protected mansion. This will be difficult, and it will be very, very dangerous.”

Kieran nodded. “Which is why it might also be quite a lot of fun.” He looked up, and the expression Weasel was giving him wasn’t just annoyed, but very concerned. “Don’t worry so much, old man. I won’t be that irresponsible.” Tokala kipped at him, and he scratched the small creature behind the ears. “Just sneaking into the country can’t be all that this lost princess has in mind. Whether or not we take this on, it will all depend on what she says when we confront her.”


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