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Entry 3143 (15/07/11 05:09) 23/06/11 00:46
"Is that a serious question? I am an Alation. My whole life is a steal. I want to go to the tower of Marachanditis. Have you seen the Imperial Keep Towers? It isn't like we are going to break in to the Emperor's palace, but it will still be difficult." He looked around slowly, picked a train cart going out of town, and leapt onto the back, pulling Lekz along with him. They laid back under the driving seat, out of sight. 

"The patrols are heavy, and the tower is tall, narrow, and ugly as my ass after a meal. We could climb up the side on the outside, but the chance of us being seen is high... To get inside will be difficult, and I'm not sure if there are many places within to hide... We wouldn't pass for guards, as we are too small..." He looked to Lekz for ideas. 
 
Entry 3144 23/06/11 00:54
"What if we don't sneak in," Lekz whispered, "What if we tell the guards that we have something for Marach. Then we try to steal it once we're inside. Maybe one of us acts as a decoy or something."
 
Entry 3146 (15/07/11 05:09) 25/06/11 12:42
Flaid seemed to ponder Lekz' suggestions. 

"What would we offer? And why would they believe us? There may be soldiers from the hideout there. They may recognise us. I don't want to risk that." He sighed and shook his head. "It's too dangerous... What am I doing? Give me strength..." He paused. "We must go to Hieril. There are other Alations there and they will be able to translate these, since Bernar is gone. There's no other way, we just have to hurry."

He glanced out the side of the frame. Dirty fields and shacks rolled past, hazy with cool mist as the sun lazily hung overhead between clawed clouds. Suddenly Flaid looked confused, but as he went to speak, he was interrupted by the sound of something being knocked over. 

"Stop there! Everybody get off!" 

Horses circled the train. Flaid and Lekz tried to draw back into the crawlspace under the front to stay out of sight. The orcanor pulling the train let out a loud growl as metal clanged, and the whole train came to such a halt that some of the beams seemed to snap. Flaid was thrown against the wood and he lay on his side motionless. The horses continued to circle as people shouted and footsteps rushed onto the train. 

"Is that everyone? Get them over there," a voice started yelling, standing almost directly above where the boys were hiding. Just above Lekz's head, threw a crack in the steps, the man's boots were visible and within an arm's reach. "Where's your money?" he demanded. "Tell me!"
 
Entry 3149 25/06/11 23:14
Light beamed over them through the cart's cracked boards. Lekz felt his back smashed against Flaid's chest. The boy softly groaned as he rolled over to face his companion. Still in a daze, he grabbed Flaid's shirt and shook him gently. "Flaid," he whispered, "Wake up." Lekz shook Flaid again, but the unconscious boy refused to stir.

Once more the man demanded the location of the caravan's money. A pressure against his foot bid Lekz to look down. A locked chest pinned his foot against the cart's splintered frame. His jaw dropped as the realization washed over the boy. With haste, he rummaged through Flaid's pockets, searching for any of his spare blades. Lekz whispered soft swears as pocket after pocket turned up empty. He rolled over again, once more putting his back to Flaid's chest. The boys heart raced in his chest.

Lezk could hear muffled voices, and then, sounds of struggle. A woman cried out. The sound of a slap echoed in Lekz's ears. "Here is it?" the brute rumbled. Lekz yelped as a large hand reached into the cavern. The man grabbed him by his neck. Effortlessly, he pulled Lekz free from the hole. The boy's feet dangled from the ground as he met the man eye to eye.
 
Entry 3153 (15/07/11 05:10) 27/06/11 02:04
"Wh.. what's this?" he asked as Lekz struggled pathetically. He looked around. 
"A stowaway!" one of the bandits yelled. 
The man looked to the woman on the floor. "Aye?"
"I have never seen him before," she said. 
"Well he's just a rat then, isn't he? I wonder if he squeaks like one..." He drew a large blade and held it to Lekz' visible belly. 
"No!" the woman cried. "He has no business in this! It is by pure ill chance that he finds himself here. Let him go!"
"Let him go?" The man laughed out loud and some of the bandits joined him. He turned to look at Lekz. His hair was filthy, clumped, and tugged back into a short ponytail. Around his forehead was a bandanna with faded words drawn on it. His face was worn and scarred and his gaze was powerful. 
"If I let him go, he will squeak... to the Imperials! He's a witness. He dies."
 
Entry 3154 (27/06/11 02:12) 27/06/11 02:08
Lekz studdered, "No, please! The imperials are after us too! I wont tell anyone." He squirmed still trying to break free.
 
Entry 3157 (15/07/11 05:10) 27/06/11 02:23
The man squinted at Lekz. "After you too eh? For what? Being a princess? Bahahaha!"
"Let him go."
Flaid was standing behind the man, holding a small thin blade against the man's back. 
"Wh... where in the xilian did you come from?!" All the bandits drew their weapons. 
"Let my friend go. We will be on our way. I don't want trouble."
"He don't want trouble? He won't want trouble!" The man dropped Lekz to the floor and raised his arms, turning around slowly. "He don't want trouble..." He was smirking, peering down at Flaid. "Aint that cute? In all me life, Cedric aint never heard of such a smart-mouth kid as this before."
"Your name is Cedric?" Flaid asked, his mouth curling into a smile. He let out a small chuckle, the first Lekz would have heard. 
"What of it? It's a perfectly manly name!" Cedric retorted, lowering his arms slightly. 
"My grandmother was named Cedric."
"Why you..." 

All the bandits were watching Cedric and Flaid so closely that they paid Lekz no heed. 
"Just let them go!" the woman pleaded. "Take our money and leave. Don't leave more dead bodies in your wake, especially not children!"
 
Entry 3161 27/06/11 02:43
Lekz scrambled to his feet. He massaged his bruised neck while glaring up at Cedric. In childish retaliation, Lekz yanked the man's pants down to his ankles. The boy growled while driving his shoulder into the back of Cedric's thigh. Even before the man tumbled backwards over him, Lekz carried an expression of amused disbelief. Not wasting any time, he stepped on Cedric's wrist and pried the knife from his hand. The blade looked more like a sword in Lekz's small hands. The boy panted as a forgotten passion burned within him.

 
Entry 3162 (15/07/11 05:10) 27/06/11 02:55
Silence washed over the train's deck like a disease. Then one of the bandits began to chuckle. Some of the others followed. The woman had to cover her mouth to prevent from laughing aloud. Flaid, too, stepped back and admired Lekz' work. Cedric, however, was furious. He tugged his pants back up and drew a large blade, and with a roar he let it down on Flaid. The boy was too quick, and he leapt aside and kicked Cedric in the knee. What would have brought down any other man only made Cedric angrier, and he let down his blade once more where Flaid was. It missed and chopped into the railing, cutting the wooden handrail cleanly in two with a horrible sound. Flaid circled round Cedric and tried to gash the man's middle with a knife, but Cedric was faster than he appeared, and he elbowed Flaid in the forehead. Flaid toppled to the floor and rolled to the edge of the train, his head hanging over a drop of at least a man's height. Cedric loomed over Flaid and raised his blade for a final blow. 

"Wait!" Flaid cried, coughing. "Let us make a deal." 
Cedric paused. "What kind of deal?"
"You are an admirable fighter. Without honour, but admirable nonetheless. I know of a treasure a hundred times greater than what's onboard this train. Marachanditis has a tower northeast of here. We were on our way there, to sneak in and steal what we could. We too want to exact revenge on the Imperials. We are all outlaws here. We are not enemies."
Cedric looked over his shoulder at his men and the restrained train crew. He looked back to Flaid. 
"How can I trust you?"
"How can anybody trust an outlaw? That you cannot trust me is proof that you should," Flaid propped himself up on his elbows. "Lekz, give the man back his blade. We act only in self defense. That is all."
Cedric looked to Lekz with a stern frown. 
 
Entry 3169 (30/06/11 00:43) 28/06/11 00:08
Lekz eyed Cedric with distrust. Reluctantly, he tossed the blade hilt first to Cedric. He then grabbed Flaid by the wrist to help him to his feet. "I hope you know what you're doing," Lekz whispered.

Playing along, Lekz announced, "We'll split the treasure 50/50. Finder's fee of fifty percent of course." He teased while giving Cedric the chance to negotiate. The negotiation would add an authenticity to the fib, Lekz reasoned.
 
Entry 3179 (15/07/11 05:10) 01/07/11 01:15
"Fifty/fifty?" Cedric said. He lifted both his arms slowly in a shrug. "Kid's got style. Where'd you pick him up?" He looked to Flaid. "Fine, it's a deal." He offered a big hairy hand to each of the boy's to seal the deal. "Alright, men, let's get this train moving again!"
The woman crawled forward, concerned. "My... train? Why must you use my train? I want no trouble with Imperials!"
Cedric went to her and knelt. With one hand under her chin, he inspected her face. "What foolish concern for such a pretty face. Leave your worries with me, and go and lay down and rest, my lady." 

----------------------------------

Flaid, Lekz, the woman named Sanye, and another crew member were made to sit in the cabin while Cedric took control of the train cart. Though Cedric seemed to know what he was doing, and he was suddenly concerned about the wellbeing of everybody present, he remained fully in control and made it clear that he was still an outlaw, and would happily cut throats if the opportunity suited him. 

The cabin interior was cosy and clean. At the back were several doors which lead to sleeping quarters. The four of them sat awkwardly around a table with a single lantern swinging above their heads as the train rocked down the road. Judging by Sanye's outfit and the decoration of the train's interior, it could be discerned that it was not a standard trade train. Rather, it seemed almost an upper class vehicle, perhaps trading rarer and more valuable goods than most trains would. 

"This is why you should not stow on trains," the woman scolded the two boys. "And you are both filthy. I can smell you from here." 
 
Entry 3183 (01/07/11 01:38) 01/07/11 01:34
Lekz glared, "We can't be that bad. You didn't smell us before!" His expression shifted to a cheeky smile, "Though if you have any soap, I'll gladly take it off your hands." The day's excitement had left Lekz feeling cocky and confident. The boy suddenly wondered how much Gabriel had influenced him over their short time together. Shaking the thought from his mind, Lekz shut his eyes and crossed his arms.

"Besides, you should be thanking us. Cedric would likely have killed you had we not come along."
 
Entry 3193 (15/07/11 05:10) 05/07/11 11:58
"Thanking you? Barely." Sanye crossed her arms. "I'm sure that if you two didn't stow aboard then this would not have happened."
"That doesn't make sense," Flaid said, suddenly waking from his deep thought. "How is this our fault in any way? Lekz is right; but it is rude of us to demand gratitude. Beg our pardon." He bowed his head slightly and glanced at Lekz. 
Sanye sighed. "Mm, indeed. Well, thanks to you, we are on our way to raid the home of one of the most powerful men in the country, instead of delivering the valuable goods like I was instructed."
"If it's not too bold to ask, ma'am, what are your goods?" Flaid asked. Though his newfound manners contrasted heavily against his rugged appearance, it seemed to match his deeper persona of honour and dignity. "If we knew, we would be able to help you protect it from Cedric."
"Is Cedric not your ally? This is a strange turn of events. Already you have proved you cannot be trusted." Sanye smirked at him. " And as for Cedric... If only you knew what he was re--" She stopped herself and looked away. 
 
Entry 3199 (05/07/11 22:57) 05/07/11 22:56
"He is hardly our ally," Lekz quietly noted, "If Flaid hadn't cut us a deal, Cedric would have slaughtered us both." He dramatically ran his index finger across his throat. "What choice had we?" The boy then shrugged with his palms towards the sky. He leaned back against the cabin's padded seats and let out a sigh.

The cart took a sudden dip in the road. The company jostling about in the cabin. Lekz tumbled into Sanye's lap. Once the road leveled out, it was clear neither were particularly happy with the intimacy. The boy quickly reclaimed his seat and tugged his shirt straight.

As though he had finally processed Sanye's words, Lekz half squinted. "Wait, what about Cedric?" the boy demanded.

Observing Sanye's reluctant, Lekz took a moment to carefully consider his next words. The boy exchanged glances with Flaid and then continued, "Not everything is as it seems. We're not petty thieves. Perhaps a bit of mutual trust will benefit us both." Lekz leaned in and put on his best attempt at a charming smile.
 
Entry 3203 (15/07/11 05:11) 06/07/11 14:45
Flaid watched Lekz closely, holding back a grin when Lekz fell in her lap. He watched and waited for Sanye to answer Lekz, but she didn't. 

"Husband and wife," said the crew member, who had said nothing up to this point. "Cedric and Sanye."
She lifted her head and glared at him with fearsome eyes. Then she sighed, unable to hold the fierce posture. 
"It's true. We married a long time ago. This is not the first time he has come aboard my train. Every few years he finds me again, puts on this big show, and takes whatever money and valuables he can find. He never hurts anyone, but he continues to steal from me. It's all a game to him."
"It's the money you owe him from when you left him," said the crew member. Then he yelped and bent to hold his leg, rubbing where Sanye had kicked him. 
"Anyway," she began, fixing her hair and sitting up straight. "That doesn't matter. Usually he leaves again, but now he's here with me and he doesn't want to leave. You invited my ex-husband back into my life. Congratulations." She clapped her hands together. "And what of you both? Two peasant boys... one with a sharp tongue and one with quick fists. It's an odd sight. Were you really going to the imperial tower up on the hill? Not even the bravest of men would confess such a thing." She paused. "Except for such mindless buffalos as Cedric."
 
Entry 3205 (06/07/11 22:48) 06/07/11 22:44
Lekz raised his index finger pointing towards the roof. "Ah, but bravery isn't required when desperate." He wore a silly smile that spread wide across his cheeks. Leaning towards his companion, the boy whispered into Flaid's ear, "If Cedric isn't a threat, do we flee? He might tip off the imperials out of spite if we do."

Before Flaid could reply, a man yelled from outside, and the cart came to a sudden halt. Above them, the lantern creaked as it swung violently back and forth. Muffled words penetrated the cabin's thick walls. Lekz slid to the far side of his seat and peered through the window.

Eye to eye with the boy was a very exhausted horse. Upon its weary back rode a soldier of formidable size. "Imperials," Lekz muttered. "Hassling us no doubt," Flaid commented. As though Lekz had beckoned him, the soldier turned and looked his way. He recoiled from the window letting the curtain fall back into place.

"Wait," Lekz announced. He turned back to Flaid with a mischievous smile. "I have an idea." A few more words were whispered between the boys which ended with Flaid shaking his head. "Well do you have a better idea?" Lekz demanded. When Flaid failed to reply, Lekz turned back to the cabin door.

After a moment of hesitation, he grabbed the door's handle and popped it open, smacking the horse in its face. In a dash, Lekz twisted around the steed and jumped to snatch a pouch from the soldier's belt. The boy stuck his tongue out at the imperial and bolted off the road through some bushes.

[1]
[2]
 
Entry 3227 (15/07/11 05:11) 15/07/11 03:55
"What was... No! That kid! You two, chase after him! Leave the others to me!" 

One of the men, who had dismounted, began to run after Lekz. The other chased on his horse. Both of them burst through the bushes in time to see the boy scramble across a small clearing and over a large boulder. The soldiers went round either side of the stone. With another clearing, the rider burst forth and easily caught up with Lekz. 

"Come here, you rat!" He tried to reach down to grab Lekz but the boy was too nimble and he ducked and rolled to the side. 

There was an embankment there, and Lekz found himself tumbling down a short grassy slope into a dry riverbed. The rider halted his horse, lest it tumble down and crush him, but the soldier on foot began to slide down behind Lekz. He tried to grab Lekz. 

[1]
 
Entry 3231 (15/07/11 23:50) 15/07/11 23:45
Lekz yelped as the soldier grasped the back of his vest. The man yanked hard, choking Lekz with the neck of his shirt. Quicker than the boy could react, the imperial twisted his shirt's collar and pulled him from the ground. With his feet dangling in the air, the troublesome kicked and struggled trying to wrench free of his grip. The soldier on horseback laughed heartily from upon the embankment.

"The pouch you little thief," the imperial demanded. He stretched out an open hand in front of the boy.

Lekz reared back and threw the sack of coins as hard as he could. It pegged the man right above the chin sending the him stumbling back and coins scattering below. Using the soldier's imbalance, Lekz slipped free of his shirt and tackled the man. He proceeded to knee the soldier a few times before accidentally running his shin hard into the soldier's armor. The boy cried out, punched the soldier in the side, and tore his shirt free of the man's grip.

In an awkward hobble, Lekz ran along the cracked earth with one of his suspenders dangling behind him. By the time he realized the embankment became less steep in this direction, the soldier on foot was already in pursuit behind him. The imperial on horseback had already ridden ahead and circled back, coming Lekz's way.

[1]
 
Entry 3247 21/07/11 12:45
There was a thwack sound and the horserider gasped. The horse veered to one side as the rider grasped a long  shaft protruding from his chest and toppled to the ground. Choking on blood, he looked up at Lekz and tried to crawl close to him but as the wound stole the last of his energy he collapsed into a dead heap. Behind Lekz, the foot soldier skidded to a halt and stammered curses as a bandit ran up to the corpse, tugged out his javelin, and brandished a sword, going straight for a killing slice on the imperial's upper chest. 

The imperial quickly gathered himself and stepped back, receiving only a gash to his breastplate. He retaliated by lunging forward and slashing at the bandit, who stepped to one side and brought down the javelin on the imperial's head. The wood clanged against the metal helmet and the imperial recoiled, losing his balance and flailing at the bandit one last time before toppling over. A sprinkle of blood shot from a fine wound on the bandit's upper arm, but it didn't seem to bother him as he brought his javelin down and sent it into the soldier's chest twice. With a gargle, the imperial released his grip on his sword and died. 

The bandit went and kicked Lekz. "Get up. The other imperials are dead... Hurry up!"

The imperial horse unit idled nearby, a little shaken but otherwise fine. On its saddle was a large leather bag with some familiar scrolls tucked into the end. [1]
 
Latest Post Entry 3252 (21/07/11 23:06) 21/07/11 22:57
The boy tucked his shirt back in and clumsily refastened the suspenders. As he buttoned his vest, Lekz spotted the paper jutting from the saddle. He stumbled into a sprint nearly scaring the horse into a gallop. The boy hopped to pull the scrolls from the leather bag. He carefully slid them open unveiling the partial translations. "It can't be," he muttered to himself in disbelief.

Replacing the scrolls, he dislodged the bag and slung it over his shoulder. Quickly, he ran back to the bandit grinning widely. "I owe you one," he chirped. The boy eagerly scrambled back up the embankment, and within a minute, he was back at the carriage.

The large imperial laid dead at the roadside. Blood trickled over his palodron from a wound in his neck. Lekz couldn't help but grimace. He hadn't intended death for them, just capture. However, sight of Flaid alongside Sanye washed the troublesome thoughts from his mind.

"Flaid! You're never going to believe what I found!" Eagerly, he ran to the boy's side.
 
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