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Farah The Ferret Thief


Mercenaryblade
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Thought I'd share one of my recurring characters here. I've been spending most of my time writing original works, probably why I don't do matchups that often. Anyway here is the first adventure of Farah. Because she's a ferret, and this is Magnetic Ferret. Feedback welcome, bear in mind I wrote this back in 2015 and it was me trying to figure out a new character so not the best or most groundbreaking material, and hopefully my writing style has improved since 2015. I'll probably get some furry hate for this but I don't actually care. Okay here we go.

Farah sat at the back table of the tavern, her keen eyes taking in the whole room. She raised a flagon of ale to her muzzle and knocked back the amber liquid.

“Ah,” the female ferret exclaimed as the liquid traveled down her throat.

She set the flagon down and drummed her clawed fingers on the table. Her nose twitched at the scents of cooked meat, alcohol, and pipe smoke. Farah always felt the most at home in a tavern. The ferret had spent most of her life in the cities, getting by however she could. A tavern was always a way point for her, it’s where she went to unwind and where potential employers would seek her out.

As fate would have it, one such person had just entered the tavern. He was a rat dressed in a tunic and leggings, with a dagger at his side. The rat looked about the tavern at the rowdy patrons before his eyes settled on Farah. Purposefully, he walked to her table. Farah shifted in her seat, a hand resting on her small hand axe she affectionately called claw. The rat stopped at her table.

“Greetings. My master sent me to find someone with talents such as yours.”

Farah’s small rounded ears went back as she tilted her head. “What skills,”

The rat looked around before muttering in a low tone, “Thieving.”

Farah opened her maw and placed a hand to her chest, “Sir! Just because I’m a ferret you think I’m a thief!”

“I… uh.” Farah cut him off, “I am highly offended! Away with you.”

The rat bowed, “Of course, my apologies.”

Right as he turned to leave Farah broke into a fit of giggling, “Forgive me! I’m merely having some fun. No, I am the one you’re looking for. Please sit.”

The rat clucked his tongue before sitting opposite her. “I suppose you thought that was clever,” he chided.

“I did. The look on your face was priceless! Now introductions are in order I believe. I am Farah, an expert locksmith, if you will.”

The rat nodded, “I am Tetius, I was sent to bring you to my master. He will want to give you the details of the job personally.”

Farah stood up from the table, “Time is precious. Lead on.”

Nodding, the rat stood from the table and gestured for her to follow, Farah pulled back her lips in a grin showing her sharp canines. He led her out of the noisy tavern and into the streets of the city, it was night but the city was still brimming with activity. Farah’s nostrils twitched as she took in the scents and her eyes reflected the fires of the lanterns that lined the street. She pulled her cloak closer to her as a pair of wolf watchmen padded down the street armed with halberds and truncheons. Farah shifted her shortsword she called Fang from the small of her back. She didn’t know if she was wanted for anything recently or not, best to be prepared. The wolves just stalked by with only some unfriendly glances.

The two arrived at their destination, a large manor house. They passed through a grand hall and up a spiral staircase to a large chamber door. Tetius held a hand for Farah to wait as he knocked on the door.“Master,” he called.

“Enter,” a booming voice replied.

Tetius and Farah entered. A figure sat cross legged on the floor before a floating, shimmering ball of light before it winked out. A growl came from the figures throat. Farah thought he was a leopard at first, but his spots were all wrong. The figure cast a glance toward them before standing up to his full height and turning. Farah surmised two things about him then, he was a jaguar and a sorcerer. He was dressed only in a loincloth and his fur was adorned with brands of magical symbols

“Ah, so this is the thief,” he rumbled.

“May I take your cloak,” Tetius asked.

Farah handed the garment off, beneath the cloak she wore a leather vest that covered her torso and had thick straps that covered her shoulders, but left her gray furred arms bare. A pair of vambraces covered her forearms and a set of throwing darts were strapped just above her left elbow. A silver and crystal pendant hung around her neck, which the jaguar narrowed his gold eyes at. She wore leggings and of course her sword and handaxe were belted on within easy reach.

“Welcome. I am Vespious, a master of the mystic arts.”

Farah bowed elegantly, “A pleasure. I am Farah a master of the thieving arts. I must say you are more muscular than most spellcasters."

Vespious chuckled at that. “Physical fitness is a discipline just as magic is. Now, how do I know you’re qualified for my task?”

In response Farah held up a broach.

"That’s mine,” Tetius cried out.

“Hehehe,” Farah chuckled as she tossed it back to the rat butler.

The sorcerer flicked his tail, “I see you have mastered sleight of hand. That matters little for this task though.”

Farah shrugged her ears twitching back and forth, “What’s the task then?”

“I need you to go into the catacombs and retrieve a tome for me.”

“Oh, is that all?”

“Everyone I’ve sent so far has failed to return.” Vespious rumbled.

“Amateurs,” Farah remarked, “But forgive me for asking the obvious, why have you not gone to retrieve it yourself? You are a sorcerer.”

The jaguar growled and bared his teeth, “Because wards were put in place to protect the tome in its resting place. Wards keep those like me out, but they do nothing against a thief such as you. Will you do it?”

Farah’s tail swished back and forth as she thought, “The catacombs are a vast labyrinth.”

“Yes,” Vespious rumbled.

“I need some form of navigation. Even I have only ventured so far into the catacombs.”

“Done, I’ll cast something to guide you,” Vespious said.

“And I need to know what I’m looking for, the catacombs go back centuries.”

Vespious gestured her to a seat, “Make yourself comfortable, and listen to me very carefully. The tome I seek dates back three centuries. It belonged to a powerful sorcerer named Bargas. It’s filled with all manner of incantations and forgotten knowledge of centuries past. I, however, am not the only one seeking this tome. I have many rivals and they too wish to acquire it for their own use. I will not be cheated of it!” He fixed Farah with his gaze, “Bring it back to me. I will reward you.”

Farah leaned back in her chair, “How much?”

Vespious chortled in his throat and brought out a large burlap bag. He flopped it on the table as gold coins spilled out of it.

“Material wealth means very little to me. Power is the only thing I care for. Bring me the tome and this can be yours.”

Farah sat forward rubbing her palms together, “I have one last condition before I say yes.”

Vespious bared his fangs, “What would that be, ferret?”

Farah leaned forward her silver eyes gleaming, “You’re not the first magic user I’ve encountered, though you are the most handsome. I know a few things about the rules of magic, I want you to swear an oath that you will honor our deal.”

Vespious flattened his ears, he raised a clawed hand but then lowered it, “You drive a hard bargain thief. I see now why you’ve been so successful. Very well, I, Vespious of the Order, swear by the laws of magic that I shall reward you Farah.”

“Reward me how,” Farah prodded.

Vespious chuckled, “With gold.”

“That will do.” The thief stood up and clasped the jaguar’s hand, “Deal!”

Vespious grunted, "I should warn you thief. If you attempt to cross me, the consequences will be most… dire. That pendant may protect you from spells, but I can still harm you indirectly."

Farah shrugged, "Spare me the threats or I'll work slower."

After an hour in preparation and travel, Farah crouched a few feet from the entrance to the catacombs. Three large gray rats armed with staves and dressed in black robes were milling about.

Farah didn’t know who they were. A cult? Street toughs? Hired goons employed by one of the mentioned rivals? Regardless of who they were, they were in her way and she wasn’t going to stand for that. Farah crept forward on her toes as her tail swished behind her in excitement as she drew one of her throwing darts.

Rounding the corner suddenly, she let fly with one of the darts striking one of the rats in the neck, her target squeaked in surprise and pain. He moved forward a bit before passing out as the sedative laced dart did its work. The other two shouted and rushed the ferret thief. Grinning broadly, she threw a second dart, striking an exposed hand. The third, hit the rat in the thigh.

Farah ducked a swipe for her head and dodged past a second as she skirted around the two angry rats. She grinned the whole time.

“That’s right boys. The more you exert yourselves the faster the toxins work,” she cooed.

The two quickly succumbed to the sleeping agents and were soon lying on the ground. She preferred to incapacitate her foes, rather than killing or maiming them. It was less trouble that way.

Farah promptly searched the bodies and came up with thirty five gold coins and an emerald between them. She quietly slipped these into her own purse.

Her ears pricked forward, Farah moved into the tunnel entrance the rats had been guarding. She took a moment to let her eyes adjust to the darkness before moving toward a flight of stairs set within a square hole in the stone floor. Farah’s heart was racing, not from fear but excitement. Placing a hand on her double edged shortsword, she descended the stairs into the catacombs. She didn’t know what challenges awaited her, but she couldn’t wait. This is why she did what she did. Not for the money, which she liked, but for the thrill of the heist.

prize___farah_by_dragondoodle-dcm5bw9.thumb.png.f958a17890e161880d3c4d0e27ccd6ba.png

 

Alright that was PT1 if anyone is interested I'll post PT2 later and maybe some of her other adventures I wrote. Art not by me, but a friend on DA. 

My DA MercenaryBlade - Hobbyist, Writer | DeviantArt

Reedsy M B - Writer on Reedsy Prompts 

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Author's Note: Well I had 2 reactions to PT1. So guess a couple of people liked the story and would like PT2. Well here it is! Once again this was written in 2015 so hopefully my skills have improved since then. Comments welcome.

 

 

“Alright let’s see if Vespious came through for me,” Farah murmured as she withdrew a handful of dust from a pouch the sorcerer had given her.

She was within the catacombs proper now, the walls were lined with the skulls and bones. It was hard to tell what race the bones had once been in life. Farah tossed the dust into the air, it shimmered, and then materialized into a ball of light. Flickering it slowly began to float away from Farah and lead her through the catacombs.

Farah knew enough of the catacombs to know she was in the newer section where commoners were laid to rest. She wondered if, should she die, her bones would join the walls too.

Following the ball of light, Farah could feel she was descending deeper within the bowels of the catacombs. Every now and then she’d see inscriptions written on the walls of prayers for the dead and warnings to those who would desecrate them.

Her fur bristled at the thought she was being watched. She did her best to shake the uneasy feeling. She even tried giving herself a pep talk, “Easy Farah. You’ve been in catacombs before. You always come back out.”

Time passed and she had descended lower into the older section of the catacombs. It was here that the bones jammed into walls gave way to alcoves cut into stone where skeletons lay. Other alcoves were empty and some skeletons were strewn about the floor.

The ferret suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. The air was ice cold, her breath turned to mist, and a shiver ran down her spine as her muzzle hung open. Her ball of light wasn’t the only one. Red orbs floated around the ceiling, casting a devilish light on the walls. Farah knew what they were instantly; restless spirits. She clutched her crystal talisman, she didn’t fancy getting possessed. Farah moved forward with hopes that she didn’t attract the attention of the ghosts.

Her hopes were dashed as several of the orbs descended quickly and flew into the alcoves. There was a rattling sound. Farah bared her teeth and drew her handaxe as several skeletons began to move toward her. The bones were held together with the same eerie red light as the orbs. They were so mangled it was impossible for Farah to discern what they had been in life.

She ducked the outstretched claws of a skeleton meant to grab or throttle her. Farah struck down with her axe and chopped a leg bone in two and the skeleton toppled over. The clicking, rattling sound of bones was everywhere. The possessed bones came for her with rusted weapons, femurs wielded like clubs, and long bony hands.

Farah knew she had to get out of the narrow corridor. Ducking, she weaved and hacked away at limbs with her axe as she went. Coming up quickly she found two skeletons blocked her path. Farah ran forward with a shout at the top of her lungs, one skeleton stabbed for her stomach with a rusty dagger. Farah chopped the wrist off. The now lifeless hand and dagger clattered to the floor. She ducked the bony protrusion of an arm, stepped in, and brought her axe across the spine of the skeleton. The creature crashed to the floor.

Farah felt hands grabbing at her arms and trying to drag her away. She was able to quickly twist away and run. Her ball of light kept pace with her as the mob of skeletons gave chase. Farah was clear of the confining hall and in a more open room. However, the skeletons were closing in on her.

Farah’s tail was twitching in anticipation as she watched skeletons stagger or crawl toward her. She knew she couldn’t fight them all as she ducked a club. In retaliation Farah hacked off a section of ribcage and retreated as the skeletons closed in on her. She then spotted a crumbling section of floor. Of course that’s where her ball of light was leading her.

On light feet Farah scampered across the floor as it shifted beneath her. She held her breath expecting to feel herself plummeting down at any moment. Finally, she stopped running as the floor became more solid. Turning, Farah bared her teeth at the skeletons behind her.

“Come and get me you bony freaks,” she shouted and displayed a rude gesture.

The mass of skeletons surged forward with the rattling sound of bones. The floor made a sound of protest but didn’t fall through. Farah’s ears went down as she cursed, rushed forward, and stomped on the floor with her foot. The floor groaned again, she struck again and again, screaming in frustration and desperation. Then the floor shifted and she nearly fell into the sudden abyss that had appeared.

In a panic, Farah caught herself on the edge and pulled herself up. She looked down to see the skeletons had fallen with the floor to gods only knew where. The ferret thief breathed a sigh of relief and stuck her axe back through the ring of her belt.

The ball of light hovered nearby silently, waiting for her to resume travelling. Farah took a few breaths to calm herself and then set out again.

Farah found herself at a stone entryway. The carvings on the wall told her this was someone of importance. She knew this was the entrance to the tomb of Bargas. Releasing a breath of stress she reminded herself that it was far from the end of her job. 

A pungent smell came to her sensitive nose. Something was rotting and it did not seem to come from the halls that branched out from the entrance in a labyrinth. Looking to her left, Farah spotted a dead squirrel. He was obviously in the same profession as her. He’d taken one of the side passages only to have wooden slats close around him. The slats hadn’t broken him, but they had trapped him where he couldn’t move and caused him to starve to death.

Farah shuddered. That could easily be her if she wasn’t careful. Following the ball of light she trusted it wouldn’t lead her astray. Farah moved forward cautiously as her eyes took in every detail. Her feet moved slowly and methodically, making sure to never put too much pressure until she was sure the floor was solid. Anything that seemed out of place, or too obvious, she avoided.

Farah came to the next room where several bodies lay strewn about the floor with crossbow bolts jutting from them.

“Amateurs,” Farah scoffed.

The ball of light hung at the end of the room.

“Watch for pressure plates,” Farah told herself.

Farah crawled forward on her belly cautiously. She picked her way past bodies. Surveying what lay around her she surmised that the crossbows were pressure plate activated. She felt a plate shift beneath her hand and quickly withdrew it as a bolt impacted the floor. Farah took the close call as a learning experience, she now knew what the pressure plates were like.

Finally, after a long crawl, she made it out of the room and into a long narrow hallway. Farah didn’t proceed until she’d thoroughly examined the area. She felt ahead of her carefully wary of pressure plates or tripwires. Slowly and methodically she continued forward, the ferret paused as she felt forward with her foot. Her ears fluttered as she heard a cracking sound.

The floor ahead was false. It was purposely made brittle so it would crumble beneath the weight of an intruder. She felt around and found the very edge closest to the wall was solid, but it was extremely narrow. Drawing in her breath to gain confidence, Farah began to side step and shuffle along the edge. If she were a larger creature it would have been impossible.

She slid along, maintaining her balance. She could do this. She had to do this. There was no backing out now. It was do or die. Just as she was almost to the end of the hall her foot slipped and she stepped upon the false floor. There was the crackling sound and the floor fell away. Farah quickly recovered herself and plastered herself to the wall. Her chest rising and falling as she was on the edge of panic. Down below were some nasty looking spikes. The thief teetered on the edge as her foot dipped down.

With an exclamation Farah clawed for the edge as her hand caught the ledge. Gravity tugged at her, but she tossed her other hand up and held onto the ledge for dear life. The ferret cast a glance to the end of the hall. Her arms were protesting from the weight of her body and equipment. Clamping down her muzzle in concentration, Farah began to work her way toward the end. She moved painfully slow, her arms protesting the whole time, but she refused to let the strain overwhelm her. All she had to do was imagine the spikes going through her body.

Reaching the end, she scrambled up onto solid floor. Farah lay sprawled out as she tried to regain her strength and composure. Finally, the thief picked herself up and started forward once again. A small set of steps led her down into an antechamber where four walls lay around a sarcophagus.

Carefully, Farah picked her way to the tomb and saw inscriptions upon the lid. This was without a doubt the resting place of the sorcerer Bargas. Using her shortsword, she pried the lid off, and instantly flung herself down in case there was a final trap. The lid clattered to the floor and then silence.

Slowly standing up, Farah’s tail twitched as she gazed upon the cadaver. The body was well preserved for being dead for three centuries. It was probably due to a preservation spell no doubt. Bargas was a hyena in life dressed in robes and a stave lay beside him in the sarcophagus. Farah tilted her head as she saw the tome tucked beneath the sorcerer’s arm. She slyly drew her lips back into a toothy grin before questioning the scene before her. It all seemed too easy.     

Reaching down she gave the book a tug. It barely budged. Straining she pulled harder and the tome came free. Just as the book came free, Farah felt a hand clasp around her throat and squeeze. Farah let out a choking cry and gazed down to see Bargas’ other hand was choking her. The mystic was still dead, but some final defense had been enacted. Farah’s vision was already becoming cloudy as the life was being squeezed out of her. Beating and shoving at the ironbar of an arm did no good.

Finally, she hacked away at the arm with her short sword. The arm fell away, losing its grip upon her throat. Farah fell back coughing and gasping for air. When she was sure that she was okay and that her nerves had calmed she stood up, tucked the book away, and cast a sneer at the corpse.

“Just for that I’m going to leave your lid off,” she shouted.

Farah began the long trip back with the ball of light leading her to a different doorway. She made it a few feet when the door was suddenly blocked by a large figure.

“Thank you for doing all the leg work for me,” a deep voice rumbled.

Farah drew short. The figure stepped closer and she saw that he was a bull. He had the look of a professional mercenary with his horns capped in metal and a ring stuck in his nose. He must have come from an alternate route.

“Oh? Were you looking for something,” Farah asked.

The bull snorted, “The book. Give it to me now! Give it to me and you won’t get hurt.”

Farah tilted her head and giggled. The response was off putting to the mercenary.

“You’re trying to mug me? Now that’s the lowest form of thievery. Honestly, you’d really get a better result if you just ambush someone and shove them against a wall with a blade to their throat.”

“Enough banter little ferret!” He drew a large two handed sword, “Last chance!”

Farah drew her shortsword which seemed like a dagger in comparison, “That’s an awfully big sword. Do we have insecurities?”

“Grahhh!” The bull shouted and charged the thief.

“Oh yes. Someone is trying to compensate for something small.”

Farah moved to meet him. Stepping into the slash, she blocked the blow. The force of the strike made her arm feel like it was about to buckle. She stepped into his guard and kicked for his shin with her foot and followed by a blow to his snout with her pommel.

The bull bellowed in rage as he staggered back and swung for her again. Farah dropped down as the blade whistled over her head, moved in, and stabbed for the bull’s leg. The blade tip punctured the upper part of the swordsman’s thigh. The bull roared in pain and brought his massive sword down with the intent of cleaving Farah in two. The ferret rolled away as the blade crashed against the floor in a shower of sparks. She popped to her feet and slashed the bull’s back.

“KILL YOU! KILL YOU!” The bull slashed wildly at the nimble ferret that always seemed to be just out of the way.

“My, my, such a temper. That’s not good for your health dear,” Farah snarked as she suddenly broke off from him and sprinted away.

“Coward,” the bull roared and began to give chase.

He lost sight of Farah as he entered the hall. When she suddenly popped up in front of him, she had her sword and handaxe out. The bull slashed for her, but Farah caught the blade with her axe and stabbed him in the torso with her sword. The bull grunted, Farah gave him a nick just under the left arm, and stepped away.

The bull kept attacking, but the tight confines of the hallway made his large sword unwieldy. Exhaustion and bleeding were also taking their toll on the fighter. Farah’s shortsword had the advantage now. She gave the large warrior several cuts with her blade dancing around him. Finally, the warrior fell forward unable to fight anymore. He was still alive, but bleeding profusely and exhausted.

Farah wiped her blade clean, “Well that was fun.”

The bull moaned.

“What was that? Oh, well you’ve got your own problems now. I could just finish you off. But I think it’d be far better if I just left you here. Have fun getting out! Ummmm buh-bye.”

With that she left behind the warrior and followed her guiding light as it led her out of the catacombs.

**

The thief stood in the alleyway as Vespious and his rat manservant, Tetius, approached. The jaguar was all business as he came toward her.

“Do you have my book,” he demanded.

Farah clucked her tongue and her ears fluttered, “I’m fine thanks for asking. I went through a lot you know. Evil spirits. Traps. A bad tempered bull. Then there was that damned dead sorcerer that tried to choke me.” 

Vespious twitched his tail, “Apologies, but you knew what you were signing up for. You will be compensated. Now where’s my book?”

“Money first,” Farah demanded.

Growling, Vespious gestured Tetius forward. The rat held out a bag full of riches. Farah took it from him and handed him a letter.

“What’s this,” Tetius asked.

“Where I stashed the book. Follow the instructions and you’ll get it.”

“What are you playing at,” the sorcerer rumbled.

“Insurance, in case you tried to double cross me. I’d try and go now, or else that magical tome is going to be thrown into the river. You’ve got a few minutes.”

The jaguar narrowed his eyes, “Well played thief. I shall remember this.”

“Remember what? How resourceful I am? See you around boys.”

With that she left the pair to hunt for their book. As she went she jingled her reward all the way home.

 

Thus concludes the first story I penned of Farah. I do have others. Anyone have any thoughts? 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I don't know who wants to read more but here's another of Farah's stories. PT1 At least. Uhhh if you guys like any of this content please let me know. 

 

Cult Of The Moon Goddess 1

Farah stood in the room of the inn admiring the pearl necklace she had stolen. Once the property of a rich noblewoman, the trinket was now hers along with an entire cache of jewels and gold. The ferret smirked to herself, the heist had gone perfectly! She had broken into the manor house, knocked out a servant with a toxic dart, and slipped away with a fortune.

Farah had used the Rusty Dagger Inn several times before and few coins in the right places gave her the best room, wine, and food. Plus, the staff was at her beck and call. Not bad for a simple heist, but Farah had to admit to herself that it was too easy. Most of the jobs the ferret had undertaken were all too easy. She hadn’t had a real challenge in a few months. For a thief like Farah that was her real motivation, not the money, but the thrill of the heist.

A rap on her door stirred Farah from her thoughts. Stowing the necklace away, she turned to the door after she grabbed her handaxe, keeping it hidden behind her back.

“Who is it,” she called.

“Arras,” the gruff voice of the innkeeper responded.

“Come in,” Farah sighed.

An ape pushed the door open and nodded to the ferret.

“Beggin your pardon miss Furruh, but there’s a young wolf here to see you.”

Farah tilted her head, her ears fluttering. “Asking for me? Who is he?”

The ape shrugged, “Don’t know. Barely over a cub. Want me to send him off?”

Farah considered it, “No, I’ll go see what he wants. Be down in a few.”

The ferret slipped on her short sword and stuck her handaxe through her belt. She pulled her cloak around herself as she went downstairs to the common area. She spotted the young wolf, who looked nervous amongst the rowdy bar patrons and was coughing from the thick pipe smoke. He had come at the busiest time; the evening.

Farah smirked to herself as she made her way to the young wolf.

“And what brings a youngster like you, in such a place as this,” Farah asked.

The wolf looked at her, opened his muzzle, and then swiveled an ear back as he addressed her.

“Miss Farah,” he asked.

“Maybe. Who wants to know?”

“I’m Hansel, and I come on behalf of Lord Henrick.”

Farah’s tail twitched behind her, “I don’t know him.” She was racking her brain trying to remember if she had stolen something from him and added, “I didn’t do it.”

Hansel flattened his ears, “We’re not accusing you of anything. I was sent to bring you to him. He has a job for you.”

Farah perked up at that, “Next time start  with that! I’ll get the rest of my things together.” 

The Ferret thief left the wolf youth to sit in the bar area while she gathered her things. Farah donned her leather vest; the thick leather covered her torso and had thick straps over her shoulders. Her gray furred arms were bare aside from a pair of vambraces, and a sheath with three darts.

Fully attired and equipped, Farah concealed her riches. Being a thief herself she put it where she knew it wouldn’t be taken by an amateur. Hansel was looking around uncomfortably as burly bar patrons eyed him. He was almost relieved when Farah descended the stairs and addressed him.

“Come, come! Time is precious,” she said motioning him out the door.

Hansel gladly led her to a wagon outside. The large monitor like lizards were hitched to the wagon. Farah drew her cloak around herself and settled in beside the young wolf.

“Easy on the bumps now.”

The young wolf nodded vigorously as he slapped the reins. They rode on in silence past the bustling city and down dark country roads bordered by forests. The young wolf kept casting nervous glances around and his spare hand kept drifting to the crossbow he had propped against the seat. The two rode on until Farah let out a moan of boredom.

“You’re a lousy conversationalist. How are you going to keep a lady entertained?”

Hansel flattened his ears, “Wha- what, I don’t…”

“You don’t have a lady, huh? Such a pity. You’ve got a handsome pelt and face.”

“Gah, uh,” Hansel stammered. “Miss Farah, really.”

She patted his arm, “Not to worry, you’re not my type. I do wish you’d talk more though. There isn’t much to see at night.”

Hansel fingered the crossbow again.

“What are you so nervous about? Besides girls,” Farah teased.

“There could be bandits out here.” Hansel protested.

Farah shrugged, “Hasn’t really been much word on bandit gangs and I should know. I’m always getting offers to join gangs. Not my style though. I’m more of a city ferret; hiding in the woods just isn’t for me. Not to mention, I like to operate independently.”

Hansel still looked around alert.

Farah sighed. “Besides we aren’t a good target. Bandits like coaches and merchant wagons. We’re not worth their time.”

Hansel grunted in response.

“So where are we going,” Farah prodded. 

 “My lord’s manor, in the village of Herstal. Heard of it?”

Farah shook her head, “Sounds like a farming village, I’m not interested in farmers. No gold. No fun.”

Hansel just made a sigh.

Eventually the two reached the village. Farah turned a disdainful eye on the place. There was nothing but cottages, a stable, a blacksmith, a townhall, and a butcher. Farah couldn’t help seeing thick shutters on all the buildings and large locks on the doors.

“Are those supposed to keep thieves out? Please, I’d rob this village blind, if there was anything worth stealing here.” 

Hansel ignored the comments. The sun was beginning to rise but the village still didn’t show much activity other than a few villagers who quickly darted along the buildings. Farah twitched her tail in curiosity. A large manor house loomed before them.

“We have arrived. Lord Henrick is eager to meet you,” Hansel bowed.

“Sure, sure,” Farah chuckled as she entered the grand double doors.

Two things became clear immediately as she entered. First, there was all manner of trinkets that could fetch a pretty price. Second, the manor house was nearly deserted; no servants greeted her and the whole house just seemed empty and silent.

Almost like the town, Farah thought. She was starting to doubt her prospects. She stopped herself from stealing a golden candelabra as a voice called from one of the halls.

“Hansel? Did you bring her?”

Farah grinned, showing sharp teeth, as she strode to where she’d heard the voice. A black furred wolf sat at the large dining table. His eyes widened as he saw Farah.

“Are you…,” he started to say.

Farah held her arms out to her sides dramatically. “Greetings, Lord Henrick,” she shouted as she bowed elegantly. “I am Farah.”

“You’re the thief I sent for,” Henrick questioned.

“Indeed, but I am no mere cutpurse. I am the undisputed mistress of the thieving arts.”

Henrick swiveled an ear back, “Modesty is not one of your virtues I see.”

Farah’s tail twitched, “Virtues? I’m a thief.”

“Yes, well. Won’t you sit down?”

“Happily,” Farah replied as she sat opposite the wolf lord.

Upon closer inspection in the dim lighting she could tell that based on the gray upon his muzzle he was far older than she originally thought.

“So what’s a city girl like me doing in this small village,” Farah asked.

Henrick regarded her, his ears twitching ever so slightly. “I need you to steal something.”

Farah grinned, “Fantastic! You know that’s my specialty.”

Henrick growled slightly, “This is my village. I earned my land and title in service to my king. I was just another soldier then, but my valor was recognized and soon I became a lord. I wanted to live my senior years in relative calm and this village was so peaceful. But the peace hasn’t lasted.”

His tone had changed.

“What happened,” Farah asked.

Henrick bared his teeth and growled, “They came.”

“Who,” Farah prodded.

“The followers of the Moon-Goddess.”

Henrick slammed his fist on the table and Farah instinctively set her hand on her darts.

“Never heard of them,” Farah shrugged.

“Humph, they are a band of madwolves following an even madder priestess. They showed up a few years ago and then people began to disappear. Rumors spread that they had become sacrifices for their false goddess. The rumors drove more of my vassals away.”

Hansel entered the hall at that point.

“Lord Henrick? Is everything fine?”

“Fine Hansel,” Henrick’s tone softened as he look at the youth. “You can retire for now.”

Hansel bowed and left the hall.

Henrick turned his gaze back to Farah. “Poor boy, his parents were taken. I’ve since taken him in and given him a purpose.”

Farah grinned, “Well aren’t you just the noble wolf? But you still haven’t told me why I’m here? You know I’m a thief right? This cult problem sounds like you need to hire watchmen. What do you expect me to do about it?”

Henrick grinned, “Isn’t it obvious? I want you to rob them.”

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Farah giggled as she leaned forward cradling her face in her hands and giving off the appearance of an eager student.

“They have an idol, a statue made of jade carved into the likeness of their goddess. Their high priestess I know to be a fraud, I met her once before. She didn’t have the power she has now, but now she’s surrounded herself with delusional wolves at her beck and call. If you stole their idol, it would weaken her claims of power. It would prove their goddess false.”

Farah nodded, “Then what?”

“You can keep it. It should be worth a lot of gold. I have fallen on hard times myself, but if you bring it to me as proof I’ll throw in five pounds of gold nuggets.”

Farah’s eyes lit up, “I’d consider that cheap. But if the statue is as valuable as you say, I won’t mind. But it better be as valuable as you say or I’m going to come back and rob you blind.” 

Henrick tilted his head, “I assure you thief this is well worth your time.”

 

**

 

The next night Farah found herself eyeing the temple from the bushes that concealed her and Hansel. Henrick had given Farah the temple layout. Before the cult had taken residence it had served a more benign religious order. Henrick had warned that the cult might have made some changes, but Farah was confident in her abilities.

“Remember, I’ll be with the cart if you need to run,” Hansel reminded the young thief.

“Yeah sure, just don’t doze off on me.”

Hansel grumbled something and left Farah to her work. Farah sighed, she really hated the woods. Brick and mortar was her natural environment, hiding in the woods was for animals. The ferret crawled along on her belly until she had a clear view of the stone temple.

Two wolf cultists stood before the grand doors. They wore the cult’s apparel of choice, black cloaks and ceremonial robes. Farah kept to the foliage as she made her way to the far side of the temple. The building itself was of gray stone in a perfect square. It had two floors and the roof was entirely flat for ceremonies to be conducted atop.

The nimble thief finally spotted what she had been looking for, a large window on the second floor, it was simply an oval cut into the stone. Swiftly, Farah ran forward toward the window. She paused and regarded the window as she stood below it, her tail twitching, the room looked clear.

Reaching into her satchel she brought out a line of rope with a metal hook at the end. She twirled it a bit before flicking the device into the window. Farah heard the clink of metal and she pulled on the rope to test it; it held. 

Smirking to herself, the ferret clambered up the rope with barely a sound. She was nothing more than a fleeting shadow in the night. Farah reached the window and softly lowered herself onto a cold stone floor.

The thief stayed silent and still as she let her senses acclimate to her surroundings. Her ears twitched for the slightest sounds, her keen eyes took in her surroundings, and her heart pounded anxiously in her chest. This was what Farah lived for, the rush of the heist. The room she was in appeared to be some sort of storage area. The robes and cloaks the cultists wore hung on the wall.

Oh, this is just too convenient, Farah thought to herself.

She moved for a set when the door suddenly creaked. Farah flattened herself against the wall and freed a dart from her sheath. A wolf strode into the room, he paused and sniffed the air.

“Who’s there? Show your…Ah!” He suddenly felt the sting of Farah’s dart in his neck.

“Intru… intru…,” the wolf didn’t finish before he slumped forward and landed with a thud.

Farah approached him and condescendingly pat his face, “Aww, that’s going to smart when you wake up. Sweet dreams, crazy wolf.”

With that she dragged him behind a set of robes before tying and gagging him with the abundant cloth. Now dressed in the same regalia as the cultists, the burglar moved deeper into the temple, the layout seemed to be what she’d memorized. Every turn and twist.

Farah kept her head tilted down, only her snout was visible. With the cloak and robes, she looked like a wolf in a passing glance. Only her tail gave her away, but Farah knew most wouldn’t notice unless she made herself stand out. She passed by several of the wolf cultists, they were both male and female with many fur varieties.

Finally, Farah arrived at the shrine room. Four cultists lay prone before an alter, a female wolf with white fur stood over them muttering some kind of prayer. Her robes were a rich purple and adorned with designs that looked like the phases of the moon. This could only be the high priestess. Just behind the priestess was a stone altar with a jade idol of a wolf, two larger wolf statues flanked the altar and idol.

Farah hung back with her head bowed until the profane prayer was finished. She stayed put until the high priestess and the four cultists left. Then as she approached the altar, the clever thief paused. With the same cautiousness she’d shown earlier she studied the idol and alter.

Farah couldn’t shake the feeling that everything was just too easy. There were no guards visible. Were they so confident that their temple wouldn’t be infiltrated? The ferret fingered the crystal talisman she wore around her neck. Perhaps there was a magical protection? She hoped her talisman could protect her from any curses.

Vigilant as always, Farah drew closer. She felt the floor before she applied any pressure, wary of plates or tripwires. Nothing happened. She reached forward and grasped the idol. Again nothing happened. Swiftly the thief snatched the idol away and crouched low, she just knew there was some kind of booby trap.

Again nothing happened. Farah stuffed the jade statue inside a bag and that’s when she noticed the two wolf statues had turned their heads towards her.

“Uh oh…” the ferret muttered taking a step back.

Upon closer inspection she saw the seven foot statues were actually made of clay.

“Golems. Haven’t seen those in ages.” 

The two moved towards her, arms outstretched.

“Sorry, I don’t need a hug,” Farah snarked before she dashed out of the altar room.

The thudding of heavy footsteps echoed behind her. As powerful and as dangerous as golems were, Farah knew they were slow. She freed her handaxe. The Golems heavy footsteps were echoing throughout the halls and it was only a matter of time before the whole temple wanted to see what was going on. She tried to double back to where she’d come, but the sounds of a dozen footsteps running towards her caused her to dart up a set of stairs that led to the roof.

A cultist barred her way, the wolf snarled as he snatched a wicked looking dagger from his robes. Farah grinned at him. The wolf lunged and Farah smacked his wrist with the blunt part of her axe, the dagger fell to the floor.

The wolf started to make a grab at her when he was suddenly struck in the temple with the blunt part. The cultist fell flat on his back and the ferret scrambled over his body. Cool air touched Farah’s face as she reached the top of the stairs and found herself on the roof of the temple.

More cultists were on the roof, including the high priestess.

“You! Ferret! You dare desecrate our sacred temple?”

“Yeah, your idol’s worth a lot.”

The cultists were closing in on Farrah as she ran along the rooftop. She soon found herself hurtling toward the ledge.

“Oh, I wish I had a better idea than what I’m about to do,” Farah shouted as she flung herself off the roof and aimed for a tree.

Branches tore at Farah’s face and clothing as she tumbled through the foliage, then she struck a thick heavy limb and she wrapped her limbs around it for dear life.

“Ooohh,” Farah moaned. “Never doing that again.”

She waited for the world to stop spinning before she clambered down the tree. She could hear shouting and sounds of pursuit from the temple. When she reached the surface, she took off running.

Through the brush the thief ran. She swatted away a spiderweb before she came across Hansel and the cart.

“I got it! Let’s go!” Farah shouted as she leapt into the back of the cart.

Hansel didn’t have to be told twice. He slapped the reins and howled the lizards surging forward.

Farah set back in the cart and groaned, she pulled the idol out to examine it and smiled.

“Job well done, Farah,” she said to herself.

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Authors note: Okay... well the conclusion of this Farah story.... feedback welcome. 

Cult of The Moon Goddess PT 2 of 2

 

Farah was in the grand hall showing off the jade idol to Henrick and Hansel.

“Neither of you said a thing about Golems! That was a nasty surprise, so I’ll be taking those gold nuggets,” Farah grumbled.

Henrick started to say something but was cut off by Farah.

“This idol better fetch me a good price!”

“Hansel, would you please grab the bag of nuggets so our… guest can be on her way.”

Hansel bowed and started to scamper off when he suddenly stopped. “Lord Henrick,” he called.

“What?”

“Outside! They’re outside.”

Farah and Henrick glanced out a window to see dozens of black robed figures moving in on the house.

“How did those idiots follow us here,” Farah asked.

Henrick growled, “They must have figured I sent you. My hatred for them is well known.”

“Well, I’m out of here,” Farah declared as she ran for the back door.

Henrick was raging behind her, “Let them come! I’ll give them the taste of my messer before this night is over! This old soldier still has fire in his veins!”

The wolf lord had a large broad bladed sword in his hands, the blade was slightly curved and a cross guard protected the hands.

 Henrick shouted after Farah.

“Thief! Get Hansel out of here!”

“Sure, I know how to make an escape,” Farah called back.

She spotted the young wolf with his crossbow coming out of his quarters.

The ferret grabbed his arm, “Come on kid. We’re getting out of here!”

Hansel shrugged her off, “I can fight!”

“It’s a losing battle! Come on,” Farah argued.

Just then there was the sound of wood splintering as cultists broke through doors and windows.

“No form, just brute force. I can at least be quiet when breaking into a home,” Farah griped.

Four cultists ran down the hall at the two, each armed with the wicked looking daggers. Hansel fired his crossbow and struck one down. Farah sighed as she drew her shortsword and rushed to meet the remaining three.

The ferret struck out and caught one in the leg, as the wolf went down she stepped forward and slashed his back. She twisted away from a thrust for her stomach and drove her pommel into a wolf’s snout, followed immediately by her own thrust. Farah’s blade found its mark. The last cult member stepped forward with an under hand cut for the ferret’s torso. Deftly, Farah deflected the blade with her sword and then stepped forward and drove her ankle into the kneecap of her attacker.

As the wolf went down Farah drove her sword down and ended him.

She turned back to Hansel, “I’m not sticking my neck out for stupidity! Let’s go! It’s your master’s wish that you live.”

As if that were a cue Henrick ran towards them, his sword bloodied. “Save yourselves, I’ll hold them off.”

“Whatever you say Cap,” Farah remarked. 

At least six cultists were coming from both sides. Farah flung out her darts and hit two who quickly began to succumb to the sedative. Hansel fired his crossbow again and took one through the leg. The rest fell on Henrick who growled and slashed with his sword.

Farah grabbed Hansel’s arm and tugged him away, as Henrick fought on. They darted down a side hall when Farah groaned. Two cultists barred her way, but worse still the thudding of heavy feet sounded behind them as the golems from the temple made their presence known.

“Oh, not these guys too. Ugh,” Farah grumbled as she and Hansel ran.

The young wolf ducked under a cultists arms and slid between one of the golem’s legs. Farah moved to follow suit as she chopped one of the cultist’s legs with the hand axe before dodging around the golems. Farah was home free. Until she felt something clamp around her ankle and she found herself hurled against the wall.

“Ooof,” Farah grunted as the wind was knocked out of her and her weapons fell from her grip.

Suddenly the ferret felt a giant hand clasp her wrists together and she was hauled up off the floor.

“You boys play rough,” she grumbled as she found herself in a golem’s grip. She twisted and kicked but it was no use.

A commanding voice reverberated through the halls.

“Forget the boy! We have the lord and the thief.”

Farah looked to see the white furred priestess striding towards her.

“Oh, hi there. Did you lose something,” Farah asked.

The wolf grinned showing a maw of sharp teeth in response. “Not anymore. You are a fool to have stolen from the children of the Goddess. You shall pay dearly.”

Farah yawned, “Uh huh.”

The priestess cocked an ear back. “Not afraid? I’ll fix that, but first that yawn means you must be terribly tired. Here go to sleep.”

With that the priestess blew some kind of powder into Farah’s face.

“What the… what… the…,” Farah suddenly felt herself succumbing to sleep.

The priestess grinned at the unconscious thief. “Excellent. We shall have a sacrifice.” 

 

**

 

Farah moaned as she came to. She shook her head as the drug waned away from her mind. A cold breeze ruffled her fur and Farah realized where she was. She was back on the roof of the temple, she tried to stand up only to realize she was in a square metal cage. Looking down she realized her weapons and gear had been taken from her, she was dressed only in a white chemise.

The cage was set upon a pyre of logs and the cultists surrounded Farah. Lord Henrick was among the crowd, his hands bound behind his back and forced in a kneeling position. His head was bloody from a wound, and the two golems were at the rear of the crowd. The idol that had caused so much trouble sat upon an altar overlooking the pyre and positioned in a way that the moon was just above it.

The priestess approached Farah. “Good, you have awakened.”

Farah looked down at the priestess. “You had my clothes changed while I was asleep? That’s beyond creepy. Also, I have to say this outfit isn’t my style.”

“You shall go to our goddess presentable,” the priestess smirked.

“Hate to break it to you, but I’m not exactly a pure soul.”

“That matters little. The flames shall purify you and the winds will carry your ashes to serve the moon goddess.”

Farah smirked, “Ooh, uh, yeah. I’ve never been the servant type. Too much sass, you know? So you’d probably just anger your goddess sacrificing me.”

The priestess ignored her and spread her arms wide while gazing at the moon, “Hear our prayer. Tonight we give to you an unworthy soul, we surrender her to your judgment so that you may use her for your bidding. This soul has sinned against you by snatching your idol. We send her to meet you.”

Despite her bravado, Farah’s heart was racing. She always knew fear and as a thief accepted that one day her luck could run out. The hangman’s noose or executioner’s axe was a constant threat, but being burned alive as a sacrifice was not how she wanted to go.

“Light the pyre,” the priestess called.

“Bastards,” Farah muttered as torches were lowered to the pyre. The smell of burning wood filled her nostrils as smoke began to rise up around her. The priestess had strode to Henrick and tilted his chin up.

“Look, look upon your failure.”

Farah bared her teeth, but then her eyes travelled past the crowd to see one wolf who just didn’t seem to fit. He was younger and carried a crossbow.

Hansel! Farah thought. 

She saw the young wolf take aim, apparently at her.

He means to kill me? Of course a crossbow bolt through the chest is far more merciful than burning.

Farah stood still ensuring he’d hit her. Hansel fired. But instead of feeling a bolt in her breast Farah had a clanging sound as the bolt lodged itself in the cage lock.

“Clever boy,” Farah smirked as she grabbed the shaft and worked against the lock. Moments later she swung the cage door open and leapt out. Her lungs were already crying for air and the flames were getting uncomfortably close.

The cultists had been gripped in confusion, some went to grab Hansel while others tried to stop Farah. The ferret landed with both her feet into the chest of a wolf, sending it to the ground. Farah snatched a torch from one of the stunned cultists and promptly bashed him with the brand. The wolf howled as his robes caught fire.

“Ha! Scary robes aren’t so great now are they,” Farah mocked.

She kept the cultists at bay with the torch but she noticed the golems closing in on her. Farah’s mind was racing.

How do you defeat a golem again? Oh that’s right!

Farah lured them closer to the pyre which was blazing high by that point. As one of the golems lunged for her, Farah ducked below the arm stepped forward and lashed out with her torch. There was a dry cracking sound as hardened clay broke. The torch had smashed the muzzle of the statue. A small scroll flew away and landed in the pyre. The golem fell backward, now but a lifeless shell. The statue crashed into its companion and both landed in the pyre sending burning logs scattering into the cultists. There were screams and the smells of burnt hair.

The top of the temple had turned into complete chaos. Farah was darting among the confused cultists lashing out with her torch.

“Miss Farah,” a voice called.

She turned to see Hansel toss her a familiar weapons belt.

Farah smile as she pulled her short sword free. She spied Henrick fighting a cultist and tossed him her hand axe. The former soldier grinned as he quickly dispatched his foe. Working with one another Farah and Henrick fought their way through the cultists, dodging their wicked knives and striking at any dark shapes.

The scattered pyre logs were suddenly thrown up as the second golem rose from the fire. Its clay body was blackened and cracked by the heat, one of its ears was missing. Cultists screamed as burning, rolling, logs were amongst them. The stench of burnt fur became thick in the air.

The temple top soon scattered all but the most loyal of cultists as the massive golem thudded its way towards Farah and Henrick.

“I hate golems,” Farah growled.

Henricks ears twitched, “It’s brittle now.”

With a howl the wolf charged for the automaton ducking an arm swing he struck for the leg with the axe. There was the sound of a pot breaking as a chunk of the golem’s leg came away, the thing buckled and went down on one knee. Coming up behind the golem the wolf hacked away at the neck, chunks of pottery flying off with every strike.

The head fell off, but the Golem swatted the wolf away with a backhand able to function without a head.

“The scroll you need to destroy the scroll,” Farah called.

The golem placed its foot on Henrick’s chest and began to slowly crush him.

“Like this,” Farah shouted as she chucked the head off of the rooftop. There was a dull crash from below and the headless clay statue fell over.    

“Fine work,” Henrick said dusting himself off.

The temple top seemed deserted of enemies as he glanced around. Farah meanwhile was helping herself to the troublesome idol.

 “Where is Hansel,” Henrick asked.

“Here,” a voice cried out. 

The two turned to see the young wolf in a headlock. The priestess pulling him along with a dagger in her other hand.

“Stop struggling boy,” she sneered.

“Hansel,” Henrick cried out.

“Better let him go,” Farah advised.

“I don’t think so,” The priestess growled. “Give me my idol back and maybe this boy will yet grow to be a man.”

Hansel struggled, “Don’t do it! She’s a no good…”

“Shh,” the priestess said as she put a bit of pressure against the blade.

The brave pup winced.

“Alright, let him go,” Henrick relented.

“No,” Hansel shouted. “My lord… don’t trade for me.”

Henrick sighed, “I have to Hansel. You are all I have left in this world. You are the closest I have to a son. I can’t bear to lose you.”

Farah smirked, “Aww, that’s so sweet.”

“Yes, quite touching. So hand over the idol or I’ll spill his blood in the name of my goddess.”

Farah walked forward with the idol in her hand, “Same time and no tricks. You give up Hansel. I’ll give this to you. All on the count of three.”

“Agreed,” the priestess smirked.

“One,” Farah counted.

She and the priestess locked eyes.

“Two.”

The fingers shifted on the dagger at Hansel’s throat.

“Three,” Farah shouted.

The priestess threw Hansel to the ground as she raised the dagger. At the same time Farah tossed the idol over towards the edge of the temple.

“No,” The priestess shouted as she tried to grab the idol. It slipped past her flailing hand.

“NO!” She screamed louder as she suddenly lost her balance and toppled from the ledge to the ground below.

Farah ran over to the edge and looked down, she could see the crumpled body below unmoving.

“What a fall,” She smirked. “No trees on that end of the temple you flea-hag!”

Henrick was holding Hansel close to him, both had tears in their eyes.

“Okay, if you guys are crying, I’m out of here,” Farah smirked. “After I get my payment.”

**

Farah had tossed the idol away into the river. It just wasn’t worth all the blood and trouble. Plus there was a high probability that it was cursed. Well it could just stay at the bottom of the river and get covered in silt for all she cared.

It didn’t really matter, she had plenty of money already. The gold from Henrick and the loot from her last heist would do her well. Besides, she wasn’t a thief for the money, it was the thrill of it. As things were, Farah had definitely had met her quota of thrills for a time.

Now it was time to spend her loot and make merry. That is until she got bored again.

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  • 2 months later...

Authors Note. Well, not sure who here reads these here. But have another Farah the Ferret thief story. Here our thieving protag finds herself targeted by a band of bountyhunters. Oh noes! 

 

Farah's Bounty 1 

Farah the ferret pulled herself through the third story window of the manor house. The house lay on the edge of the city, its best defense was the lack of ornate architecture. Instead its beauty lay in the simplicity.
 
For a skilled thief like Farah it was no challenge at all to break in. Her glass cutter had made short work of the window, and the nimble ferret was soon within the halls.
 
Farah paused to look around. She let her senses grow acclimated before setting out, her tail twitching ever so slightly. On silent feet, the thief cracked the door open of the room she was in and looked about. Only silence and the bare halls greeted her. Quickly, the ferret darted down the hall to the next door and peeked in.
 
She grinned at what lay before her. It was a study with plans laid out on a writing desk.
 
Quickly Farah tiptoed into the room and examined the plans. After confirming they were what she was looking for, she rolled them up and tucked them away in her bag.
The ferret’s ears fluttered as she heard a door closing down the hall. She swiftly sprung to the door, eased it closed softly, and then hid behind a tapestry. The thief heard the door handle turn followed by soft footfalls moving toward the desk.
 
The footfalls stopped.
 
“Wait where did I… I thought.”
 
Farah waited.
 
The searcher grew frantic.
 
“They were just here! I…”
 
At that moment Farah flung the tapestry back and tossed a sedative laced dart into the searcher. The shadowy figure of a hare jerked once and then fell over as the toxins put him into a deep sleep.
 
Farah dashed out of the room and went back out the window she’d entered. It didn’t take her long till she was back with her client, a red squirrel.
 
“This them,” Farah asked as she flopped the plans on the table that lay between her and her client.
 
The squirrel rubbed his palms together, “Yes, excellent! Ha, that charlatan Tebbison thought he could steal my ideas? No, ma’am! I’m the greatest architect in the realm! Everyone else is a pretender.”
 
Farah fluttered her ears. “Hey, yeah I’m really happy for you. Money please,” she said holding her hand out expectantly.
 
“Oh of course…,” the squirrel patted himself down before he found his coin purse.
 
He dumped the contents on the table and counted out what he owed Farah.
 
“Thank you again for your services, thief. Uhh, you won’t mention this business to anyone, right?”
 
“Whatever are you going on about? I don’t even know you,” Farah said with a wink.
 
“That’s quite a relief to hear.” The squirrel sighed and turned his head a moment. When he turned back the ferret was gone.
 
“Like a ghost,” he exclaimed.
 
Farah however wasn’t a ghost; she was in search of the kind of spirits you drink. A successful heist called for a celebratory drink at one of the city's many fine watering holes. This one in particular was dubbed: The Rusty Dagger.
 
Farah sauntered through the inn doors and then stopped dead in her tracks. Her hand strayed to the hilt of her shortsword at the small of her back. In the center of the inn was a stoat, a long slim sword was at his hip unlike any blade Farah had ever seen. The stoat was holding a wanted poster with a sketch of Farah upon it.
 
A cougar and a cheetah stalked around the tables clad in chainmail.
 
“Have you seen this ferret,” The stoat shouted loudly, then his eyes fell on Farah. “You!”
 
Farah smirked, “Sorry sweetie, wrong ferret. Name’s Jeanette.”
 
The stoat laid his ears back and fixed her with a steely eyed glare. “Liar! Sabu, Pontz, seize her!”
 
The two felines drew falchions and advanced on Farah. The stoat also drew his slender sword. Farah ran forward towards the felines, they drew up to meet her attack; it never happened. Farah slid across the hardwood floor beneath their blades.
 
“Stop her! Stop… oof,” the stoat was suddenly hit by a flying chair, courtesy of Farah, which knocked him backwards.
 
Farah giggled to herself as she vaulted over a table and then through the open window. The window led to an alley and the cobbler’s shop stood right next to the inn. Scrambling up the loose stones, Farah reached the roof.
 
There were shouts from below as the trio of pursuers spotted her. The cougar leveled his crossbow and loosed a bolt. The bolt impacted the shingles just below Farah’s feet as the ferret ran across the roof.
 
Farah made a rude gesture at the cougar and leapt for the next building. From rooftop to rooftop the agile Ferret ran, her pursuers could only run below and curse at her. Then a figure suddenly sprung up onto the flat top roof Farah was currently on.
 
An orangutan barred her path with a quarterstaff in his hands.
 
“Not so fast ferret. You’re worth a lot to us,” he said with a twirl of his staff.
 
Farah smirked as she freed her handaxe, “Aww, you make a girl feel special.”
 
She advanced as the simian made a thrust for her chest. It was just what Farah expected as she hooked the shaft of the weapon behind her axe blade and wrenched the weapon up. The orangutan gasped as Farah stepped in and brought her foot into his knee.
 
The primate yelled in pain as he doubled over and Farah struck him atop the head with the blunt part of her axe.
 
The simian went down.
 
“Bye-bye,” Farah snarked as she let herself down from the roof. She knew where she was, right outside the market district.
 
She could hear the trio from the inn catching up to her as she sprinted for the familiar kiosks of the marketplace. Suddenly an arrow streaked past her face. Whirling around Farah saw a cloaked figure on a rooftop, the figure pulled back its hood to reveal a maned-wolf. The archer held a composite bow and was already notching a second arrow.
 
Farah wasted no time running into the market crowd.
 
“Oh, excuse me,” Farah smirked as she weaved her way through the crowd. She lifted an otter’s purse out of habit.
 
She knew the marketplace well, it was her hunting ground between big jobs. She could sustain herself with picking pockets and lifting items from vendors. The ferret pulled the cloak around herself as she merged with the crowd.
 
Farah was just starting to calm down when she bumped into someone.
 
“Oof,” Farah exclaimed as she slammed into a wall of armor and muscle.
 
“Watch where you’re going,” a voice roared, a massive horned head turned to regard her. It was a bull.
 
Recognition lit the fierce eyes, “You.”
 
“Uh, hi,” Farah said while wiggling her fingers.
 
“I remember you! You left me for dead in those catacombs,” the bull roared as he drew a large two handed sword.
 
Farah cursed her luck, she remembered the bull all too well from a previous job.
“Now, now. You made it out just fine, right?”
 
“Arrgggh!” The bull swung for Farah’s head.
 
The ferret leapt away as the great blade swished into the paved ground in a shower of sparks. Farah drew her shortsword, and cut for the bull’s torso in an attempt to close the distance.
The market goers were all gasping and screaming as they scattered away from the combatants, giving the fighters a wide berth. Many started cheering them on.
 
The bull parried Farah’s strike and shoved her blade away. Again Farah narrowly avoided the deadly blade. The ferret readied herself for a counter attack when a ball of blue light impacted the bull and sent him to the ground in a bright flash.
 
Surprised, Farah turned to see an opossum leaning on a gnarled staff. His left hand crackled with magical energies.
 
“Your turn,” the opossum smirked.
 
He hurled another magic projectile at Farah, the ball of light impacted but Farah just stood there unfazed.
 
“What,” the opossum frowned.
 
Farah held up a crystal pendant that hung around her neck mockingly. “Protection talisman, oaf.”
 
The ferret ran from the spellcaster only for a ball of energy to explode right in front of her, the shockwave sent her to the ground. The wizard could still harm her indirectly. The ferret scrambled to her feet.
 
The trio from the inn had caught up to her and, before she could escape, all three threw themselves upon her.
 
Farah struggled for a bit before she felt a sharp crack on her skull and she blacked out.
 
“Two for one,” she heard the stoat say before she succumbed to the darkness.
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Author's Note: Well PT 2 of this Farah story. I think some people like reading this... never too sure right now. Farah and Torvis form an unlikely alliance as they escape the bounty hunters. But there's more dangers in the swamp it seems. Comments appreciated. 
 
The first sensation that came to Farah was pain from her throbbing head. The next thing she became aware of was that she was swaying back and forth. She heard the creak of wood and metal and could feel a soft breeze upon her cheek.
 
“Ohhhh,” Farah groaned as she slowly opened her eyes.
 
What she saw was the thing she dreaded most, the thing she never wanted to see; bars.
“No. No, no, no,” Farah stammered. She looked around to see she was in some kind of prison cart. Currently they were moving down a country road.
 
Farah tried to move her arms only to find she could only move one of them, the other was shackled and chained to the cross looking bull who lay next to her. The bull was glaring at Farah.
 
“Misfortune befalls me every time I cross paths with you ferret.”
 
Farah tried to shrug and then looked down at herself. Her weapons, tools, and armor were all gone. She only had her loose white shirt and trousers. The bull too had been disarmed and stripped down to only a tunic.
 
“So you’re both awake.”
 
It was the stoat’s voice. He sat at the front of the cart at the reins, the opossum spellcaster was next to him.
 
“You kidnapped me? Why?” The bull roared.
 
The opossum held a hand up in warning “Pipe down or I’ll put you to sleep again.”
Farah scoffed, “They’re bounty hunters obviously.”
 
The stoat inclined his head, “You are correct thief, and you two are worth a lot more to us alive than dead.”
 
The stoat looked the two over, “Torvis the mercenary and Farah the thief. You two should have chosen your jobs better. You’ve made a lot of enemies especially with some of the more prominent families of Neehlis. We’re going there now.”
 
Farah twitched her ears, “So you know who we are, how about you? It’s very rude not to make proper introductions.”
 
The stoat chuckled, “As you wish. Where are my manners? I am Brandt, leader of this band. My mystic companion is Dagoth.” Brandt gestured to the sides of the prison cart where the cheetah and puma walked alongside. “The cheetah is called Sabu, and the puma is known as Pontz.”
 
“Hmmph,” a female voice scoffed as the maned wolf came into view.
 
“This is Triana the huntress, our only female member. She’s very handy with a bow.”
 
The maned wolf glared at Farah and pulled back her cloak to show the hilt of a large hunting knife.
 
“I can use a knife too,” she warned.
 
“Noted,” Farah smirked.
 
The orangutan peered down from the top of the cart at the prisoners. “Not liking the new accommodations?”
 
Farah just sighed, “Oh, you know I’d like a different tenant. This one smells funny.”
Torvis snorted and jerked on the shackles that bound the two together, Farah felt like her arm was about to come out of its socket.
 
“Enough!” The stoat grunted, “The orangutan is known as Kojo.”
 
Torvis was glaring at the Stoat, “When I get out of here you’re dead! You’re all dead!”
 
Dagoth formed a ball of light in his hand, “Someone needs another nap.”
 
Torvis gritted his teeth but seemed to settle down. Farah regarded Brandt.
 
“Sooooo, Neehlis?”
 
Brandt nodded, “But of course! We’ll take the shortcut through Chindiq swamp.”
The name made Farah’s tail twitch. “Chindiq swamp? You’re insane! There’s all manner of danger there.”
 
The stoat bared his teeth, “Ha, nothing we can’t handle.”
 
Farah smiled and moved closer to the front. “Oh, Brandt. You’re so brave, fearless, and handsome to boot. Surely you’re kind? Won’t you let me out of this cage? You can keep a close eye on me if you like; a very CLOSE eye. I promise I’ll be a good girl.”
She ran her hand along the bars and batted her eyes.
 
Brandt scoffed, “I’m not a fool ferret. Your wiles will not work on me, I see through them. You will remain in the cart. Besides you’re not my type.”
 
Farah pouted for a moment, when Brandt turned back she stuck her tongue out at him.
Torvis was glowering at Farah.
 
“What? It was worth a try,” she shrugged.
 
“You disgust me ferret,” the bull replied.
 
Farah sighed, “Shut up and listen. I’m getting out of here, one way or another. You just might be able to help me and free yourself.”
 
The bull grunted, “Why should I trust you?”
 
Farah gestured around with her free hand. “You think they’ll cut you a deal? I’m your only hope right now. Or do you want to meet the headsman?”
 
Torvis snorted. “No, I don’t want to meet the headsman.”
 
Farah twitched her tail, “Then shut up and listen.”
 
**
 
The bounty hunters had stopped the cart for the night at the edge of Chindiq swamp. Farah watched as they spread out blankets and lit a campfire. Kojo the orangutan had elected to stand guard over the prisoners.
 
Farah stared at him, “You’re stupid looking.”
 
“What are you yammering about,” he asked.
 
“Oh, I see. You look stupid because you are stupid.”
 
Kojo scowled and rapped the bars with his staff, “What are you? A child tossing around petty insults?”
 
At that moment there was a roar from the swamp.
 
“What in the name of the gods,” Kojo asked frightened.
 
Triana had her bow ready as she advanced on the treeline. All of the bounty hunters were focused upon the roar.
 
“Oh this is better than what I was trying to do,” Farah smirked. “Do it Torvis.”
 
The bull grumbled as he lowered his head, a horn protruding just under a plank.
 
“Pull you lug, pull!” Farah ordered.
 
The board groaned free, Farah stole a look towards the bounty hunters. They were still too focused on the treeline.
 
“One board, need a few more. You can count higher than two, right,” Farah smirked.
 
“I’m not stupid,” the bull grunted.
 
“Could have fooled me,” Farah muttered under her breath.
 
“What did you say?!” Torvis demanded.
 
“Keep up the good work,” Farah replied with a smirk.
 
Torvis grunted and set about prying a second board free until Farah hissed for him to stop.
 
“Kojo’s coming back,” she whispered.
 
Torvis repositioned himself so he was laying across the hole in the floorboards.
 
The Orangutan stood in front of the cart.
 
“What’s going on,” Farah asked.
 
“None of your business thief. Now shut up and stop bothering me.”
 
Farah shook her head, “You know what that noise is right? I’d be worried if I were you.”
 
Kojo frowned, “What are you talking about, what is it?”
 
Farah merely smiled, “I don’t wish to alarm you, but you should probably make peace with whatever deities you believe in.”
 
Kojo leaned in closer, “Tell me! No more games.”
 
Farah looked to the left and the right, before setting her gaze on Torvis who was watching curiously. She motioned with her unshackled hand for Kojo to draw closer.
 
He leaned in as if he expected Farah to whisper to him.
 
“It’s a…” Farah began as she suddenly jerked him by the clothing. His head slammed into the bars and he fell over. He wasn’t too unconscious but at the very least, groaning.
 
“I thought we were prying the boards up,” Torvis questioned.
 
“Change of plans,” Farah replied, her tail twitching with excitement. She reached for the keyring that hung from the primate’s belt. Her fingers lightly brushed against the metal.
 
“Would you move up so I can reach it?” Farah grumbled.
 
Torvis did so and Farah snatched the keys and inserted them into the lock. No sooner had the door swung open than Kojo was calling to his companions. “Escape! Prisoners are escaping!”
Farah and Torvis leapt out of the cart as the rest of the bounty hunters turned towards the noise.
 
“Uh, he’s delirious! Pay him no mind,” Farah shouted.
 
“Come,” Torvis roared as he ran for the opposite treeline dragging the petite ferret along with him.
 
“Whoa! Easy on the arm!”
 
An arrow landed at their feet.
 
“Keep running,” Farah encouraged the bull, but in the confusion she dropped the keys.
 
“Wait, stop!” Farah cried out. But the bull wasn’t listening to her and Farah found herself within the thick foliage of Chindiq swamp.
 
**
 
“You dropped the keys,” Torvis roared as he jerked Farah.
 
“Ow, watch it! You’re going to pull my arm off,” The ferret protested.
 
“Good, it’s no less than you deserve!” Torvis accused.
 
“Oh you’re one to talk, big boy. Don’t give me the holier than thou act,” Farah shot back.
 
“Gaah!” Torvis roared as he kicked a clump of dirt.
 
Farah shook her head, “And what did dirt ever do to you?”
 
Torvis fixed her with a glare, “I should throttle you, but then I would have to drag your weight around.”
 
Farah sighed, “Haven’t you got it through your thick skull yet? We have to work together to survive. I’ve heard stories about this swamp, not to mention those bounty hunters.”
 
There was the sound of something rustling in the bushes. Farah and Torvis both ran, but in opposite directions. The chain held firm as Farah fell and Torvis felt his arm dragged down.
 
“This way,” they both shouted as the bushes suddenly burst open to reveal a flock of birds.
Farah groaned, “I’m a city girl. I’m not supposed to be out in the wilderness like some animal.”
 
“Stop your moaning,” Torvis snarled as Farah picked herself up.
 
The two moved together for a bit through the thick foliage of the swamp. They pulled up short when they found themselves on the edge of the water. The bull spotted a decent sized rock and hefted it up. Farah flinched as he brought it down on the shackles. Again and again the bull struck against their shackles, but the metal held firm.
 
“Stop it, you moron,” Farah protested.
 
“Quiet! I want free of these shackles,” the bull snorted as he kept hammering.
 
“Here, allow me.” Farah drove her shackled arm under the muddy water.
 
“What are you doing?”
 
“Hush! Oh, I hope these aren’t leeches I feel.”
 
A moment later and her hand was free.
 
“How did you slip out of that,” the bull asked with a snort.
 
“Slimy water helped me slip out,” Farah smirked.
 
“Free me!”
 
Farah chuckled, “Now why would I do that? You’re free of my weight, and I’m free of you tugging me around the place.”
 
Torvis growled as he shook his shackled arm, “I want this off! Now!”
 
Farah crossed her arms, “You have to ask me nicely.”
 
“What?”
 
Farah looked him in the eye, “You have to ask me nicely or I won’t lift a finger and will scamper away.”
 
Torvis shut his eyes, drew in a long breath and said, “Please.”
 
Farah tilted her head, “Please what?”
 
Torvis ground his teeth, “Please remove my shackles.”
 
Farah smiled and ambled up to him. She dunked his hand beneath the water. With a bit of twisting and pulling she freed the shackle from his wrist.
 
“There, now what do you say,” she prodded.
 
Torvis sighed, “Thank you.”
 
“Awww, you’re welcome,” Farah smirked.
 
Torvis balled his fist up when the brush rustled. Turning, the two spotted Kojo and the two felines, Sabu and Pontz.
 
“There they are,” Kojo shouted.
 
Pontz, the puma, lifted his crossbow as Torvis charged into him, knocking the weapon from his grasp. The puma fell to the ground. Torvis made to smash his fist into his head, but the cheetah was slashing at him with a falchion.
 
The bull barely avoided the slash as the puma regained his breath and sank his teeth into his ankle. Trovis roared. Farah meanwhile had begun to sprint for the thick foliage.
 
“Oh no you don’t,” Kojo shouted, chasing her.
 
Farah could hear the orangutan closing in on her heels as she charged through the foliage. She looked up to see a low hanging branch and smirked. Jumping up, Farah grabbed the branch and swung herself up and onto the branch.
 
Kojo snarled and leapt up to grab her, only to get a foot in his face. The orangutan fell to the ground with a loud exhalation of breath, his staff falling from his grasp. Farah didn’t let him rest as she leapt from the branch and landed upon his torso with her knee.
 
Kojo cried out in pain from the full weight of the ferret upon him. Farah bared her teeth and pummeled the simian.
 
“Take this! You cad! You dullard!” with each word Farah punched, again and again until the orangutan was unconscious. Farah looked at his staff and tossed it away into the brush before snatching up the dagger at Kojo’s side.
 
The ferret grinned as she gave the dagger a twirl. It was a decent sized weapon and Farah was a fair hand with a dagger. There were more thrashing sounds in the brush and the thief whirled with the dagger in her hand.
 
Torvis pulled up short, a bloodied falchion in his hand. The two locked eyes, each studying the other, and noting the weapons.
 
Farah broke the silence, “Well did you get them?”
 
Torvis relaxed, “I killed the cheetah. The puma escaped.”
 
“What about the crossbow?”
 
Torvis scratched his horned head, “Oh, I stepped on it. It’s ruined.”
 
Farah groaned, “Ugh.”
 
Torvis, using the Falchion, gestured to the unconscious Kojo, “You going to finish him? Or do you not have the spine? I can do it.”
 
Farah shook her head, “There’s no point. Let’s just go.”
 
The ferret started to walk away after she’d lifted Kojo’s purse, “You coming or not? I don’t care one way or another.”
 
Torvis rushed after her before she disappeared entirely.
 
“Where are we going,” Torvis asked.
 
“No idea. Like I said, I’m a city girl.”
 
Torvis snorted, “I say we double back and try to take the cart over.”
 
The ferret shrugged. “I suppose. It’s probably guarded though.”
 
“So what?” Torvis replied, “We’re armed now.”
 
“Sure. You know the way back?”
 
Torvis looked around and grunted, “No, I’m sure it was in this direction though.”
 
Farah rolled her eyes and followed him, “Well, if you’re sure it’s got to be right.”
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  • 2 weeks later...
Meant to post this awhile ago. The conclusion to Farah's bounty for whoever is out there that likes these stories.
 
Farah's Bounty PT3
 
They had trudged on for some time. Farah was certain they’d gone in circles as they came upon a marshy spot of water.
 
“Here we are again. Gods, I’m tired of the stench of this place! It seems to be getting worse,” she muttered.
 
“Not another step,” a voice bellowed. Triana the huntress stood at the tree line, she already had an arrow pulled back. The maned wolf had a snarl upon her muzzle.
 
She was joined shortly by Pontz the puma who glared at Torvis, his ears pressed against his skull and he had his falchion ready. Torvis snorted and twirled his blade as Farah backed up slyly.
 
“I said not to move ferret,” the maned wolf shouted. “Are you stu… Gods!”
 
Farah saw that she and the puma both had stupefied expressions on their faces, Torvis turned his head and he too looked horrified. Farah swallowed down a lump and slowly turned her head. A dozen otters had suddenly surfaced from the murky swamp water. They stood there just staring at the four.
 
Something wasn't quite right with the otters, their eyes held a feral look in them and their clothing was made of alligator skin. Their fur was matted and smeared with blue mud in tribal designs. It was a war party if Farah had ever seen one. Each otter was armed with either a spear, sling, or leaf shaped sword. The dull sheen of the metal made Farah think they were made of iron and not steel.
 
Farah turned towards them and backed slowly away.
 
Triana growled as she eyed the strange otters, “This doesn’t concern you. We’re merely catching these criminals.”
 
The lead otter twitched his rudder-like tail and pointed a claw at the four. He spoke in a strange guttural language.
 
Ich’s threaspás!” he bellowed.
 
The rest of the otters took up the chorus. “Ich’s threaspás!”
 
Farah and Torvis backed away towards the bounty hunters, their weapons poised.
 
“Back off,” Triana warned.
 
One otter stepped forward readying a sling, Triana loosed her arrow. The projectile struck the otter right in the chest. The tribal fell over dead into the water, blood mingling with the muddy liquid. This further enraged the eleven otter’s that were left.
 
Triana readied another arrow as two projectiles from slings barely missed her. The rest of the otter’s charged, screaming a warcry. Triana put an arrow in a spearman’s throat as the rest fell upon Farah, Torvis and Pontz.
 
Farah twisted out of the way of a spear thrust as an otter warrior tried to skewer her, she held the dagger at the ready. It was a poor weapon match, but the nimble thief had a trick up her sleeve. As the warrior thrust for her gut, Farah stepped to the side and forward, she pushed at the shaft of the weapon as she closed the distance and then struck forward with the dagger.
 
The steel blade bit deep through the hide and body of the warrior. The otter coughed once before Farah extracted the blade and let him fall forward. Ordinarily Farah avoided killing, but this was a fight for survival.
 
Torvis was bellowing as he brought his falchion down upon another tribalist. The warrior blocked the blow with his sword, the harder steel actually chipped the iron sword. Torvis kept battering at the warrior until his falchion struck deep, delving out a mortal wound.
 
Farah found herself facing a swordsman. She ducked a wild swing for her head, closed in, and slashed the swordsman across the neck. The otter fell back clutching his neck. There was the sound of a horn blowing and the remaining otters broke off their attack.
 
Farah looked around and saw Pontz was laying against a tree nursing several wounds. Torvis likewise had several shallow cuts. Triana’s bow was on the ground and her hunting knife was in her hand, blade red.
 
Farah glanced at the bow then at her. The two locked eyes as they charged one another. Farah had had enough of running and if she could eliminate Triana, they wouldn’t have an archer pursuing them anymore.
 
Torvis ran to assist, but Pontz, having regained some strength, blocked him off and the two began to fight with their falchions.
 
“I’m going to skin you ferret,” Triana yelled as she made an underhanded cut for Farah’s belly.
 
“Wow, that’s original. You must have put a lot of thought into that threat,” the thief taunted as she avoided the cut and made one of her own for Triana’s arm.
 
The two circled one another, there was a flash of movement between them and then a sharp cry. Triana lay on the ground, as soon as it had begun the fight had ended.
 
Torvis had also defeated his foe.
 
Farah gestured to him, “Come on, those crazy otters are going to be back, and with a lot more friends.”
 
“This way,” the bull bellowed.
 
Farah’s tail twitched as she regarded him, “How do you know that’s the right way?”
 
He held up a piece of parchment, “The puma had a map. Just a rough sketch, but I think I can read it.”
 
Farah sighed, “Better than roaming aimlessly like we’ve been doing.”
 
The two didn’t get very far before Farah heard something, the rattle of objects.
 
“Get down,” she muttered.
 
The two dropped to their bellies as five of the strange otters came into view. They were all carrying objects in their arms, as if they’d just looted something. Farah then picked out a few familiar items, a two handed sword and her armor among them.
 
“Torvis, I think that’s…”
 
“Grahhh!” The bull roared as he charged into the midst of the otters. He really wanted his stuff back.
 
“Well, here we go again,” Farah sighed as she charged in with her dagger.
 
The otters were taken by surprise as the bull charged into them, three were cut down before they could drop their loot and free weapons. Farah stabbed one between the ribs with her dagger. By the time the remaining few began to defend themselves, it was already too late and they were dealt with quickly.
 
Torvis lifted his two handed sword and gazed upon it lovingly. Farah grinned as she pulled on her leather armor; she tossed the dagger aside as she buckled on her shortsword and handaxe.
 
“Where is my… Ah-ha,” Farah exclaimed as she found her talisman, the crystal pendant.
 
“Much better,” Torvis grunted.
 
“Agreed,” Farah replied. “I guess going back for the wagon is pointless now.”
 
Torvis frowned, “Why?”
 
She gestured at the prostrate otters. “Well these guys looted it and it looks like they stripped the wood and iron too.”
 
Torvis growled, “So what now ferret?”
 
“What makes you think I know what I’m doing?”
 
Torvis folded his arms. “You sure act like you do.”
 
“Hey no one gets to make smart remarks but me!” Farah shook her head, as the steady booms of explosions were heard. “What in the Hells?”
 
Torvis twirled his massive blade and moved in.
 
Farah threw up her hands, “Why would you go towards the loud noises? Why?”
 
She rubbed her muzzle before pursuing the bovine. If she lost him she’d be on her own, and odds were he’d need her help. “You know you’re not very bright, right,” Farah muttered as she followed him.
 
The two pulled up short as they saw an amazing but terrible sight. Spellcasters fighting one another. Dagoth the opossum was battling an otter that appeared to be a shaman of some sort. The surrounding area was scorched from their spells. Fireballs and lightning bolts were being traded between the two.
 
Every once and awhile a missile would make contact usually absorbed by a shield, when this happened though the spellcaster who’d been hit would cringe from the strain. Finally, the Opossum broke the otter shaman’s barrier. The bolt of lightning tore through the mystic’s torso and he fell to the ground in a smoking heap.
 
The opossum sagged, the mystical battle having taken a lot out of him. Farah wasted no time running at him, Dagoth’s ears went up in alarm as he hurled a fireball at Farah. The projectile fizzled out immediately as her talisman glowed. Farah had the tip of her shortsword pressed against the opossum’s neck.
 
“My how the tables have turned! Not so tough without your magic now are you?”
 
“You…Why aren’t you dead like everyone else?”
 
Farah shrugged, “I’m hard to kill. Also, I’m way too clever to get killed.”
 
“Such arrogance. So, finish me off.”
 
Farah grinned a toothy grin, “Now why would I do that? You’re my new friend.”
 
Torvis snorted as hefted his sword, “What?”
 
Dagoth tilted his head, “What?”
 
“I know you’re spent right now with magic, but I think you’ve got enough left to conjure me a guiding light.”
 
Torvis shook his horns. “Bad idea, he’ll jinx the spell to lead us into quicksand or something.”
He raised his sword. “Just let me cut his head off.”
 
Torvis made a practice chop.
 
Dagoth smiled, “He makes a good point. How could you trust me?”
 
Farah reached down and patted his cheek, “Because you’re going to swear by magic to do this.”
 
Dagoth bared his teeth, “Again, why should I?”
 
Farah put a bit of pressure on the blade, “You really want to die? Okay, we’ll leave you alone. You can take your chances in the swamp. It's long odds, but you just might make it, or we kill you right here and end it all.”
 
Dagoth hissed, “Alright, alright.”
 
He reached into his pouch and pulled out a handful of dust, “I, Dagoth, swear by the powers of old to guide you out of the swamp safely.”
 
Farah looked over to Torvis, “Satisfied?”
 
The bull nodded. The opossum tossed the dust into the air which shimmered and turned into a floating ball of light.
 
“Thank you Dagoth. Now I don’t want to see you ever again. Buh-bye.”
 
Farah and Torvis turned and followed the ball of light as it led them out of the swamp. The spellcaster was left to his own fate.
 
As they followed the light there was the tramp of dozens of feet. Turning they saw more of the strange otters were chasing them, some were hurling projectiles from slings. The deadly missiles impacted trees with loud cracks.
 
The two kept running and following the bobbing ball of light. Finally, Torvis snorted and turned around, his large sword held at the ready.
 
Farah stopped in her tracks.
 
“No!” Torvis yelled at her, “You go! I’ll hold them off.”
 
The otters all pulled up short. Their heads tilted in interest as they saw the challenge. They moved forward slowly, all swapping to mêlée weapons.
 
“Torvis…,” Farah muttered.
 
“Farewell little ferret, perhaps we shall meet again.”
 
With the parting message the bull mercenary charged towards the otters. Farah ran as she heard the sounds of battle fading behind her. Farah ran on as the trees began to thin, the guiding light was leading her on.
 
Then a familiar figure bared her way.
 
Farah halted as she recognized Brandt the stoat.
 
“You,” he growled. “You are the worst bounty I’ve ever tried to collect on! All of my companions are dead or missing, it’s all your fault!”
 
Farah shook her head, “All my fault? Uh-uh, honey. I warned you Chindiq swamp was dangerous. It’s your fault.”
 
The stoat bared his teeth, “No!”
 
“Face it, you’re a bad leader.” Farah smirked.
 
Brandt pointed his sword. “I might not get to collect your bounty now, but I can at least get the satisfaction of running you through.”
 
Farah tilted her head as she pulled her shortsword out, “Oh, how boorish.”
 
Brandt lunged, Farah parried. She tried to close the distance but the stoat kept her away using his longer weapon. Farah was hard pressed to avoid every thrust as that quick thin blade toyed with her.
 
She felt a sharp pain across her left forearm, she gasped in pain. Brandt grinned as he flicked the now bloodied tip at her. Farah swatted the attack away.
 
“No witty remarks now,” Brandt growled.
 
“Your sword is so adorable.”
 
“Gah!” Brandt shouted as he made a series of thrusts for her stomach.
 
At that point Farah changed tactics as she freed her handaxe. She parried the sword repeatedly, then stepped in, and hooked the blade with her axe. Farah snarled as she twisted her wrist and Brandt suddenly lost his weapon.
 
“No,” the stoat shouted as Farah stepped in and slashed him across the chest.
Brandt staggered back as Farah kicked him in the stomach. He fell to the ground with a wound in his torso.
 
“Farewell Brandt,” Farah said as she ran away, the guiding light leading her away.
 
Finally Farah emerged from the foliage and found herself on a dirt road. The guiding light winked out, it’s purpose fulfilled. A wooden sign was set up in the road. Farah read the names of the cities and picked one before setting off for it. It was time for a change and a new city would bring better opportunities for her. At least for a bit, she had some good connections at her old place.
 
She paused and wondered if Torvis or Dagoth were dead. Torvis had escaped from catacombs filled with all manner of nasty things before. Perhaps she would indeed see him again?
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  • 3 months later...
Hey all! I recently did a short, quick and simple story of my ferret theif character. Thought I'd post here. Please let me know if you like her exploits!
 
 
A Simple Heist
 
Dark clouds blotted out the stars with the threat of an imminent downpour as wind blew across dark streets. If not for the bobbing lanterns of the watch weaving through the streets, the city would have appeared to be dead.
 
From the shadow of an alleyway, a figure leaned against the wall. The shadow stared hungrily at the manor house beyond the wall ahead and studied the hired badger thugs, armed with mean-looking spears, keeping watch outside the walls.
 
The figure in the alley stepped forward a bit, the long lithe body concealed by the green cloak, her muzzle just barely poking out: A ferret’s. The creature tapped her claws against the alley. Any minute now.
 
The ferret folded her arms and let a sound of disgust leave her muzzle as she waited. Soon, though, came the moment she was waiting for.
 
A trio of wolf watchmen approached the gate, their armor clinking as they walked. She caught the sound of loud voices as the watchmen traded insults with the manor guards. The city watch distrusted private guards, and the hired guards thought the watch incompetent. A few rumors whispered in the right ears the day beforehand and she had the perfect distraction.
 
“You louts are just dumb muscle! You got no business saying those things.”
 
“Piss off watchman. Go eat another sweet roll!”
 
The ferret cackled. “Marvelous how fragile egos can be.”
 
The arguments continued as the ferret sprinted for the wall and leapt, her claws found purchase as the nimble ferret scrambled up and over the wall. Her metal grappling claws made little more than a slight scrabbling sound. Over the walls, the ferret leapt and landed with a soft thud. She found herself in a garden.
 
“Oh, so fancy,” the thief marveled to herself, running her paws over a large stone urn holding some kind of large flora. “Imagine having enough money to buy all these plants and then hiring people to maintain them.”
 
The ferret had been in her line of work since a kit on the streets, and the things the wealthy bought – and how much they were willing to pay – never ceased to amaze her.
 
For she was Farah the Thief, and thinking about wealth was part and parcel to the trade.
 
Farah ventured further into the garden, eyes on the imposing windows of the manor house, even as the plants seemed to surround her. It made Farah think of a small slice of jungle right in the middle of the city.
 
As she drew closer to the walls, Farah suddenly felt her foot jerked out from under her. With a yelp she fell to the ground as she felt herself being dragged across the ground.
 
“You getting handsy with me,” Farah growled as she rolled over to her back to find, instead of a claw or paw, a long green vine.
 
“You have got to be kidding me,” Farah huffed.
 
Looming before her was a large plant bulb lined with thorns, ichor dripping from its ‘mouth’ in anticipation of the yummy ferret treat it was about to consume.
 
“Oh, hells no,” Farah exclaimed as she freed her handaxe ‘Claw’ from her belt.
 
With a snarl the thief chopped the vine free of her ankle. The plant seemed to shudder as its bulb opened wider.
 
“Time to prune!” Farah said as she hurled her axe into the gaping maw. There was a sickening pulpy squelch as her axe found its target. The plant writhed and twitched but made no sound, Farah then drew her shortsword ‘Fang’ and closed in, slashing away at anything that moved until things stopped moving.
 
When she was done Farah felt sticky sweet sap matted against her fur and clothes, her weapons coated in the stuff.
 
Farah caught her breath and smoothed her leather jerkin. “Who keeps such plants? Why? Rich folk are so very strange!”
 
After the scuffle with the carnivorous plant, Farah pressed on to the wall of the manor, carefully avoiding any vines covering the wall or ground, and made her way to the servant’s entrance: A small, unassuming door.
 
Cracking her neck, Farah set to work on picking the lock and pushed the door open. Thankfully, the door was well-oiled and made no creak. The thief shut the door behind her and paused, listening and waiting as her eyes adjusted. Farah found herself in a kitchen area and promptly helped herself to an apple on the table before venturing further into the manor.
 
Snores from the servants quarters filled the air, all of them blissfully unaware of the intruder among them. Deeper and deeper the ferret ventured, finding herself in the main hall within a few moments. There was, of course, another badger guard by the door pacing back and forth with a crossbow. Farah memorized his patterns and made her way closer to the large guard.
 
A flick of her wrist and the ferret put a dart in his neck, which he promptly smacked.
 
“Damn mosqui—,” the badger muttered as he felt his limbs go weak, the crossbow fell from his hands and he slumped against the wall. Farah smirked. The toxins would ensure he would be in a deep slumber for some time. She extracted the dart and continued on, hopefully if anyone came across the guard they would assume he was sleeping on the job.
 
Up the marble staircase Farah ran, pausing and checking for more guards every now and then until she came upon the room she sought: A darkened private library, dusty tomes and scrolls lined the walls. Books of poets, epics of great heroes, and plays of the masters.
 
Farah had stolen plenty of books in her time, but this time it was different. She was after something entirely different. The ferret scanned the walls and then her eyes narrowed as she saw her prize.
 
An oil painting depicting a coyote girl with a pearl stud in her ear and a blue turban atop her furry head.
 
“Hmmph,” Farah scoffed.
 
Approaching the work of art she noted the ornate frame, it had to be made of gold. Why would anyone waste gold when wood worked just as well?
 
“Rich folk are so very strange,” Farah thought to herself.
 
Checking the frame and the wall for any traps, the ferret carefully lifted the portrait from its place of honor. As much as she wanted to take the gold frame with her, Farah had to carefully undo the painting from its moorings on the back and carefully roll it into her pack. She had to stay light.
 
Farah looked up as she heard footsteps and scurried away behind a shelf as the doors banged open. The thief held her breath in anticipation. Had something given her away? Was a guard coming?
 
The ferret glanced through a gap in the tomes to see a frazzled looking cat making his way through the library.
 
“I just have to know,” he mumbled to no one in particular. “Who wrote the origina—” His voice trailed off as he saw the frame on the floor.
 
“Oh-oh dear! GUA—ACK!”
 
He was cut off as the dart found his shoulder and Farah leapt over his unconscious body and sprinted out of the library with a giggle. She prayed to the god of thieves that she did not need to put another to sleep, she only had one good dart left. Exiting out the main entrance, past the sleeping guard, Farah felt the cool night air running through her fur as she made for the wall, wary of any other surprises as the clouds finally opened up.
 
Her client was waiting for her at a seaside inn, one of the fancier ones. He had a suite overlooking the lapping waves of the Eastern Sea.
 
The well-dressed otter breathed a sigh of relief as Farah carefully unrolled the painting. “Thank you! It’s just what I wanted!”
 
“Yeah,” Farah grunted, tired and dirty and wanting a warm bath. “You’re welcome. Money please.”
 
The otter looked crestfallen as he handed over a pouch of gold. “Have you no appreciation for art? I’ve always fancied this painting. This painting… well, it speaks to me. It calls me by name.”
 
“I’m sure,” Farah nodded. “You know what’s calling my name right now? Madame Veesus’ bathhouse. I’m still covered in sap.”
 
The otter sighed and nodded: the poor and desperate were so strange, he thought. “Very well, thank you for your services. Perhaps you can steal another work of art for me again in the future?”
 
Farah nodded. “Perhaps so. You recall how to contact me?”
 
The otter nodded. As Farah left she shook her head. Why that painting was so sought after she didn’t know, but someone was willing to pay handsomely for it.
 
“Rich folks are so strange,” Farah shrugged as she scampered into the night.
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  • 4 months later...
Author's Note: Well thought I should share another outing with my ferret thief gal.For whoever likes to read these. Feed back is appreciated. 
 
Thick as Thieves PT1
 
“So what’s the catch?” the gray furred ferret asked, her arms folded over her leather-clad bosom. Her muzzle was turned up in a smirk as she challenged the male coyote.
 
The ferret leaned against the wall of the cellar the impromptu meeting was being held in. A few lanterns hanging from the wall were all the illumination they were provided with.
 
The coyote’s ears twitched as he grinned a toothy grin. “The catch, my dear Farah, is quite simply the fact that the bank is only the second most secured facility in our kingdom. No one has broken into the vaults. ...Well, not successfully that is.”
 
Farah’s tail twitched. “First time for everything. But surely there’s more to this job?”
 
“Yes,” the coyote sighed as he rubbed his temples, “I’m getting to that.”
 
“Get to it then!” a female polar bear growled.
 
The bear was clad in chainmail, a round wooden shield rested against the seat she was slouched in, a bearded axe and a large seax knife were on her belt, and her massive paws never far from either weapon. It was obvious to Farah that she was once a raider, and now a mercenary.
 
“I really should charge extra. I prefer working alone.” Farah grunted.
 
The polar bear snorted. The coyote sighed, “You all have a role to play. This is going to take teamwork. Zanna is the muscle. You, Farah, are the lock cracker, and of course Marshas will be providing his vaunted marksmanship.”
 
Zanna looked to her right, having almost forgotten the quiet ocelot in the cloak and tunic sitting beside her. The feline twitched his tail, a crossbow propped up beside him and a truncheon hanging from his belt.
 
“Do continue Harald,” Marshas purred.
 
The coyote nodded. “So, do forgive me. There is one important thing I should mention.”
 
Farah sighed. “Oh, here we go.”
 
Harald continued on. “The object within the vault dwells in a triple-locked box.”
 
There was a unified groan from the assembled ne’er-do-wells. Farah was first to make a comment.
 
“Those are a royal pain-and-a-half to break into.”
 
Zanna grunted. “Can we not simply smash it open?”
 
Marshas shook his head. “Not unless you have a hammer of the Gods. They’re built to withstand normal... even abnormal... levels of abuse. We would need a magic spell or something of that nature.”
 
Harald flattened his ears. “The box is protected against spells by a warding spell of its own. it would take only the most skilled of spellcasters to get through that. Fortunately, there’s an easier solution that doesn’t risk damaging the contents.”
 
Farah chortled. “We’re all ears, bossman.”
 
The coyote stroked his chin and began pacing the room. He then turned to them abruptly. “The three bank managers each possess a key to the strongbox. All three keys also disarms the enchantment on the box.”
 
“Three of us, three managers?” Marshas asked.
 
“Not exactly,” the coyote grinned. “You have one already.” He held up a long brass key with an ornate inscription. “I’m one of the managers.”
 
Farah twitched her ears. “Oh, you’re the inside man.”
 
Harald bowed. “At your service.”
 
Marshas tilted his head, “Explains why you have so much money to throw at us then.”
 
Zanna snorted. “I shall be watching you closely. None of you have shown a sense of loyalty. I won’t be double crossed.”
 
“I have my reasons,” Harald snapped back. “You worry too much. Now then. The plan.”
 
The three leaned forward expectantly.
 
“One of the managers will be on duty when we start the heist. I’ll bring him to the vault. Farah you will take the key from him as you will already be inside.”
 
“What’s my avenue to the inside?” Farah asked.
 
“From the rooftops. There’s a maintenance hatch on the west side on the roof. A thief of your reputation should have no issue getting in from here.”
 
“Yeah, too easy.” Farah nodded.
 
“We’ll see,” Zanna grunted, Farah stuck her tongue out at the bear. Zanna growled.
 
Harald cleared his throat, trying to get the group’s attention back to him. “As for the last manager. He is a possum of habit. He takes the same route everyday. That’s where you come in Marshas.”
 
The ocelot blinked. “You want me to off him?”
 
“Certainly not. Farah, I know you use darts coated in sleeping agents. Can you provide those agents to Marshas?
 
Farah tilted her head. “I should be able to provide that. Though I’m going to need a small fee on the spot to obtain them.”
 
Harald sighed. “Ugh... how much?”
 
“One hundred gold.”
 
“Fine,” Harald agreed.
 
Farah nodded, but felt it was important to add a detail. “You know a crossbow bolt will still kill him though, right?”
 
Marshas thumped his chest. “I’ll use a special bolt and aim for a place with a lot of meat. I won’t miss. I take that as a challenge, my dear stoat: to not make it lethal.”
 
Farah groaned. “Ferret.”
 
Harald nodded in approval. “I expect nothing less from the Ghost of Tallon Forest.”
 
Zanna looked at the ocelot with a new respect. “That was you?”
 
The ocelot shrugged. Harald continued.
 
“‘Soon as the manager drops, Zanna will go to his aid. get him somewhere safe and take the key. Remove the bolt if it is safe to do so.”
 
“Fine.”
 
Harald spread his hands. “After Farah has the box we’ll make our getaway. I need you two at the entrance, ready to ride. If things go awry we’ll need brawn and crossbow bolts.”
 
Farah nodded. “A fine plan, but things rarely go to plan in my experience.”
 
“Then we’ll improvise,” Harald grunted.
 
“Right, then,” Farah grinned. “Money please, I’ll get those sleeping agents.”
 
After Harald had given her the gold, Farah grinned as she looked at her new partners. “See you all tomorrow... bright n’ early.”
 
Farah nodded: Despite her reservations of working in a team, Farah was enticed by the prospect of a real challenge. It had been so long since she’d had one.
 
As silent as smoke, the crafty ferret left the cellar and the fancy home. Farah drew her green cloak around herself and scampered off into the shadows of the cloudy night. Past the wealthier homes she wound - many of which she had broken into before: crimes she remembered fondly.
 
Through the alleys, and over walls and roofs the nimble ferret wound her way to the shadier parts of the city. Farah stopped outside a nondescript shop and pushed her way inside. Within were all manner of trinket and bauble: jars of strange solutions, shriveled plants, and the prevailing smell of incense.
 
“Grisha?” Farah called.
 
The rattle of a beaded curtain and a female hyena appeared, standing behind the quaint counter as though she had always been there. The esteemed hyena tilted her head, her eyes the milky white of the blind.
 
“Ah, Farah,” she said in her ceremonial robes, her snout pointed almost to the ceiling to catch the scent. “My ferret. It is you.”
 
Farah put fifty of her hundred coins on the counter. “Going to need more of your sleeping agents.”
 
Grisha grinned as she scooped up the coins, “Of course. You are good to Grisha, bring her much gold, and pretty baubles.” The hyena ducked out once more through the beaded curtain into the dull green of the backroom to fetch the ingredients.
 
“Thanks Grisha,” Farah said.
 
“You have a big job coming up?” Grisha asked. Farah could hear the mortar and pestle working hard to create the needed sleeping agents.
 
“Mmmmmmmaybe,” Farah replied.
 
“I shall take that as a yes,” Grisha replied as she continued to mix ingredients. “Be careful my clever ferret: I feel something in the air: there is something amiss.”
 
Farah’s tail twitched, “Well everytime you sense something, it's been accurate. I’ll be extra careful.”
 
The ferret patted ‘Fang’ and ‘Claw’ - her shortsword and handaxe respectively - before putting a claw to the chain around her neck.
 
“You know you can come to Grisha for anything,” the hyena reminded her.
 
“Thanks Grisha. Might have to lay low for a while, but - as you know - I always come back.” Farah said, taking the sleeping agents.
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  • 1 month later...
Author's Note: A new chapter for our ferret thief! Uhh yeah feedback appreciated. 
 
 
The next day was dripping and slightly overcast. Farah always appreciated when the sun was in absentia, even if temporarily. That morning, all four of the potential robbers faced the bank from a farm cart on the opposite side of the street, watching customers and employees line up for it to open. Farah glared at Harald.
 
“You didn’t say a word about painted dogs!”
 
The tribal canines contrasted with the city beasts lining up for the bank:
 
Four of the large-eared canines stood guard outside the bank steps, each with a large oval shield in one paw and a long bladed spear in the other, warclubs stuffed in their belts. The ‘painted dogs’ lived up to their name: their fur patterns seemed as if they had been painted on with a swift and thick brush by some god above.
 
Zanna growled. “They are good with spears...” her voice lowered. “I have fought them before.”
 
The bear rubbed at an unseen scar on her side.
 
Marshas squinted his eyes. “I see no tribal markings on them. They must be freelancers.”
 
Farah crossed her arms and turned to Harald. “Alright mister, you have some explaining to do.”
 
The coyote made a placating gesture and an annoying smile. “Until recently the guards were dumb brutes and old soldiers past their prime. But just a few weeks one of my… associates replaced the guards with these savages. It shouldn’t change anything if you are as good as you’re reputed to be.”
 
Farah rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, we’ll be expecting a larger cut of the loot for withholding crucial information.”
 
“Oh, what?” Harald said, a little louder than he meant to. “Are you scared? Are you all cowa-?!”
 
Zanna gripped the coyote’s tunic and pulled him close to her muzzle.
 
“I’d advise not finishing that statement.”
 
The coyote made a little whimper as he was slowly lowered to the dusty street.
 
After he was turned loose, Harald dusted himself off and strode into the bank as Farah began the process of scaling one of the adjacent buildings. It was shorter than the bank, but it got her within grappling hook range.
 
Marshas and Zanna were moving to intercept the third manager. Farah stood on the rooftop of the municipal building beside the bank.
 
Farah marveled at how developed the city had become. No longer did they fear raids: only the greatest of monsters or rival nations posed a threat now...
 
...And, of course, her own little self.
 
The ferret crouched on the roof behind a chimney, watching the bank roof. The bank actually had a rampart running along its roof where she could see two painted dogs with sheaths full of javelins. She’d have to cut things close if she wanted to reach the roof without being seen.
 
Farah studied their movements carefully. She saw her chance as the two sentries patrolled: they seemed more focused with passerbyes down below than the adjoining roof.
 
Luck for her.
 
A swing of the hook as the two about faced and moved in opposite directions, and Farah latched onto something. With a grin she swung against the wall bracing with her feet and began to scale up the wall. As soon as she cleared the rampart she removed the hook and sprinted for the wooden hatch on the bank’s ornate stone roof.
 
Farah quickly pried the door open and scampered down into the bank.
 
Marshas and Zanna were already playing their part, both wondering if that ferret had gotten past the guards. Marshas threw his cloak over himself and crouched behind an empty vendor kiosk - even his tail was still as he waited for the opossum.
 
Sure enough, the marsupial in the ornate tunic could be seen strolling through the street, munching on an apple without a care in the world.
 
“Lights out, amigo.” Marshas grunted as he let the bolt fly.
 
Right in the left buttocks, the bolt struck. The possum jolted upright and squealed, before the agents began to work and he pitched forward into the street. There were screams and puzzled shouts from the crowd. After a few seconds, Zanna pushed her way past.
 
“Alright, clear out!” She bellowed. “Everyone disperse!”
 
No one questioned the authoritative bear as she scooped up the marsupial and laid him on the empty stall, subtly removing the bolt and taking his key. A brief bit of eye contact and she and Marshas hurried for the cart in front of the bank again.
 
Farah had worked her way to the iron vault door during the events outside.
 
“Oh-ho-ho,” Farah said, cracking her knuckles as she gazed upon the mechanism on the safe. “Piece o’ pie.”
 
Working swiftly Farah pulled her instruments: inserting long metal files and working the tumblers one by one, each giving a resounding *Click* before she began to turn the massive crank and used all of her little strength to pull the door open a crack.
 
Slipping through the slit she beheld the box on a pedestal. It was indeed ornate and made of oak and steel, yet she was disappointed it was the only thing within.
 
She would need help moving, that was for sure.
 
Farah positioned herself behind the vault door, sleeping darts at the ready. Her tail twitched in anticipation. The seconds dragged on and she heard what she was waiting for. Voices and footsteps.
 
“Harald, really!” a pompous voice in the corridor said. “Inspections are not due till the afternoon.”
 
“Best we do it earlier, Alain.” Farah heard Harald say. “Ahhh, seems someone has already taken the initiative and opened for us.”
 
“What?” the pompous voice cried out.
 
Running footsteps. Farah prepped herself. An obese racoon, Harald and two painted dogs were soon within the vault, and not one saw the ferret by the door.
 
“It’s safe,” Alain sighed before Farah let a dart fly. “Ow, what the?”
 
“Surprise!” Farah exclaimed as she threw the other darts and dropped the guards before they could react.
 
Harald nodded as he wrapped his coat over the box.
 
“Come on,” Harald said. “We need to move quickly.”
 
Outside the bank, Zana and Marshas watched as the guards outside exchanged gestures.
 
“Something’s going on,” Marshas observed.
 
“Have they been caught?” Zanna asked as two guards ran inside.
 
“Let’s find out. I’ll keep you covered.” Marshas raised his crossbow as the bear strode across the street.
 
Within, Farah and Marshas were strolling through the corridors when they heard the rhythmic feet of guards heading for them.
 
“Uh oh,” Farah whispered.
 
“I’ll handle this,” Harald said. Six guards soon pulled up short seeing the two.
 
“Thank goodness you’re here!” The coyote exclaimed. “Secure the vault.”
 
The painted dog grinned. “No. We’ll be taking that box and your key.”
 
Farah grinned as she realized what was happening.
 
“Seems we’re not the only ones pulling a job here.”
 
The ferret and coyote dropped the box as the freelancers charged them. Farah freed her shortsword and handaxe and nimbly dodged a spear, her shorter weapons proving an advantage as she pushed the point away with her sword and struck with her axe.
 
One down, but soon she was ducking the swing of a warclub. The dog snarled as he raised the club high, but Farah struck him between the ribs with her sword.
 
There was a blinding flash and the other guards were howling and clutching at their eyes.
 
“Harald? You’re a mage?” Farah asked.
 
The coyote grinned. “Let’s go, they're only blinded.”
 
Box in one hand, sword in the other, Farah ran. The lobby was chaotic with customers and employees alike running and screaming to and fro as the freelancers were tearing the place up and terrorizing all within. Screams and cries of. “For the pack!” echoed through the marble halls.
 
The escaping duo soon drew the attention of the marauders.
 
“Stop them!”
 
Farah fended off a spear point as she and Harald clotheslined one of the raiders with the chest.
 
Outside they found more chaos. One of the javelin throwers’ broken bodies was on the ground, having fallen from the roof with a crossbow bolt in his chest. Zanna used her bearded axe to pull the shield down from one of the spearman as Marshas struck him with his truncheon.
 
“Let’s go! The guards are pulling a job!” Farah shouted at her cohorts.
 
Zana grabbed the chest and the four piled into the cart. Harald slapped the reins on the monitor lizards and the cart rolled forward. They didn’t stop till they were well outside the city.
 
“We did it!” Marshas exclaimed as the buildings receded into the distance.
 
Zanna grunted, Farah grinned. The keys were laid out on the wagon.
 
“Thank you.” Harald grinned as he suddenly raised his hands. “Petrify!”
 
All three were frozen in their tracks.
 
“I have no need for you pawns anymore, now that I have what I want.”
 
As Harald bent down, Farah suddenly punched him, breaking his concentration on the spell.
 
“What the-? You’re supposed to be paralyzed!”
 
Farah smirked as she pulled the chain around her neck up showing a silver and crystal talisman.
 
“Damn you ferret! A protective charm!”
 
Zanna growled as she returned to consciousness. “Do we kill him now or later?”
 
“Just tie him up. I want to see what’s in the box first.” Farah grinned.
 
After Harald was bound, all three inserted their keys and turned.
 
“By the Gods!” Zanna exclaimed as she looked inside.
 
The rest - including Harald in his bindings - peered over each other and marveled.
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