I must say it was a bit of a relief to be back home. The freezing chill of Hoelbrak was not to my liking, and sleeping back on my bed was a big help to recover from the journey. However work was far from over, we still had to look deeper into the situation with the assassins. And then there was that little detail about breaking into a Seraph Guard’s house…
I sat in my room packing several items I thought would prove to be overall beneficial for the heist.
It was at this moment that Daniel threw open the door to my room and barged in. “And how are you today in this wonderful morning my furry Charr friend?” he said as he sat down on my bed. Daniel was always extra gleeful whenever he knew that we were going to do something illegal, he would always make it clear that he maintained a passionate hate for the law… especially the Seraph.
“Well I am definitely not as excited as you,” I said as I looked around for my staff. “And you ran in without knocking again.”
“Oh, Anavari, I enter your room all the time!” dismissed Daniel with a wave. “Even at night sometimes.”
“You what?!” I noticed that my voice had changed into something that could have been mistaken for either outraged or embarrassed. “I lock the door, how do you get in?!”
“You do realize it’s me you’re talking to right?” the Human’s expression went blank, and then it changed into a sly grin.
“Whatever you are going to say do not dare-”
“You purr when you sleep,” Daniel simply rested on my bed with his usual care free grin. I sat in the corner glaring at him.
“I do NOT purr in my sleep!” I protested, truthfully I didn’t know why Daniel discovering such a fact didn’t bother me as much. Had it been anyone else well… they would be unconscious on the floor by now.
“If you say so,” with a chuckle and a shrug he turned his attention towards my pack. “What’s all that for?”
“Our little activity that we have planned tonight.”
Daniel simply looked at me with disapproval. He would only have that look whenever I was doing something very wrong, most of the time he would tell me right away. But if it was something that would result in a catastrophic outcome, he would chide a bit first. And it would always be in the exact same way.
He would appear right by my side in the blink of an eye without me noticing. Then he would sit down on one of my shoulders and support himself with one of my horns (this did not matter if I was standing up or sitting down). And then he would say, “Oh Anavari, my friend, partner in business and crime, my incredibly grumpy yet lovable necromancer companion-”
“Okay what did I do wrong?!” I finally snapped. He managed to position himself so that he would be resting both of his legs on my shoulders. I had half a mind to shake him off, but we were close to a window.
“Alright, you know I enjoy thievery, and I can already tell that you have never raided anyone’s house.”
“I-I have stolen things!” I rebutted. “I stole a book once, and I took a stash of food one other time.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “But you’ve never broken into anyone’s house and taken everything that looked like it was of value have you?”
He was right, as much as I hated to admit it. I had only stolen something on those two occasions and one of them was out of necessity, I would have to sit down and listen to whatever advice Daniel would have. And I knew that I would have to at some point, he knew my subtlety was subpar. While he walked across the hallways with the grace of a feather, I would move with that of a centaur. At least that was the comparison he would use. So far in the time we had been together he only taught me minor skills that would aid me, but I was nowhere near the level of elusiveness that Daniel possessed.
Daniel leaped off my shoulders without so much as making a sound once he landed on the floor (I barely even felt any change on the weight on my back).
“The look on your face tells me no,” Like reading other individuals faces, that was a skill that he excelled in. I simply replied with a grunt as I crossed my arms. With another chuckle the human walked over and sat down on the floor across my pack.
“Just remember whenever you are going to raid something, travel light. You want to carry as much from the house as possible. Since you’re a charr that shouldn’t be much of a problem.”
“You keep saying raid,” I said as I walked over to the human’s side. “We are just going in for those notes then we immediately leave.”
Daniel simply placed his hand on my shoulder and smiled. “Oh, Anavari… no we’re not.” He shook his head as he said those words.
“Now moving on!” he added, “This guy is a Seraph so he’s going to be trained for this sort of stuff. We’ll have to be extremely alert. That means stay as quiet as possible once we enter his bedroom.”
“We are going into his bedroom?” I asked in disbelief.
“He could have a locked chest or something where he could keep an eye on it; prized possessions are normally located there!”
This heist seemed to be getting worse by the minute. I was beginning to believe that the notes were the least of Daniel’s interests.
“Also you’ll have to go barefoot.”
“Oh don’t tell me you’ve never walked around barefoot on the streets before!” sighed Daniel.
“O-of course I have!” I lied, on an early age I had grown paranoid of stepping on something that would penetrate the padding of my feet. So I would never go out without boots on. However Daniel could see right through me. He raised an eyebrow at me expectantly.
“Will you show me your feet or will we have to do this the hard way?” he asked. I immediately began to calculate exactly how fast I could reach the door before he would even have a chance. I dived towards the exit but my efforts were quickly met with opposition. Before I knew it Daniel and I were wrestling on the floor of my bedroom, without even noticing he had removed one of my boots, giving him the perfect opening. Somehow the bed had ended up across the room and I was upside down in the corner.
I began to feel several digits prodding at the pads on my feet. “H-hey!” I shouted.
“Calm down! it’s not like I’m going to cut off your leg,” reassured Daniel as he rubbed his fingers into the soft tissue. “Oh dear these are almost as soft as a newborns skin… Is that a scar?”
I felt Daniel’s fingers trace over a grove of slightly thicker flesh. It was a small injury but I was reminded of the pain I felt as a cub.
“Childhood injury,” I said flatly. “Stepped on something sharp that’s all.”
“Sharp and big from the looks of it,” Mused Daniel. “…What’s with your tail?” Just then I noticed that my tail had curled around the leg Daniel was examining. It had not done that for years now, I wondered why it was doing it now
“Nothing it just does that sometimes!” I began. Daniel shrugged and reached for his pocket. He extracted an assortment of bandages and a long ribbon of thick cloth.
“What are those for?” I asked now being able to return to a more average tone.
“I’m going to use them as foot wraps,” answered Daniel. “That way you can be as quiet as when you’re barefoot but you don’t have to worry as much for stepping on anything. I would avoid glass though, stepping on that hurts a lot!”
He removed the other boot and then he began to wrap the bandage on both of them. The feeling was strange but not unsettling, before long it did not even bother me.
Daniel released my feet and helped me stand up. The feet wraps felt a bit odd once they struck the floor, like shoes with cloth soles. “Sorry about the aggressive methods,” he said. “But if you weren’t so reluctant that would have gone by a lot smoother.”
“I would have preferred you just tell me you were going to do this,” I said raising a foot to give one more glance at the thick black cloth. “It is appreciated none the less however.”
“What did you think I was going to do? Stab them?” Daniel rolled his eyes, moved over to the door and motioned me to follow him, “C’mon, you can try out your new ‘shoes’ while we get something to eat.”
“Food sounds like a good idea right about now.” My annoyance towards the human had already faded before I even realized it. We made our way down the solid wood steps of our house; we strode to the door and started towards the city.
As we trotted over the market place I could smell the aroma of the different types of food that the merchants sold. My nostrils flared up as soon as I caught a whiff of the sweet strawberries with cream around the corner, I had forgotten of how much of a weakness I had for sweet food.
In the end Daniel and I had bought a large juicy steak with several fruits that had just recently reached their prime. We found a table that overlooked the Western Commons, from where we sat it looked like a map of the city with small building popping out of the floor. The sunlit sky allowed us to enjoy the view of all the people who walked about. A gentle breeze began to pick up into the districts. We began with the steak first, I made sure that it was not completely cooked; I enjoyed the look on Daniels face whenever I would eat raw meat.
However he did not seem to be paying much attention to me as I sank my teeth into the partially bloody meat. He simply gazed down to the other districts as his mind wandered to somewhere beyond my knowledge. It was not like his usual self to be so distant, normally by now he would begin to point out which individual’s pockets he could pick without them noticing (and which he had already picked). I allowed him his moment of reflection before even considering asking what was wrong; I decided to bite down on one of the apples we had bought to keep myself busy. I savored the sweet and tangy flesh and nearly consumed the entire thing in the process.
“Do I annoy you, Anavari?”
The question had caught me off guard. I swallowed the remaining fruit already in my mouth before speaking.
“That is a rather random question,” I said. “is that what is bothering you? You think I find your company unpleasant?”
Daniel did not avert his gaze from the districts; he placed his elbow on the table and rested the side of his chin on his palm as he continued to speak. “Well I’ve just been thinking…”
“About what exactly?” I blinked. He moved his head so that he was now facing me; however his eyes simply stared at the solid wood of the round table we were sitting around.
“You’re a charr.” He said, his tone began to show slight signs of gloom. This was definitely not like the usual Daniel.
“Yes I am,” I replied.
“And I’m a human…”
“Based on observation I would agree…”
“Our friendship itself is a contradiction.”
“Charr and Human have been at war for centuries, even now our races struggle to keep peace despite the treaty. Yet you and I continue traveling together, and there are times where I pick on you just to see if you would react like how I would have expected a charr to… but you don’t. In fact you just shrug it off and continue. I’m amazed that you don’t find me annoying actually, you always have to watch over me to make sure I don’t get the both of us in trouble, and I’m pretty much not showing any signs of stopping any time soon.”
How long had he been thinking about this? I thought. Now that I he had me thinking I could not help but carefully examine all the times Daniel and I had traveled. It was true, watching over him was a job in itself… but I did not necessarily mind.
“Is that what you are worried about?” I asked, “We’ve known each other for nearly three years now. I believe it should be self-evident that our relationship breaks most norms. It matters not to me what race you came from Daniel, I thought I had established that by now…If I did not enjoy your company I would have never agreed to share a house with you, or even travel by your side for that matter. If anyone else had done even half the things you do to me, I would have probably ceased interaction or simply killed them by now.”
“…really?” Daniel seemed to be returning back to his regular self. At least what I said made him feel better.
“Besides, whenever you pick on me it just means that I can get you back in the future.”
“Oh ha. Ha.” He said sarcastically.
“And if you did not get me into as much problems as you normally do, I would be a very bored charr.”
“Well then,” Daniel now wore his usual grin. “I’ll make sure to be extra problematic.”
I could not help but laugh towards his statement. “So how you liking those foot wraps?” asked Daniel.
“Surprisingly more comfortable than expected,” I said, ” I wouldn’t go out on a journey in these though.”
“Well you should walk around barefoot more so you can get some calluses on those pads of yours.”
“And that will never happen,” I said returning to the assortment of fruit we had, “my feet are fine the way they are, thank you very much.”
“Suit yourself,” Daniel decided to seize an apple and took a bite. “Just don’t come crying to me if you step on something sharp.”
“Oh believe me, Daniel, I do not cry.”
The human simply replied with his usual grin, after we were done eating, we made our way back home and waited for the cloak of night to come over the city.