Kalow 3

Mar. 31st, 2010 10:51 pm
[personal profile] subadai
Kalow 3


"Damn him, where did he go"? Kalow paused, he was invisible so he left no shadow. Long years of training assured he made no noise. Spike was hovering five feet above him, also invisible. The guy Kalow was looking for was still nearby, Spike could smell him and telepathically told him so. But where?
Kalow stood in the lobby of an old abandoned inn. It had a two story tall ceiling with a balcony around 3/4 of the second level. Without looking, Kalow knew the former front desk was in front of him, and the main door was to his back. To each side of the desk was a hall, the left toward the stables, the right towards the kitchen and servants areas. Stairs ascended along both walls. Kalow was quite familiar with this place as he had been trying to purchase it for some months now, but today he was here for a different purpose.
His quarry was also invisible and had similar, although not so extensive training in stealth. But he was an Elf and was naturally gifted with the ability to move quietly. Kalow extended his senses, nothing magical, just training and skill. Spike floated to the entry of each hall and said nothing, therefore his quarry had not gone down those ways, probably. The Elf had fled into here with Kalow in close pursuit but Kalow had lost him briefly and now it came to this. Kalow could hear a rat up on the balcony to his left. It stopped and chittered and fled from something. Spike was off to his right near the hall there. Anything could have made the rat flee, but there was nothing else there. Moving with the grace and skill of long practice, Kalow slowly made his way up the left staircase without making a noise. The inn creaked, as old buildings do, and creaked again, near the front wall above the door. Kalow now knew where the elf was. He was good, very good. Lesser people, with lesser skills would not now know that the elf was literally clinging to the wall above the door. Kalow had closed the door behind him upon entry so the elf could not leave that way without showing his exact position. The slight increase in the amount of light coming through certain cracks in the wall, the tiniest of noises and knowing that this Elf had not yet panicked told Kalow he was trying to cross to the other balcony. Kalow crept across on the balcony above the desk and made no noise. Standing in the hall he looked towards where the elf would have to come over to and held a dagger at the ready. Spike was now on guard in front of the main entrance. Kalow had deliberately left footprints in the dust, had the Elf seen them? He waited, the minutes went by and Kalow made no movements except with his eyes and to breath. Either the Elf was also waiting, he had found a way around Kalow, or he had gone back. Kalow was confident that the Elf had not reversed his path. It was easy to observe if he had if you knew what to look for. Spike said that he could still smell him in the room and then called the Elf many unkind names. Kalow smiled. Fortunately, Spike was well trained also and did not move or make any sound either. There was a creak near the stairway that Kalow had come up, twenty feet to Kalow's right. The Elf had gotten around him. Kalow peered in that direction, studying the scene. Yes, the balcony handrail was slightly bowed, and now it was not. A tiny puff of dust told Kalow exactly where his opponent was. He was standing at the top of the stairs. Kalow weighed his options. He could rush the Elf and hope to cause him to make a hasty decision, he could throw a dagger and aim for the center of where the Elf should be, or he could sneak his way over there and hope to surprise him. The latter was his choice.
Kalow made his way over to the elf, moving at almost a walk and silent as a cat on the hunt. A wagon was going by outside and Kalow moved faster than he might otherwise with the covering noise. There, the dust print at the top of the stairs was now smudged. The Elf was now moving and was only five to six feet away. A sudden commotion outside and Kalow took a few fast steps, making only the slightest of noises. Spike moved to the bottom of the stairs and became more alert as there was a noise only a few steps up from him. Kalow was at the top of the stairs still and seeing no dust of the banister, knew how the elf had reached the bottom. The elf was good, Kalow had respect for his abilities. "Boss? he is right here, he is" Kalow heard in his mind. "ROOWWLLL" The elf had finally made a real mistake, possibly a fatal one. He had stepped on Spike's tail. Spike attacked the offending foot, becoming visible as a result, his abnormally large claws slicing clean through boot leather and into flesh. KZZAPPP, Spike had discharged a significant electric shock into the unfortunate Elf also. The Elf's legs convulsed and he leapt back uncontrollably, landing on his backside. "Spike, no!" The Elf was dazed and Spike was in mid-leap when Kalow called out. Spike landed on the Elf's chest and snarled up the stairs at Kalow, just now becoming visible, walking down them. Spike loved the taste of fresh blood and on instinct had attacked the first time and then with glee had followed the Elf, preparing for his demise. Spike swore out loud and with imagination at Kalow and walked down the Elf's prone body to the front door. He left a trail of tiny punctures upon the still invisible Elf.
Kalow, now visible, sat upon the second to bottom step and waited for the Elf to say something. Seeing death in the form of Spike walk painfully down his body woke him and he looked up at Kalow. "Sir, I failed, didn't I?" Kalow nodded yes and replied, "You are good, but not quite good enough. You must anticipate your opponent's moves. You should have known that the obvious and easy way out would be guarded somehow. Kalow paused for a moment and the Elf dropped his invisibility. But I will allow you to try again when you feel you are ready. When you pass, you will be a Master Thief. Training is over for today." Kalow rose and left closing the front door behind him again.
The Elf, blood dripping from deep gashes in his ankle, a black scorch mark on his boot, and his tailbone bruised from his involuntary flight, picked himself up and left the inn by a back door. He hated Kalow, he greatly respected Kalow and he feared Kalow. He would try again in a few days and would do better. Now he needed to heal, then, as Kalow was his Guild assigned trainer for this level, he would need Kalow's approval and that would take every ounce of skill he had. He might not live through another failure.

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subadai

March 2010

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