Class Struggle

“You wouldn’t get it, it’s a wizard thing”, Hestor said, dismissively waving his hand in the air, not even looking at Brutus.

“Hey, just because I am not trained in all of this magic stuffs doesn’t mean I’m dumb.”

“Well, I didn’t say that, it’s just that to explain what I am doing, I’d have to go through the basics of Thaumaturgy and for that I’d have to bring you up to speed on some of the basic guiding principles of magic energy which, frankly, not even Clyde would grasp.”

“Hey, why are you dragging me into this?”, Clyde asked. “Wait, did you just insult me?”

“I think he complimented you,” Adria quickly interjected. “He said if anyone would be smart enough to understand all this stuff, it would be you, but you’re still too dumb.”

“I’m not saying anyone is dumb,” Hestor lifted his hands defensively “All I am saying is that I spent a lot of time learning this and I don’t get paid enough to teach you how to do magic.”

“I just want to know how it works.” Brutus said.

“Give it up Brutus, let Hestor do his thing,” Adria put a hand on Brutus thick shoulder “You guys have other talents that Hestor doesn’t have.”

“Being strong or fast isn’t a talent,” Hestor mumbled as he made several complicated motions with his hand in front of the locked wooden door.

“I’m the one who’s not getting paid enough to be insulted by a beanstalk in a robe,” Clyde bit back and started to climb the stone wall of the mansion.

“What are you doing?” Adria asked. “Hestor is going to open the door.”

“I don’t need some second-rate magician to get into a locked house,” Clyde said as he reached the second floor window. “I’ve been breaking into places long before we had some kid with a pointy hat doing his fancy tricks.”

“They’re not tricks, they are spells!” Hestor replied without keeping his eyes off the lock. A few tiny sparks shot from his hands towards the keyhole. Hestor carefully turned both his hands sideways and an audible click emanated from the lock. “And the door is open!”

“I’ll get in on my own, thank you very much,” Clyde said as he pulled a small tool from his belt and jammed it under the window frame and wriggled it back and forth.

“Suit yourself,” Hestor said, and pushed open the wooden door with an audible creak.

Brutus pushed past Hestor. “You’re too fragile, chicken neck, let me go in first.”

“I’ll turn you into a chicken if you keep insulting me,” Hestor hissed back

“I’d like to see you try,” Brutus gave Hestor a big, challenging grin, turned and entered the mansion.

“Come on down, Clyde,” Adria called. “You don’t need to prove anything.”

“It’s about the principle of the matter,” Clyde said. He wriggled his tool back and forth a few more times and then pushed open the window. “See? No need for some fancy thaumaturkey,” Clyde grinned at Adria and disappeared through the open window.

Adria sighed and followed Hestor and Brutus through the now open entry door into the dark lobby of the mansion.

“We could use some light, professor,” Brutus said, standing in the dark. “Don’t you guys have torches?” Hestor asked.

“Why waste a perfectly fine torch, if we have such a capable and highly intelligent wizard with us?”

“My magic isn’t meant to be used for every inconvenience, you know?”

“Didn’t you use magic to float your drink from the bar your table just last night?” Adria asked.

For a moment, all of them stood silently in the lobby.

“Fine,” Hestor said, and a little flame appeared in his hand and floated above him. 

The flame illuminated most of the lobby. To their left and right were two doorways each, all of them closed. Between the doorways to the left and the right stood two large statues depicting the Baron and the Baroness of Wilderfell. The high up flame cast their faces into deep dramatic shadows. The walls were decorated with dozen of portraits of generations of Wilderfells, one uglieer than the next.

The doors leading to the four rooms were closed and the

At the end of the lobby stood a large, carpeted staircase leading to the second floor.

“My money is that they keep it in their bedrooms upstairs.” Adria said as she inspected the statue of the Baroness. 

“You’re probably right.” Hestor agreed. “Let’s find it and get out of here quick.”

“I say we look through all the rooms. I am sure they have all kinds of valuable stuff lying around.” Brutus said “You know, like rich people do.”

“We’re not being paid to rob them!” Hestor argued.

“Yes, we are!”

“Well, technically, but only the one artifact, not their silverware.”

“I was thinking more about gold and jewels.”

“It’s the same thing, you big ape!”

“Not even remotely,” Brutus explained “silverware is rarely worth anything at our fence.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Hestor said, exasperation in his voice.

“You said silverware.”

“I was just making—“

“Would you two stop arguing for a moment so we can get this job done?” Adria snapped at both of them, her voice echoing through the house. “Let’s go upstairs first and see if we can the damn thing and then we can decide what we’ll do next.”

She strode ahead of both of them, her hand reflexively resting on her dagger hilt. 

As they had almost reached the top of the staircase, they heard a commotion coming from of of the rooms down the hallway to their right. 

“I thought nobody was home?” Hector hissed.

“Nobody is.” Adria replied in a hushed tone, “We watched the place for an entire week.”

“Then what in the name of—“ Hector began as Clyde broke through a door into the hallway to their right. Adrian pulled out her gleaming dagger and Brutus, one of his hand-axes drawn, stepped past Hestor. 

The very next moment, Clyde was running towards them, but once he got closer, they realized that Clyde’s upper body and head were wrapped up in some sort of ornate, giving it the appearance of a rolled up carpet with legs.

“We got a magic carpet!” Adria called out and got ready to strike.

“I hate Mimics!” Brutus said.

“It’s a Rug Of Smothering,” Hector corrected.

“It’s eating Clyde!” Brutus argued back

“It’s smothering him.”

“Same th—”

“Let’s just get him out of it.” Adria ran forward just as Clyde had reached the top of the staircase and, with a single swing, cut a large gash along the entire width of the rug. Clyde’s forward momentum carried him over the edge and down the staircase. Brutus shot one of his muscular arms outward and grabbed the frayed ends of the rug, trying to stop Clyde’s fall. 

As the rug unrolled, Clyde spun around multiple times until he was free of the suffocating fabric and continued his fall down the staircase, screaming and at full speed

Clyde crashed into Hestor and both of the men rolled down the entire length of the staircase until they came to a stop with a groan at the marble floor of the lobby. Hector’s glowing orb of fire disappeared at once. 

Adria pulled out a torch and with a quick, practiced motion, lit it with a fire starter. She and Brutus quickly hurried down the stairs to check on the two men, who were laying across each other, with Clyde resting his head face down on Hector’s lap. Brutus took Clyde by the collar of his leather jacket and pulled him up. Adria helped Hector to his feet.

“I’m so glad you split the party Clyde,” Adria said. “how did that work out for you?”

“I didn’t think they’d have magic carpets trying to eat me,” Clyde said, rubbing his elbow.

“They’re rugs of smothering and they don’t eat you.” Hector groaned and wiped down his robe. “They try to smother you until you pass out.” 

“Same thing.” Clyde replied.

“Shhh!” Adria hushed both of them. “Listen!”

They could hear voices. People were approaching the mansion.

“Who’s that?” Hector asked.

“I don’t know, can’t be the Windfells, they’re nowhere near here.” Clyde said.

“Wilderfells,” Hector correct.

“Same thing,” Clyde bit back.

“Sounds like it could be guards?” Brutus suggested.

As if to confirm it, someone tried to open the front door and then banged his fist against the door several times, followed by a muffled, but commanding voice: “This is the Brockton Guard speaking. Whoever you are, we know you are inside. We have surrounded the building. There is no way you’ll get out of here, so may I suggest you surrender yourself.”

In the light of the flickering torch, the group looked at each other. “Great, thanks a lot Clyde.” Hector said, while staring at the rogue.

“Why me? I did nothing!”

“You just had to go through the window and then make a ton of noise!”

“If you wouldn’t have been such a massive pain in the ass, I wouldn’t have had to.”

Adria quickly jogged up the staircase and looked out the window near the top.

“Okay, so now it’s my fault now that we got the entire local guard coming after us?” Hector spat back. “Maybe it is,” Clyde stepped towards Hector, glaring at him, “maybe someone ratted us out?”

“Maybe it was you?” 

Brutus grabbed Hector and Clyde by the neck and lifted them both off the ground. “Could you two shut up for a second? I’m getting a headache!”

“Hrrngl” was the best Clyde or Hector had to say in their defense. “Let’s stop bickering like old ladies and get out of here, alright?” he looked at Clyde and Hector. Both their heads were turning red, and Brutus dropped the two on the ground.

“He’s not lying,” Adria called down to them. “They are in the front and back. At least 20 of them.”

The commanding voice echoed through the door, “If you are not cooperating, we will have to use force to get you to comply!” 

“Maybe there is a hidden path leading out from the cellar?” Brutus suggested to Adria with hopeful eyes, while Clyde and Hector were coughing on the floor in front of him. “We don’t even know where the Cellar is.” Adria reminded him.

“I am not paid enough to kill a bunch of guards,” Hector managed to finally say with a raspy voice.

Clyde coughed his reply “Yes, you are.”

“Nobody is killing anyone,” Adria reminded them. “We just have to find a way out of here.”

“Maybe we can get out through the roof?” Adria suggested.

“Worth a shot,” Clyde replied as he pulled himself up to his feet.

Before either of them could take another step, they heard several windows shatter all around them. Several small packages landed on the floor near the group. They were small wooden boxes of various shapes and forms, some more ornate than others. The smallest chest was about the size of an apple, while the largest one was about the size of a watermelon. There were now about 20 of these little boxes strewn across the large room.

“Are they throwing loot at us?” Clyde raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t think this is loot,” Adria bent towards one of the boxes, getting a closer look.

“Don’t say we didn’t warn you,” the commanding voice now boomed through the broken windows into the lobby. A shrill whistle followed. For a moment, no one in the group dared to move.

Suddenly, all the boxes wiggled. The little ornate box Adria had observed closeup, snapped open and revealed dozens of sharp little teeth. All the little boxes suddenly sprouted little appendages and began to close in towards the group.

“Now,” Hector said as inched backwards. “Those are mimics.”

Note: This First Draft was part of NaNoWriMo 2021 – 30 First Drafts in 30 Days

🎵 Achievement by pilotredsun

🎵 2033 by Roex

📷 Sharp point dagger by Kayaran

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