Rivek groaned and tried to roll onto his side, but a muscled hand grabbed his shoulder and lifted him to his feet. Urzad steadied him against his broad shoulders as Rivek checked his body for damages: just some cuts on his hands, a split lip, and ringing ears. Nothing that Willow wouldn’t be able to fix.
Rivek drew his bow as he scanned their surroundings. The prison guard’s bomb must have been designed for indoor use to subdue escapees. It had knocked things backward instead of blowing them to pieces. The hallway walls had been stained with carbon, and the carpet smoldered where they had been standing. The source of their troubles, lay passed out on ground with a smoking cannister in his hand. Unaccustomed to Sorian’s explosive machinery, the Akhari guard must not have let it go in time.
The bomb didn’t need to cause physical damage to impede the mission. Rivek groaned when he heard a storm of footsteps above. “Great. Now, we’re operating on a timer.”
Urzad snorted and rubbed his calloused hands together.
As he readied for a fight, Kaldir put her hand on his shoulder. “Not what we need, dear.” The petite woman skimmed her hands along the walls. With every step, she made a popping sound with her lips. She turned to Rivek, revealing her milky eyes. Despite her blindness, her expressive brows moved as if she could see. “Ailinar, you know this place best. Where do we go?”
Rivek scanned the hallway. He pressed his temples to quiet the ringing in his ears before walking to a door on his left. He pulled the handle, but it remained closed. Urzad marched forward and motioned the thinner man aside, but when he tugged, it wouldn’t budge, either.
Kaldir clicked her tongue. “It’s locked, neh?” She reached into her pocket and withdrew a box the size of her palm. A six-spoked wheel was engraved in its bottom. She lifted the lid, exposing a row of silver picks. “Allow me.”
Rivek took her hand and placed it over the lock.
“Thank you.” She ran her finger around the edge of the keyhole and removed two picks from the array. From the speed of her selection, Rivek could tell that she had arranged them in a familiar order. She slid the first inside until it clicked. Next, she pressed her lips to the door and gave a soft pop. Finally, the other pick went in, earning another click. With a small smile, she put her mouth to the wall again. Pop, click, pop, click.
“What are you doing?”
“When I went blind, my senses compensated in other ways. And now, I can see things most people cannot. Including the insides of certain locking mechanisms. Try again,” she said, nodding towards the handle. Rivek grabbed it, and it swung open. “After you, boys.”
Rivek smirked, even though he knew she couldn’t see it. “You have to teach me that.”
“Exa to adireo men
.” Can You Hear Me?
- 082/100 Themes.
Urzad and Kaldir are dark-mage, Akhari cousins who are both in the Samzin (Robber’s) guild. Note that, like most Alisians, they have a mixed ethnic lineage, resulting in Urzad having lighter skin and blond hair.
Quiet but prone to anger, Urzad, known as “The Bear” in the ring, makes his money as a boxer, using his magically-enhanced musculature. Kaldir went blind at an early age, but kept a bright, confident disposition. She developed echolocation as a teenager to compensate for her sight loss and can emit a sonic scream when stressed. Her skill at thievery has put her in line for the title of Samzin chief, which would make her the first guild leader who bakes cookies on a regular basis.More Art/Writing Featuring These Characters:
Urzad Samzin, Rivek Ailinar, and Kaldir Samzin belong to Grace Fong,