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Run For The Hills

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“Can you hurry the fuck up already?” Amara had little patience on her best days. On the worse ones she was on a job and said patience ran razor thin.

“Calm you pointy ears girl.” Came the gruff reply from the dwarf next to her. Her and Lorn hat been stuck on keeping watch together again. And while he was not the worst company, being stuck on guard duty didn’t usually help her feel better. “You know she is working as fast as possible.”

Amara knew. But it didn’t really calm down her anxiousness. Something about this job, about this night had put her on edge hours ago and it had yet to let up. So far the job had gone perfectly. There was no obvious reason for her discomfort.
They had been breaking and entering as a team for months now and this job had been no different from the countless others. She or Melina, a fellow elven woman who was very handy with everything people wanted to stay locked would open the doors they were not supposed to, then all three of them would sweep in. Two of them on guard and the other one getting what they came for.

“You know Mara,” Lorn was casually leaning against the wall behind them, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. He probably actually didn’t. Burglary came as naturally to him as breathing. “You really need to relax more.” He chided her playfully. “You are more tense than that bow you practice with far too much lately.”

Amara huffed and crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I practice exactly as often as needed for improvement, thank you very much.” She had only taken up practice a couple of weeks ago after all.

“Yeah, but we are working almost exclusively in the dark and in very close quarters - what good is a bow there actually?” Lorn kept teasing her about her need to learn an, in his opinion, ‘useless fighting style’. She had to admit that he was somewhat right about it. To a degree.

“I can still whack you over the head with it,” she retorted. “Granted I’d have to bend my knees but I can manage!” She smirked at him.

Lorn played up being offended as well as her. “Wow, a short joke towards a dwarf, your creativity knows no bounds today.” He winked at her before he turned around to check outside the windows again. When he was done and found nothing worthy of note he turned back towards her. “I am serious about the relaxing though.”

Amara smirked back. “I have you know I relax plenty. I relax all the time. Every day. And then some.” She couldn’t see his eyes rolling because of the dim light but she was sure that was what he was doing.

“Sleeping with the duke’s daughter in your profession has to be the opposite of relaxing…” He mused. “And a very stupid idea on top of it.”

Amara grinned. “You know me, I am full of bad ideas.” She was always the first one to admit that. “And I can honestly say no actual ‘sleeping’ has ever happened, not even once.”

She gave him a look that was nothing short of suggestive. Lorn had to stifle his laughter at it.

“Well, at least you are smart enough not to stay the night - there is hope for you yet elf!”

She didn’t dignify him with an answer of her own and just went back to waiting and carefully listen for any sign of them being discovered.

“You know, next time I want the easy job of standing around and doing nothing.” The voice of their third companion came silently from the door. Melina had a large book covered in linen slung over her shoulder and what looked like the remnants of at least three broken lockpicks in her hair.

“I volunteer for lockpick duty next time,” Amara nodded. “Anything to get out of doing nothing for over an hour.”

Lorn faked a look of deep disappointment. “And here I was thinking we make the greatest team ever.” His beard covered half of his face but still he looked entirely unconvincing.

“We do, “ Amara agreed. “But we make the best team when we are in different rooms and I don’t have to play ‘guess in how many taverns the dwarf hung out last night’ with myself.” She pinched her nose in a horribly bad imitation of an Orlesian woman as if annoyed by his smell.

“Cut it out you two.” Melina intervened good naturedly. “Lorn, we all love you and Mara: not everybody has a lover that has a bathtub full of rose water. Be considerate!” She playfully scolded them.

“I really don’t see why everyone has to bring up my choice of bed partner today.” Amara mumbled quietly while checking over their equipment. A bit louder she went on: “I think we are good to go.”

Just as they were turning around they noticed the man in his sleeping clothes, holding a single candle and staring at them incredulously. Amara cursed inwardly. How in the world did they not hear him coming? The house was in peak condition but the wooden floors should have given him away minutes ago. He seemed shocked about finding them in his study and for the moment too confused to react quickly.

“Ah crap,” Amara cursed. “I hate when this happens.” Annoyance and exhaustion blended together in her voice. The man in front of her seemed close to finding his voice again but before he could even open his mouth there was a sharp hiss in the air and with a dull sound a knife embedded itself in his chest. Amara’s arm was still stretched out when he fell to the ground with an almost comical expression of surprise on his face. His lips slightly parted he made no noise, his throat paralysed as the poison ran through him. She stepped over him and pulled the knife back out before carefully seething it without touching the blade. Lorn quickly checked the door behind them but it seemed their surprise guest had been on his own.

Melina shuffled anxiously next to her. “Was that necessary?” She hissed. “He couldn’t even see us very well - we could have ran.” Even though she should know better there was an accusatory tone there when she spoke.

Amara shook her head. “Boss’s orders. No witnesses.” They were good at their job and so far none of them had ever been caught. Amara was certain their boss’s strategy in that regard played no small part in that.

“Do you have absolutely everything?” She asked her friend.

Melina patted the book and nodded. “All the numbers are in here, shipping manifests, records of all transaction, the whole thing.”

“I am guessing the boss was also clear on the ’no evidence we were here’ part for this job?” Lorn asked while taking another look around. The grim expression on Amara’s face told him all he needed to know. “Figures. Well, looks like we are going all out tonight.”

Amara took one last look at the man at her feet. He was bleeding but his breath still came out shallowly. She missed his heart by half an inch. A quick death would have been merciful she thought for a second before she was reminded to focus on the task at hand by the shuffling feet of her companions around her. The candle he had dropped was still lit when she picked it up.

“You both get out and to a safe distance.” She ordered. “We meet at the usual place in an hour.” The other two just nodded and she heard them leave behind her as she stepped over to the curtains hanging on the massive windows. It was a shame really, the villa was one of the nicer houses around here. Methodically she set the curtains on fire one by one before the put the candle down in the middle of a bookshelf. She briefly wondered if there were other people living here. She quelled that thought instantly and made her way to the door.

Desperate and fearful eyes followed her from the floor. For a moment she paused. He would die anyways but the fire would be infinitely more unpleasant. With a sigh she turned back in in a fluid motion she hovered over him, knife drawn again.
“May whatever god you believe in grand you as much mercy as I do.” She spoke softly before she slit his throat with a quick move.

The heat around her grew stronger and from the corners of her eyes she could see the bookshelf standing in flames by now. Without a last look around she went up and followed her friends into the night. If there were desperate screams to be heard from the inferno behind her she refused to hear them.