The Mage Hunter Tales
Date: - Modified: - Words: 1214
Slightly rewritten to make it less weird. The old version is here.
Silence wrapped around me, I padded towards the man in green in the back. The tavern was almost empty, except for a few stragglers by the front, busy drinking themselves silly.
I drew the vial from my sleeve and palmed it. I opened its stopper and let the green fluid fall in the hot soup I was carrying. I pocketed it with practised ease and set the bowl of soup and the bread in front of the man with a smile.
"Here's your food, good sir. I hope you'll like it."
He leered at me, staring at my exposed cleavage, and slapped my back with a grin. I smiled and bore with it - he was going to get his comeuppance soon enough. Here they let necromancers hang.
I walked back to the front of the inn and smirked to myself as he started eating the soup noisily. My concoction would do its work swiftly, entering his body and slowly sapping the man of his strength with every bite he took.
His head was already lolling when I got to the door, and I threw my apron on the counter as I slid out in the red light of the setting sun. I nodded to a couple of men loitering by the next building and they moved towards the tavern to pick up my "package".
Another job well done.
Hello. I'm Rea. I'm something of a witch, and I hunt wizards for a living.
I adjusted my bodice, covering myself as best as I could as I walked away from the tavern. The constable was waiting for me by the town jail, but I had to get out of this outfit first to avoid attracting attention.
Men with torches came out to light the street lamps as I made my way towards the Westgate Inn. I opened the door and, shoulders squared, ignoring the stares of the few people in the common room I went upstairs.
I unlocked the door to my room and entered, closing it behind myself as I doffed the dress, letting it fall to the floor. I removed the wig and I opened my travel chest, pulling out a pair of pants, a brown tunic and a long string of rags.
I bound my chest as best as I could - I hate doing it, it's constricting - smudged my face a bit and tousled my short hair. I looked into my mirror - in low light I could pass as a young man, even if one with wide hips.
I unceremoniously dropped both the wig and the dress inside my chest and stepped out of the room, walking downstairs again. I was ignored this time, and I walked out of the inn before strolling to the jail.
The town was very quiet, the silence broken once or twice by bouts of raucous laughter and shouts, but there was almost nobody outside, except for the town guard and a runner or two.
I walked by the city hall and finally reached the jail - an old, squat stone building, with high windows too small to get through. I knocked on the door - a wooden affair reinforced with bands of blackened iron, and waited.
I didn't have to wait for long. A young boy, maybe sixteen, opened the door and peered outside, then looked me up and down.
"What do you want?" he tried to say in a gruff voice, but his voice cracked towards the end. I snorted and he coughed, embarrassed.
"The constable is waiting for me." I replied. I couldn't get my voice very low, but I trained a lot on it, and it obviously passed muster as the boy didn't even blink.
"Ah... yeah, I'm going to call him. You may enter."
The old formula might be archaic, but I wasn't going to refuse an invitation, especially to an old building like this one. I could do magic without one, but breaking the genus loci of the place took time.
I stepped inside the building and waited by the door as the boy knocked on a door and entered, speaking for a while with somebody inside before the constable came out.
He was a broad man, with wide shoulders and a chiselled jaw. A scar crossed the bridge of his nose, going from his left eye to his right cheek, and he spoke in a deep, surprisingly smooth voice.
"Greetings. I must thank you - that was one of the easiest arrests in a long, long time." he said, shaking my hand.
"Is he still out?"
"Out cold. We put him in our most secure cell and manacled him with iron. Will that be enough?"
"To slow him down, sure. I'll need to see him."
"To make sure he won't be able to escape."
"Follow me, then."
He started walking down the corridor, towards another iron-bound door. He took a key from the ring at his belt and unlocked the door, that swung open with barely any noise. Sadly, well-oiled hinges are not as common as they once were.
The man looked pitiful, shackled to the wall hands and feet, but I knew better. He killed more than a dozen people to fuel his magic, and if he was awake he could escape and kill a dozen more.
First step to deal with wizards: hamper their hands. I tightened the shackles to make sure he won't be able to loosen them and then broke his thumbs. The two cracks echoed in the small cell, and the constable paled at that.
"What are you doing?!"
"I'm making sure he won't be able to escape."
Second step to deal with wizards: hamper their mouth. I took a large iron ring out of my purse and, with care, forced it in his mouth. His tongue lolled out, and he'd be able to spit it out, given enough time.
But I wasn't planning on giving him enough time.
Third step to deal with wizards: make sure they aren't awake when you try to kill them. Most wizards need to vocalize and gesture with their hands to invoke their magic, but some can do it in their minds.
I slid my dagger out of its sheath, and rolled up his right sleeve. As I cut his arm he let out a strangled cry and struggled against the chains. I put a shallow bowl under the cut to catch the blood, staunched the flow with a rag and went to work.
I took a mommet from my purse - I fashioned it yesterday, with twigs and straw. Not my best work, but with his blood it would work.
I poured the blood over the mommet, the dry straw absorbing it and turning red. I gathered my energy and, an hand hovering over the doll, I concentrated.
He burst into shivers.
"What did you do?" asked the constable, looking a bit green around the gills.
"I gave him the flu. A whopper of a flu - he won't be able to think of anything until tomorrow at the very least."
"But now... there's a small matter to attend to."
He snorted, and threw a small pouch at me. It was heavy, and as I opened it gold glinted in the torchlight.
"Always happy to help." I smirked.