" Now i want you to watch Carefully boys." Their father, a scrawny skit'ritch told the younger skit'ritch as they waited behind a low wall for the coach to round the bend.
" Watch me an kirvcky, some day you boys'll hav to do it. " The 2 younger skit'ritch looked fearfully over at the man he had just spoken about.
He was Skit'ritch like the rest of them but he had hard cold eyes. The type of eyes that had never shown kindness or or warmth in their life. The Type of eyes that had never shown life at all. Chirvin didn't like this man at all and really hated the day his father had decided to drop simple pick pocketing for more vicious muggings. Before no one really got hurt. Now they got hurt most of the time. Kirvcky seemed to have no problems hurting people. Chirvin wouldn't say Kirvcky like hurting people, but he certainly didn't hesitate to do so. His father had told him if he wanted to grow up and have real respect he and his brother would have to grow up to be like kirvcky. Frankly Chirtvin didn't want he or his little brother to be anything like this cold eyed fiend. He had said so once.
On that occassion, when his father had been admiring some jewlery they had taken off a Valperet woman in an ally, Chirtvin had said how much he didn't like how mean things had gotten. He remembered the scene of the robbery vividly, he was asked to stand look out while the adults had done "buisness". Kirvcky had the woman pressed to the ground, his cold eyes unmoved by the woman whimpers and pleas. Chirvin had watched his father rummaging through her clothing and taking everything of value. He had been cheerfully whistling. What scared chirvin was he seemed to get more cheerful the more frightened the Valperet got. Even though she was pinned to the ground his father had playfully prodded the woman with his knife. Chirvin honestly couldn't tell which had been more frightening. The Cold eye indifference of Kirvcky or the cocky cheerfulness of his own father in the face of someone else's fear. It was never like this before they teamed up with Kirvcky. Chirvin had commented on how scary it was and begged his father to go back to picking pockets, no one got hurt and the worse that happened is a chase. The out running some rich person trying to reclaim their pocket book was fun, it was like a game. It wasn't fun anymore. He asked for the old days back. He had gotten a backhand for it.
" It Approaches" Kirvky says emotionless.
Taking this as a signal Chirvin's father hoped the wall nimbly then hunched his back and hobbled along the road as if he was an old man traveling this deserted forest highway. He hobbled and limped looking as utterly helpless as he could. He walked near the middle of the road and as the clockwork coach made the turn the driver had to slow in order not run over the Skit'ritch in the road. Acting as if this sudden appearance had startled him, Chirvin's father turned around dramaticly and lost his balance falling to the ground. He let out a cry of pain that Chirvin knew to be fake, but it seemed to fool most people. Chirvin was good at feeling what people were feeling so his father could never really fool him. He had often tried too.
The Driver, a thickly built Hesken woman slowed to a stop and hopped down from the driver's seat.
" Ho there, are you alright?" She said and walked up to where his father lay in mock pain. When she stooped to help him up, chirvin saw his father's hand dart and drive a long thin dagger into her shoulder. The woman twitched and spasmmed and fell over. Hesken were big and strong and this thin blade would have done nothing but annoy her if it hadn't been coated with poison. While this had been happening Kirvcky had swiftly entered the carriage and pulled out occupant. The occupant was a skinny Skit'ritch clutching a box. Kirvcky had him swiftly pressed against the side of the coach and a knife to his throat. Chirvin really hoped he didn't have to see his first murder tonight. His little brother was silent, as silent as the dead eyed kirvcky, but with how hard he was gripping his big brother's hand he was just as scared.
Their father sauntered up whistling and began to search the coach, then when he found nothing searched the passenger pressed up against the coach. he took his wallet, his watch and even his buttons. Chirvin guessed the buttons were just to humiliate the man and had no value. There was a small discussion then Kirvcky struck the passenger on the head, picked up the box and they fled back toward the boys. Soon they reached them then they were all running back toward the hide out they had picked for the night. Once inside they sat and looked at their haul.
"Not much aside from the box." Chirvin's father commented. There was a wallet, a watch and a wedding ring. " Still that was what we was after. "
Chirvin's father paused a moment, " Still thinking you should of let me finish of the driver and see what she had."
"Wasn't necessary. We have what the client wanted. A murder would have brought too much attention." Kirvcky said tonelessly.
" Still some extra would be nice, besides it be a bit oh fun. We could go back and finish her..."
" No." Kirvcky said again tonelessly. This Little exchange made Chirvin realize something that crushed his soul. His father hadn't been turned mean by Kirvcky. He was just this way. A little bit of power and he had become vicious without hesitation, with glee in fact.
" oh come on, we can't leave..."
" if you question me again i will kill you." Kirvcky said in the same toneless voice. He didn't look up from his examination of the ornate box.
" Ok, ok, no need for that" Chirvin's father said trying to defuse the situation. Everyone knew that it was no idle threat. " Lets just pop her open and have a look at what we been paid to get."
" Box looks valuable. We Should sell that too." Chirvin's little brother observed. He was a smart one.
" The box stays behind." Kirvcky declared.
" Too distinctive and traceable?" then a pause. " There is a trace spell on it isn't there?" His brother asked.
" Yes." came the deadpan response.
Chirvin watched Kirvcky set the box down and began examining the lock. It was complicated and had no key hole, but several small openings through which latches and gears were visible.
"Chirvin get behind and watch what he does, this could be useful for your future." Chirvin did so and watched but tried to stay away from Kirvcky's reach should he decide to lash out for some reason. He watched Kirvcky pull out some lockpicks and prepare to prod and explore. Then something happened.
Before Kirvcky touched tool to box, the lid popped open. It roze slightly then split in half oppening horizontally instead then snapping vertically making what looked like a little shrine, the locking mechanism falling forward on hinges to lay against the table. Inside was a beatifully molded bronze statue with inlaid blue stone and seashell. It was very well made but non of the materials looked very valuable. It depicted a species that Chirvin had never seen before, a fuzzy ringtailed thing that was leaping into the air as if dancing or jumping for joy. The based of the statue was the long Ringed tail, its arms and legs were in positions of exuberance. But that wasn't why it was so arresting. Chirvin stared at it intently.
Chirtvin jumped a little when Kirvcky let the lockpicks fall from his fingers as he seemed suddenly wracked by something. After a moment he realized what. The Statue had not moved or glowed or done anything outworldly amazing but, it was doing something. Chirvin could only describe it as singing without word or sound. Chirvin felt its presence sweep through him, but more over he felt it sweepinging over Kirvcky. He saw Kirvky's shoulders tremble. Fearing something was going to happen Chirvin moved from behind Kirvky and put his back against the wall so he stared at the statue and the cold hearted thief from the side.
Or Normally cold hearted. The thing that was most amazing was Kirvcky's face. The normally cold dead expressionless eyes were filled with more emotions then chirtvin could identify. His lips were drawn back showing the definitive buck teeth all skit'ritch had in what would have been described as a grimace but those lips were quivering, the jaw trembling and the formally cold dead eyes were streaming with tears. The statue remained motionless as ever but it seemed like it was talking, or more accurately singing to the man in front of it. Chirtvin thought about a time he had wondered into an opera house and had watched some of the patrons grow misty eyed as someone up on stage sang to the crowd. Those looks were like they were being sung to personally even though it was for the whole crowd. This was the same but the opposite. The singing was for Kirvcky alone but it was so much more moving than any of the stage singers could have dreamed for. The formally silent theif was now staring the statue in the face and slowly disolving into sobs.
Kirvcky's hands shot forward and grabed the statue. Chirvin's startled father jumped back thinking he was going to hurl it but instead, Kirvcky gripped the statue to his chest and then slid to the floor weeping and hugging the statue as if it where an old friend or beloved child. He was trying to speak, his words were cut off by sobs that sound like they came from the deepest grief anyone could bare to feel. It wasn't only grief it was... gratitude. It suddenly dawned on him. This was like someone sincerely apologizing and being forgive by someone who really loved them. It was somehow gratifying but uncomfortable to watch. It felt intensely private.
Chirvin's Father was scooting along the wall toward the door looking more frightened that he ever had in his life, he was brought to a halt when Kirvcky finally spoke.
" How, dare you try do them what was done to me!" Kirvcky sobbed out, he wasn't looking at any one of them but everyone seemed to know who he was talking to. Chirvin's father's trousers began to wetten in fear.
" Do you think i was born this way?" Kirvcky shouted hoarsely " No i had every bit of good ripped from me by someone like you Tirtvit." The use of Chirvin's father's name then he never told anyone elicited a distressed squeak. He always went by Grinning vim.
" you told your boys to be like me, well do you have any idea what was done to make me like that? Even if you did, you would do it to them, take all that from them, and turn them into an empty shell, a nothing like me. I KNOW you would, and you would enjoy it."
Chirvin had no idea what Kirvcky was talking about but for some reason he didn't doubt it was true. Grinning Vim who was the farthest thing from grinning started inching toward the door out of the room with palpable desperation. While all this was happening chirvin's little brother had come off the chair he had been sitting on and approached the sobbing man. Without fear or even much of any expression on his face he reached out his hand and rested it lightly on Kirvcky's head. The weeping man moved suddenly, Chirtvin reached forward to save his brother but then stopped when he saw that kirvcky was hugging him with one arm and crying on his brother's shoulder. His Brother was softly singing, with perfect skill. It was a lullaby that Chirvin had never heard before, it was in skit'ritch and not in the trade language. Chirvin and his brother weren't raised with the tongue of their people. He was pretty sure his father couldn't speak it, they had always used the language that the world adopted from humanity when they came so long ago. The singing was interrupted by a brief conversation in skit'ritch, Kirvcky sobbing and Chirvin's brother answering in a gentle forgiving tone.
Chirtvin jumped when the door oppened noisily and and his father ran from the small cabin into the night. He realized he would be ok if it was the last he ever saw of him. He turned back to the exchange.
" We...we... We have to go back and follow the road, this needs to get to the house at the end." Kirvcky said the sobs subsiding. He was regaining composure but still shaking. As soon as they were standing they made their way from the room. Chirvin's thief instincts kicked in enough that he pocketed everything his father had taken from the coach before he followed his brother and the other theif. A thought passed through his mind, an odd thought. Kirvcky was family now, more family than the father that has run from the door. He had no idea why he would think that but he knew it was true.
They made their way swiftly through the forest, back toward the road,they had come from, the coach wasn't there so they walked swiftly up it, Kirvcky leading the way and the boys following after. They both felt like they had to see this thought what ever it was about. They were somewhat behind so Chirtvin felt he could start to ask questions of his brother.
" What did you say and where did you learn the old tongue" Chirvin asked.
" I never learned the old tongue and it wasn't me speaking." His brother answered matter of factly.
" What? Don't be stupid i heard you." Chirvin asked.
" That was his mother speaking, she was using my voice." his brother answered as if it was obvious.
" What are you...?"
" We have known magic exists since the day we were born, do you think anything like what just happened back there is anything but magic and we know magic is so weird that not even the mages guild have a full understanding of it. Weird stuff happens when magic is involved so his mother forgave him for things he was forced to do to her as a child using my body. It is that simple." His brother more articulately then a 9 year old should have been able to. His brother had always been smart but there was something else going on for him to have gotten all of that information. Something like magic.
" So... what did she forgive him for?" Chirvin asked.
" The things he was forced to do to become like he was, cold, dead inside, ruthless."
" Which were?" chirvin asked.
His brother stopped dead and stared at chirvin as if he was 50 years older instead of 3 years younger than him.
" His father held his sisters hostage and commanded that he flay his mother alive or he would torture him and his sisters to death. His mother begged him to do it and that it was to save them she told him it was alright and he did it." His brother's face hardened.
" He killed his sisters anyway because he cried while doing it, even though that wasn't part of the deal. He was made to watch. That is why he was as cold as he was, he was dead inside."
Chirvin sat and starred for a moment. He had no idea what to say to that.
" We are falling behind, we have to catch up, he still needs our help. He wants to make up for the things he did and was done to him but he needs our help to do it." Then Chirtvin's brother walked swiftly after kirvcky. Chirvin followed, shocked at by what he had heard but strangely he was not horrified that Kirvcky had done it but that it was forced upon him. He decide he wanted to help him redeem himself in how ever a way he could.
They walked until they were just outside of some big forest estate. They were about to ring at the bell when they all heard a voice from the dark.
" Well well, what is all this, the boss sent us here in case you failed, but ya got the statue what you doing here? you should be takin it to the boss." A slender vulpin man slinked from the shadows. He was either Valperet or sioncat and he was tossing a knife playfully.
" We are taking it inside, the boss can have it after if he wants." Kirvcky says barly looking at the tough with the kinfe.
" Or i'll be killing ya and takin it to the boss myself. Good bonus for dispacting the disloyal."
" No you won't" Chirvin said. Why the hell did he say that? Actually why was he sure it was true.
" I'll be startin with you brat" the vulpine said tossing his knife and preparing to start forward.
As if it was the most natural thing in the world, Chirvin strode forward and blurred in an oily slick of shadow. He sped forward while everything seemed to stop. He slid forward easily and simply pressed his finger to the vulpine's right thigh. He then reached his hand out and let the world catch up. When it did he close his hand and caught the knife that the now toppling tough had tossed moments ago. Then on instinct he flung the knife at a point in the dark and there was a cry of pain and the sound of someone toppling to the ground.
" How did you do that" the vulpine asked from where he lay numbed and barley able to move.
" How did I do that?" Chirvin asked no one in particular.
" Magic" his brother said non-nonchalantly.
Kirvcky was already ringing the belly to summon a gate attendant. The gate attended came looking worried.
" Any news on OH!!" he start then cries out when he sees Kirvcky and the small statue he is holding.
" We should hurry." Kirvcky says as the gate is opened and he marches toward the house. No one tries to stop him, it seems the statue had started doing something again, and by they looks on everyone's face they all felt it. They proceeded up a walk way and toward a rich front door that opened, a well dressed Valperet lady opened the door and began to speak.
" Was that about the...." She cut off when she laid eyes on the skit'ritch holding the statue out in front of him.
" Show me where." he says with a strange gentleness
She moved out of the door way and then nervously showed them up a flight of stairs to a room. The room was black and barly lit. on it Chirvin could make out a small figure laying on top of the covers, even in the dark it was obvious she was sick, her fur was gone showing rashed and blistered skin. There also was a feeling of corrosive foulness emanating from her.
" What is the meaning of..." a forceful male voice comes from the darkness, it is from a man in a chair facing the bed, most likely the girls father. He stops when he sees the 3 skit'ritch one of which is holding the cheerful bronze statue. No one bothers to answer him.
Kirvcky and Chirvin's brother begin to make sounds. They seem to be chanting or singing in some language no one can identify. After a few minutes of this the statue of the cheerful creature begins to shine. Not glow with a halo of energy but almost as if its bronze surface is reflecting sunlight of a summer's day. The light seems to fill the room, and the dark walls look almsot transparent, as if they themselves were shadows. Through them it looks as if blue and green hills of thick clouds drift. The sky is pink and full of shifting purple mists. Everyone but Kirvcky and chirtvin's brother gape and stare in wonder.
The chanting of the 2 male skit'ritch seemes to be joined by distant voices, the voices sound sad and compassionate. After a moment a young human woman in a servant's dress pushes passed the people gathered at the door watching. Any complaints or admonisments are left unsaid when it is clear from her rolled back eyes and open singing mouth that she is somehow adding to what is happening. She walks in and stands behind Kirvcky and half embraces him, putting her arms under his and crossing them at his heart. Kirvcky lets go of the statue but instead of falling to the ground it hangs in place.
Chirvin can feel the statue putting out pulses like bells ringing far off, and he can feel what sounds like 100 voices singing with the wind. Wit each passjing second the sense of corruption and corrosion deminishes until it is a small kernel in the sick girl's heart. But it feels like it is stuck there lodged and unmoving. Some how Chirvin knows it won't move until it has somewhere else to go. He had no idea where that would be.
As is to answer this he feels a slight negative pressure and the corrosive sensation streaks through the air and strikes true. Kirvcky's boddy jerks and he slumps lifeless into the arms of the human servent behind him. Just like that the room goes dark and returns to its normal state. All is silent for a moment and everyone looks around startled by the abrupt ending of the spectacle. The statue falls to the floor with a thump causing everyone to jump. The one person who does not seem normal is the servant.
Her eyes are rolled back in her head and she is cradling the lifeless form of kirvcky. She begins stroking his head and starts another song, clear and sweet but wordless. The servant is a slim girl without much muscle to her but she effortlessly picks up the skit'ritches body cradling him like and oversized child. She turns and walks from the room still letting out her high sweet song.
Then it his Chirvin. He's dead. Kirvcky's dead. This man who was a heartless stranger mere hours ago and who he had witness open up and suddenly become like family, was now gone. Chirvin and his brother begin to cry silently. They had lost family tonight and they didn't mean their useless conman of a father.
The Spell broken everyone else began milling about not sure what to do, some went to check on the girl in the bed who was beginning to stir, some followed the singing servent girl as she walked toward the front door. One person suggesting calling the mages guild. Someone else suggested calling the police to arrest these ruffians pointing at chirvin and his brother. Someone else smacked him on the back of the head.
" He's still there." the little Valperet girl said suddenly sitting up and pointing to the foot of her bed.
This startled everyone and they looked around.
" Who's there sweety?" Her father asked in a gentle but nervous tone.
" The one who took the curse then died, he is still there. look."
" Honey he can't be, he's..." the Valperet man cut of after looking at the foot of the bed.
It wasn't visible if you weren't looking for it. but there was a shimering haze, like heat raising off the road on a hot day. As soon as you looked at it, it resolved itself into a transparent but disctincly clear image of a serene faced skit'ritch man with what appeared to be gentle clouds flowing through him. Upon seeing this Chirvin and his brother stopped weeping silently.
" None of you leaves, i am going to have explanations" Said a gruff middle aged Valperet
" What explanations can you need minister Carfenoux." Chirvin's brother
Startled at the valperet asked " What is your name and how do you know mine?"
Chirvin's brother explained, " I know your name because magic. As for my own name, it's Chirvin."
Chirvin jumped, why was his brother using his name. Before he could ask he felt the statue tolling like a bell again. Why is it that no one used his brother's name. Why didn't chirvin use his brother's name? He saw back through the years. He and his father, picking pockets, learning to con people, then moving on to violent mugging. Just him and his father. No brother. He had never had a brother. His Mother had died in childbirth. Birthing him. Then who was his brother.
Who was he?
" We were always the same, but different. The world sees as one person. We may speak and think differently. But we were always one."
" How" Chirvin asked his brother. Asked himself.
He answered himself.
" Magic is weird."