. . . . . 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.