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RTW's character stories

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So I haven't been here in a while huh? Lucky for you, I had a pretty sleepless night last night. This little story idea had been playing itself out in my head for a few nights now, and it wasn't until just tonight that I managed to wrestle it onto a more sharing friendly format. This little blurb is about my assassin character Art Double and my rit Carrie Nurse. As a little known fact, the name Art Double is derived from my forum name Releasetheweasel. Split it up to release the weasel, then take the first letters of each for RTW. Take the RT away from the W and say it out loud. Artie, like the strongest man in the world. Shorten that down to Art. Then you take the W and again just say that. Double you. Double. Art Double. A crazy leap not even Evil Knievel could make... Anyway, the story takes place after their first year at Shing Jea Monastary. Enjoy.

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It was the start of summer and Kaineng Center was busy with activity. Moving through the crowd, two teenage students of the Shing Jea Monestary made their way to Bukdek Byway with haste. One trying to keep up with her friend, and the other trying to lose her.

Finally, the young man gave up and turned to face her. He was thin and tan, and though he was youthful and energetic, his messy hair was already grey. Though summer vacation had started, he still wore his school uniform. Basic assassin garb, the only piece missing being the mask. He folded his arms impatiently and waited for his friend to catch up.

“What’s the rush Art? I almost lost you,” said the girl, who had finally managed to weave her way out of the crowd to where the young man waited. She was a pretty girl, her hair tied back into a pony tail and decorated with beads. Her arms were covered in mehndi designs, as was they typical fashion for ritualists.

“Sorry Carrie, I’m just in a hurry,” he replied.

“Oh, you miss your parents that much huh?” The girl teased. “Well, the boat got here a little early, I don’t think my father has sent anyone to get me yet. I thought I’d meet your parents while-…”

“No!” The outburst left a moment of silence between the two. Art looked at Carrie and sighed. He could tell she was upset and it made him feel bad. “Listen, it’s just that my parents are, well, nothing special. Okay? Why don’t you just wait here and do some shopping, and I’ll see you again when school starts.”

Carrie sighed and took her friend’s arm. “They can’t be that bad. Come on, you can introduce me real quick and then I’ll go.” Knowing she wouldn’t let go, Art sighed and started to walk away from the hectic city center. He had no way to get out of this one and he knew it.

As the two walked, Art looked around nervously. Carrie had never before seen the carefree assassin so cautious, and it worried her a little. Maybe he’s really nervous about introducing me to his parents, she thought. But as they rounded a corner into a back alley, she let out a shocked gasp.

“Am Fah,” she whispered in fear. Three men stood with weapons drawn, ready to attack. The one in the middle was holding a dagger in each hand, while the other two had bows. After a second they lowered their weapons laughed.

“Bido, you’re early,” Said the man in the middle. “Who’s the girl?”

Art looked around for a moment and then asked, ignoring the previously asked question, “Lou, where are my parents? I thought they were supposed to be here.”

“They had more important things to take care of. Don’t worry, you’ve got all summer to see them before you have to go back to school,” said Lou, mocking the young assassin and rustling his already messy hair.

Carrie leaned closer to Art and asked, “Art, do you know these gangsters?”

The three Am Fah started to laugh at her question as Lou replied, “Art? Is that the dumb cover name you picked Bido? So this girl’s from the Monastery huh?” His voice quickly changed from laughter to anger. “Why did you bring her here? Are you trying to blow our cover? Bido you fool, I outta-…”

“I brought her because she is the daughter of a wealthy merchant. She just spent her first year away from home, and I’m sure her father will pay a generous boat load of gold to have her returned unharmed,” the young assassin said with a grin.

Carrie gasped as he pulled his arm free from her and stepped towards the Am Fah, who greeted his plan with grins of approval. She couldn’t believe what was happening. She only knew Art for their first year at the Monastery, but he had quickly become her best friend. But all of it to come to this, their entire friendship was a lie just to lure her into a trap. It crushed the girl, and tears started to well up in her eyes.

“Alright boys, take her to the hideout. Come Bido, we’ll go tell your parents of your cunning little plan, they’ll be so proud of you, for once,” Said Lou.

“Wait, shouldn’t I take her to the hideout? I just want to make sure this all goes off without any problems,” asked the young assassin.

“It’s okay, we’ll handle this. Come on.”

Art saw his chance as the Am Fah assassin turned his back. Closing his eyes and emptying his mind, the young assassin opened his hand flat and with his palm, steeled in a meditative trance, he struck Lou in the side.

Lou gasped for breath as the wind was knocked out of him. The rangers looked at him curiously, having missed the attack. Carrie held her breath in fear. Art used the confusion, quickly slipping out of his meditative trance and rushed up to the girl, wrapping an arm around her and in a puff of black smoke, stepped through the shadow onto the roof of a building across the street.

“Hey Lou! Tell my parents to shove it! I’m not going to be a ruthless thug like they are!” the young assassin shouted before he stuck his tongue out and gave the three Am Fah an obscene gesture. He then quickly ducked down, pulling Carrie with him as two arrows flew over their heads. When he looked up he saw Lou emerge from a puff of black smoke having shadow stepped up as well, his daggers drawn.

“You little brat!” He shouted as he made his attack. Art pushed Carrie out of the way, sending her off balance as she shrieked. The dagger plunged deep into his chest, but the young assassin just laughed as he burst into black smoke again, caltrops falling to the ground replacing him.

Looking up, Carrie saw Art with his hand extended. “Hurry, we need to get back to where the guards can help us,” he said with a smile, grabbing her hand. He helped her to her feet and started to lead her back towards Kaineng Center. Lou cursed as he stepped on another caltrop in attempts to pursue.

As Art pulled Carrie along he looked back. Seeing Lou falling behind, he grinned. “Just around this corner and we’re free! Hurry!” But just as he said that, he lost his footing. He fell flat on his face, letting go of Carrie so he didn’t drag her down.

Looking down he saw what was now obvious to him, a thin wire wrapped around his ankle. Carrie turned to him and yelled, “Art!” as she was started to head back to help him.

But before she could take a step he yelled back, “No! Run! Just around the corner, don’t wait for me!” And as he said it, Lou appeared from out of the shadow and kicked him. With only a moment’s hesitation, Carrie turned and ran, leaving her friend behind.

Lou looked up as the two other Am Fah had finally caught up and stopped. “What are you waiting for? Get the girl!” he barked at them.

“She’s too far now. By the time we reach her she will be in the guard’s sight,” one of them answered.

Lou yelled back, shaking his fist as he rolled up the wire. “Scorpion wire. Am I the only one who brought scorpion wire!? Gods you guys are a waste!” Looking down, he sighed away his anger and smiled again. “Well, at least we got little Bido here. A disappointment to your parents as always, huh Bido?”

*******

The summer went on and the students of the Shing Jea Monastery moved back into their dorm rooms, getting ready for another school year. Carrie sat by the window, looking into the night sky at the stars and the moon. She moved over to her bed, where she held one of her stuffed animals for comfort.

Over the past few months she had tried to get her father to send the guards to find her friend. He flat out refused, saying it wasn’t wise to cross the Am Fah even with the emperor’s guards backing him. All she received was harsh words to have better judgment in people and a personal body guard, who she immediately relieved from duty once she returned to Shing Jea. Though her other friends tried to cheer her up, she often found herself alone, bursting into tears at the thought of the trouble she had caused her best friend. If only I had listened, if only I didn’t go with him…

Carrie heard a tapping on her window. Then another. Cautiously, she walked over to it and lift it open. Looking down she saw Art in his full school gear, mask and all, hanging on her windowsill three stories up.

“Hey! Can I come in? My arms are getting tired,” he casually asked.

“Art! You’re alright! I missed you! Oh I’m so sorry. Please, can you ever forgive me?” The girl was speaking very quickly as the assassin pulled himself up and flopped into the room. He sat up against the wall next to the window and caught his breath.

“Listen, Carrie, I just wanted to explain…” He started.

“Art, it’s alright. I’m sorry,” she said.

“No, listen, I need to explain.” He looked down, unable to look at her face as he explained. “My real name is actually Bido. See, I was born into the Am Fah. I never wanted to be a part of it, but both of my parents are in the gang. I wanted out any way possible, and then I had my opportunity. They were going to send me here for training, but I was really supposed to be doing reconnaissance. Keep the Am Fah in the know about what’s going on here.

“I honestly never meant for you to get caught up in any of this. But now I’m free from all that, and, well I just came back to say I’m sorry.” He finally looked up and saw Carrie sit down in front of him. She leaned in and gave him a hug.

“It’s okay. I’m just glad you’re back now,” she said as she held him. The moment was only spoiled by the sound of his empty stomach. Carrie couldn’t help but giggle as she asked, “Hungry?”

Art sighed and looked down at his belly. “Actually, I haven’t eaten in a while. I spent the last few days hidden on a ship I couldn’t afford to ride. Had to eat left-overs off of people’s plates when they weren’t looking.”

“Here, I think I have a bean cake on my desk,” Carrie said as she stood and grabbed the snack for him. His eyes lit up as she handed it to him and he quickly unwrapped it. Then, he hesitantly turned and removed his mask, devoured the snack, and put the mask back on before facing Carrie again. It was now that she realized he was still wearing it.

“Art?” She started to ask.

“Carrie, you can call me Bido,” he replied.

“I like Art better. Anyway, why are you still wearing your mask?” The brightness faded from his eyes as he looked down in silence. Carrie knew something was wrong now, and she reached to lower his mask.

As she pulled it down, she saw why. Burned into his right cheek was a brand mark. A single symbol, she ran her fingers across gently, thinking of how it must have hurt. She whispered the meaning of the symbol to herself, “Traitor.”

Art pulled down his mask the rest of the way and explained, “My final punishment, for betraying the Am Fah. My parents managed to spare my life, but the gang marked me a traitor forever before letting me go.”

“Oh Art, does it hurt?” Carrie asked.

“Not anymore, not physically…”

Carrie pulled Art in for another hug and the two sat in silence before Carrie finally asked, “Will you be able to continue you training here?”

“No. The Am Fah was paying my tuition,” he said with a sigh. “I don’t even have a gold to my name. Perhaps I will find a kind farmer who can take me on as an indentured servant. Not much else for an untrained mo zing like myself to do.”

Carrie pushed Art back and stood up. She just had a brilliant idea. “I’ve got it! I’ll get my father to pay your tuition!”

“I don’t think-…” He started, but Carrie was already on a roll.

“I’ll let him know I’ve chosen a new body guard! He’s been bugging me about letting the last one go, and he’ll be pleased I picked anyone at all. Even if that means paying your tuition, he’ll hire you to protect me!”

Art jumped t his feet, his face lit with excitement. “Really? Do you think it’ll work?”

“I’ll write him first thing in the morning! I’m sure it will work!” The two jumped with delight. This time, Art grabbed Carrie for a big hug before he pulled his mask back up and leapt up onto her windowsill.

“Then I guess I’ll be seeing you around,” he said with a devil-may-care look in his eyes. She waved to him as he jumped, and in a puff of black smoke he shadow stepped to the ground to negate the fall.

As he ran off, Carrie leaned out her window and yelled, “Oh, and you can just use the door next time!”
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