Last evening in Bral
The stars drifted by lazily, turning in their eternal circles as the Rock tumbled through Wildspace. A splendid group of well dressed rakes and ladies stood at the Trailing Edge, admiring the view. Before them the powerful springs and weights of the Jettison crouched ready, resembling some fantastic skeleton in the dim light. Many of the elegant ladies held pomanders to their faces against the reek of the garbage.
“Let us have done with this, Juggler!” called one slender man. “The stench of this place offends my lady’s delicate nostrils!”
One figure who stood apart from the rest now turned away from the stars to face the others. A lithe, athletic woman, her features were hidden by the black and white face paint of an entertainer. “Indeed, Raidos, let us have done with it,” she said softly. She smiled, and from her billowing sleeves five bright knives appeared. Her eyes flickered from face to face as her hands blurred in a graceful dance, lofting the knives into a juggling spectacle.
“One among you has not been an honest thief” she said quietly. The gathered rogues and knaves grew still, listening. “A most rare treasure has been withheld from us. And I will not tolerate it.”
With that, her hands flashed and each knife winked through the air in succession. The gentleman rogue named Raidos cried out and then toppled. One knife had found each arm, each leg, and the last had buried itself in his midriff, just above his belt. The Juggler nodded, and two of the rogues stepped up and dragged the dying man to the Jettison.
“Remove the knives please gentlemen.”
Silently each blade was wrenched from the rake’s body, cleaned on his quickly staining raiment, and returned to her. Raidos groaned. The Juggler returned the daggers to their hidden sheaths and delicately stepped up beside the hulking Jettison. “Dear Raidos,” she sighed, “how shall we handle this? If you tell me where you have hidden the jewels you thought to secret from me, I shall jettison you with your throat mercifully cut. If not, you shall be jettisoned in your present condition. In that event, you shall be fortunate indeed if you perish from lack of air before the scavvers have you.” she smiled sweetly, the expression exaggerated by the clown’s paint on her face. “Which shall it be?”
The dying man smiled and insulted her.
The Jugglers face grew hard, and she turned away. One of her men stepped up to the machinery and released it with a flourish. The powerful springs hurled the accumulated garbage, and the dying Raidos, from the Rock. They all applauded politely as his weakly struggling form tumbled from sight.
“How shall we find the gems now?” complained one of the ladies.
“Do not worry, lovely Atalia,” replied the Juggler. She smiled brightly. “The Rock is only so big. They will turn up.”
The Juggler and her men capered off, dancing and laughing.