The boy's breath came quickly, but evenly, as he dashed through the crowded fish market. Adrenaline coursed through his veins, but he forced himself to quiet his mind and stay focused as he fled the sounds of the pursuing guards. A cart appeared in front of him, he slid under it. An angry fish monger reached for his arm, but he twisted deftly out of the merchant's slimy grip. A small dog ran along, nipping at his heels, but a quick dodge around a row of crates and he lost the mutt. He paused momentarily, listening to the sounds behind him. The members of the guard that were chasing him obviously weren't having as easy a time maneuvering their way through the market, but they were persistent.
Sheesh, steal a single lockbox worth of gold from the guardhouse and they get all in a tizzy. the boy thought to himself as he continued on. The boy's name was Jassik Shadeleaf. Small, slight, with a mop of mossy-grown green hair, Jassik looked deceptively small and young for his fifteen summers(or so, the lady at the orphanage never could seem to remember how old he was before he escaped that cruel place). His hair, along with his green-tinged skin and silvery eyes betrayed his elven heritage. Jassik never knew his parents, so he wasn't sure how pure his blood was, but he was almost definitely a half breed of some sort. You never see pure-blood elves outside the Deepwoods.
Jassik and the guards continued their game of cat-and-mouse through the lower ward of Rockcliff. The city stood at the edge of the Materan Sea, existing on two distinct levels The lower ward consisted of the docks, the tanneries, and the fish markets. It existed in the shadow of a steep and foreboding cliff face, upon which gulls and seabirds nested in the thousands, swarming above the fishing vessels as they came into port. Above the seagulls, still perched castle Rockcliff, home to Duke Thorvald Griss, or “Thorvald the Tyrant,” as his subjects were wont to call him(though never to his face, of course). Castle Rockcliff sat at the head of the ridge that housed the upper ward. If the lower ward was full of the unmentionable and unwanted members of society, the upper ward was full of posh high society, a society of the latest fashions, knights-errant shining in their armor, and skilled artisans plying their trades. Fashionable houses and apartments stood in stark contrast to the shacks and hovels that existed in the lower ward, filled with clean people that wanted nothing to do with the lower castes quite literally below their feet.
This societal divide was not normally lost upon Jassik, however he had more pressing matters on his mind at the moment. He cast a look over his shoulder to see if his pursuers had a clear sight line of him. A blind spot afforded him enough time to duck into an open stable, slipping past the boy mucking the stalls. Given different circumstances, Jassik mused he and the boy could have gotten along, were it not for his elven heritage, frowned upon even here in the squalor of the lower ward. The humans barely tolerated his presence, and he had quickly learned the only thing anyone would respect about him was his coin.
Still, elf blood has its advantages, Jassik thought to himself, as he scampered nimbly up into the rafters and pressed his small frame into a corner. He heard the guards before he saw them, heavy booted footfalls upon the rough cobblestone announcing their presence.
“Oi, you there! Boy!” Jassik heard one of them call. For a moment he caught his breath, thinking his hiding spot found. He breathed a sigh of relief when the guard roughly grabbed the stable hand instead, who squawked in surprise. “'ave you seen a dirty little street rat come runnin' through 'ere with a bag o' coin?”
“No sir, no, no coin here!” the boy stammered. Jassik almost felt sorry for him, but then he remembered the boy would sell him out without a moment's thought if he knew he was there. The guard's partner caught up at that point, the somewhat portly man wheezing heavily as he leaned over, hands on his knees.
“Jas- -pant- Jasper, -wheeze- the boy's -huff- gone,” the heavier guard regained his breath and slowly straightened up, “Didn't you get a look at him? Silver eyes, green skin, that urchin had elf blood in him for sure. No way we're catching him down here.”
“Hmf,” Jasper the guard grunted, shoving the poor stable boy into the manure he had been mucking out, “You're probably right. Don't know how you could make out his skin under all the shit he was covered in, though,” he chuckled. Jassik's nose wrinkled at that comment. He certainly had less shit on him than the stable hand did at the moment. The unfortunate boy in the muck was looking quite miserable, and glared impotently at the guards as they made their way off into the crowd. He got up, wiped himself off as best he could, and went back to work.
So that's it, just a small bit of chapter one. It's still very rough as I'm powering through this thing, I'll likely do some serious editing/proofing before it goes live, but look for it sometime next month =) Otherwise, look for a normal blog post later today!