Prologue

'perhaps,' Rith thought as he dodged another bolt of arcane magic thrown his way 'this was not one of my better decisions.'

The dark elf cursed as a blast of flame landed to close for comfort, causing him to veer off into another alley. Luck seemed to be on the thief's side, however, as the alley was piled with enough boxes and the frames of the building just misshapen enough that he managed to scramble to the rooftops.

His feet slid on the tile slightly, but he didn't dare slow his pace as the guardians continued their pursuit.

'luckily for me, they've yet to figure out that less is more, when it comes to chasing people.'

He leapt an alley, sliding down the opposite roof and barrel rolled into the conveniently place balcony. He swore he heard a screech as he went right thru the wooden window shutter but he only had a moment to shake off the vertigo before he dashed off again.
"Sorry about the window!" He called back, as he leapt thru another, open thankfully, and used the hanging line to get to another roof.

Another curse rent the air as he saw the lumbering forms of the heavily armored guardians moving towards his location.

"stop in the name of King Lanor!"

A large blade sung for his head, the accompanying arc of magic made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.

Did he forget to mention the mage knights?

"King Lanor can kiss my arse!"

Oops, had he said that aloud?

A chorus of angry shouts and multiple bolts of magic from many directions showed that yes, he had indeed said that aloud.

Rith tried to bolt once more, but the bolts of magick had done their job. He could see every rooftop close by held some guard or another and the alley ways were protected by levitating magi; he was effectively surrounded.

Rith couldn't prevent a growl from escaping him as they moved closer. This was beginning to be too much trouble even for seventy-six Gillings!

By all rights, he should hand over the little parcel he had snitched and been gone before they remembered to shackle him after making sure the item was correct.

He did have a reputation to uphold, however…

"Oh fuck this."

With a sudden flare of his left arm the intricate tattoos displayed their began to glow.

It didn't take the Guardians long to recognize the activation of the spell mark, it was actually a rather common thing to have. Many people had them, from everyday housewives to Guardians, it was not having the mark that mattered, but the complexity of the mark.
Rith was proud to say his wasn't anything to sniff at, having endured the long hours of having it driven into his dark flesh. It was made up of a collection of seemingly abstract structures filled with rather simple geometric patterns. The marks traveled from shoulder to elbow and over collar bone to just above his hip, not that many realized his mark was so large as it was covered for the most part. By all accounts and purposes, such a mark wouldn't be considered much of a threat, it was large but simple, wasn't it?

Knowing that anyone thought that always made him chuckle.

If anyone of them had ever paid attention to the explanations of the marks they'd know that the black lines were only part of the mark, and that every empty spot in the patterns counted as another piece of the tattoo and every fully sealed space in the tattoo was a spot magick could be stored. So, in truth, the simple geometric designs mingled with the places that had been left empty on purpose to create the image of curls in the design meant the mark was almost thrice as powerful as they suspected it to be, on the average day.

Not that Rith was ever going to let them onto this little trick, oh no.

Where would the fun be in that?

As the Magi, Knights, and Guardians went to attack to try and prevent whatever Rith was trying to do, he simply twisted his fingers in a vague motion. There was a flash of smoke, a purple glow, and then, he was gone.