When you made a mission of protecting the entirety of your homeland, you tended to draw some funny looks. On the one hand, there were those that thought you a naive fool fighting against inevitability and man's own nature, and on the other, you just had people that thought the task was entirely insurmountable. The latter were right, to an extent - Kharia's mission couldn't be accomplished alone, but if she had help? That was the ticket to success. She needed a network; eyes and ears everywhere that would let her know what was going on in the world at it's highest and lowest echelons - a web around the world that kept it all connected, kept it all safe. Noria was Kharia's first stop, her experiment and her first step toward this goal. She had heard rumors of a thief there who's said to be the best in the city, and the wanted posters would agree.
The Market was pretty quiet today, some people didn't come on weekends, some didn't like to leave their homes in the morning, and some just didn't want to come here because of the chases. Kharia sat nearby the market, on a padded crate at the corner, relaxing with a book and an apple, occasionally glancing up as the guards made their rounds. She was hoping he would come back here, but a part of her wondered if she hadn't miscalculated how confident he was in his abilities. Apparently, this thief came here every day for something to eat, be it morning, noon, or night, and no matter how many guards they post, he's never been caught. He's been spotted, sure, but he gets away almost without effort, it makes you wonder if the guards even care sometimes. Not that she was complaining, it just made her more confident in her first pick after all...
Vale sat on a rooftop overlooking the market. He let out a yawn and stretched slightly as the sun began to peek over the buildings. He looked down beside him to discover he wasn't alone. "What's new, Mr. rat?" he said asked the creature as it looked up towards him, whiskers twitching slightly.
"Yeah, that makes sense. This is the best time for that." he carried on in conversation. He pulled a small piece of cheese from his pocket and held it out towards the rat who tentatively stood up on two legs and took it from the thief. "No, I don't have anymore!" he said a moment later, face turning into a frown.
"No one likes a greedy rat.." he added shooting another glare towards the chittering creature beside him who seemed perfectly content with the cheese he had been given.
Vale's stomach growled. Maybe it hadn't been the best idea to give away his last bit of food to the rat, but he looked so hungry, Vale couldn't help it. With a sigh, he pushed himself off the four-story rooftop and disappeared in a flash of smoke.
He reappeared on another rooftop, muscles burning away their sleep-induced tightness as he leaped from one building to the next.
The whole problem with running across rooftops is that, no matter how quiet or quick you try to be, how stealthy you are, tends to rely on the workmanship of said roofs. Sometimes workers cut corners, finished quicker than they should have, didn't apply enough concrete or adhesive, etc. Regardless, if the things you used to get around were poorly made, they would be just as loud as an amateur could be - as such, Kharia had parked herself directly beneath the shoddiest rooftop of the buildings surrounding that market. Most of the others were well made enough that he'd have no trouble getting around, but she was in a position to see the sides of the roofs facing the square.
It was far from the most ideal position, but it was the best she had - she'd never hunted a thief before. The seconds ticked by, people came and went, and slowly but surely, Kharia was starting to think that maybe the most interesting thing she would experience today was her book. A distant pitter-patter rhythm started to draw her attention though, a gentle thing in the distance that sounded like the start of a small spell of rain. Kharia looked up, squinting her eyes and looking toward the roofs, trying to spot the odd one out. All she saw were guards with crossbows, no thief, but for all she knew, he could be here right now.
She placed her book aside and rose from her crate, walking over to the stalls and starting to look through the different fruits and veg on sale, sparing the occasional glance toward the butcher's stall. If this thief was gonna take his time, she might as well grab something to eat. She turned to a guy next to her. "Excuse me, do you know what's good here?" She asked politely.
He weaved in an out of roofs, teleporting small distances here and there until he finally arrived at his destination. There was one thing that kept him here in Noria, well a couple of things, but the biggest thing was the cities endless supply of apples. He had tried apples from other places, but there was just something about them here.
He walked to through the streets that were still somewhat empty, though it wouldn't be long before they were bustling. He walked up to a stall. "Hi there, how much for a bag of apples?" he asked the man. The man, who didn't recognize the thief, smiled warmly. "10 coins for the bag." the merchant responded.
"A little pricey, eh?" Vale said with a raised eyebrow. "But worth it, I assure you!" the apple vendor responded. Vale let out a defeated sigh. "Fine," he said he reached into his coin pouch and pulled out a handful of sand. Using his magic, the apple vendor would see ten fresh coins. He poured the sand into the man's hands. "Thank you, sir! Enjoy the apples!" the man said, staring at his handful of sand still convinced it was money.
Vale started to walk away whistling. When he was about 30 feet away, the magic finally wore off. "Hey! Stop! Thief!" the man shouted but Vale was already fading into the growing crowds.
The word thief drew Kharia to the apple stand immediately, her eyes just barely catching the sight of someone turning a corner. She scrambled off, sprinting toward the crowd and bounding into it, ducking and weaving as she tried to recapture the sight of the man with pointy ears. She knew his height, hair color, build, and clothing, so that helped, but with this many people, she was nervous that she would lose him. She didn't have much in the way of tracking experience but she knew that if she could lock eyes with him, he wouldn't be able to run from her.
It was soon enough that her eyes grabbed the sight of someone with pointy ears, and she immediately went toward them, slithering through couples and students and guards until she was barely more than a hair length away. She reached out and grabbed toward his shoulder, hoping this wasn't another of his illusions - it would be pretty embarrassing if it was. Still, either way this was promising stuff, he would make a good informant if she could convince him to work with her. "Gotcha!" She grunted, smiling hopefully.
There were several guards chasing him, which really didn't bother him too much. The guards had been chasing him for years and it was obvious they weren't too invested. They would chase for a bit, making sure it looked like they had tried to catch the thief and then go back to whatever else was distracting them.
He dipped and slid through the crowds as fluidly as a fish swam through the ocean. He could have easily jumped back up on the rooftops and made his escape that way, but he liked the feeling of weaving through the crowds.
Vale was only slightly distracted by the thought of the bag of apples swinging beside him. He almost didn't notice the woman run up behind him. He was usually pretty aware of such things, but it was an odd occurrence that someone actually kept up with him.
He looked back as she reached towards him and he instantly jumped, vanishing in a cloud of smoke before reappearing a moment ago.
He didn't stop to look back at her, if she had caught up to him she was no joke and Vale didn't make it habit of underestimating people. He took off across the rooftops, vaulting over several obstacles before teleporting across a gap to another roof top.
What should have been flesh on flesh become flesh on smoke as Kharia was enveloped in a sudden flash of thick smog where the thief was previously standing. She was quick to wave it off, coughing and spluttering as it dispersed into the noise of Noria's crowds. Kharia started to look around, her head darting from the seas to the roofs, searching for any sign of the thief and where he could have gone among the chaos. She had just barely managed to find him by pure chance, she had no intention of losing him even with his tricks. Her eyes caught a slim wisp of what looked like the same smoke he used to teleport, and she immediately made a beeline for the crates stacked against the wall.
Vaulting up the crates, Kharia leapt off the wall to a balcony to her right, and from there, to the roof. She just barely caught a look at Valerin as he leapt across the gap, teleporting mid-air. Enough was enough, she needed to speak to this one and she wouldn't be denied it when it could help so many. Letting out a steadying breath, Kharia focused and let the sparks and energy course down, pouring from her brain down into her hands. Blue electricity sparked and danced along her fingertips, and Kharia slammed a hand down on the floor, her form vanishing in a streak of blue light that zoomed across the roof in the blink of an eye. She came to a stop in front of Valerin, skidding across the tiles and slamming her foot down to come to the halt. Before he could run, she threw her arms up non-threateningly. "Parlay!!" She blurted out, hoping it would suffice...she had no idea what it meant, it just seemed to get people to stop and talk.
He moved over the treacherous rooftops with little difficulty. This was his domain, he was in control here. As seconds went by and there was no sign of the woman, he let himself slow just a bit but kept running, his heart still thumping in his chest. It was quite a rare occasion someone actually caught up to him.
With another small cloud of smoke, he cleared another clearing too large to be cleared just by jumping. He needed to be more careful, he had a tendency to forget he was not untouchable and there were people far more powerful than the city guard.
His mind began to wonder, assuming he was far outside the reach of any pursuers when a bolt of lightning. Pieces of rock and plaster flew as Vale skidded to a stop on the flat roof. He jumped backward, a knife in each hand already out.
He was about to throw one of the knives when she held her hands out and spoke. He paused. "Who the fuck is parlay?" he asked not knowing the word, breathing someone heavy from the magical exertion. "What do you want?" he said in a somewhat annoyed tone. His body told him to run, to go hide. Something kept him from instantly doing so but he was ready to disappear in an instant if he needed to.
Kharia blubbered for a moment, shrugging awkwardly at the Elf's question. "I have no idea, I just heard someone say it once." She confessed, lowering her guard ever so slightly. It seemed like things were more conversational now, but she didn't want to be caught with her pants down. "My name's Kharia, I'm a Magi, I was looking for you because I wanted to make you an offer...if you'll indulge me?"