other sonics (2/4

From: Robert Haynie <rhaynie_at_jaguar.ac.edu>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 01:41:32 GMT

     Most of the females he'd seen in his travels in the south had
been dressed either in simple tunics and dresses (if poor) or in
silks and gold (if wealthy, and rather skimpy if they had the looks
for it). This one was garbed, instead, in a black leather halter
and trunks, with tall boots of the same material and plated
gauntlets. The rabbit's ear was bent, at least one was, but her
eyes were those of a warrior, and the large two-handed sword she
had cast on her back was not any city maiden's toy. That she
could-- and did-- carry such a weapon meant she considered herself
a fighter. The thin scar across her left eye (fortunate to have
missed the eye itself) meant she was. And that no other scars were
visible meant she was a warrior of skill.
     "Captain Rabbot," blurted the innkeeper. "You should have
seen him, he--"
     "I saw, innkeeper," she interrupted. "You-- I think you'd
better come with me."
     Son-ak tightened his grip on his axe. "If there's some idiot
law against aiding innkeepers here against demon-tricks--"
     The rabbit laughed. "By Mosthe', no, swift one. But anyone
who can fight like that-- and with such an unusual technique-- will
interest my mistress immensely. Besides, there's a bounty of five
royals for each of the dark Wizard's toys wrecked. You've made a
pretty penny today, Son-ak, and I merely thought you'd like to
collect it."
     "Your mistress. And who is that? For that, who are you?"
     "I," replied the rabbit, "Am Captain Bunnie, in service to
her Highness, the Princess Salar-Alicia of House Acorn, and leader
of her Royal Guards. And I already... ah... 'heard' of you,
hedgehog. You want your fifteen royals or not?"
     Son-ak grinned. After weeks of boredom, things were looking
up. A good fight, gold to refill his almost empty purse, and he'd
met a female of both obvious bravery and courage-- and, not that he
allowed himself to notice, beauty as well. Yes, perhaps his
fortunes were changing for the better...

     To the east, a massive form shuddered. A hand clutched a
glittering stone, and a quiet snarl escaped thick lips.
     "Sniv. To me. Now."
     The shadows produced a short, black swathed figure. "My
     "Something in the west has destroyed three of my iron golems
in as many moments. And when I am about to begin my true plans,
that is an ill matter. Ill indeed...You are my master spy, Sniv
the Quiet. Go forth, go and learn what causes me such concern at
this time."
     "As you command, Master." The figure melted back into the
     And Roboth-amon, the Dark Wizard of the East, mused on the
possibility-- for the first time-- that his designs might be in

               Part the second

     The City of Mobius was, simply put, large. Larger than
anything Son-Ak had ever seen, or even dreamed of seeing. To Son-
ak, born and bred amongst the barbarian tribes of the north, a
village was large in his mind. A town was huge. A city was
something he had never even conceived of.
     And the City called Mobius was the largest in the known world.
     Simply put, the hedgehog was steeling every nerve in his body
to keep from freaking.
     An old cliche', true, but an accurate one-- the sounds, the
smells, the sights, and above all the people-- the teeming crowds
of people-- of all the different races of the world, talking,
bargaining, arguing, flirting, debating, all in one place that was
larger than the hedgehog had ever dreamed possible-- that was
larger than he COULD have dreamed, in fact-- buying, selling,
     Well, he could be forgiven. The Great Marketplace of Mobius
could stagger even the most jaded of travelers. It was a violent
sensory overload that numbed the body of all but the most obvious
of stimuli.
     So it is no surprise that the normally alert barbarian never
noticed the small, stealthy hand slip under his belt, lift his
(severely depleted) purse, and make off with it.
     The little thief slipped into an alleyway, looked about to be
certain that no-one had seen him, and then removed his tattered
cloak. Clad now in only a battered loincloth and a equally
disreputable vest, he rolled up the cloak, bent slightly over, and
began to spin what proved to twin tails, slowly at first, then
faster, until he rose in the air. He lifted himself to a rooftop,
donned the cloak again, and then began to run and leap from roof to
roof, until he found the abandoned garret he called home.
     "Tails!" cried a younger child, a small kitten. "You found
anything today?"
     Milos, the street-thief more commonly known in the gutters and
alleyways as "Tails", opened the pouch, grinning. "Oh, not much...
just a few coppers and a SILVER piece. We can feast tonight!"
     The gathered children of Tails' gang gave a ragged cheer.
Poor, abandoned, and without any other form of support, the four
cubs looked upon their leader with undisguised admiration. A
silver coin might be little to the spendthrift hedgehog, but to
five small half-starved kids it meant bread, cheese, ale (no-one
would drink the water in the City) and even some sausages or cold
     "Where did you get it?" asked another.
     "He stole it, you doof," retorted the oldest of the four, a
rather sour-looking ferret.
     "I know that," replied the rabbit-child. "But where?"
     The kitten and the youngest-- a five- year old skunk-- gazed
at their leader in awe, as he replied, "Oh, just some wandering
barbarian... huge one, with a honking great axe."
     "Wow. Weren't you scared?"
     " Maybe a little... not of him, of course. But he WAS walking
with ol' Cap'n Rabbot."
     The ferret's usual expression of sour boredom loosened a bit
at that. "You mean you filched it with Rabbot there? That's awful
dangerous, ain't it?"
     "Maybe... but she's not likely to catch me. And that
barbarian was so city-struck I could've grabbed that axe, and his
tunic, and likely his underwear and he still wouldn't have
noticed." Tails grinned, and then laughed. "Besides, even if he
had, he'd never have caught me. He's a hedgehog. And you know how
slow they are."

Received on Mon Jan 08 1996 - 23:43:20 PST

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