Part 1: The One with the Knife

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Uruda was a city unlike any other in the empire; Nowhere else had its ruling philosophy failed so spectacularly. The city was isolated, disconnected from the nomadic steppes that surrounded it. Its leadership was not of the city, and ruled it as such. And few remained with the knowledge to practice magic, that which kept Aegeroth’s peoples connected to the land they called home.

But Kajulan didn’t know any of this. What she knew was that a noble’s house was impenetrable, a noble’s guard wouldn’t hesitate to run her through, and a noble’s purse would buy her lunch, but a noble’s jewelry would buy her lunch, dinner, and dessert, with something nice atop it all.

Of course, Kajulan also knew that anyone worth robbing didn’t go anywhere without their stab-happy protection. Unless, of course, they were doing something they weren’t supposed to, like sneaking out early in the morning to meet with a sweetheart for a romantic rendezvous. Now that made a good target.

It also helped if said sweethearts were too busy holding hands and staring longingly into each other’s eyes to notice the gangly woman who had been following them for the past ten minutes.

Kajulan glanced around her surroundings, while keeping pace with the young couple. She had to admit, it was a pretty romantic locale. Running along the pier, it gave a perfect view of the rising sun, as foreign ships waded through thick tide and the dry morning mists rolled in. It was also completely abandoned, filled with boarded up shops and very little foot traffic. Not that this was unusual. There were a lot of abandoned places in Uruda, and the people of the city didn’t much care for the ocean. Which did make it unusual that the pier had been built in the first place.

Kajulan began to ponder this question, before remembering that she wasn’t here to think about socioeconomics. She was here to commit a robbery. Kajulan quickened her pace, briefly entering a sprint before leaping out in front of the couple. She landed in a crouch disturbingly close to the ground, before uncoiling upwards, her long limbs unfurling into something resembling a threatening posture. She looked crazed, wearing a mad expression on her scarred albi face. In her right hand she held a wicked looking knife; Her left held nothing, but was contorted in a strange way, as if she was strangling the life out of an imaginary goose. Her clothes were disheveled, with a white tunic that was too small for her worn under a brown vest that was too big, but her dark ashen hair was well kept, cut to chin length at its apex and parted sharply to the side.

The woman had frozen completely, but the man had straightened his posture and puffed out his chest slightly, as if he was thinking of trying something. Kajulan decided to shut that down real quick.

“Oh no no no no no no,” she said, waggling her knife at him. “I know you want to protect your lady friend here, but I’m the one with the knife.”

The man bristled but deflated, while the woman turned to him, a sad look on her face. “She looks poor. Let’s just give her what she wants.”

“Ah, the brains of the operation,” said Kajulan, as she began to circle them. The robbery was going well, which she liked, but it was also starting to feel like charity, which she didn’t like. She glanced up and down at them. “You two are traveling pretty light, you know.”

“Just in case we get accosted by some dirty ruffian,” replied the man through gritted teeth, receiving a swift elbow from the woman for his trouble. It was at this moment that Kajulan noticed a glint of silver from the lady’s finger. She lurched forward, grabbing the woman’s wrist and bringing it to her face.

“Ooh,” admired Kajulan. “That’s a nice ring.”

The man bristled once again. “Nope!” he exclaimed.

“Dek, enough!” snapped the woman. “If she wants the ring she can have it. It’s just a thing.”

Kajulan didn’t have to be told twice, sliding the ring to the top of the woman’s finger before flipping it off with her thumb. The woman in turn made a face somewhere between a smile and a grimace, but kept her composure

Kajulan took a moment to admire the shiny thing, before sliding it onto her own finger. It was nice. Almost a shame she’d have to sell it. But opportunities like this didn’t just fall into one’s lap in her line of work. They walked past you, along an abandoned pier on the outskirts of the city.

Kajulan turned to look at the young couple once more, giving a brief salute with the same hand that now wore the ring before running off, her bony frame disappearing with remarkable speed through the gap between two buildings.