Hey everyone, so this is my major story that I've been working on for a while now. I hope to be updating it every week or so, it's all complete so it's a matter of checking and deciding how much to publish. I hope you take the time to read and and REALLY hope you'll review it because this is my most important work and i'll try to reciprocate, that's how desperate I am for any sort of thoughts, even criticisms, it'd a be a big favour. Anyway if I bore you for much longer you won't read the story =] Enjoy.


The squalid conditions of Spireless, normally enough to stun onlookers, today fermented under a broiling sun, puddles of filth evaporating and clogging the air in a hazy fog. People milled about the haphazard streets with no direction, the leaning houses oppressing and dark like bars on a cage. Children ran between the wood and earth houses while adults looked on with dull eyes long since dead of joy.

Rek had hoped he could use the haze and crowds to make his escape. He vaulted over a ramshackle fence made mostly of driftwood from the river, and considered how that thought may have been a mistake as he knocked a man through what had been his front door. He skidded around the corner, the man's shouts quieting behind him.

Ki and five others were already waiting for him. He halted and, feeling their gaze on him, pulled the bundle from under his shirt, marvelling at its coolness on his skin on such a hot day. Their focus instantly shifted to the bundle, some murmuring their approval. He slowly unwrapped it. Six sets of eyes tore at the brown paper until a few pounds of dark liver were exposed, glistening wetly in the harsh sunlight. A part of Rek lamented at having to steal from another poor soul trapped in poverty, but his practical side nudged it away. Life rarely had room for morals and death certainly didn't. The butcher surely did well anyway right?

It was at this thought that his ears picked up the sound of feet splashing behind him, running in fact. Sparing no time he crumpled the package back up and bolted away from the footsteps, shortly followed by the rest of the gang. As he rounded the corner he saw the lean frame of a man entering from the alley he'd just been in. How could he have been so stupid? Every shop owner in the slums had been robbed more times than they could count and the smart ones hired chasers to catch the thieves. Well, retrieve the goods, it didn't matter what happened to the thieves.

At the end of the street were dirt roads going in several directions. The group fractured. Rek whipped left and jumped up onto an iron roof that looked a lot like a Steamship's hull, and crawled onto one of the poorer buildings. Rust cut into his legs and bit under his fingernails as he scrambled up, then rolled across the roof, mortar crumbling as the roof bent inwards. He flopped down to join Ki who crawled out from the gap beneath a house on stilts. He looked at Rek's hands questioningly and Rek jerked his head up at the roof he'd just been on, the roof to their home. The liver would be a little warm but it was unlikely to be found there. Still the sound of footsteps and panting pursued them so they loped off once more through the winding streets.

There was no danger of them getting lost, they'd both been running round the streets of Spireless for years, Rek for a few more of course, and they both knew the fundamental lie of the land. Even so, after a while the haze began to battle with their lungs and dull their brains until what felt like hours later, objective forgotten, they stumbled into a dead end alleyway. Panting for breath and treating this as a good place to stop, Rek slumped against a brick wall and slid to the floor, regardless of the mud that covered his tattered shorts. He tried to slow his breathing and strained his ears to hear anyone following.

The sounds of the slums pressed in from all sides, people called and shouted whilst animals moaned in the unbearable heat. Somewhere a baby cried. Rek closed his eyes. They could rest there for a bit then head home. The others from the gang would turn up later, there might be even some food left for them he noted with a smile. Then something tugged at his sleeve. Ki's deep blue eyes, so unlike his own, were uncomfortably close and he had a finger pressed against his lips. Rek listened again, there were footsteps approaching. Smothering a groan he looked at the alley, hoping to try climbing the houses again, but this close to the mystic quarter the houses were all sealed brick. He looked all around. Then he noticed.

These footsteps were unhurried...and heavy. Were there two sets? Rek turned back to the mouth of the alley, yes; definitely two sets, coming straight towards them.

Rek plucked a small battered knife from his shirt stitching and tucked it into the back of his shorts, if the owners of those feet weren't friendly, he wanted to be ready. In the same movement of his right hand shifting the knife, he signalled to Ki with his left. A fist then four fingers. If it came to a fight he was to run at the people hard and try to escape. Ki nodded stoically, but his eyes darted around. Rek's heart lurched as he was reminded just how young his brother was, how young he himself was, at sixteen he'd already lived a hard life, and had to care for his brother for the last few. He gripped the knife tighter; hadn't he let go? If he had to use it he would...he would.

As he had thought, two men lurched around the corner into the alleyway. No, Rek corrected himself. Two giant men. Rek signalled three fingers as he took a step towards them. They swaggered down the alley, barely fitting side by side.

Two fingers

The men weren't armed, clearly they were poor themselves, judging by their clothing. The smaller one only had scraps of leather on his soles, tied to his feet with strings, and no-one would dare attack either one of these thugs. Rek hoped this meant they wouldn't expect it.


Rek flung the knife at the first brute, his death grip on the handle finally released. He ran at the second, slower, bug eyed brute. At the same time Ki ran for the narrow gap between them and slid through as each dealt with their own problems. Rek's heart leapt as his brother escaped, now if he could only do the same.

Why were they after them anyway thought Rek. From their dull eyes they weren't great thinkers maybe they were just wanting a fight, there had been enough of those lately. Rek didn't have time to speculate as a meaty fist swung at his stomach with enough force to throw him backwards.

From a jarring position on the ground he saw the first thug clapping a hand to a gash in his leg. "Barely a scratch" he thought bitterly; he'd aimed at the stomach of a normal person, enough to incapacitate not kill. The pain in his own stomach paralysed him as he hit the ground hard and could only watch as bug eye walked over to him. He grinned a crooked smile and brought his fist down like a hammer on Rek's head...

So that's chapter one, if you've gotten this far then that little extra can't be too hard right? You'd be making my day.