Simply Encredible

In a time where technology was widely believed to be a type of witchcraft, in an age where Ronisgald stood in fear of invasion from the mysterious elves of Ircandesta, the strange beast-men of Longshore, and the enigmatic inhabitants of Rimstak, a lone heroine with a tragic past rose from obscurity to restore Truth and Justice to a country in desperate need.

Wielding the tools of her trade, she fought the corruption of the church, stood fast against those who would harm the innocent, and defiantly faced the darkest of forces to protect those lucky enough to be her friends.

This is the tale of Excelsia Encredible.

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2. Family

The hustle and bustle of the Market filled the air as the good citizens of the castle town of Greiarch went about their daily shopping.  Peddlers shouted their wares to passersby, lauding everything from food and pottery for day-to-day life to weapons and armor for the occasional travelling adventurer.  Given the size of the crowd, it was nigh impossible to walk through the vendor-lined streets without bumping into a dozen people.

A small girl in raggedy clothes and a tattered brown cloak made her way patiently through the throng.  No one so much as raised a glance at her as she tried to pass through the market, her path constantly twisting and turning as traffic shifted within the crowd.  She bumped into a few people, but her small size allowed her to keep moving without attracting any more attention than the occasional reprimanding glare.

She was over halfway through the marketplace when a strong hand came down on her soldier, making her freeze instantly.

"Are you here with your mother, lass?" asked a young guard with a kind face partially obscured behind a metal helmet.

The little girl shook her head.  "My mother is with the Creator, sir.  Miss Belrose sent me to deliver a message, and I'm just trying to make it back to the orphanage before the suns set."

A look of pity crossed the guard's face.  "I think I can help, miss.  Stay close to me, all right?"

The little girl hesitated a moment before accepting his offered hand.  He led her through the crowd, most people doing their best to give him some space; The Greiarch guards were known as a fair lot, if a bit strict. 

Once they reached the end of the street, the young guard knelt down so he could look the girl in the eye.  "Would you like me to escort you back to the Orphanage?"

"No thanks, milord." She said, bowing her hooded head respectfully.  "It's just two streets down."

"Very well." Standing up, he gave her a playful salute.  "I bid you good day, milady."

She gave him a wave as he walked back into the market square, a slight smile on her face.

"Ooh!  Lookit!  Flit's got a boyfriend!"

Flit's cheeks went red as she turned to see two boys and a pale skinned girl approaching her from the shadows of a nearby alley. 

"Oh, leave off!" Flit said, pulling back her hood and shaking out a mess of red hair.  "He caught me in the Market."

The elder boy frowned.  "Crumbs.  You ain't got nothing then, eh?"

A smile flashed across Flit's face.  She tossed the elder boy a small bag, the faint but unmistakable tinkle of coins catching the ears of her friends.

"By the Creator, Flit!" The elder boy said, his eyes alight as he peered into the bag.  "We'll eat for a week on all this!"

The younger boy adjusted his makeshift glasses.  "I told you comin' here was genius, didn't I, Dren?"

The elder boy laughed.  "Didn't have much of a choice, Janis.  Lord Gransbury was two twitches away from throwing the lot of us in the dungeon."

Glancing at the quiet blonde girl, the elder boy added, "Not that it's your fault, Sky.  No way we coulda known they'd be in disguise."

The blonde girl wrung her hands together, her sky-blue eyes downcast.

"Here now." Flit said, putting an arm around Sky.  "Let's go get some nosh.  Everything looks better on a full stomach, eh?"

Sky smiled timidly at Flit and nodded.

"The guard just saw Flit, so I'll head to the market and buy us some food.” Dren told the group, “You lot should head back to the hideout and wait for me; no one knows us here, but I'd hate for one of Lord Gransbury's goons to get lucky and just happen to catch us while passing through."

"Got it." Flit nodded at the others.  "Let's go!"

The three children ran through the streets of the city.  Most people paid them little mind; the entire kingdom had been filled with an air of tension since the last king died.  The sight of children playing struck most as a relief from the constant worry that threatened to consume their lives.

They passed the Belrose Orphanage, an imposing (if depressing) grey monolith of a building.  A few kids were sitting on the front porch of the orphanage wearing clothes that looked uncomfortable; not a single one smiled, though their eyes lingered on the children running free.

"Ugh."  Janis shuddered as they passed the gate. 

"That's right." Flit said.  "You used to live in one of those."

"Wouldn't wish it on me worst enemy." Janis told her.  "It's all itchy clothing, housework, and lessons.  Thank the Creator Mom and Dad came along.”

“Indeed.  Where’d I be without my little brother?” Flit said, punching him playfully on the arm.

The gang's path took them into a more industrial part of the city; the air had a strange heaviness to it, no doubt a byproduct of the soot in the air.  People in this part of the city walked more slowly than those in other sections of the city; slumped over, they walked through the streets lethargically, paying no mind to the passing children.  Fortunately, the kids were heading past the industrial district, to a set of buildings built right against the walls surrounding the city.  Most of these houses were warehouses for businesses within the town.  There were a few guards, but they were all watching the warehouse gates and doorways.

Flit led the group to one of the smaller warehouses.  They walked down the path between the warehouse and the outer wall until Flit noticed the symbol Janis had made for their gang cut into one of the boards.  One nudge in the right place made three of the boards fall back against a crate inside the warehouse.  Flit let the others enter the building first before following through and replacing the boards to their proper places.

The inside of the warehouse was a bit spooky; most of the crates and barrels were covered with dust and discarded sheets.  There were fortunately no windows for sneaky guards to peer through, though there was nothing to keep the guard from hearing them if they made too much noise.  It was only a problem until nightfall; the guard on the nightshift was notorious for falling asleep on the job, and Janis had heard the fellow was always willing to look the other way for the right amount of coin.

Still, time had taught them to err on the side of caution; they had set up camp in the very back of the warehouse, blocking off a small area with several of the crates and barrels.

"Home sweet home." Janis said as he sat down on a pile of straw and discarded bags that made up his bed.  They had managed to scavenge enough for all of them, though they left the best bed for Sky.

Sky knelt in the center of their makeshift room and began to trace symbols into the floor.  Her finger left glowing trails of eldtrich energy.  In a matter of moments, the area around them was lit with a pale blue light.

"I'll never get used to that." Janis said, shaking his head. 

Sky sank down into her modest bed breathlessly.  Her magic seemed to take a lot out of her.

"Good show, Sky." Flit said, patting her on the arm reassuringly.  "Cor, I wish I could use magic."

"And get the Enclave after you for heresy?  I'll make do without." Janis leaned back in his bed and kicked his feet up, adding, "I've made it this far without it."

"Yeah, right." Flit told him.  "All of us would be in jail or dead if Sky hadn't saved us."

Sky blushed and bowed her head.  She had never spoken since they first found her in village of Moorven; as far as they knew, she was mute. 

Sighing, Janis said, "Yeah, you're right.  Still, it wasn't like we didn't help.  I still think you got lucky with that locking mechanism."

"Luck is for the ill-prepared." Flit glanced at her fingers.  "It's all skill.”

Sky looked at Flit, her sky-blue eyes tinged with amusement.

Sighing, Flit said, "All right, I was lucky ... a smidge.  Still, you're the one who bluffed that guard, Janis; I can't believe you know so much about nobility."

"Ah, well ... knowledge is everything.  Dad taught me a lot, Creator rest his soul."

They fell silent for a long moment.  Sky bowed her head as well and squeezed Flit’s hand reassuringly.

They jumped as they heard the hidden panel thump against the crate.  A few moments later, Dren hopped over the barrels surrounding them and landed in his own bed, a bag in his hand.

"Dinner is served!" He said, upending the bag over a crate.

Their repast was simple; a loaf of bread, a hunk of slightly moldy cheese, and a large clump of grapes.  It wasn't much, but time had taught the group to spend what little money they stole or earned with care, as there was no guarantee that more would be coming on the morrow.

"I gotta say, you found us a nice place here, Dren." Janis told Dren. 

Dren accepted the compliment with a nod, pausing momentarily to wipe the crumbs from his jerkin.  "Outta sight of the main street, something to keep us covered from the rain, and best of all free.  Yeah, it'll do until we get a castle."

Flit and Janis chuckled appreciatively.  Sky even smiled a little.  Dren grinned at his gang, saying, "Oh, just you wait.  We'll get there one day, I promise you that."

Flit snorted, nearly choking as she tried to take a drink from her water skin.  "Yeah, you as the bloody king, and the rest of us as bleedin' lords and ladies of the court."

"Heck, yeah.  I'll even buy you both some o'them elf dresses you're so keen on."

Janis let out a laugh.  "Flit in a dress?  Yer mad."

Flit swatted the back of Janis's head.  "Mind your manners; remember, I'm gonna be a duchess!"

"Don't worry, Janis." Dren said, grinning even wider.  "I'll get you your own dress."

The whole gang laughed, even Janis. Dren stood up and held up his water skin, saying, "Here's to us, the Green Street gang.  Through thick and thin, we always stay as one.  Am I right men?"

Flit booed him and Sky fixed him with a glare.

"Er, and women?"

The girls cheered Dren.  Sky couldn't speak, but she beamed at him as she clapped.

All too soon, the meal was gone.  While not the most satisfying, it was filling enough so that no one had to go to sleep hungry. 

Once they settled in their beds, t didn't take long for the gang to gradually fall asleep.  Flit was the last, but not by much.  As she stared at the starlit sky, she listened to the sound of a blacksmith's hammer in the distance.  The rhythmic hit of the hammer relaxed her for some reason as she slowly drifted into the realm of dreams.

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