The White Raven Chronicles
There is a dark side of the world.
Shrouded in blood and darkness, where things of the night come out to play.
A hellscape of misery, where only the strongest of souls stand a chance in.
A constant battlefield, where the memory of warm, sticky blood on your hands wake you up every night.
The clanging of glass armor, and the roar of a dragon.
The ocean struck the shore roughly, slamming against the rocky cliffs. The small town behind the ledge was bustling with some sort of cheerful commotion. There were tall banners flowing in the sea breeze, and sea gulls landed on the cobblestone paths, pursuing the vendors as they rushed to set up shop in the more populated town center.
"The Emperor!" said someone, their voice high and squeaky. "The Emperor lives!"
A few older men sat by the vendors, trading a few pelts and chatting gruffly to one another. "The great thief saved him," said one, dragging his pipe out of his mouth.
"The White Raven?" said one younger man, interested. He had red hair that swayed gently in the breeze.
"That's right," said the same man as before. "Some rebels had taken a sword to our Highness's throat, and the Raven swept in like he usually does, but this time, instead of stealin' and sellin' the Emperor's crown for a million gold, he saved the old man's rear!"
"Maybe he's a changed man," said another elder, and all of them agreed solemnly.
"Whose the White Raven?"
The men turned to see a young girl, dressed in a torn up rag, staring longingly at the vendors. She glanced at them, and the men noticed her brilliant ocean-green eyes. She blinked.
"Ah, you don't know of him?' said Gredar, who had mentioned the thief in the first place. The young girl shook her head. "What's your name, orphan?" he asked politely, shifting the dagger at his side.
"I'm Shiigurrin." she said squeakily.
"Sounds foreign," said the man with the red hair.
"Shush, Anwil." snapped Gredar. "Don't mind him," he said to Shii, "Anwil's an elf. He didn't take after his race and become an elegant rich boy, so he's got a deep seated grudge against young people."
"Just because you're not a pretty boy?" said Shii to Anwil.
"No," he snapped. "Because young people have all the opportunity these days."
Shii averted her eyes. Her long white hair hung down her back. "You're not that old, you know." she said, hoping to boost his self confidence. "You look like you're only twenty."
"Thanks sweetheart, but you don't look too young yourself," he said suddenly, and Gredar and Shii glanced at him.
"She said something nice to you, you know," said Gredar.
"I was assuming she was gonna tell me I look like some witch," said Anwil, embarrassed. He ran a hand through his hair and smiled boyishly at Shii. "Alright, sorry, sweetheart. Thanks for your kind words."
Shii nodded. "So, what about the White Raven?"
"The White Raven's a famous thief here in Jayorid." said Gredar while Anwil fastened his buttons on his tunic. "He stole Lady Nix's prize jewel collection last moon, and sold it for more than 6 thousand gold."
"And that was more than it was worth," said Anwil. "He's very good at getting profit." After glancing about, he whispered to Shii, " I wouldn't mind joining him in a stealing spree, but I can't damage what little reputation I have. He gives his helpers a pretty good share of the loot, I heard."
Shii's eyes brightened. 'Does he accept young kids?" she said, her eyes wide.
Anwil shrugged. "Maybe."
"You better not be thinking about it, Shii," said Gredar sternly. "Thieving's a deadly business. The White Raven's just lucky to be alive, that's all. I know you're a poor orphan, but-"
"Why don't you go join the Orphanage in the capital? In Ein?" asked Anwil. "I could take you there, if you'd like." He patted the sword on his hip. "I used to be a bodyguard for the headmistress there before I moved here. I could get a good word in for you."
Shii shrugged. "I don't know."
"You should go," said Gredar. "You'd be better off there. Many orphans dream of being there, it's the best orphanage in the three kingdoms." he glanced at her, shifting his position on the wooden bench so he could face her better.
Shii sighed. She stared longingly once again at the vendors.
Anwil smiled. "Give me your hand," he said, and she stretched in out toward him. After rummaging in his pocket, he folded something in her hand. "Go to town," he said, leaning back.
She opened her hand to see a small coin purse, made of mermaid scale hide, a very common substance used from shed merepeople. Shii opened the purse hesitantly. Gold caught the sunlight just as she opened it, and then she snapped it close again and tried to shove it back to Anwil.
"No, it's yours," he said, "For saying I look nice."
"Narcissist," muttered Gerdar. He tugged his dagger out of its sheath and started skinning a rabbit in his bag. "Go ahead," he said to Shii. "It's not like Anwil to do that. You might as well go get some things."
"Under one condition," said Anwil suddenly as Shii held the purse to her chest.
"Oh brother," said Gerdar.
"You promise to come to the orphanage with me."
"That wasn't as bad as I was expecting," said Gerdar cheerfully.
Shii nodded. Slowly looking around, she glanced around for a suitable vendor stand. Seeing one she liked, she walked over to it. Gredar and Anwil watched her from afar as she pointed at something and placed her gold pieces on the stand's wooden table. The woman at it asked if she was sure, and Shii nodded vigorously.
"Oh boy," said Gredar. "Look what she got."
Shii emerged holding a dagger with a sharpened blade and ornate, hand made handle. "We can go now," she said to Anwil. Anwil nodded to Gredar, who stared at the child with weary eyes.