The thief and the Duke

Date: 07/19/2013 at 04:06
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: The thief and the Duke

On the 7th of Chronos, 630 years after the fall of the Seleucarian Empire, a young girl sat on the edge of her bed, somewhere within the safety of the Keep at Nicator's Crossing.

She held the bandaged stump of her wrist with her remaining hand, squinting at her atavian friend to make sure he was really sleeping, then tilted her tear-stained face upwards and began to whisper.

"Lady God,

I don't know your name. I don't think so anyway, or if I do, I don't remember it right now.

I hope you don't want me to tell you my name, either, because I don't have a name.

I didn't need one when I was real hungry after my mum and dad didn't come home, so hungry I ate grass.

I didn't need one when they took my friend away to the prison mines and chopped off his hand, because he was hungry too and found stuff to eat with me.

Having a name was no good to me when I ran away from the rich people and snuck up north through the mountains - so hungry I could have eaten a monster, if a monster didn't eat me first.

You can't eat a name.

Lots of other things are better to eat. Jayjams are yum, although I don't eat those anymore. Only poor people eat jayjams (even though they're real good, promise). You already know icecream is yum...what's your favorite kind? I can sort of eat gold and things that are shiny, because people with food like those. It works out okay, really. They have what I want, and I find what they want.

Just like I found the candlesticks in Cyrene, in Melodie's super big house, after Vananir and Kardal rescued me from the trees and took me into the mountains, as if that was any better.

Can you believe people want to live in mountains with monsters?

Anyway, I found two candlesticks there, so they became mine. It was ages after I found that Duke's ring the bounty hunter wanted back. Rich people don't understand "found it, own it" rules. They have nasty rules (mine are way better).

You should know, I don't need to find stuff anymore, because I found Havyn. She was real nice to me, but it's not smart for me to hang around in one place for too long. People don't like kids around that aren't theirs (do you have kids?), so one of my rules is to always keep running, and I snuck way up north past the trees. I think they must be poorer in Hashan, though, because their buildings are way super old. People said another city called Ashtan was helping Duke Semiro's bounty hunter, so I stayed way away from there. Like, way way away.

Where was I? Havyn.

I wanted to find her again, Lady God, because I knew she'd help me.

She already took me to see where you lived (you must be a really rich God), and let me sleep in the guards' beds when they weren't looking, and this time when I found her, she wasn't even mad to see me. Usually people are mad when they see me again.

She was so un-mad (it's a real word, promise) that she gave me lots of gold! Like, hundreds and hundreds, and I didn't even finish counting it all yet.

(Don't tell her, but I heard her whispering with Silas and they're going to dress me real nice like a princess too!)

They have their own funny rules there though. Like, no "found it, own it" rules, and were kind of mad about my candlesticks. I tried telling them they were mine. Rich people are so weird. Havyn let me trade my ring for her ring so that the bounty hunter would be mad at her instead (her ring is a friendship ring and is way better than the Duke's old ring), and Silas made me give one of my candlesticks to him in exchange for a dragon marionette (it's pretty neat, worth six jayjams at least) before he would let me stay. I only agreed because he promised the city wouldn't let anyone chop off my hand (and because he twirled for me when I asked, which was funny).

It didn't really work out like Silas promised, though. You probably shouldn't make a deal with him, Lady God.

The bounty hunter found me, and before I knew it, a lady called Tesha poked his guts out. Guess it was kind of funny, but I was scared at the time.

Things seemed to happen way fast then. They took me down to Meropis, but I was so lost and didn't know where we were. I think they knew a different way round the mountains, because I didn't see any monsters this time. They started using those whispering grown-up voices like adults do sometimes when they don't want us kids to know something. One of them said the Duke was not very happy when he heard about his bounty-hunter, and talked a lot about his rules.

Rules, rules, rules! Why are there always stupid rules?

Silas and Havyn made me go talk to the Duke then. It kind of sucked.

I was real brave too, just like Havyn told me to be, and I told him all about everything (except for that thing I found in Hashan, he didn't ask me about that so I didn't tell him), and I think maybe he didn't think I'd been that bad. (I'm really not a bad girl, promise!) But he said that justice had to be done anyway (again with the weird rules) and that was that.

It was pretty quick but it hurt so much! I really missed my mum then, although I'm kind of glad she didn't see it, because she would have been real sad.

It wasn't all bad, though. The Duke let my friend go! He doesn't have a name either, but you'd know him if you saw him. They helped to make my arm feel better, then took me back to Sothantos' place. It's way super big here! The cook seems a bit grumpy, even though I told her she looked nicer than Cynthia when she asked (Lady God, do you know who Cynthia is?), but this is the biggest bed I have ever seen! I bet it's bigger than the Duke's bed.

So what do I have now? I have hundreds and hundreds of coins, a candlestick, a marionette, a teddy bear named Havynna, and a friendship ring, although I only have one hand now. I have Havyn, and I have my old friend back, which means I guess I have two friends now.

I didn't tell him about my gold yet, though. Found it, own it.

I'd better sleep now, Lady God. Night!"

Penned by My hand on the 25th of Chronos, in the year 630 AF.