Hanging by a Wire

Jewel slowly descended the wire that she'd thrown down from the skylight of the great domed roof and paused. Her eyes scanned the vast space, barely lit by the kiss of moonlight that shone from above, ears straining to catch any rustling, any footsteps, any sign of life.


Okay then. *Show time.*

She nimbly descended the remainder of the rope, sliver knife clenched between her teeth before landing on her feet like a cat in the night. Palm flat on the floor, she crouched and scanned the area once more.

The tick, tick, ticking of a clock to her right.

But aside that?

Nothing. Not a sound. Not a movement. Just the particles of dust hanging lazily in the air, caught in the moon's light that shone like her silent guide.

Convinced she was alone, and not being watched, Jewel stood up abruptly and sauntered over to a nearby glass cabinet, twirling her dagger nonchalantly in her hand as she moved. She peered over the first flat glass cabinet that stopped at her waistline. A golden crown bedecked with the brightest of sun-colored jewels sparkled back at her from inside its glassy-walled tomb.

Jewel meandered between the glass cabinets, but to no avail. She knew it was in here somewhere. She *knew* it. She scrunched her nose. Where could it be?

And then she saw it. A few feet away from her, in an oversized cabinet that was perhaps twice as tall as her, and nestled on a russet velvet cushion inside, was the wand.

*The Wand of Asomere*.

Jewel's lip curled. "There you are, baby," she purred softly as she began circling the cabinet slowly.

The wand was nothing much to look at. Just a roughly hewn stick of wood, with notches here and there, up and down its shaft. But appearances could be deceiving. And this wand? Well, it was the *height* of deceit in that respect.

Command this wand, and you could command armies. Or, at least that's what she'd been told. Although, she'd guessed that it had to be the best kept secret of the millennia. Else they wouldn't have kept it here, of all places.

Her eyes narrows as she examined a glass door on the cabinet's side, and its tiny metal handle.

Too obvious.

Her chin lifted upwards towards the top of the cabinet. There... she could see a square-shaped, glass inlay. Another way into the cabinet.

Jewel looked around her. There was nothing around her to jump from. Bookcases were too far away. Other cabinets... well they would likely be booby-trapped.

Her eyes flitted up to the balcony above her. Now that... *that could work*.

Eyes still fixed on the balcony she reached for her back pocket and pulled out another coil of hanging wire. Time for another descension.

Within moments, Jewel had climbed along the stairway bannister, up to the floor above the cabinet, and over to the balcony lip that overhung it by just a smidge too much. Hanging wire fastened, she kicked the back of each booted heel into the plush, red carpeted floor, almost like she was preparing to charge. She *was* charging all right, but not to jump - that charge would help her get away unseen if something should go awry. Not that it would but you could never be too careful. She hadn't got this far in her... 'career'... by being careless.

Knife between gritted teeth once more, Jewel dove silently towards the cabinet, head-first, stopping only within arms-length of the cabinet's top. And with a deep breath in, she began to swing slowly to the left, then to the right, gradually building slow momentum with each swing until got her closer and closer to the top of the tall glass cabinet.

Tentatively, Jewel reached out a gloved hand, touching one finger to the very cabinet's top edge. And holding herself in place, arm extended, Jewel paused.


With a deep breath in, Jewel slowly grabbed her knife from her mouth and gently moved herself over the center of the tall glass cabinet's top, her mouth quirking upwards in a slight smile. Sure enough there was a square piece of glass that had been inset into the cabinet's roof. It just needed to be carefully levered out. And that? Well, that was her forte.

Gently, every so gently, Jewel edged the tip of the knife into the groove between the square glass inlay and the surrounding cabinet roof. Easy now...

But she hadn't even begun to wiggle the knife when her heart jumped to her throat. She sucked in a breath as blazing white lights bathed her entire body, and red ember-like spheres appeared from nowhere, all trained on her head.

*Flamed Targets*.

She cursed under her breath and squeezed her eyes shut as a cacophony of voices shouted at her to remain still.

"Jewel Court, remain still!" shouted a male voice, whose volume had been made deafeningly loud via magical means. "You are being detained for the attempted theft of a Forbidden Instrument. Do *not* resist! I repeat! Do *not* resist!"

She knew that voice. Denner. Bane of her life. She should have known.

Slowly, Jewel extended her hands out to form an upside down cross-shape, palms splayed as a sign of surrender. She clenched her jaw as she peered into the blinding white light that seemingly swallowed her whole, spotted by those hovering red embers that shot red jets of focused light towards her head.

She could see nothing. But if she squinted and focused, she could just about see three black-clad figures ascend the stairs to her right, up to the balcony from which she had plummeted moments before.

Jewel trained her features, using all her will not to let the corner of her mouth quirk into a smile again. They were watching her - every slight movement, every facial expression. She'd have to be quick, she knew it. And so she just hung there, perfectly still, her hands stretched out as she inhaled slowly. And just as slowly, she breathed out a slow stream of air on the exhale.




Steady, steady...

She felt a tug on the hanging wire as they cut her free from above, and immediately, she brought her knees into her chest, then kicked her legs outwards and downwards. Her body followed suit as she twisted completely, to land on her heels with one immense kick of both feet.

And as chaos erupted around her, and as her eyes trained on Denner's wide eyes as he stood in front of her, mouthing orders to his soldiers, that lop-sided grin reappeared on Jewel's face just as she disappeared from view, as though she was never there. She silently thanked her Cloaking Boots. Those things were worth all the gold in the realm and more.

And as Denner and the soldiers ran forward, clasping at air, where she once had stood, Jewel silently weaved in and out of them, she, the invisible intruder, backing away until well out of reach.

She shot the Wand of Asomere one last remorseful look. Not this time, she supposed. But she'd be back.

And as Denner and his men swarmed the domed space in search of the thief they had searched so long for, Jewel stole away.



Like a cat in the night.

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