Disclaimer: All characters in this story and the lands in which they journey and anything else you do not recognize is mine, mine, MINE! If you so much as take a quote from my book that isn't from another author and they have allowed you to use it too, then I sue your ass off! Then I'll sic my mini-Balrog on you for good measure. If you don't know what a Balrog is, I only have one question for you. What rock have you been hiding under?!!! Go watch Fellowship of the Ring!

Thanks to Kathy-chan for beta-ing my story.

"Here's lookin' at you, kid."




Flecks of gold sparked in the far corners of the room, reflecting the blazing fire in the fireplace. A flame of white gold gleamed over the mantle, fiery enough to attract anyone's attention. The polished hardwood walls glistened with antiquity and the wooden floors glowed with a fire of their own. A flash of opalescent fire in the farthest corner of the room caught his eye. He smirked. Lapidarians had too much self-confidence for their own good.

He slid in through the open window, landing on silent feet. Keeping all his senses extended, he padded quietly and cautiously across the unoccupied room. There was a loud noise from the bedroom. He dived for the shadows, then sighed to himself after a moment. Damn Lapidarians, they snored too loud, too.

He continued sneaking across the small den. There. On the table not an armslength from where he crouched. The Mother Opal. The largest opal in the country. Perfect. He snatched it form its gold and platinum holder, and smuggled it into his midnight-black tunic. Having gotten his prize, he scurried across the room in noiseless abandon. In his hurry to get to the window, he knocked over a finely made porcelain Roquella vase. It crashed to the floor and splashed mineral water and crimson-tide all over the hardwood flooring. Shit. He ran for all he was worth towards the window, not caring how he got there. The Lapidarian man raced out the bedchamber, half-naked and shouting obscenities. He hugged an expensive close-range crossbow to his chest and was futilely notching a bolt on with fumbling fingers. The Lapidarian wasn't fast enough, and he was out the window and in the woods by the time the Lapidarian got outside, panting and shaking his fists. Yes! Another mission accomplished.

So, whadja think? Uh-huh, uh-huh, yeah, well, if you really want me to know, tell me for real dammit! I don't read minds! Review for Valar's sake!

All flames will be used to warm me and my pet elf's frostbitten toes, fingers, and shall we say…rears? Gods, it's cold here! Brrr-rabbit!