Demetrius Tate in the Marketplace

The outdoor market is not a good place to attempt to escape from city guards. For one thing it is very crowded, or at least crowded enough to make make speedily wriggling past others difficult. Also, despite the flimsiness of same of the tables the outdoor market hosts a large amount of valuable merchandise. Topple over just one table of rare red-cinnamon oranges and once you are inevitable caught you fill find your term in debtors lock up has increased fifty-fold.

Not to mention that many of the merchants are just as scrutable as the thief making the attempt escape. Get caught by guards and forward will come many who insist it was you who took the gold-dipped ruby bracelet or fire polished dragon scale belt or what not. Not having any such items on you will simply be proof that a scalawag such as yourself threw it into the bay rather than be caught with it. So, rather than losing a hand for stealing it will merely be takes onto your debt. The crown will reimburse the merchants, and you will break rocks until your beard is long enough to trip over.

No, there is nothing positive about trying to slip through the outdoor market. Unless, of course, your primary goal is not to get away but to attract an audience, but to prioritize recognition over freedom would make for a very foolish thief.

Demetrius Tate was such a fool even if he did not consider himself as such. He would little consider himself a thief either, at least at the present. After all, lifting the guards helmet was more an act of play than an act of greed or gain. Those were the two factors that made up being a thief. Embarrassing a guard was the action of a proper daring rouge, which is what what Demetrius aspired to be. After all, he had ambition.

His nimble feet skipped over a future-teller’s fate cards and danced between the silver merchants cutlery. The cutlery slowed him down a tad since he was certain anything larger than a salad fork would pierce the thin soles of his ragged boots. The guards, secure in the thick leather and iron of their boots kept their pace. If anything they increased speed knowing the damaged wares would either come out of their pay or the little runt’s hide.

The chase continued past a wagon of carrots, a table of assorted wines and over a chill cart of sweet creams. Demetrius decided to gamble by circling around a fisherman’s stand. All that stood between him and the panting guards were two tables of assorted sea life

The four guards wore matching red breastplates pressed with the city’s emblem. Three wore matching red helmets. “Give it back you little bastard,” cursed the bareheaded guard.

“As hot as you looked adorned in you shell, I was merely trying to give you a cool breeze as charity.”. The quip was a stall. His eyes scanned the table looking for the best diversion. Flinging anemones carried the risk of pricking his finger on poisoned quills. Tossing trout would prove ineffective. His best option could prove to be just as much a snare to him as a slowdown to the guards. But if it worked it would make an excellent story and that decided the matter for him.

He splashed his arms into the large tank, the warms water soaking him up to the shoulders. He strained to left the beast within as it’s many arms resisted. The guards advanced and just as all seemed lost he wrestled the eight armed mass free from the tank, flinging it at his pursuers. The octopus wrapped itself around the face of one of the guards who frantically and uselessly pawed at it. Two of his companions started the arduous task of unwinding the beast. Demetrius began his retreat with only one helmetless guard in pursuit.

Demetrius darted past the few remaining merchants between the vendor and the edge of the marketplace as the guard lumbered behind him. All it would take is a few more paces and he would reach the maze of alleyways where it would be a simple task to shake the murderous curses pursuing him. Five steps into alleys and he allowed himself a smile.

The smile was cut short as a tug on his cloak squeezed it tight around his neck with such sudden force that Demetrius saw stars. As if no more than a paper ball he found himself flung against an alley wall. He coughed out all the air he air he had and he lungs fought to draw in more.

“Gotcha now you little rat.” Slumped on the ground as he was the guard, already a larger and sturdier man, towered over him. A kick to the stomach reminded Demetrius of how sturdy guard boots were. He fought to remember how to breath as his mind raced for options. A second kick convinced he had only one.

Tucked into his belt, where many practitioners of a roguish lifestyle fastened rapiers or short-swords, Demetrius carried a cane. Of its many details the one that stood out was the glass orb at the top. About the size of an apple and similarly shaped, the orb contained a variety of dancing lights resembling the flickering glow of fireflies.

Curled on the ground he managed to free the cane from its loop held it by the haft between himself and the menacing guard.

“What due you plan to do with that toy?” the guard questioned.

“Sleep,” Demetrius commanded in a tongue little understood outside mage guilds. Like dousing a light the guard toppled to the ground. As the rouge regained his feet he considered returning the helmet. Not only was it too large for him, but he had been forced to use magic to maintain it. The pain in his ribs convinced him that it was still a prize well earned.

By the time he reached home he was breathing normally and his limp had left him. Sounds of music greeted him as he entered. Alexander, one of his troupe-mates, lazily strummed his lute while relaxing on an overstuffed couch. “Where have you been then?” the musician asked.

“Fetching us a trophy,” Demetrius answered placing the hard won helmet on the mantle. He stepped back and admired how the crimson would draw in the eyes of future guests.

“Nice, that,” Alexander, master of song, approved. The music suddenly came to a halt. “You are aware you stink of rotting fish?”

“Yes.”

“Alright then,” and the music resumed.

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