Like a Thief in the Night

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  1. #1
    Registered User Handy's Avatar
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    Default Like a Thief in the Night

    Good afternoon. This is my first fanfic, hope you enjoy.

    ---

    Prologue


    He ran.

    He had to get out of here. Someone had to take a stand, and if the Revolution wouldn't do it, then he would. As the man fled the scene, he heard the cries of anger ripple through the streets behind him. He could understand their anger. If someone were to ruin years of his planning, he may well have felt the same way. Unfortunately for them, the rebel knew that their plan was condemned to fail, and was certain that he had to act immediately if he ever wanted to escape the city.

    “Laren!” A voice shouted from behind, but the runner was not going to listen. He, too, had been planning this for a long time now, and would not let his so called allies get in the way of it. Once he had escaped, Laren would return with all the help needed to release the people of the city. The Revolution's plan was reckless and foolish. Laren knew; he'd helped develop it.

    Initially, he'd suggested his plan to the Revolution. A genius, faultless plan, which would assure their freedom. But would he listen? Would any of them listen?

    No.

    But that wasn't important any more. That was behind him, and so were the Revolution. If he allowed himself to get distracted by thoughts like that, he would assure his own downfall, quite literally. He had no doubt that his allies would try to stop him at first. In fact, he welcomed it. The thought of a mob of soldiers chasing him down certainly increased his pace. The leader of the Revolution was a determined, callous man. Laren would be shot down where he stood. So he wouldn't give him the chance. In time, they would see that his plan was the right move. He'd be seen as a hero, the great conqueror of Volna. The name Laren would forever remain in history as a legend. All he had to do was keep running.

    He dashed through the mud-stained streets, his leather boots firmly beating against the ground as he ran. The thin, brown alleys of Volna allowed easy traversal for those who knew them well enough. Laren had ten years of experience, being adept at moving around unnoticed. Having planned his route through the city a few year ago, he had learnt it off by heart, knowing all the little alcoves, the tread of the ground, the people who used the streets and most importantly, the way to lose those following him.

    However, the Revolution knew these streets almost as well as he did; Laren found it necessary to teach them the ways of the city in order to survive the brute force of the government. Which, incidentally, was the second problem he would have to face.

    The city guards of Volna were no fools in the art of defence. They had positioned guard posts around the entirety of the city edge so that they were almost unavoidable. As such, the rebel concluded that an attempt to avoid them was pointless. He would do something that the guards would never expect. He intended to run straight through it.

    A loud howl disrupted his thought process. Without a seconds thought, he plunged into the first porch he found, bringing his back right up against the wall, and becoming completely silent. As he breathed in and out slowly, he cursed quietly. How could he have forgotten that eventuality? Though it wasn't an often used technique, the use of Mightyena as tracking hounds had increased significantly in recent years. It simply hadn't crossed Laren's mind that the Revolution would have a way of tracking his movements so easily. There was nothing for it. He had to get rid of his trackers, and he could only think of one way to do it.

    Walking out of the alcove, he quickly reached down to his belt. Gripping one of the small, spherical objects attached, he brought it up in front of him. He swiftly expanded the red and white object, before pressing the centre button, releasing a red light out from inside. The light flew speedily on, curving and expanding until it formed the shape of a large, three headed bird. The creature began to leap into action, only to realise it was not where it expected to be. As the three, brown heads turned around to face Laren, he responded with haste. “Change of plans. We're being followed. Supersonic, quickly.”

    The brown feathered creature brought its three heads up, and though each shared a different consciousness, they all shared the same goal. Suddenly, all three opened their mouths, and a huge burst of pained howling sounded from the distance. Though harmless to the human ear, the Dodrio had buffeted the surrounding area with a deafening supersonic wave targeted at the opposing creatures, their sense of hearing scrambled by the waves of sound. Laren smiled, but knew it was nowhere near over yet. Returning his companion quickly, he continued his journey, rushing forwards down the street. His speed would have to increase significantly if he was to be successful. And he certainly intended to be.

    As he reached the end of the street, Laren leapt up into the air, gripping onto a window ledge as he pulled himself up. He repeated the process, making his way up to the top of the three floored building. Most buildings had multiple stories in the city, due to the mass amounts of population that the limited space had to provide for. Rather than building outwards, the people of Valna were forced to build upwards. Luckily for Laren, this was very convenient.

    As he stood on the roof of the building, he risked a quick glance to the events occurring little over a mile away towards the East. From the looks of things, the Revolution's plan had not yet started. That was good; he still had enough time for his own agenda to be completed. Inhaling deeply, Laren made his way to edge of the roof. And then he jumped.

    He rolled as he hit the ground, arriving on a roof roughly a floor lower than the one he'd leapt off. This roof, however, had a major difference. It was adjacent to the guard room. Without a moment's pause, he rushed across the dusty roof, and leapt forwards once more, though this time he intention was not to hit the ground. As he flew forwards, he curled into a ball, and smashed straight through a thick sheet of glass. Though his clothes covered up most of the blow, he quickly pulled out a particularly sharp pane of glass out of his waist, crying out slightly with pain. Looking up, Laren found himself facing a group of perplexed city guards. He didn't give them a chance to reach for their weapons.

    Seeing a clear run, he rushed forwards in a sudden burst of speed, avoiding the men as they slashed forwards with their swords. Luckily, none of them had any creatures supporting them at this point, so he was easily able to make it to the front door of the guard house, smashing his way through.

    As he left, he reached down into his pocket, bringing out a round, black object. He threw the object into the guard house, and ran. The sound of coughing from behind alerted him that his Smoke Ball was successful. After a few more minutes of running, he paused, exhaling deeply. The easy part was finally completed. Now, the real challenge began.

    Walking forwards, Laren looked up at the one remaining object that prevented his freedom.

    The Wall.

    Standing at a height far superior to any other man made object, the wall was the pride of Valna. It surrounded the city completely, miles and miles of stone towering over the people who lived there. Or, for a more accurate term, were kept there. The Wall had been built by the founder of Valna in an attempt to keep the outside world out, which it achieved to quite a heavy extent. It also had the effect of keeping the entirety of the Valnans trapped, with no means of escape or freedom.

    The Revolution despised everything that the wall stood for, and everything that the government stood for. Though the initial reason for their founding was to find a way over the great barrier that protected the city, they soon turned their attention to trying to defeat the reigning government. Laren felt as if he was the only one that still cared about trying to find his way out of the city. As such, it was his duty to fulfil the initial role of his people. And if that meant condemning a large portion of their army to death, then so be it.

    Without hesitation, Laren once again released the form of his Dodrio, leaping onto its round back as he locked his feet into the bird's harness. And then, as a large explosion sounded in the distance, Laren murmured, “Let's go.” The bird moved in an instant, leaping up against the cold, grey colour of the Wall. His feet dug into the stone surface as he landed, and Laren found himself almost losing grip instantly. Soon, he regained balance, adjusting to the vertical surface, and nodded to one of the three heads, which had turned around to check on his progress.

    The bird made its way quickly up the surface of the wall, Laren making use of the chaos that would be distracting the guards of the wall at this very moment. The Revolution would currently be implementing its plan to disable the main gate to the city, trying to halt any trade that the government would get. Laren was sickened by the plan, as it meant that they had gotten to the point where they were no longer trying to escape. He had not given up just yet.

    Then, the creatures arrived. Having studied attempt escapes on The Wall multiple times, Laren knew exactly how events unfolded. The red spiders descended from holes in the wall, attaching themselves to fine, white threads, and making their way towards the rider and his Dodrio. Laren was prepared. Each of the Dodrio heads summoned a different form of energy, the powers of ice, fire and electricity forming in their mouths, before being launched out at the threads that held the insects up. As the energy collided with the thread, it snapped. The insects frantically tried to stop themselves, but there was no way to prevent their vertical descent, the creatures slamming into the ground, splattering.

    And now, the final hurdle. All Laren had to do was remain stationed on his partners back, and he would be free. The guards on the top of the wall could prove a hurdle, but the chances were that they were long gone, focussing on a more important threat. And if not, he had prepared for that eventuality. His partner was more than capable.

    Down below, crowds had gathered to watch the escape attempt. The attempts at escape were popular sport for the people of the town, and rarely had a person gotten past the Ariados before without using some form of flight, though any fliers found themselves dealt with by the nets that were thrown down by the guards. Laren, too, could well have fallen to that hurdle. Fortunately, it seems that the guards were indeed absent. Exactly as he'd expected. He'd made it. His freedom was assured.

    But nothing could ever be that simple.

    The first bullet penetrated Laren's shoulder, slamming through and immediately disrupting his balance. As the Dodrio heads franticly turned round in an attempt to keep the man up, a second bullet came slamming through Laren's ribs, and through one of the Dodrio heads. Then, without a fuss, the pair detached from the wall, elegantly descending down through the air.

    “I was so close.” he whispered, tears rolling down his face as his life came to an end.

    In the midst of the screaming crowd, a figure slowly slipped away.

  2. #2
    Fanfic Writer some colour no doubt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Like a Thief in the Night

    Wow, very well written! No grammar mistakes i could pick out, and you revealed enough about the city, hinting at things, but not revealing them fully, keeping me hooked!
    I particularly liked the line :
    and though each shared a different consciousness, they all shared the same goal.
    One thing i didn't understand though. When he jumped into the guard outpost, you said the soldiers were reaching for there swords, yet at the end he was killed by a gun? what time period is this supposed to be set in?
    Old Modern or a mixture?
    Looking foward to how this pans out :)

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    Default Re: Like a Thief in the Night

    This is absolutely fantastic - If you hadn't told us, I'd have thought you'd been writing for some time. I love the prelude you've set up for us, as well. There are only very minor things that read oddly, but they're just a few words here and there. This, I will be looking forward to reading updates on. ^_^

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    Default Re: Like a Thief in the Night

    Thanks for the reviews guys. And as for Some Colour No Doubt's question when it comes to technology, well, that will be revealed as the plot continues. For now, enjoy Chapter One.

    ---

    Introduction


    Theft was a surprisingly competitive business.

    Nicholas was too young for this. Twelve years of age was not the ideal time for a developing boy to begin to risk his life on a daily basis in order to provide for his family. Unfortunately, in Nicholas' eyes, he didn't have much of a choice. Arceus had blessed him with the ability to sneak, the ability to plot and the ability to never get caught, which made him perfect for the thieving profession. Evidently, they didn't always decide to reveal themselves.

    “What d'ya reckon we do with him, boss?” The first man asked, walking towards the tied up child. Now fourteen years of age, Nicholas had been involved in his fair share of thefts, ranging from Pokeballs to ancient, rare artefacts, or to even something as mundane as a loaf of bread. He was rarely caught; never in the case of the more valuable items. Until now, at least.

    A second man began to speak, his hood covering the back of his head, and allowing most of his face to remain hidden as he looked down. “Well first, we'll ask 'im some questions. Like, I don't know, what are you doing in my museum?”

    “Don't get me wrong,” the boy chirped up, looking up at the man with slight fear, “but I don't think this museum is yours. I'm fairly sure its the government's.”

    The four men chuckled at the boys remark. “Well, maybe you would think that.” The hooded man began, clearly entertained, “but we make our visits here more often than those government fellas do. They know we're at it, but they're too damn scared to charge us for it!” The other men roared in laughter at this. Nicholas didn't think it amusing.

    “But, this is rare stuff in here?” he counteracted with some hope.

    “Maybe so, but it's deemed as 'not useful'. That current Adjudicator is a bit...” the hooded man paused.

    A third man spoke quietly, “Unconventional.”

    “Yeah, that's the word, unconventional.” The hooded man finished, still not risking a look up at the boy.

    “So surely, if you've got all this stuff for free, you don't mind losing one measly jewel?” Nicholas asked with a sweet smile.

    The first man chuckled. “We'd love to give you that gem, kid. But we just can't afford to let anythin' go. Who knows how valuable that really is?”

    “I do.” The fourth man contributed, “Two thousand totems. Not amazingly valuable, but still a great artefact from the first fifty years of the city.”

    The first two men whistled. “Two thousand? Forget to mention that, did you?” The hooded man complained.

    “No, no, of course not. But, well, we were focussing on selling the less risky items, weren't we? Our last big sale wasn't so succesful.”

    Silence filled the room, and remained there for a few seconds, until Nicholas urged up the courage to ask. “What happened in your last big sale, then?”

    “Ah, well. That, is a long story.” The first man commented.

    Nicholas groaned. “Well, since I guess you'll be keeping me here for a while, you might as well tell me it while I'm waiting.”

    “Fine. Daniel 'ere,” The man paused, pointing at the value recogniser, “Is the curator of this museum. Or at least, he was. We, er,” stopping, he smiled at the curator, who looked away annoyedly, “Convinced him to join our cause. He gets a twenty percent cut like the rest of us. Fairs fair. Anyway, he revealed to us the location of the most valuable items in the museum. Naturally, we wanted to sell this stuff to get rich quick.” he explained, flicking a bit of dust off of one of the exhibits, though it seemed slightly pointless considering the awful state the museum had found its way into. “So we took one of the rarest items, something called a, um,”

    Daniel groaned, interrupting, “An automated gate co-ordinator. I call it an AGC.”

    “Yeah, that. Anyway, we send some feeders out, only right, y'know? Thieves have friends in high places, especially the boss,” he murmured, gesturing towards the hooded man, “So this one fella says he wants to buy it. We say how much. He offers us more than Danny 'ere reckons its worth. How could we refuse? We accepted the deal, as ya would, and went to meet up with him. All five of us.”

    Nicholas scanned the room again. The hooded man, the quiet man, the blabbing speaker and the curator. He only counted four. “Well, you can guess what happened to our fifth bloke. Poor Scotty didn't see it coming. None of us did. It was the Adjudicator 'imself. He killed Scott on site, took the, um,”

    “AGC.” Daniel re-confirmed.

    “Yeah, and told us 'I am takin' anything of value to us. Anything useless is yours. But if I catch you robbin' anywhere other than that museum, you're dead.' and we escaped, and now we own this place.” The man finished, smiling.

    Nicholas looked slightly perplexed, so the boss added, “Not in those exact terms, of course. But close enough.”

    “Right.” Nicholas replied obligatory. “Really, I only have one more question to ask before you do whatever it is you're planning to do with me. Why won't you,” he asked, gesturing with his head to the hooded man, “show me your face? You've got me tied up. How much of a danger could I be, really?”

    The hooded man chose not to reply. He simply stated, “I think it's time for our guest to leave us, Rodge.” The quiet man nodded, moving forwards slowly. Nicholas had been examining the whole group throughout the duration of his stay, and as the man drew closer, Nicholas acted. Noticing the man had drawn his blade, Nicholas launched his chair backwards, the knife blade cutting through the rope as he went, and also cutting through a bit of the boy's skin. That wasn't important, however. It meant he had enough time to bring his hands around, shielding his injured limb, and pull out a pokeball.

    And then, the room was at a stalemate.

    Nicholas examined the four quickly. Behind him, the quiet man, apparently known as Rodge, stood, looking a tad startled and wielding a short blade. In front of him, the talkative man had drawn his sword. To the right, the curator had backed down behind one of his exhibits, a large, dusty, headless statue shielding him from what could have turned nasty. Finally, the hooded man stood to his left, laughing to himself. “What's so funny?” Nicholas snapped.

    “I thought you were good, but that seals it. Welcome to our team.”

    ---

    Torin watched on with dismay. He cupped his head into his hands, sighing in anguish. How could he have let this happen?

    “Stop!” he cried as he ran forth into the fray. The smoke from the explosion clouded his line of site as Torin moved through, drawing his sword hastily. This sort of thing just didn't happen. Attacks on the gate weren't uncommon, and the soldiers of The Gate were trained to dispatch of any who attempted to fight their way through it. Never before in the history of the world had someone attempted to destroy the gate. Torin didn't even think that was possible.

    He rushed through the smoke, his eyes alert and his blade ready. Though Torin was not a controller of any creatures himself, he was more than a capable adversary for anything that the enemy could throw at him. He'd served the majority of his life in the military and was one of the, if not, the best in his field. But this wasn't a fair throw.

    A hand grasped on his shoulder, and Torin span round, bringing his sword right up against the man's neck. “It's me, sir.” the man squeaked nervously as Torin lowered his blade.

    “Report, Symes.” The captain simply demanded.

    Gulping, he replied, “The enemy has destroyed the gate, sir.”

    “Destroyed? And you're sure of this?”

    Symes nodded with certainty. “Yes, sir. The wall is undamaged, but the gate is gone, sir. It's as if it never existed. I'm not yet sure how they did it, but I think it involv-” The man was cut off by a sharp elbow to the ribs from his superior. The man brought his finger up to his lips, standing perfectly still. A few seconds passed.

    Just as Symes was preparing to speak, a figure ran past through the shadows, and Torin was off in a heartbeat. He collided into the escapee, bringing him down to the ground and forcing his arms backwards. “Tell me, scum, what you did to the gate.” As the adrenalin of the moment passed, Torin found himself looking into a pair of light, brown eyes. The man couldn't have been any older than eighteen. That was a problem.

    “You think I'd tell you anything?” the man spat, “Long live The Revolution!” he cried, chuckling. The chuckle immediately turned into a cry of pain as Torin brought his sword's tip down into the man's shoulder.

    Frowning, Torin spoke swiftly and in hushed tones. “Listen here kid. I know that you think what you're doing is noble, that it's going to save the people of Volna. You're ignorant. I am willing to let you go, but you have to tell me what you did to the gate. You're too young to die, son.”

    “Never.” The man replied, locking eyes with his older oppressor. Without hesitation, Torin brought his blade around and sliced across the man's throat. He turned away, picking himself up and turning to Symes, who was staring at the dying boy, horrified.

    Throwing his blade aside carelessly, Torin spat with disgust. “That kid couldn't tell us anything. He was just the one who set the bomb; he knew nothing about The Revolution or its plans. A pity, that would have been a good bargaining chip.” he paused, looking down at his old, wooden boots.

    “I'm not sure I follow, sir.” Symes replied, clearly confused by the brunette's statement.

    The man smiled weakly. “Bargaining chips for our lives, Symes. You'll understand soon enough. Call together all the local guards. We don't have much time.”

    “Much time for wha-”

    “That's an order, Symes.” The soldier walked away, feeling a little disgruntled and extremely confused. Torin walked over to the corpse of the teenage rebel. He was too young. They were all too young. As the smoke finally cleared, Torin noticed a man walk up beside him.

    “His name is Luca Auverlie.” The voice stated confidently. “Seventeen, lived a few miles south from here. Nice family, two older brothers.” He sniffed, almost as if he were grieving. Suddenly, his voice was dead serious. “Where are they?”

    Torin's eyes began to water as he stared down at the boy. “Is this... is it necessary, Rafael?”

    “You think I would do it if it weren't?” The man replied immediately.

    Torin inhaled deeply. “No, no, I suppose not. I've gathered them up by the gate.”

    “Fine.” And then, the man was gone. Tears dripped slowly down the guard's face, grieving for what would inevitably be occurring. Not only that, it was him. How perfect it was. And then he was back. Quietly, he scraped his blade across the ground, wiping off the sickening red substance that littered its surface. “If it's any consolation, I made it quick.”

    Turning to the man that he would be willing to call friend, Torin smiled. “So, what now? You kill me?” Rafael feigned shock, fixing his blade in the ground sharply.

    “I'm offended, Torin. I would never kill you. You're an unfailing asset to Volna, and you're my friend. Why would we want you dead?”

    Torin frowned. “Because I failed. That's your job, Rafael. That is what adjudicators do, right? Pluck the weeds from the rose garden, I remember you saying.”

    “You are not a weed.” he replied without hesitation. Torin locked eyes with the man, attempting to see any signs of weakness, any signs of remorse. But no, Torin knew he would never find any. All of Rafael's guilt, all of his pity, all of his humanity had gone away once he'd accepted that position. His friend no longer existed. The Adjudicator sat down on the ground, looking out towards the wall. “When we were at the academy, did I ever speak of the Shinto?”

    Torin sat down beside him, attempting to remember. “As far as I'm aware, never.”

    “They're a fascinating group of people.” Rafael continued, “Very traditional. Very honourable. In fact, I heard a story once,” he paused, chuckling, “that upon failing their master, they would willingly throw themselves upon their own blade in order to redeem their families honour. Brilliant, no?”

    A single tear dropped from Torin's face, rolling down his cheek and finding its way to the ground. “I- I lost my sword in the fighting.”

    “Is it this sword, perhaps?” The man replied, bringing a sword around from his back, handing it to the soldier.

    Torin smiled faintly. “Yes. I suppose it is. Rafael?”

    “Yes?”

    “Tell my family that I died in battle.” Torin begged.

    Rafael smiled. “You died whilst pursuing and killing ten of The Revolution's men. You were shot through the back by a callous sniper.”

    “Thank you.” he replied. Then, he felt it. Without doing anything, Torin found his body standing, his arm outstretched, and his blade held high. As the blade rushed in, he called out, crying “Rafael, wait!”

    The man turned, granting his friends last request. “Yes?”

    “Tell me one thing. Do you honestly think this is right?”

    Rafael inhaled deeply. “It's necessary.”

    “You didn't answer my question.”

    “Was that not answer enough?”

    Torin considered this, and then he was gone.

    ---

    “Hurry up, we're almost there!”A voice echoed loudly through the alley as the group moved, all driven with the same goal; to get out of here as quickly as possible. In the sky above, a group of black crows flew around in a circular motion. Black hatted and small, the Murkrow were spies for the enemy, attempting to track down and locate the revolutionaries. Sadly, attacking the birds would have had the instant effect of revealing the group's location to the enemy, so the revolutionaries would have to remain stealthy for now. “Quick now! We don't have all day!” the voice emphasised as the twenty men made their way into what seemed to be a dead-end alley.

    The leader of the group repeated his orders with anguish. “I said that you should hurry up, dammit. I'm not losing anyone else here.” he commanded as the group hesistated no longer, charging down towards the end of the alley. As the men approached, the floor at the end of the route flew apart, a blue energy forcing the bricks that laid the way to the side of the street. The men quickly leapt down into the hole that was made, and when all his men were securely under, the leader, too, descended into the depths, the bricks being sealed up behind him.

    The smell of sewage immediately forced its way into the man's nose, causing him to curse. He'd always argued that there must've been a better way to move through the city than this. “Status report, Rosewell.” he barked at the man who had allowed them entrance.

    “The destruction of the gate was a complete success.” The man known as Rosewell reported.

    The boss frowned. “Well, yes, I know that. I meant men, Rosewell. How many of them have made it back through to the sewers?”

    “To be honest, around eighteen have been reported, sir.” Rosewell replied bitterly.

    His frown remained. “With my men, that's only thirty nine that survived. Eleven men...” he pondered as he moved through the sewers, Rosewell trailing behind, whilst the soldiers went ahead. “Better than I would've expected considering what we've achieved. Youngsters?”

    “For the most part. But Eli, there's something else.” Rosewell again replied.

    Nodding, the commander known as Eli continued, “Well, it'll have to wait. I'm supposed to be meeting up with Laren in arou-”

    “That's just it, sir.” Rosewell interrupted, “Laren abandoned his group before the assault even began.”

    “What?” Eli roared in anger, “Just wait until I get my hands on that little 'hero', then he'll wish that he'd never been-”

    “There's more. He made a run.”

    Eli paused in his tracks. Laren couldn't have been that stupid, surely? After all these years of planning, all these years of companionship... he wouldn't throw it all away for something that he'd been constantly told wouldn't work. The wall was impenetrable, not claimable, and it was impossible to leave this place. Why didn't he get that? “And?”

    “He was shot down.” Rosewell commented, clearly disheartened by the whole ordeal.

    He couldn't believe it. He refused to believe it. The hero, the revolutionary, the legend, Laren was the finest fighter that Eli had ever met. The man had been the one who convinced Eli to sign up in the first place, news of his heroic exports spreading around the city like wildfire. And now he was... gone? It was impossible. He stood in silence for a few seconds, watching the moisture drip slowly down the side of the sewers, forming into a light puddle at the bottom of the worn, beaten path. Finally, he spoke. “This is the final straw. We need to bring down the government, and we need to bring it down now.”

    And so, the civil war came to pass.

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    Default Re: Like a Thief in the Night

    I do believe this is becoming a favorite. Its certainly an interesting and fast paced tale, and one that you execute quite well. How many characters have already died is almost surprising, but at the same time not really considering it is a civil war.

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    Fanfic Writer some colour no doubt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Like a Thief in the Night

    Nice!
    I see a nice plot developing here, i wonder if this is going to be a story focused on one character or several? I was really interested in the thief, yet the revoltionaries seem interesting as well, why do they want to take down the government??
    My only critism is when you had speech, particularly in the first section, it became a bit confusing who was talking, so I had to re-read it a few times to get the full picture.

    Ahh i can't wait to see how this plays out!

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    Default Re: Like a Thief in the Night

    Apologies for the delay; I've had a busy few weeks.

    A Theft and a Funeral


    “This isn't right, Frank.” Eli murmured anxiously as he watched the proceedings. Funerals had never been his thing; the brute, large man had always preferred to celebrate a man's life rather than mourn his passing. That was not the reason for Eli's worry, however.

    Laren was a brilliant man, that was unquestionable. He had started the Revolution at a young age, brought in figures such as Eli himself, Franklin and Jewel, Rosewell, Alistair and the rest of the elite forces that protected the safety of the Volnan's. His battling skills were unrivalled; even the Adjudicator had come very close to losing to the man once in single combat. Many had argued that it was fear of Laren that had managed to keep the Revolution's base safe; everyone knew of its location, even the enemy. Children ran through their part of town like it was any other, and soldiers stayed well clear of the district.

    But now, a week on from the death of their protector, the Adjudicator and his men had not even attempted an assault. They wouldn't even acknowledge the demise of their greatest enemy. Not even a whisper. It was... unsettling, to say the least. “He should've struck by now, damnit. Why keep us waiting?”

    “You know Rafael better than anyone here, sir.” Franklin replied swiftly, stroking his ginger beard softly. “You honestly think he'd be idiotic enough to order a direct assault? He'll be here soon enough-” seeing that his dark haired leader was trying to intervene, he cut him off before he could continue, “-and we will be ready. Now, be quiet. Funerals are supposed to be solemn occasions.”

    Eli admitted defeat without any further argument, shivering slightly at the cold wind that blew through the area. His long hair swayed lightly as he moved his gaze upwards towards the sky. How typical. Not even the weather paid any attention to the death of the legend, blue skies nastily expressing joy at the defeat of their hero. Even though the man had been younger than him, Eli had a respect for Laren beyond any other. He watched sadly as his soldiers slowly unveiled a statue of the man, and though it was made of stone, Eli thought it resembled him all too much. The confident expression, the thin, straight hair, the brown, three headed bird which sat, curled up by his feet and his eyes, eerily accurate, with the same glint of sadness ever present.

    The Revolution's Leader looked away quickly, realizing how drawn he was getting by the impression. His emotions were getting out of line. He was getting tired. “Excuse me, Franklin. I can't do this.” he murmured, before walking slowly away from the funeral. He knew that he would have to head back later for his speech; that was inevitable, but the man was concerned that if he spent too long there, he'd break down. That wouldn't happen. Eli was supposed to be strong. Laren was known for his openness, empathy and the emotions that allowed people to relate with him personally. The current leader was the opposite. Eli was known to be callous; he didn't care what others thought of him. As far as the people were concerned, Eli would willingly slaughter and entire orphanage if they were in the way of the prize. His people never hated him; his method of doing things worked. But Eli felt that they didn't respect him as much as they did Laren. And the man had to keep it that way, for the sake of The Revolution. No one else would find out about the man's selfish crusade. No one.

    As he walked through the streets of Volna, the brown blur that was the city consumed him. Whenever he was alone and purposeless, the world around him seemed to mesh together. Eli would just walk along through the hues of every day life, and nobody would pay him more than a seconds notice. His presence was such that people moved out of the way as he strolled along, intimidated of what he would do if they didn't. How had it come to this? How was it that he was seen as such a... monster.

    He had been known as the Revolution's leader for four years now since Laren stepped down, setting the tradition of five year terms. During his time of leadership, Eli had never truly had to lead alone. Laren was always there, guiding, supporting, rallying, and defending the brute's character on multiple occasions. He couldn't have lasted so long without him, and neither could have The Revolution. It would have fallen apart within weeks. And now, he had to go it alone. Even with four years of experience, Eli felt extremely unprepared.

    Eventually, he would have to pick his candidate for succession. It was a difficult choice. Rosewell was technically brilliant. His mission success was unrivalled in the other candidates. Eli just couldn't tell if he had it in him to be in control of an entire operation. His organisation of it would be perfect, no doubt, but would he be able to lead? Franklin was different. His solo work was poor. Teamed with Jewel, he was undeniably amazing. A perfect people's person, he would no doubt have been charismatic. Alistair was his final option. He was the least intelligent of the three, but was that really an issue? His leadership abilities were unrivalled in the group, and his bravery rivalled that of Laren's. Extremely committed, he was the best at his specific job. But the entire Revolution?

    The decision was troublesome, and had been on Eli's mind for some time now. Now, with the death of the former leader, he would be pressured into making a decision far quicker than before, as it proved that death could occur at any time. They needed a new leader to be prepared. As he rounded a corner, Eli found his eyes looking directly into those of Laren's. One downside to the people being so open about their involvement in The Revolution was the mass amounts of graffiti that existed throughout the city. The mural's on this particular street were some of the grandest. Each wall was covered with images of The Revolution's heroes, images of Laren, Eli and Gareth being the most popular by far.

    The man walked towards his own picture, looking sadly into the artist's interpretation. He seemed so young in the mural, his green eyes staring blankly ahead, his mouth positioned in a frown, and his long, brown hair tied into a ponytail, which was very common at the time. Across his cheek, a large cut was painted, one which many had always seen as sign of loyalty and commitment, and as such was drawn on almost images of the man up until this very day, though the cut had long since vanished. It was hard to believe that he was the only one left, his two companions gone without a trace. He slammed his fist into the wall with anger.

    And then, he noticed a new mural. His attention peaked as Eli moved towards the picture, his heavy, brown boots slamming into the bricked floor as he walked. Once he had a better view, his curiosity got the better of him. Being the leader of The Revolution meant that you knew the majority of your people, but Eli had never seen this boy in his life. He wore a light, brown cap, his murky, blond hair sitting quite short on his head. His face was young, cheeky, but yet somehow looked experienced. He wore typical clothes for his age; a waistcoat, brown shorts, and a pair of brown shoes on his feet. What was most fascinating was the sack swung over his shoulder, commonly associated with the thieves of the town. By his feet sat two creatures; A small, sleeping Poochyena and a purple, wide mouthed Grimer. Clearly, the boy was a trainer, and Eli definitely knew all of those who were part of his group.

    A hand on his shoulder brought him away from the staring, the voice of Rosewell commenting mournfully, “It's time for your speech, sir.” Eli nodded, his eyes focussing on the picture for a moment more, before he walked away speedily, Rosewell jogging to keep up with the sudden burst. They moved silently through he Revolution's territory, a group of soldiers strolling past absent mindedly as the pair walked by. The Revolution's military was small in comparison to that of the Volnan government's, but was far superior in skill and extremely passionate about their duty, whereas the Volnan's simply did their job. Passion, in Eli's eyes, was a vital ingredient for success.

    Within a few minutes, Eli was once again faced with the statue of his former colleague. Ignoring its piercing gaze, Eli quickly turned away from Laren, facing the grieving masses. “Laren was a hero. He was a born leader, the strongest trainer in the land, a swordsman, a prime example of what any can do should they put their mind to it and he was a friend. Not only to me, but to all of us. And yet, at the same time, none of us knew him at all.” The leader paused, gauging their reactions, and noticing no change.

    “It's ironic, really. The most outgoing, brave, friendly, supportive and admirable man I ever knew was also the loneliest. Can anyone here name me where Laren was born? Can you tell me anything about his family? About his background? About his life when he wasn't leading the Revolution?” He watched as the people looked at each other in slight shock. “No, I didn't think so. There was a reason for that. Laren didn't have a life outside of our campaign. He was The Revolution himself. Every waking moment of his life was dedicated to finding his way out of this city, and finding our way to freedom. Then, on the day of our grandest plan, he ensured its success.”

    The plan in regards to how Laren died had been organised in advanced. Eli wasn't satisfied by the explanation. He had to die a hero. “He had been a key part of this plan for years. He knew exactly what would have to be done to destroy the gate, and he did just that. During the time of the assault, Laren made his way to the government itself.” The members of the crowd began to gasp almost simultaneously. “Using his companion, he made his way into the main building itself, right in the middle of a government meeting. He caused a large enough distraction that the gate could be destroyed without any interference from the Adjudicator. He secured our success.”

    “Surely, some would say that the death of Laren would be the death of The Revolution. In a respect, a part of our campaign has died with him. We now know that there is no chance of escape. We will never make it out of this city-” pausing, Eli withheld his tears, “-that is now clear to us all. Instead, our operations shall be shifted to one, sole force.”

    Looking up above the crowd, Eli fixed his view on the slow, setting sun. “From this day forth, The Revolution shall be solely dedicated to the destruction of the government. We start immediately.”

    ---

    It had taken a while, but Nicholas was finally back to what he was best at.

    Securing his brown flat cap firmly atop his rough, blonde hair, Nicholas eyed his surroundings carefully. The target was low risk; the family that owned the building were currently attending a birthday party more than a mile away, and as such, Nicholas wasn't worried in the slightest about getting caught.

    What he was worried about, however, was carefulness.

    Against what many believed, the rich scientist that owned this building was an extremely generous man. He developed medicine, tools and various devices all with aiding the poverty stricken in mind. Nicholas knew; his family had been helped by the man many times in the past. He was a genius, and in many respects, not the type of man that the boy would usually target. For once, the scrawny fourteen year old had no choice in the matter. His freedom as a thief had been compromised and he hated every moment of it.

    The boss had, however, assured him that the item he would be stealing had absolutely no purpose towards helping the people of Volna. It was a very old, very valuable vase supposedly designed before the fortification of the city. As such, it would sell for a lot of totems on the black market. This was a rare opportunity. The Scientist in question barely ever left his lab these days; his work was too important to him. No thief would willingly murder to get to their prize, and either way, the vase would not be worth such a great loss of life. So, Nicholas would have to be quick.

    Speed had never been a problem for Nicholas. Quickly wiping the sticky substance of the base of his brown shoes, Nicholas climbed silently up the adjacent wall, sliding his way through the building's open window. The scientist had never been one for personal security; he never expected that anyone would be gutsy enough to touch him. As Nicholas fell through, he landed with a thump, before making himself still. For a few seconds, he waited, listening out for anyone heading to check out the source of the noise.

    Nothing. His source was correct in saying that the building was truthfully deserted. Safe in this knowledge, Nicholas took a few moments to examine the building. The room he had landed in was clearly some sort of research lab. Out in front of him, multiple work benches stood, lined with all sorts of concoctions. As he fearlessly bounded across the silver, tiled floor, he located every escape route with several, swift glances. The room had four windows in total, the evening sun's light pouring coolly into the lab. Three doors led off into different parts of the house, and at the front of the house, a large double gate stood. In the case of an emergency, Nicholas was spoilt for choice. He selected the northern most exit at random, and made his way forwards, avoiding contact with any of the objects around him, refusing to damage anything of value.

    “What do we have here...” he murmured as he slowly pushed the door open, gripping a Pokeball in his left hand as a precaution. As he brought the room into his field of view, Nicholas relaxed, slowly closing the door behind him. Taking a match, the boy promptly lighted a candle, the room lightening up within seconds. “Ah.” he whispered with surprise. Covering the entire room from wall to wall were a collection of newspaper scraps. Walking over, the boy inspected one of these clippings.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Paper
    REVOLUTIONARY ESCAPE

    TODAY, at roughly half five in the afternoon, prison guards went to check upon the recently captured revolutionary, Alistair McKinnon. Aged 32, this man was said to be responsible for countless plots against the government and was captured in one of said plots, attempting to destroy the government dwellings with a significant amount of explosives. Fortunately, he was thwarted, and was to be put to death at the end of the week. Somehow, the man has escaped from captivity. Quite how this occurred, the government have not yet let out any word, however-
    The passage ended at that point, and Nicholas vaguely remembered having heard about it around a year ago. Unlike a good deal of the country, Nicholas was uninterested in the affairs of some group of problem stirrers. The Scientist seemed to be fascinated by it. Sighing, he took a look at another of the papers.

    Each and every paper had a link to The Revolution. Pages on the 'leaders' of their group, men named Gareth, Eli and Laren, seemed to be most frequent, though as Nicholas looked through the pages, he also noticed a lot of information about the man who was in that first article he read, Alistair, along with another man known as Rosewell. There was also an image pasted on the wall of an alleyway, one which Nicholas had never been to in his life. It seemed to be full of images, including many of the men listed in the papers. As he looked at the pictures, he swore that he recognised one of the men...

    A cracking noise from outside distracted the boy. He had been getting too side-tracked, and now the owner had returned! No, wait, it was far too early for that. Acting quickly, Nicholas pressed the central button on his red and white orb, expanding it to the size of an apple. As it opened, a jet of red light flew forwards, shifting and shaking into the form of a small, hairy creature. The dog like monster was grey in colour for the most part, with a blackened face and underbelly. It sniffed anxiously at the floor, before turning around to face his master. “Russell, I need you to check what's out there.” Nicholas whispered to his companion as he bent down on one knee. “If its the owner, I want you to get straight back in here. Understand?” The dog nodded, moving to work immediately.

    After a few seconds, a loud barking noise began from outside. Nicholas saw that as his queue to leave the room. As he re-entered the lab, he barely caught site of a running shape, a blur speeding out of his eyesight and down into one of the other rooms. He had left it too long.

    Another thief was in the building.

    “Quick, follow his scent!” Nicholas cried at his hound as he ran through after the man. If he had been moving at that speed, there was no doubt that the man knew precisely where he was headed. He'd lead Nicholas right to the object. As the pair went round a corner, Russell stopped, sitting down in place and growling at a door that lay ahead. Nodding, the fourteen year old moved slowly, making his way across the short hallway. Nicholas had almost never been involved in a simultaneous theft before; he usually targeted less valuable objects that would simply get him by. This was different. Who knew if the vase was even still there? It could easily have been stolen before Nicholas even arrived at the building, and both he and the man inside would be disappointed.

    Looking from side to side, Nicholas made sure that he was the only one moving around in the house. Then, with a quick burst of aggression, he forced his way through the door.

    Upon arrival in the room, he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

    Knowing not to act rashly, Russell simply walked up to his master, and sat down beside him, growling menacingly at the opposing thief. Once the initial shock of being held at gunpoint was out of the way, Nicholas managed to get a good look at his captor. Against his prior conceptions, the thief was in fact female. Standing tall above the boy, the long, black haired woman was dressed professionally. She had all the essential equipment for theft; tight, dark clothing; a light sack in which to carry the object; a watch on each wrist; a pair of sunglasses for should they be necessary; a pokeball tied around her thin, tall neck and something that Nicholas would never wield; firearms.

    “Oh, thank Arceus. I thought I was dealing with a major problem here. Scram, kid.” The woman smiled, her bright, white teeth glistening as she looked down at her competitor. Clearly, she couldn't even consider the eventuality of a child being a skilled thief. This woman seemed very prideful. Not even attempting to learn anything about the woman, Nicholas thought he had all the information he needed. This woman was not going to give up the vase without a fight, but at the same time, she wouldn't shoot a kid. Nobody was that callous.

    “Put the gun down, ma'am. Let's settle this the proper way,” Nicholas began, playing all his cards at once, “I challenge you to a one on one Pokemon Battle over that vase.” The woman, who by appearance seemed in her late twenties, simply stared at Nicholas for a few seconds, before bursting out into laughter.

    “You're not serious, surely?” she asked between breaths. After a few seconds of Nicholas simply staring her down, she murmured 'oh'. With slight hesitation, she placed her gun slowly back into her holster, and reached down for the red and white orb of her own. “Go, Glameow.” she said plainly, releasing a creature to combat the small dog. The monster formed into the shape of a cat, blue in colour, and with a large, spiralling tail which flowed down behind her. It purred lightly. “So, who makes the first mo-”

    “Roar.” Nicholas interrupted, as Russell let out a bellowing blast of noise. The sound waves washed over the cat, causing it to step backwards, cowering in fear. “Now, move into a take down, straight away.” The hound nodded, rushing forwards and preparing to slam down into the cat.

    The woman countered quickly. “Sucker punch!” she called, and the cat prepared to respond as such. Upon seeing the dog leap forwards, however, her fear got the better of her, and the dog slammed into her, knocking the pair of them sliding back into a cabinet. Briefly, Nicholas was able to look at the whole room. Reasonably small, the defining feature was exactly what the pair where looking for. In the centre of the room, a vase stood, seated upon a small desk. Luckily, the fighting was currently a decent distance away from the vase, but he knew he would have to be careful. A harsh cry of “Stupid cat!” brought Nicholas back into the battle. “Slash!” she cried, as the cat finally found its courage, clawing forwards at the dog.

    Russell cried out in pain as the claws dug into his flesh, rolling off the top of the opponent and onto the hard, wooden floor. “Finish this quickly, Russell. Go for a crunch.” Nicholas requested, and his hound leapt into action to the best of his ability, his injured side prohibiting movement to an extent. His teeth locked around the neck of the feline opponent, who writhed uncomfortably as the fangs tightened.

    “Get him off of you!” The woman trainer cried, but in vain, as Russell finished off the opponent, letting the cat go as it dropped to the ground, unconscious. The woman returned her companion sourly. “Fine. I admit defeat. Take the vase and leave, kid, though I can't imagine what the heck you're going to do with it.”

    Nicholas quickly asked “Before you go, mind telling me your name?”

    The woman considered this for a second, scooping the cat up into her arms. “Eliza.” she stated with a hint of anger, before storming out of the room.

    “Eliza...” Nicholas murmured as a creaking noise resounded in the distance. The Scientist was home.

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