Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Challenge

((Zurine Haizea - my Guild Wars 2 character - has seen new life in a much more fitting setting in the new forum. She is represented by a somewhat altered image of the Egyptian actress Nelly Karim. Ironically, her original story has changed very little from its roots in GW2 and, indeed, the first draft of this piece was written in that world and needed only a perspective shift and a few name alterations to be reset.))

. . . . . The wattle and daub coating of the wall behind me pulled a few sable strands of hair free from their neat captivity every time I turned my head, but it was nothing that could be helped. There was quite simply far too much worth watching to stay still. A bracelet caught the afternoon sun with a gleam of silver. A flounce of lily pink silk swirled across the cobblestone street. A red ribbon, dark as freshly-spilled blood, fluttered from a man's back as he strode among the market stalls.
. . . . . That's the one, I decided. Never mind that it was trailing from the hilt of a broadsword strapped across his back; plucking that prize free would be child's play. I wanted that ribbon.
. . . . . Beneath my slight weight, the daubber's scaffolding did not shake or tremble as I crossed some ten feet above the street, flashing between drapes of canvas that protected the market-goers from falling clay as it dried. My belly rumbled a protest that my mark was no flatbread or juicy pear, but I paid it no heed – the demands of the body were a distant second to the rush of pursuit. The man was taller than many in the market by a third again, his wide shoulders cutting a track through the crowded streets as easily as a chef's knife through melon flesh. There went my stomach again...
. . . . . As the wooden supports below me ended, I had to take my eyes from the taunting ribbon long enough to pull myself to the roof and jump across to the next building. It was no more than a matter of sixty seconds, but in that time, the man vanished. A scowl twisted my lips as I scanned the market, looking for the behemoth among midgets. It was like trying to track a sand flea! But then a dark shape loomed some half a block beyond where he ought to have been, and I raced across the rooftop to catch up.
. . . . . It took two jumps and one precarious crossing involving a clothes-drying line, but I caught up to him, and then surpassed him. Planning carefully, I dropped down from the edge of the rooftop, heels catching on an awning covering a doorway below. Despite broad daylight, all eyes were occupied with market goods and I remained as invisible as if cloaked in night. He would have to pass by here – I need only wait; the linen merchant's stall across from the building I perched on along the narrow street would force him close enough.
. . . . . Indeed, circumstances were in my favor and a knot of women stopped to finger bolts of fine lawn, cooing over misty blue fabric the likes of which would never touch my own poor skin clad in rough-spun. The giant man had to step close to the building to avoid them, and that's when I leaned out as far as I dared, one hand bracing along the awning's support as the other stretched forward. Warmth radiated from the sun shining on his dark, clean-shaven head as he passed just under my hand and my fingers caught up the red ribbon to unravel its simple knot as he walked past.