Traced Impressions

By: Mana & Andrew Glubrecht


Chapter 1


Smoke was thick in the dark room. The evening sun sparkled through the corner of a small window hidden behind the thick wooden frame holding the building up. His chair creaked as he leaned forward. Hunched over he itched his chin, only to have the scratchy sound of his whiskers give off one of the only sounds in the empty room. There was only one other man in the building with him.

A hefty man stood behind the counter- in a rather stereotypical fashion- or so he thought. A human, wearing a white, heavily stained, apron, beige slacks, and a matching tunic held together with a belt that almost disappeared underneath his belly. Balding, with squinted eyes, he seemed to pay no attention to him since he had sauntered into the pub. He had chosen the far corner table, and the man had made no attempt to come over to him.

“Hey…” He felt his coarse voice rumble from his throat. “What does a guy have to do to get some service around here?” He smoothed over an eyebrow as he looked up at the burly man.

“I ain’t a waiter.” The man spoke softly, continuing to clean the glass he had probably been cleaning for four hours already without looking up.

“Tch,” He grunted, “Fine.” He knocked his chair back with a strong force as he stood up, creating an obnoxious noise as he walked over to the bar.

“I’ll have your best draft, but I don’t want half of it to be head, so be careful when you pour it.” He leaned over the counter to look the balding man right in the eye. His silver eyes met up with coarse green eyes, the look of an ex-military man, no doubt. He was probably trying to hide his memories away with the stench of rotting meat and an abundance of alcohol; pitiful existence, really.

“Look, long ears, don’t you think you’ve extended your stay long enough. You know you’re no longer welcome in this town. You best be moving on before you are forcedly removed.” Reluctantly the man began to pour the draft in the tall glass mug he had been cleaning, taking care to angle it correctly.

“I can take a hint,” He found himself shrugging. “And quite frankly, I don’t give a damn. And not that it’s any of your business, I’m leaving today anyways.” A hollow thud made his ears twitch as the mug was pushed in front of him. Pulling a leather satchel from his pocket he threw it across the counter. Sliding his fingers around the handle, he took a giant swig of the draft, only to take air once before the whole thing was downed. Grunting with relief he through the mug back at the man; who had only slightly been caught off guard before catching it with his large hands.

Slamming his hand down on the counter he began to walk over to the table he had sat at, where a large hilt had been strung over a chair. “If that’s your best draft, it’s no wonder I’m the only one in here, I think you need to take up another business. Maybe you’d be better off herding chickens or something.” The man only snorted at his remark.

“Don’t let the door bite you on the way out. Long Ears.” He only rolled his eyes as he felt the buzz of the draft course through his veins.

“What ever old man,” He adjusted the sword over his shoulder. He was too lazy to latch it back onto his belt until his got into the evening air. Brushing his deep brown hair out of his eyes he scanned the skies. Light clouds hovered over, but other then that it was a clear night. He hated traveling at night, but he would use it to cover his tracks.

Nearing the edge of town, he had not seen a single soul as he walked down the dirt village path. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted what looked like someone peaking out of the window, but he cared little about the people. Another town passed, in a long chain of what felt like an eternity of travel. He was weary, but would never let on. He had a reason for why he had been traveling for so long, but he was the single person who knew his mission. He preferred it that way; he had little trust for anyone.

His stomach loosed an angry call, rubbing his stomach, he hadn’t purchased any supplies, and he had used the last of his money for the drink. It had calmed his nerves at least, even if it made him a little sleepier then he would like to be. But he didn’t need food, he was a capable hunter, and far from helpless out in the jungles, searching for the one thing that he needed to end the perilous trek he had been forced into.

Sighing some he looked back at the town. They had begun to light the torches for the evening, and life seemed to come back to the town the moment he left the limits. Typical, it seemed wherever he went he sucked the life out of everything. Latching his sword back onto his belt and adjusting his armor he prepared for a long night ahead of him.


The jingling of the metal bands clanking against one another as her boots crunched against the gravel, deep roan eyes were brimming with a unbridled brilliance that seemed to be smiling more than her lips were. It wasn’t often she had been so successful in her studies, but tonight proved a good night. If she had been a girl prone to drinking, she just might have given the closest bar a full round of mead and ale.

Lantern lights flickered in the distance, guiding her home like a cloister of fireflies as the straw blond hair cascaded out behind her in a curtain. She had been away from the small home town for a couple months; desperately searching and weeding through many rumours of stories until finally she managed to get her fingers wrapped around the schematic.

How rare was it to hold a schematic of any kind, was damn near unheard of and yet she managed. But to have in her hot little hands a pattern for a weapon of fabled portions was easily worth two Casbael temples, at least in her mind.

Long tapered ears weren’t perked very high stating clearly she hadn’t been listening to the world around her. She didn’t feel the need to be weary of her surroundings. The road was very well traveled by troupes, merchants and villagers alike; there was little fear to be had of bandits or ill minded beings. Demoils hadn’t even crossed her mind, which was saying something.

Soon the supplies from the city would arrive home only making her feel over ripened with excitement. To have her hands coiled tightly around the old worn blacksmiths hammer, plunging her strength down against the hot metal, shaping it into the miraculous glory of the double edge sword. Surely even her master would have to bow to her now. Skidding along the rocks, eyes turned wide precisely at the wrong moment.

Falling backwards to slide along the gravel road, her hand open to release the schematic into the evening breeze making a clutched cry stem up from her throat. “Not the formula!” her voice came out very soft almost melodious like a song bird, as her eyes came up to the dark figure looming over her. The deep heated blush spread over her cheeks as she couldn’t believe that her luck was running out.

“Excuse me lord,” she pushed herself to her feet to dart around him, jumping up attempting to pluck the aged paper from the breeze. “Oh don’t be like that, come back here you devil parchment!” she spoke to the paper as if was a living being. After everything she couldn’t loose it now. All the blood sweat and tears, she would rather give up her two hands first.


Grunting some he turned as he watched the young girl curse and hop around trying very with very feeble attempts at recovering a parchment of apparent importance. Slightly intrigued about what could possibly be so important upon a piece of paper, he decided he would be better off not sticking around. Pulling out of hiding what had been the wallet the young girl had been carrying it held within it a modest amount of cash. On most occasions he hated stealing, but he was very low on funds and she had made it far too easy to take, she was so klutzy and careless that she had pretty much handed it to him as she passed by.

Slipping the wallet into a side notch of his pants, he didn’t want the wallet to stand out by putting it in his pocket. She was so pre-occupied he only stepped up his pace enough to get out of sight from her. This had made his day one hundred percent better from earlier events. He only hoped that if she was headed for the town he had just left that it wouldn’t lead her to conclude that he had stolen the wallet. It was a risk worth taking though. He could already taste the fresh loaf of bread and thick stew he was going to purchase on the next town over.

Headed north he knew the next town fairly well. He had traveled it several years earlier, and provided they knew nothing of him and his reputation, there was a fantastic restaurant that he was legitimately excited for. Chuckling at his new fortune he found himself grinning ear to ear. He figured he would be able to reach the town by day break, so long as he stopped only briefly in the night to rest. He was already weary, but there was no doubt he could make the journey in one night.

He could see large bats starting to flutter about as the night noises began to fill the evening sky. The sun was low on the horizon painting the sky a deep orange and blue. The shadows of the trees wrapped around the well worn path enshrouded him in long shadows. His ears flicked as a not so natural noise could be heard up a head. He groaned slightly as he could hear laughter from out of sight. He forgot how busy this road was, being so close between two trade towns. Sighing he decided to step off the path out of view of the passer-bys.

As he crouched into the darkness he watched as the people conversed oblivious to his presence. “You really think she’s going to be dumb enough to lead us all the way to him?” The one voice laughed.

“Well we’ve been following her now for almost half a day and she hasn’t noticed. The old fool’s been in hiding for five years, and he’s going to be undone by his own apprentice.” The man that had just spoke was a very well built man, weighing at least double what he did. He was greasy, and took a big swig from a large leather pouch.

“The fool should have taken me on as an apprentice when he had a chance, but I’ll make him pay for denying me my right.” The other men grunted with agreement as they disappeared around the bend.

“Damnit…” He sighed as he rubbed his forehead. “I don’t care… I really don’t.” He stood up and stepped back up onto the path. “Nope… Fuuu—” He turned around and started to stalk the men.


Pressing her tongue tightly to her lips, her gloved fingers gently scraped along the parchment paper as she felt the anxiety of her catch growing in the pit of her belly. She paid no heed to the man pocketing her purse or actually him in general. Her mindset was a steel trap for the schematic.

Hopping up and down like an energetic jackrabbit, a grand splendor of a smile graced her features when her hand clamped tightly around the airborne paper. “Fortune be mine.” She praised beneath a panting breath as she skidded to a halt in the grassy dirt.

Opening up the paper to peer at the crumpled ink, she let out a relieved sigh. Luckily she hadn’t damaged it with her tactless manner in which she procured it back.

Folding it neatly into sections the empty belts at her side jingled with her shifting weight. Hands came down along her side to the strapped satchel on her thigh as she decided it might be for the best to pocket the papers now. Granted she knew her master wouldn’t be ecstatic to see the disorderly state of the parchment but it was better than her actually losing it.

Nimble fingers pulled back the top of the satchel as she was expecting her hand to graze the leather purse of her masters.

Roan eyes opened in fear as she tore the pack from her thigh to stare into the empty pouch. Only the paper sat inside now. The purse that had been only temporarily given to her – so she could purchase the schematic – was gone. Vanished!

“Baquhin’s great green earth, this couldn’t possibly have happened!” her voice strained with fear, “I know I had it when I left the past village. There is no possible way it grew legs and hopped out.”

A deathly grip held the porch in her hands as she flung her eyes all over the place. Searching the ground around her, in feeble hopes that she had maybe tossed it out of the satchel when she was desperately trying to get the blacksmith papers from the wind! Alas there was no sign.

Tapered ears wilted as she stared for longingly into the empty pouch. “Such a run of unexpected bad luck, first I had to run into that,” her eyes turned wide for a brief moment before she pursed her lips into a grim line. “He didn’t.” she glanced to the empty satchel, “He did!”

How could she have not noticed? How could he pick on such an un-expecting young woman? “What a scoundrel, I cannot believe that such a person would willingly steal someone’s purse. And it wasn’t even mine!” she strapped the satchel back around her thigh. “Master Roris is going to kill me. I have no saving grace left!”

She began to pace within a small circle as she attempted to think of something to tell her master. She had been warned to watch herself and in a moment of complete absent minded, that low brow ecchial had taken it. It was her fault; she should have been watching herself better but it was too late to be wishing what could have been.

Rubbing a hand along her chin, she blew her bangs out from her face. “I could confront him, but…” she looked around with a heavy sigh. “I don’t know which way he went.” She wasn’t a tracker; it wasn’t like she could look for his footprints in the roadway. She had to face it, she was doomed. “Lord Baquhin give me strength and resolve to face Master Roris.”


The drone of the men brought upon a plague of boredom. The drivel and manner in which they spoke was pure idiocy, to say the least. Still, it was far from his best interest to make himself present until the right moment. Three on one wasn’t exactly the fairest of fights. He wasn’t against ill doing; after all, he was the one who had just thieved the young girl’s purse. But quite frankly, in what they seemed to have called a ‘plan’, they hadn’t planned to talk through their problems with this so called “Master”. Rather, they had planned blood shed in the brutish nature in which they were obviously used to. Again, not something he was normally concerned about. So why did this bother him so bad?

He shook his head as he felt the sweat on the back of his neck. He could only single it down to the fact that he had already thieved her; she didn’t need her day to end up any worse. And by the sounds of it, it was going to end up much worse. Inwardly he sighed, that or a pretty face was just too hard to ignore. He cursed himself, who was the real idiot here?

Crouching in the bushes he watched as a toad lazily hopped beside him, croaking a melody of annoyance. He knew better then to touch it though; sacs of venom would spit out in all directions leaving him senseless until his eventual death; though this gave him an idea. Un-looping a leather pouch hidden behind his sword sheath he scooped up the toad, it squirmed momentarily, but it seemed to quiet down quickly.

Quickly he looked over his shoulder to make sure the men were still in sight. He could just barely see their silhouette as they disappeared into the down which he had just as much wanted to avoid. This wasn’t going to end well for him, he could taste it. That or the venom of the toad as it sprayed in the pouch. Spitting quickly it left his mouth numb.

“Blasted thing. That better not be permanent,” He mumbled. Now all he needed was to find a way to keep an eye on them without being seen by any other town’s folk. Looking at the edge of town some crates sat up against the side of a rickety old shack, with a roof which bowed inward. So long as he was weary, it hopefully could hold his weight. He wasted no time getting to the roof top as he followed the men as he went roof to roof. He would need the exact perfect timing to take them out; he could only hope that his good deed for the day, or maybe lifetime, would work out smoothly.


She nodded in resolution as she dropped a clenched fist into an open palm. Her mind had been decided. Too many times before she had witness the furious rage of her master – albeit never directly at her – she knew if she came back to the blacksmith without the purse and papers in hand, she would be looking into a pit of hell.


Shuddering against the idea of spending even one night in the pit to recollect her thoughts, gave her waking terrors.

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