“Impossible. That’s insane,” Vaun stared at Forte with his mouth gaped open.
“Never been part of a heist before Vaun?” Forte responded with a cheeky grin.
Nightmare swooped into the room, rabbit in mouth and eager to join the discussion. Forte bit into a stale biscuit with gravy, provided by the Hog’s Pit Inn for supper. Sawdust flavored, but he still managed to down it with some water.
“Are you sure the King’s envoy will pay us? They could easily walk out of the deal if we overcharge them.” said Vaun.
Forte wolfed down another mouthful of the dry biscuit, wincing as he swallowed. “Money is not an issue for them. They’ll be much more afraid of returning back to King’s Court without any mithril. That’s how nobility works—the earls will have them lashed for failing a simple task.”
Nightmare played with his delicate rabbit meal, nudging the furry white carcass. Forte chuckled and pet the back of his tiny black dragon, then gulped down half a glass of water. “So we play off that fear.” he said, putting down his glass on the table where his sword lay. He wiped his mouth with the inside of his shirt. “The King’s men need mithril, and they won’t care where or how they get it.”
“Ha, you might just be right. Sounds like a plan, capt’n. Anyway, we should get ready to head out.” Vaun strapped on his toolkit belt and dagger. Lining his belt were various contraptions and smoke bombs. After making sure the strap was secured, the messy haired lad bolted downstairs to retrieve his coat.
Forte looked at the sword on the table. Grasping the grip of the gravitite sword, he slowly drew the shimmering grey blade out of its scabbard. Lifting it into the air and slashing down with practiced form, he examined the three cryptic runes inscribed in fine calligraphy on the flat of the blade.
Some sort of power lingered within the three characters. The mysterious runes echoed of ancient forgings, of dwarven techniques long buried with the demise of the dwarf race eons ago. A time before humanity, when brutish orcs, cunning dwarves, and fair elves shared the lands with great beasts, lizards and dragons.
Forte traced the iridescent blade, dragging his finger down the entirety of the smooth tempered flat of the blade. A relic of a time long ago.
Forte gasped for air as a vast, rumbling presence entered his mind. A deep, thundering voice reverberated through the confines of his head.
The runes. They read... Strength. Magic. Luck.
Strength. The strength of a thousand mortals.
Magic. The wielder of such unlike any seen before in history.
Luck. The luck of a jackal, able to elude fate.
Only he who possesses all, may wield the Blöthe.
“Who is this!” Forte shouted, clasping his sweating hands on his temple. An enormous pressure enveloped his conscience, nearly stifling him.
I am one of many names. I am the Rhaz, king of dragonkind. I am the Ifri, shadow of dusk. I am Uthar, horror of night. I am the Saluer, last of my kind. Last of the dragons… the proud and noble dragonkind.
And now… I am Nightmare, the ripper. I am bringer of terror to ALL that stands in my way...
That is who I am.
The pressure dissipated. Forte blinked and looked at the tiny black dragon chowing down on its rabbit meal. A faint glow faded away from the dragon’s eyes.
Vaun burst through the door, heaving with his coat in hand. “Did you feel that? I swore the whole inn was shaking!”
Forte blinked again. “You must’ve been imagining things.”
“Now let’s get going.”
Forte and Vaun scaled the rooftops until they reached a vantage point near the docks. There they waited, as Nightmare circled the starry sky. Minutes turned into hours. Vaun shifted impatiently as they observed the moonlit sea. After what seemed like an eternity, a modest shipping vessel bearing the black and red flag of the kingdom of Cadum pulled into sight.
As Vaun drew a smoke bomb, Forte motioned Vaun to hold off. “Easy. Let’s not turn this heist into a diplomatic injury.”
Vaun chuckled. “You’re right. Th’ last thing Rottheim needs is a war with Cadum.”
Nightmare swooped down and nudged Forte, pointing at a rooftop near them. The boy squinted, and saw what the fuss was about. What a coincidence—two masked bandits. They weren’t the only ones with their sights on the precious cargo. Forte gestured to Vaun, who grasped the situation immediately.
Vaun carefully slid closer and whispered to Forte. “Let them move first. We’ll clean up.” Forte silently nodded in agreement.
They watched as Cadum’s cargo men rolled out a large cart of mithril, and Port Sawen’s mithril buyers carried over a cart of coal and bag of silvers to make up the difference. A flurry of paperwork followed the exchange of goods between parties, and after an hour the Cadum vessel was fully loaded with coal and silvers. The Cadum vessel left the port unperturbed, and the mithril buyers hauled their cargo down the street.
“I recognize those mithril buyers. They were my boss’s henchmen back at the coal mine.” Vaun frowned.
They tensed as the two masked bandits across from them sprung into action. Leaping down with somewhat grace, the two quickly dispatched of the mithril buyers with flashing daggers.
Vaun’s frown deepened. “Skilled work. You sure you wanna do this Forte?” Forte nodded silently, watching the two thieves take the cart down a dark alleyway. He beckoned Vaun to follow him down a rooftop chute onto the street, then motioned at Nightmare.
The dragon flew down like a dart and spewed black flames across the two masked men. Panicking, the surprised masked duo tried to put out the fire on their cloaks. The two boys charged as the masked men struggled to put out the unnaturally incessant flames. Forte’s back rippled as he swung Blöthe, cracking a masked man’s ribs immediately. Sensing vulnerability, Forte immediately tackled the man onto the floor as he pounded away with his fists at the man’s head. The black flames licked Forte without harming him.
Vaun threw a smoke bomb at the masked thief as Nightmare clawed at him. Under the cover of smoke, Vaun slid his dagger into the thief’s stomach. Having dispatched the first man, Forte walked over and bludgeoned him on the side with Blöthe, causing the thief to collapse. Before long, both masked men were dead.
Wiping blood away from his dagger, Vaun nonchalantly winked at Forte. “You’re a natural killer, eh?”
Forte shook his head and smiled back, “And so are you... Where’d you learn how to fight like that?”
Vaun chuckled. “That’s a secret.”
They looted the bodies, netting 30 silver apiece. Unmasking the bodies revealed two common criminals, a typical sort around Rottheim. No valuables could be found on the bodies. They would not be missed. Worried shouts revealed that the mithril buyers’ bodies had been discovered by Sawen’s patrol. The boys would have to work fast to avoid detection.
Dragging the mithril cart to a deserted street, the two boys covered the cart with an old discarded blanket. After making absolutely sure that their precious cargo was safe, they headed back to the Hog’s Pit for their well deserved rest.