A Rogue's Tales: The Ties That Bind

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#5 - B&E

Holding the coil of rope loosely in his left hand starts twirling the hook in the right. Letting go, the hook sails up, just not high enough. Not wanting the hook to make too much noise coming down Carr gets under it, thinking he can catch it.

Connecting with the stonewall, the hook alters course one of its dull metal prongs clips Carr’s forehead and skids off his chest-plate lightly thudding on the ground.

Touching the point of impact he checks if the forehead is bleeding. Just another bruise, so he grabs the rope and hook for a second attempt.

This time the hook rather quietly lands on the roof. Landing on the dead guard the hook rolls off, onto the roof.

Pulling the rope back the hook grapples the dead man’s thigh.

Tugging the rope it feels snug to him.

Planting a foot against the buildings’ stonewall tries pulling himself up. As the body slides against the roof’s raised edge Carr’s back is put to the ground.

Standing Carr pulls hard on the rope it doesn’t move. To make certain Carr jerks really hard. The hook tears into the dead man’s pant hooking the leg.

Hoping not to slide down again Carr starts scaling the wall.

The mason’s work is excellent leaving very little edge for Carr to catch his feet on. Knowing mainly arm strength will be required swiftly hoists him self to the top before waned.

Tossing a leg over the top edge rolls onto the roof.

Seeing what was hooked he grins.

Quickly pulling up and coiling the rope places them back into his pack.

Sitting up the guard to seem like sleeping even places the helmet back on the man.

Investigating the area Carr sees a flat hatch at the back of the roof. Bending down places an ear to the hatch.

Sounding quiet opens it slightly revealing a tight room with a ladder going down. Flanking the ladder two rows of shelving. One side is loaded with soaps and cleaning supplies. The other side is mainly thick blankets and bedding. Across from the ladder a narrow doorway, highlighted by lantern light from the other side.

Creeping to the bottom of the ladder he peeks through the door cracks. Just a stride or two away a descending grand marble staircase centered in the building. Its matching handrails flow nicely as they wrap around both sides. Making up mirrored open walkways with two carved wooden doors in both walls. There are arrow slits at the end of each walkway. The end door to the right should be the room he saw the silhouette in. Looking tired a guard leans on the left side railing.

Planning his next move coldly thinks another man’s life may have to taken.

Climbing the ladder he takes the daggers out lightly stabbing a bar of soap onto each blade. Clutching a downward facing dagger in each hand carefully stretches his arms out. Bracing himself with arm locked fists against the opposite wall.

Stepping up one ladder rung at a time Carr makes his way high enough to hide his feet in the shadows.

Vibrating his fists loosens the bars of soap dropping them. Making just enough noise to attract the nearby guard. Not enough to wake anyone sleeping or listening elsewhere in the building.

The noise catches the ear of the guard, who stares right at the tiny room. Standing tall he steps towards the door asking in a rough voice, “that you, Sandy?” Hearing no reply or further sound he mutters, “rats,” thinking a rodent is in there.

Rats, causes Carr’s body tremble. Wondering if he’s been found out and not sure how much longer he can keep still, maintaining this awkward position.

Taking up an iron mace the guard grips the door handle with the left hand and readies for something furry to scurry.

Jerking the door open the guard scans the floor seeing the bars of soap.

Nerves holding up well, Carr worries of slipping as his knuckles grind into the stonework.

The guard glances at the shelf the bars came from while bending down to pick them up. Carr’s chance to take him out, letting him self fall. The guard sees him but doesn’t even have a second to get out of the way.

Hitting the guard hard slams the man’s head onto the stone floor. Carr lands on top piercing the man’s back with one of the daggers. The other scrapes across the guard’s heavy leather tunic. The iron mace makes only a minor clang as it hits stone, still gripped tightly in the wielders hand.

Carr quickly raises his free dagger to separate the guard’s spine. Stopping he realizes the man’s out cold. Keeping still surveys the second floor landing, waiting to see if any have been alerted by the sounds.

Two were disturbed from their slumber, with no further noise they drift back to sleep.

Quietly Carr pulls the man’s legs inside. Using washrags Carr binds and gags the guard. Noticing the growing welt on the man’s forehead is sure he’ll be out for sometime.

Closing the door to the tiny room he heads straight for the second door on the right.

Following the landing, as it over looks the stairwell and the bottom landing. Only a few steps away from the bottom a set of shut and latched, engraved wooden doors.

Reaching the end of the walkway he cautiously peers through the arrow slits into the main entrance hall. A single sentry stands in the middle of the room humming a tune, keeping watch on the main doors.

Two other doors are set into the wall opposite of each other. Not seen but he’s sure the doors to the staircase are directly behind the humming male.

The masonry work is exceptional but the hall is void of furnishings accept for expensive oil lanterns, hung on the walls between each doorway.

Beginning with the first room of interest he listens to the door turning the doorknob, the room is quiet and locked.

Removing the family lock picks, Carr examines the lock’s keyhole and smiles. As his special master key, will certainly work on this lock. As they were both made by the same person.

Easily unlocking the door he slips into a dark office. The only light is from windows on the east and south walls.

A slate fireplace takes up most of the west wall, with a curtain, draped ceiling to floor, covering the remaining section.

Tapestries of four unknown family crests hang on the sidewalls.

Centered close to the east wall a large desk covered in ledgers scrolls and parchments.

In the corners of the east wall stand tall, detailed corner cabinets. Both filled with books papers and assorted bric a brac. Seeing a couple animal figures Carr reminds himself to take only things small and valuable.

Nothing fitting that description the desk is searched, drawer by drawer checking for secret compartments as he goes.

Finding nothing useful Carr sits back in the desk’s chair surveying the room. There’s got to be something of value in here perhaps a hidden door. His eyes focus on the curtain beside the fireplace.

Over to the curtain, he pulls it aside to see a door. Placing an ear to it hears snoring from the other side.

Trying the door, it opens. Peeking in he sees a dark but noticeably lavish, bedchamber.

Directly in front of the door a fancy mirrored washstand. By the smell, somebody has a recently used the pee pot.

Entering he squeezes past the washstand closing the door behind.

The room is expensively furnished Carr can smell actual wood-stain.

Partially illuminated by a shaded window a grand canopy bed, located centrally against the west wall, with a round snoring man in it. On both sides of the bed are nightstands.

To Carr’s right a fireplace that mirrors the first room and joined by a common flue. Just past that the door back to the landing, he can see that the door key is in the lock. Next to the window an armoire and on the opposite wall an actual closet.

Starting with the armoire he opens the top cabinet doors, inside hangs a large suit of finely tailored leather armor and a matching soft boots. Needing a new pair Carr briefly compares them with his feet, being too small puts them back.

Nothing else worthwhile he closes the doors to rummage the drawers. Containing mainly bed linens, two pillows and a few horrid dressing gowns.

Braving an inspection of the adjacent nightstand he first notes on it’s top a drying pastry with a big bite out of it. Inside a small drawer he finds a sheathed dagger, feeling jewels set into the handle immediately adds it to his pack.

Before sneaking away he sneaks a bite of the pastry just for personal amusement.

Creeping to the other nightstand the man stirs in his sleep Carr drops below the mattress. The tax collector grunts and grumbles rolling over, Carr stays still. Within minutes the snoring starts again.

Feeling safe to proceed, Carr crawls to the nightstand. The top is covered with a lantern pitcher of water and single goblet. He opens the stand’s small drawer, only to find some parchments.

Turning to something he seldom gets to explore enters the closet. A small space filled with fine clothes. Dozens of pants, shirts and coats hang on either side.

Catching his eye a short-sword with jewels set into its handle, in an elaborately engraved sheath. It hangs on an iron spike in the doorframe. Leaving little doubt that this is the short-sword Effim requested. More on a whim Carr shoves it into the pack. The tip of the handle pokes out of the backpack.

Shelves below the hanging clothes are lined with socks and undergarments. Not owning any socks he takes a few of the softest pairs.

Perking his interest even more than the fancy short sword. A leather covered wood chest sits concealed in the shadows under the sock shelf.

Kneeling, he feels the lid’s lock. Pulling on the chest he smiles at how heavy it is. Easing it forward with each snore masking any scraping noise.

Carr checks the dangling lock, not a problem for him having picked many, of this maker’s locks.

Fiddling in the dark he picks the lock within a minute. Putting his picks away is ready to open the chest wildly fascinated by what could be inside.

Easing the lock off and setting it aside, he pushes up the lid. The box is nearing full of jewels, gems and assorted coins.

“Well, well, well,” whispers Carr looking over to the sleeping man. Looks like somebody’s starting a collection of their own. I wonder if the King is aware? I don’t think so.

Grabbing a couple more pairs of socks he fills three with stones and gems noting, “no rings.” Taking an extra moment to feel the contents. No jewelry at all.

Tying knots on the ends of the socks he places them in the backpack, content if nothing else is found the trip is well paid for.

Closing the chest he relocks it, timing the click with a snore, and pushing the chest back.

Confident there’s nothing more here to find he goes back out through the office relocking the door.

“Bang, bang, bang,” Carr’s heart stops, as the street guard pounds on the main doors.

“Who’s there?” Dully asks the main hall guard, having asked that question many times.

Barely heard, “Just Harland.”

The hall guard finishes with, “all’s quiet. Until you come banging. Not so damn loud.” Grumbling to him self, “I don’t care if he hates Lord Piate. That fat bastard sleeps through earthquakes. The rest of us have to sleep. Jeez, How many times?”

Raising a brow Carr smirks. Well if I don’t find the rings soon. I’ll just come back and help lighten Lord Pieate’s ill gotten booty.

Crossing over to the north side, Carr stops making sure his captive is still unconscious.

Satisfied Carr takes a listen to the next door. Sounding quiet, the door isn’t locked or barred. He opens it enough to see it’s the servants’ quarters. Three women rest comfortably, nothing but foolish curiosity in there.

Checking the last door Carr realizes right away not to enter, sounds of different snoring mark the room as guards quarters. Backing away he widens the search, by heading downstairs.

Tip toeing to the bottom he notices there are narrow hallways on either side of the stairs. Not wanting to go into the main hall, Carr investigates the north hallway.

Ending at a door, Carr checks before opening it. On the other side the back entrance to the building, single doors are on the north and south walls. In between the two narrow halls, another set of stairs descending to a cellar.

Looking down the stairs he sees a flickering light, off to the right.

He hesitates at the top. Could be a trap. It’s been almost easy. I can’t believe I’ll be the second one to get out of here. He glances at the rear doors. It does make sense to locate heavy goods near an entrance. Taking a cautious minute he checks the other two unknown doors.

The south door leads to a well-stocked kitchen. The north door leads to a large room running from west to east the complete span of the first floor. Containing a few desks with a matching chair for each. A couple cabinets contain various books.

The only thing catching Carr’s eye are the tapestries hanging on the walls. They seem to be all stitched landscapes. Figuring it must be a place for carrying out business or decisions, he decides a cellar exploration is needed.

With extreme care on the stairs Carr stops before the bottom to check what’s in the cellar. Not as big as building’s main floor, the cellar is still fair in size. The unlit north part is being used for storage. Barrels, crates and sacks are piled in the center of the area, also lining sections of the walls in between a few cabinets.

Peeking around the stairwell wall into the illuminated southern portion. Iron bars imbedded into the floor and secured to upper floor joists, form a caged off area. Lit inside by a burning torch, and illuminating a guard sitting behind a desk.

Alarmed Carr pulls his face back. Was that guy sleeping?

He cautiously takes a second look observing the man’s head is resting atop folded arms. Oh perfect. sure that the guard is sleeping Carr looks over the area.

The guard’s helmet sits beside him on the desk. He slumbers peacefully in the rounded southeast corner. Behind him a mace and loaded crossbow lean against the wall.

Ending at the stairwell wall is another row of iron bars making up a second caged room inside the first. Carr’s eyes widen and a sly grin stretches across the face, beholding what’s there. Lined against the west wall five chests, each one different. One is wooden the other four are mainly made of steel, wonderfully detailed and all have built in locks.

I should go find a horse and wagon. Carr dreams knowing he’d struggle just to get the chests up the stairs. Let alone into a wagon for a trip across the mountains. I sure could use one of those girdles of giant strength.

Studying his first problem the sleeping guard, too far in to be stabbed by his long-sword or a pole arm, if he had one. Thinking he should’ve brought the bow stares into the dark storage area.

Slipping into the shadows of the cellar Carr searches for something useful to help take the guard out.

Piled high behind the stair wall, benches, tables, and chairs. Most of it is in better condition than what’s in the farmhouse.

No, not a girdle, I have to get me a scroll of teleportation. Oh, but, the wizards say, its too dangerous for a young thief. Don’t wanna end up in a rock wall or a plane in hell. Quietly mumbling along Carr searches dusty rows of shelves that line the remainder of the west wall. Filled with all kinds of things that he can’t properly see or has time for, and nothing helpful.

In the corner a few barrels and crates are stacked. Smelling fruits and vegetables inside the containers he steps in front of a long tall cabinet.

Carr glances at the guard hoping the shadows are concealing enough. Quickly he jerks open the door to avoid any squeaking, the smell of leather floats out. Feeling inside the dark cabinet, it seems to be filled with folded leather tunics.

No weapons seen while walking between the stacks of supplies. Stopping at the last cabinet Carr’s exposed to the stairwell and guard, if he wakes up.

Quickly opening the door he sighs to the sight of shelves full of ceramic, wood and glass containers, storing herbs and preserves.

Stepping back into the shadows Carr kneels behind a barrel easing his pack gently to the ground, thinking about the next move. I think I can pick the lock without waking him. Can I take him out before he calls for help?

Convinced the sound of the iron bar door opening will surely wake the guard. Carr readies as best as possible, quietly unsheathing the long-sword and taking only his favorite three lock tools.

Close to the stairs he sets down the pack and sheath incase of a hasty retreat.

Kneeling in front of the door lock, he rests the sword on the ground for quick retrieval. He adjusts position slightly, to keep an eye on the guard, while examining the inside of the keyhole.

From the parts inside he recognizes the maker not the lock. With tools in hand he softly pokes and pushes on the inner components. Quickly figuring out how it works, glances at the man, obviously out, Carr works the lock. The lock is stiff making it difficult to move and there’s a tiny piece of metal acting as a stop. After a minute the lock’s bolt starts to slide.

“Clack!” Echoes in the cellar as the lock’s inner spring retracts the bolt, seeming loud in the quiet space.

The guard stirs, with no time to waste Carr drops the picks. Grabbing the sword and jumping to his feet pushes open the iron-gate rushing in.

Blurry eyed the guard sees somebody’s coming at him and franticly reaches for either weapon.

With blade cocked back Carr lines up the man as he grabs the mace while scrambling to stand and defend.

Carr swings out his blade hard and fast severing the guard’s head from neck.

Stopping himself on the back wall Carr watches the man’s head, bounce off the desk and roll across the caged area to the open gate. Blood spurts over the joists and walls, as the body collapses twitching on the floor. Knocking over a chair into the crossbow, it lunches its’ projectile. The bolt pierces a sack of grain, the mace tings hitting the ground.

Standing against the wall Carr is amazed at his own strike. Realizing the racket that was created creeps over to the stairs gathering his picks from the floor.

Watching up the stairs for a couple minutes, not even a creak is heard. Taking his gear back into the first cage sets it down beside the next doorway.

Checking the desk Carr finds a single key, trying it on the main gate lock. It works and the second looks the same as the first lock.

Unlocking the second gate, he pulls the door open. Excited to be nearing his prize Carr dances over to gather the backpack and sword sheath, rubbing his dirty hands together. Alright. Easy as one two, three, this booties for me.

With picks at the ready Carr sits in front of the wooden chest, the curious excitement causes him to fumble with the lock. After several frustrating attempts the lock opens. Carr pops the lid up and sighs, as the chest is full of copper coins. Shrugging moves over to the next chest, cracking his knuckles before attempting the lock.

In a calmer state Carr pops the lock within a minute, inside are two heavy canvas bags.

Opening them, they’re full of silver coins. Better, but not worth carrying for three days. Closing the lid he looks at the third.

Joking around he sniffs the middle chest’s rounded lid, “It’s gold I smell in there.”

Quickly picking the lock, he sets the tools down. Pausing for effect to open the lid.

Inside two leather satchels with buckled ties. Like a kid on his birthday he fumbles with the ties, hoping for a wish to be filled.

Unbuckling them both, he grabs the buckles and pulls back both covers revealing something better.

One satchel almost overflows of gold coins. The other is over half full of platinum coins.

Trying to pick up the platinum satchel knows he could carry it but only that.

Not sure what do take, he glances at the two other chests. Remembering he’s supposed to be after a set of rings. Leaving the lid open he crawls over to the fourth, looking back at the platinum.

Thinking too much he wastes a few minutes opening the lock.

Inside lay many small leather pouches and canvas sacks. Wasting more time he opens each one, beginning with the pouches.

The first contains a strange sparkling powder it doesn’t smell nice or familiar. Setting it aside he picks out another, filled with assorted sized pearls. Dragging the backpack over he reties the pouch and inside the pack it goes.

Delighted to see what else is in the last three. Each one contains assorted cut gems. Pleasing Carr further they’re separated by size.

Hastily knotting the drawstrings he adds them to the pack, “The five to twenty gold bag. A twenty to fifty bag.” Carr kisses the last one, “And a fifty to hundreds bag. I can retire this old armor for sure.”

Checking out the canvas sacks, raw ore has been collected, silver, gold, and platinum. Nice but heavy and not needed.

Closing the lid he sees the powder still sitting there. Unsure if it has any value, he picks it up, being light in weight it gets added to the pack.

Turning to the last chest Carr sniffs it. Getting in front of the lock he puts an ear to the lid. I could smell gold but I’m sure I can hear the sparkle of gems. This must be the royal jewelry box.

Cracking the lock Carr stretches out his arm to pat himself on the back.

Slowly opening the engraved lid the contents sparkle in the torchlight. A smile, like one seeing kittens play, crosses Carr’s face. Viewing the heaping box of jewelry. He wants to examine every piece but doesn’t have the time.

Taking the leather sack from his backpack. Carr tosses handfuls of jewelry into the sack while searching for the quested rings.

Concerned for time he barely sees what he’s doing. The sack now round he has to stop in order to tie the bag, still no rings.

Adding the heavy bag to the pack Carr sifts through the still full chest. Thinking he may have to dump it out. Scraping up a monster, over extravagantly jeweled necklace; a small child could wear it as a dress. Amazed by the time and work that went into it he holds it up to his chest.

Snickering at the thought of actually wearing the garment Carr spots the rings, as they should be side by side.

Dropping the weighted garment Carr grabs up the rings clutching them tight. Reaching down into the body armor pulls out a tiny pouch that hangs from his neck. It usually contains just an emergency platinum coin. Barely seeing torchlight the rings are inserted and tucked back under the scale armor.

Patting his chest picks up his pack checking on its weight. Thinking another stone in weight can be handled he looks over the chests.

Having plenty of precious stones, he eyes up the gold. Returning the monster necklace and rapidly tossing the rest of the spilt jewelry back into its container, he closes it up.

Making some room in the pack he attaches the short sword and his own around the waist.

Taking a pair of socks he fills one with gold and the other with platinum, wedging them and the picks into the backpack.

After hoisting the heavy pack onto the back he closes the last chest.

Closing and locking the iron-gate while exiting he looks over the decapitated man.

Struggling with the backpack Carr takes the man’s head and places it back onto its’ shoulders.

Locking the first gate, he purposely snaps the key off in the lock.

Tackling the stairs with loaded back Carr breaks into a sweat, reaching the top.

“Bang! Bang, bang!” Pounds the patrolling guard at the main door.

“Pound, pound, pound.” Goes Carr’s heart, grabbing wall to keep from falling back down the stairs.

Calming he releases the rear doors wooden braces removing the lock pins, gently setting them down. Unbarring the rear doors Carr softly rests the two heavy wood beams aside.

Surveying the area behind the building, nothing is moving within his view. Closing the doors behind, before heading for the alley.

Stopping to check the street he sees Harland, the loud banger, walking south with his guard buddy.

Carr waits until they cross the market. Glancing over at the Inn notices the older woman seems to be watching for him.

Waiting motionless Carr contemplates. I can’t believe I got away with it. I’m getting good. Soon I’ll be able to afford to build a keep. Maybe on a cliff edge or opposite King Halford’s Castle. I’ve definitely got to make a trip there after I get back. Maybe I can trick Ma into coming along… If she’s not too mad.

He observes the Innkeeper. Why is it women don’t think I can do it. I can certainly show them now.

Checking on the street patrol, they’re nowhere to be found. Feeling confidently cocky, Carr struts across the street. Straight into the Inn, quietly closing the door he approaches the woman.

Genuinely awed she inquires, “Did you get what you wanted? Or did you even get in?”

Carr turns resting the weighted pack on the counter, sliding his arms out he faces her.

As she curiously leans over to look at the backpack, Carr amazes even himself boldly planting a quick kiss on the woman’s cheek. Winking once he says. “I got exactly what I came for, and a wee bit more.” He opens the pack.

In no way offended by the young male, she states. “I never thought I’d be here to see the building burgled twice. The thief’s guild even leaves that place alone. There hasn’t been an attempt in over two years. Who are you?”

Opening the pouch of large gems he smiles, “Carr, Carr the Daring,” Reaching in he grabs up several gems.

Studying Carr, she smiles, “Well Carr, you certainly are daring, or foolish. Either way I must congratulate you. My name is Makah, and something tells me our paths will cross in the future.”

He places the stones on the counter. “Oh yeah. Well Makah will these buy silence.”

Her eyes sparkle with the gems, “Oh yes, and far too generous.” She says but still slips all the precious stones into her pocket.

He closes the pack, “Not to worry.” Heaving the pack onto his back. “Now I must get a little sleep, but I was hoping you could wake me before the city gates are opened?”

“Not to worry.” She points out, “The rooster in the pen out back will surely get you up.”

He heads for the stairs, “Thank-you Makah, you’re a wonderful being.”

She slyly responds. “I certainly am. You get some sleep. You’ll need to stay alert later today. Good luck Carr.” She watches him, pull his way up the stairs.

In the room he closes and latches the door.

Dropping the pack on the bed for a lumpy pillow, he closes the window. Then he removes the swords to hang on the bedpost.

Lying on the straw fantasizes of how to spend his growing fortune.

“Er, Eee, Er, E, Err!” The Inn rooster crows out inspiring other roosters into waking the city.

Sitting up too fast Carr’s head spins, having only slept a few hours, attempts to get moving.

With no room left in the pack he straps the short-sword around the waist concealing it under the old tattered cloak.

Already getting warm with all that’s worn Carr slings the bow and long-sword across the back. Then struggles to get the bulky pack in place.

Staggering down the hall with quiver in hand and tempting fate down the stairs Carr noisily leaves.

A lean, well, groomed man, of forty years comes out from behind the desk curious to whom is making the noise. Sighting Carr he firmly points out, “Hey others are trying to sleep.”

Slowing up Carr apologizes, “I’m sorry good sir.” He stops briefly at the bottom, “Sorry just in a hurry. Tell Makah I said thanks again.”

“Makah?” Confused the man looks over Carr trying to recall his face, “Who are you?”

Unsure if he pronounced her name correctly, “The pretty older women? She checked me in last night.” Carr backs towards the door.

The man doesn’t know, “I only check people in and I lock the front doors after seven.”

Placing his hand on the door, “Well, I paid her a gold.” Opening the door slightly Carr hesitates raising a complaint, “And I got a bed with no linens or a pot to piss in.”

The man glances up to where that room is located, “I don’t rent out that room.” Stepping back to check his coin box, “Who’d you say you were?”

Unsure of what’s going on and just wanting to get out of Monsteil Carr blurts out, “It’s, ah, James Cabe.” Ducking out the door he heads for the public stables.

The true Innkeeper finding an extra gold in his coin-box doesn’t pursue the matter, right away.

Briskly making his way across the city, its’ guards are readying to change shifts.

Waking guards in the tax building have found the man left tied up.

Approaching the barn he can see the stable boy is bringing Bressi out. Beyond the stable, the main gates are opening.

The bodies of Carr’s victims have been found and Lord Piate has been woken.

“Good morning,” Digging out the coin pouch Carr greets the male, “Thank-you so much for having her ready. Here,” handing the man the six silver coins, “keep it, get yourself something.” Patting Bressi he straps the quiver onto the saddle.

“Oh thanks.” He pockets the coins to help Carr up, “It’s a pleasure to take care of such a beautiful horse, how long have you had her?”

“Thanks again,” Carr appreciates the boost, “I’ve had her seven years.”

Guards from the tax building are running out into the street deciding who should go where.

Still in a fog the Innkeeper enters the street asking the men. “What’s going on?”

One of the guards asks the Innkeeper. “Did you see anyone strange around here last night?”

Automatically the Innkeeper thinks of Carr, and points south. “A scruffy young Human male with a heavy backpack, headed that way a few minutes ago.”

“Right.” The guard thanks the Innkeeper and sends a man running for the south gate to warn them to close it. Another is sent to the barracks to rally the men. Finally he tells a servant to inform the Lord of the events so far, before running for the gate.

The stable boy kindly says. “Well I hope Bressi stays with you several more.”

“Me too.” Carr directs Bressi towards the main gate, “I hope you have a pleasant day.”

“Yeah.” The stable boy waves to them, “Take care.”

Spotting a rider leaving the stables the racing guard yells out repeatedly. “Stop! Him! Close! The gate!”

The guard following behind glimpses a distant rider, turning around he runs back yelling. “Horse! Men! Now!”

Carr hears the first man and gets Bressi to a quick gallop. Seeing this causes the guards to scramble closing the heavy hinged steel doors of the city walls.

Archers hastily grab and fire arrows not taking the time to aim properly.

Bressi clears the doors with ease.

Launching their second round of arrows at the fleeing pair, one scrapes across Bressi’s rump leaving but a scratch. Two pierce the backpack but are stopped by the contents.

The last arrows are fired a second too late as Bressi gallops out of range.

Passing the last of the fields Carr glances back seeing no followers yet, he smiles feeling confident he’s gotten away with his caper.

Back in the city four horsemen begin a pursuit while six more are but a few minutes from being ready and another dozen horses are being saddled.

At the mountain pass Carr and Bressi slow to navigate the rough terrain, beginning the long twisting ascent out of Darvel’s territory.

Reaching a section Carr has to lead Bressi, observes four horsemen are quickly reaching the base of the pass. Along the road he can see six are behind them and a dozen riders are clearing the city gates.

Mildly concerned about the future Carr thinks of how to elude the pursuing riders.

Thinking about the path happened upon days ago, wonders if he can find an alternate path to it from this side. Getting a view of the landscape he notices a ridge leading east around the nearest peak.

Higher up the pass a small animal trail becomes visible, running towards the ridgeline.

Carr takes the almost empty flask of water from the saddlebag, and the quiver of arrows. “Bressi girl you go home.” He talks calmly to the horse directing the way, “Go home to Ma. Get the honey oats. Go on then.” They have no honey oats but the horse responds continuing onward.

Carr gently makes his way through the first section of the barely recognizable trail. Looking back occasionally to make sure he’s not leaving any obvious signs of a side trip. Also hoping no matter what Bressi doesn’t stop, alerting the men that he’s taken the alternate route.

As the path opens up into light brush, Carr runs where possible and darts across open sections.

Traversing the mountainside isn’t difficult, just tiring being weighted down.

Mid afternoon, despite the cool breezes Carr begins to overheat, muscles vibrate and burn.

Holding up in a small group of trees and brush he quickly drops the backpack. Leaning the bow, quiver and long-sword against a fallen tree, to peel off the cloak and toss it aside.

Noticing the arrows stuck in the pack he plucks them out. Satisfied the contents are not going to spill out rests his butt on the fallen tree causing it to bend. Exhausted he doesn’t care if it hits ground, he’d happily go with it.

Drinking the last of the water Carr remembers his rations aren’t with him. Sighing folds over, resting his chest on his lap. Allowing his arms and head to relax closes the eyes while listening to the wind carry through the foliage.

A.R.T. The Ties That Bind Chapter # 5 Complete

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.