The Outer Alleys
Dylle Proper, Brydella
Callon did not want to fight her grasp, though any and all semblance of common sense screamed for him to do just that. Mouse seemed harmless enough to him, and he would never admit it, but he was genuinely curious about her. He would be curious of anyone with that caliber of swordsmanship, and add to that women did not fight – at least not with swords – with mastered expertise.
Mouse said nothing as she ran. Head down, her eyes darted ahead, navigating the dark maze – her free hand tightening on the dampening left side of her corset. She ripped Callon around corners and tugged him down short flights of stairs. She sped up and ran full speed towards what looked like a dead end, lurching left at the last moment. Pulling him down the thin alley, they both turned sideways to squeeze through to the last door on the right.
Fumbling for the key around her neck, she unlocked the cracked wooden door and pulled Callon through. He took in the small room, if it could really be called that, and found the soot-coated fireplace provided an appropriately morbid touch. Callon watched Mouse as she latched, bolted, and barricaded the door behind them. Satisfied, she darted across the room in three strides to the bed.
“Look, Lady… er, Mouse, I appreciate your help and normally I’d be all about pleasing you right now…”
Mouse halted her hectic shifting of the pads and pillows, jerked up straight, and cut him an angry look.
Callon shrugged. “Well, why else would you bring me back here?”
She rolled her eyes and sighed. She retrieved a square parcel from the pads, and only after she was upon Callon did he realize it carried replacement daggers and a folded drawing. Mouse shoved the charcoal drawing into his chest and stared at him. When he did nothing, she shoved again.
Callon unfolded the drawing in his hand and considered the drawn figure. He could not be sure, but with the faint freckles and mess of tight, short curls, the young boy in the aged drawing could have been his Wing Third, Tomal, or any other freckle-faced man alive.
“Why are you showing me this?” he asked, tracking her scampering feet to the small hole of a window near the roof. She stood on a chair to peek out, scanning the alley on the other side.
“Should I know him or something? He looks… so… common. And, why do you—”
Popping off the chair, Mouse scrunched herself into a hunched position out of eyesight. Callon instinctively crouched down, too. Someone was coming.
Back at the start of the their alley, deep angry voices shouted. “Open in the name of the Council!”
Door slam by door slam, they made their way down the alley.
Mouse snatched back the drawing, folded it in half, and stuck it inside her bodice. Kneeling low, she unwrapped the rest of the parcel and hid the three replacement daggers on her person. Then, she low-crawled away from the window and cracked door towards the far wall.
“That has to be a record,” Callon muttered, as the door next to them was kicked in after no one responded to their command. “Well, this should be fun,” he mumbled as he began to rise, hands on his hilts. He never made it above a crouch.
She jerked him back down hard.
“What in Udlast? Woman – we’re going to have to fight them—”
Mouse’s face darkened as she gripped his jaw and tweaked his gaze to find a now-exposed exit tunnel in the far wall.
Callon looked down at the coldness pressing against his throat. He rolled his eyes and scoffed. “Are you always this persistent?”
She did not bother answering.
“Because only wanted enemies of the Council—”
Mouse pressed a tad harder.
“Right. Bad time to discuss the semantics of the situation. Off we go.”
Together, they crawled through the escape tunnel that ran under the main street. They resurfaced next to a bakery, whose tenant blinked twice and then bolted their front door. Scanning the street, Mouse dragged Callon out and limped lightly to the forest behind the building. Callon followed, willingly now, though she still kept her dagger exposed and firmly pointed his direction.
“You can put that away, you know. I’m coming. No point in leaving you to die because you had a moment of insanity and hopped into a simple bar fight.”
She said nothing to his sarcasm as she lowered her dagger and replaced it in her belt. Pushing through snagging branches and over broken boughs, Mouse led him to an outcropping nearest a sheer mountainside and stopped. She pointed to the sky.
Callon shook his head, a laugh in his smile. “I don’t follow.”
In a flash of fluid movement, her bloodied right hand yanked open his shirt collar and tapped his bonding scar. At their newfound closeness, Mouse could see her reflection in his deep blue eyes. She frowned.
Callon shut his eyes and, despite his nagging voice of reason that had finally sobered up, he put his fingers to his mouth and released a shrill whistle.
A whistle he knew the Council Dragonics would recognize.
A whistle he knew Syralli would respond to first.
In a blink and half breath, the giant sun-colored Beast swooped down, joining the pair. Syralli stared, teeth bared at Mouse, who merely stared right back at her. Dreading a lack of time to fully comment sarcastically on the situation, he hoisted the fearless woman atop his Beast and joined her in the saddle. He commanded Syralli to lift into the air. As they rose, Callon made out the unmistakable forms of Council Dragons perched along rooftops. Even his blood shivered at their tattling bellows.
Callon shouted above the roars in a stabbing bout of Drakanic, “Up, Syralli. Quickly!”
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG-13