Prompt 261-Stolen

Have you ever had something stolen from you?

The battle with the bandits had left Captain Leo Peaches in need of replacements for a sizeable portion of his crew. Luckily for him, the port of Alesana on the northern side of the island turned out to be a sizeable town with plenty of folk lookin’ to make their own fortune or simply have some adventure. He and Lucas, his new one-eyed first mate, took to the taverns and inns to recruit and interview potential crewmates.

They found more than they could take on. Young men with wanderlust. Old sailors looking to ride out the rest of their lives at sea. Men with no families to leave behind and those who couldn’t wait to be rid of theirs. Some sought glory, some sought battles, but all sought a new life off their remote island. Those he did not take on were not left bitter. He gave them his word that he would pass their names on to any other captain who asked where to find good recruits.

It had only taken a couple days to refill his holds and his ranks, but the one thing he was missing was his mysterious new friend. Surely she could have covered the distance from the southern end of the island on foot by now. He had witnessed her speed firsthand. Then again, she had been injured in the fight to save him and his crew. Perhaps she was taking it slow. Still, he felt they should have encountered her by now.

A child cut across his path, startling him out of his thoughts. He was about to scold them when he caught sight of the woven cord swinging from the child’s neck, a stone smooth as silk and black as night. He didn’t need to see the detail etched into it to know it was his. The very same pendant he had left in Kita’s possession before setting sail from the other end of the island just a few days gone.

He took off after the child in a heartbeat. They rounded a corner and Leo caught him before he could stow away in an empty fish barrel. “Where did you get that?” he demanded as he hoisted the boy by the collar of his shirt.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he screeched as he clawed and swung his arms trying to break free of the Captain’s strong hold. “Lemme go!”

“You’re not going anywhere until you hand that pendant back over to me and tell me where the woman who had it is,” the Captain threatened.

The boy’s eyes widened in fear and began to tear.  “There weren’t no woman who had it, I swear! I just found it and thought it looked nice so I took it! Here, take it back! I don’t want it no more!” He struggled to get the necklace over his cap. He succeeded in wrestling it free and pushed it at Leo’s chest. “Please let me go!”

“Hey, what are you doing over there?” a man’s voice shouted from the shack a few doors down.  He was of fairly large stature, several inches taller than the Captain for sure, and about twice as thick in the arms and neck.  His dark eyes softened when he recognized the child, then hardened again when he remembered the trouble the boy seemed to be in. “Robyn? What have you done now?”

“Is he yours?” Leo asked, perturbed.

The man sighed.  “Yes, my younger brother.  He has a tendency to run off and get into trouble.”  He glowered at the boy as the Captain lowered him and handed him over to his keeper.  “What trouble has he caused you?”

Leo shrugged and showed him the heirloom.  “I found him wearing this.  It’s mine, but I had left it with a friend a few days ago.  She was supposed to be meeting me here but I’ve yet to find her.  I was just asking him where she was but he swears he doesn’t know.”

The other man looked at his younger brother.  “Robyn, tell the truth.”

“I swear, Kaine!  I never saw no woman wearin it! I promise, I just found it!” the boy cried.

Leo crouched to be at eye level with the child.  “If you didn’t take it from my friend, where did you find it?”

Robyn shifted uncomfortably and kept his gaze from his brother.  Kaine sighed and wiped his face from eyes to chin with one of his large, calloused hands.  “You didn’t go there again, did you?”  Robyn stared sheepishly at the ground and kicked a small stone that was at his feet.  “Dammit kid, how many times do I have to tell you how dangerous that is?”

The boy cringed, expecting a harsh scolding.  “I’m sorry,” Leo interrupted, “but where is the “there” you talking about? I’m new here.”

“There’s a guild of thieves on the edge of town,” Kaine replied calmly. “They’re not very bright, but they’re dangerous nonetheless.  They’ll take and sell whatever they can get their grimy little hands on. Robyn here,” he placed a hand on the boy’s head, “fancies himself a vigilante and likes to try to retrieve things from their stash.”

“It’s not like they could ever catch me!” the boy retorted. “And they don’t keep it very secure neither.”

The Captain chuckled.  “That’s a very brave thing to do for one your age,” he said.

Robyn grinned.  “Yeah! And everyone is always so happy to get their stuff back! I like to help.” Kaine rolled his eyes and gave the Captain a hard stare.  That wasn’t helping the matter any.

Leo cleared his throat apologetically and regarded Kaine once again. “Anyway, I don’t believe any harm has been done.  You needn’t be too harsh with him for my sake.  I have my property back.”

Kaine nodded in agreement, happy enough that the Captain wasn’t demanding any sort of retribution for the transgression.  “Come on kid, inside.”  Robyn took his older brother’s hand and they began walking back to their shack.  He looked back at the Captain and waved goodbye.  Leo smiled and returned the salutation.

He believed the child’s story of finding the pendant at the thieves guild, but that raised a new problem. How had they come by it? He was going to have to find this den of thieves and make them talk, but his best lead was walking away from him. “Hey!” He caught up to Kaine and Robyn. “Any chance you could give me a little information about these thieves? I’d like to have a chat with them.”

It turned out that Kaine was very forthcoming about the thieves guild. He was a blacksmith. Part of the reason Robyn ventured out against his brother’s will was to find the spear that they had stolen from him. It had been a wonderfully ornate piece, but the day the client was to pick it up, it was stolen. Kaine had lost a fair sum of money on that job.

Leo also learned that the pair were tied to the bandits he and his crew had recently dispatched. Their father and Robyn’s mother had been killed during one of Brutus and Roddy’s raids on the mainland several years back. The boy had escaped and made his way to his older brother. “You don’t have to worry about them any longer,” Leo said, sipping the tea Kaine had brewed for them both. “My crew and I took them out a few days ago. Their leaders are dead.”

Kaine’s face paled.  “You mean they were here? On this island?”  Leo nodded.  “Gods, that is frightening news.  We’d heard a group of bandits had been disbanded to the north of here, but I’d had no idea it was the same group.” He glanced back at Robyn, but the boy was fully immersed in a book and beginning to drowse.  He took another sip of his tea.  “Thank you,” he whispered.

Leo nodded.  “We lost several men to them ourselves.  My first mate is gone because of them.”  Kaine nodded sympathy.  “My friend whom I mentioned earlier, the woman I left this pendant with, she was injured in that battle.  I need to know more about this thieves’ guild before I storm in and start asking questions.“  He grinned slyly.

Kaine gave him all the info he had, much of which Leo guessed had come from Robyn’s forays into the cache. When he left the brothers, he had a location, an estimated number of members, a layout of the guild as well as the weaknesses in its defenses, and a growing sense of urgency that Kita needed his help.

When he returned to the ship, he filled Lucas in on his suspicions that Kita was in trouble. He would give her until the evening to arrive, but if she didn’t, they were going on the offensive. They devised a plan to attack the guild and assembled a fighting crew out of his new members with a few veterans mixed in to supplement their ranks. He was willing to bet some of the new crew might have grudges against the guild and figured it’d be a good way to test how they fight together and follow orders.

Kita still had not appeared.

Just before sunrise the next day, the Captain and his crew of fighters surrounded the thieves’ hideout.  It was disguised as a simple pawn shop, but everyone knew what really went on behind those doors.  There was a metal door in the ground around back which led into the cache below the shop.  However, there was a less obvious exit a few yards behind it, just behind the tree line. Leo made sure that one was covered.

Silently, they broke into several groups and proceeded into each entrance.  The Captain led his group in the front door while Lucas and one of the new men led the other two groups in through the back doors.  The watchmen were passed out drunk and suddenly Leo understood how Robyn was able to get in and out without being caught.  He left one of his men with the man in the shop, in case he awoke from his stupor, and took the others downstairs to meet the rest of their infiltration team.

The treasure trove was littered with cots and hammocks, just as Kaine had told him, filled with snoring men. There was no order to the way they were arranged, as far as Leo could tell, no way to tell which was the leader. Well, they were still all in for a rude awakening.

He gave the signal to his men and they shouted as one, startling the thieves awake.  Each man found a pirate’s blade pointed at some critical organ and threw his hands up in immediate surrender.  “Who’s in charge here?” the Captain shouted over the woeful moans and cries for mercy.  They all started pointing fingers but none went to the same man.

Frustrated, the Captain snarled.  “Fine then, which of you stole this?”  He dangled his pendant in front of him and instantly a couple of men reacted near Lucas, looking around near their piles of treasure.  It was proof enough for the Captain as he stalked over to them and towered over them.  “Where is the woman you stole this from?”

They whimpered and stuttered.  They muttered that they must be dreaming, that there was not an army of pirates in their trove with weapons drawn on them.  They would be dead if such were the case.  They closed their eyes tight, trying to will the nightmare away. The Captain grabbed the one nearest him and shook him.  “We’re real.  We’re here.  And we want that woman.”

“W-w-we’ll take you t-t-to her, just spare us, p-p-please!” the man in his grip cried.

“That all depends on you now, doesn’t it?” Leo replied as he hoisted the man to his feet and pushed him forward.  He gave the other man a fierce stare and immediately he jumped to his feet and fell in line with his friend.  “Lucas, you and your group come with me.  The rest of you stay here.  No one is to harm any of these men, understood?”  There was a chorus of “ayes” as he led the thieves out the back door and ordered them to take him to Kita.

They led him and his small band about two and a half miles into the woods where they hesitantly stopped a few yards from a dark form on the ground.  Leo and Lucas rushed to Kita’s side.  They rolled her onto her back and saw that the wound on her shoulder had been torn anew and was slowly bleeding out.  There were several new cuts and bruises along with those she had sustained in the battle with the bandits.  “What did you do to her?” he turned on the thieves.

They cowered and avoided looking directly at him.  Again they cried pleas of mercy and added apologies.  “We just wanted her things, but she fought back!” one of them squealed.

The Captain rolled his eyes.  “What kind of morons steal from a ninja?”

The thieves hung their heads sheepishly.  “She was alone and wounded.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Leo ordered his men to take them back to town as he had Lucas help him lift her off the ground to carry her back.  The men who were new to his crew muttered the word “ninja” among themselves as his tenured members quietly explained that they need not worry and that she was, indeed, an ally.  Kita stirred in his arms and her eyes fluttered open briefly.  “Sorry I’m late,” she whispered and attempted a smile.

“Don’t worry about it,” he replied.  “You can thank me later.”  She tried once more to smile but her eyelids drooped and she was gone again. As he stared at her, for a brief moment her long red hair appeared short and blonde and the bleeding wound was not her shoulder but a gaping hole at her midsection.  He had to shake his head to clear the image of Phineas and the still fresh memory of his agonizing death from his mind.  He blinked and once again it was Kita in his arms.  Suddenly he felt a terrible urgency to return her to the Eternity and to Cyril.

Notes: How’s that for a Monday post? This one is a bit of a hodge podge of old and new. I started writing the sequel to Leo and Kita’s tale a few years back, and this was a sequence I included back then. It suited the prompt though so I decided to revisit it. And in revisiting it, I revised it quite a bit. There are whole sections that I copied from the old file, but there was enough that I rewrote to cut out a bunch of superfluous details. Hey, revising is writing too. Also, this introduces a couple new characters to their world! Hurray!

As for myself, a couple months after my wedding, my wallet was stolen right out of my purse in the grocery store while I was getting some lunch meat at the deli. That’s what I get for trusting people,  leaving my purse in my cart, and turning my back on it. Thankfully, the kid working at the deli saw something fishy and asked me if I was with anyone else because he had seen another woman near my cart and thought he had seen her take something. At first I didn’t think so because my phone and keys and tablet were all still in there. But then I realized “hey wait a minute, my wallet!”

Never did catch the thief, but because the employee was vigilant, I was able to cancel all my cards within 20 minutes of the theft. One of my cards had actually automatically frozen due to suspicious activity and they were actually about to call me to find out if I was on a spending spree. Aside from the feeling of violation, the worst part was I had JUST received my new license with my married name on it and put it in my wallet that morning. I had to go back to the DMV to get a replacement and a new picture. (I was very happy with the first new picture I’d gotten a few weeks prior. And also I just went to AAA instead because after all that I was not going back to the DMV.)

Anyway, now it’s your turn! Has anyone ever stolen from you? What was it? How about your characters? Are they the victims or the thieves? Get those ideas out there! I’ll be back tomorrow. Have a great night!

PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!

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