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A Simple Charade - Part 1

by SnowGhost


    

Author's Note: This story is about my D&D character named Von, who is a Changling (aka shape-shifter). This is the story of his criminal life as he uses his shape-shifting abilities to play both sides of two criminal organizations, his end game being to take them both down. 

                                                      

 Here's a doodle I drew of Von in his Changling form. In his human form, he looks the same except that his skin is caucasian and he has silver eyes.

                                  

As I was at my desk working late, I heard a quiet knock at my door, which seemed quite an unnecessary action, for the person knocking didn't bother to listen for my response before entering. And of course, such an intrusion could only be perpetrated by Amber — more commonly and professionally known as my partner.

I didn't even spare her a glance as she entered my room, which I knew vexed her.

"Which of your dreary tasks has kept you from your bed this time?" she tiredly asked, looking over my shoulder.

"I'm writing poetry," I responded dryly.

She laughed at the obvious impossibility of the remark. "I'd sooner see hell freeze over," she commented as she wrapped her arms around my neck and rested her chin on my shoulder.

"But in all seriousness Von, what are you doing?"

I sighed, already knowing her response to my answer. "I am doing some work...specifically some preparation for an upcoming mission." On hearing this information she lifted her head from my shoulder and stepped to my side, leaving her hand resting on the back of the chair.

She ran her fingers through her long red hair and asked with a confused expression, "They're sending us out again? Why wasn't I told of this?"

"You're not going," I stated, still focused on what I was writing.

It seemed as if my lack of eye contact while reporting this news had bothered her, for she then quickly grabbed my jaw with her hand and adjusted my head so that I was now looking up at her face.

"Are they seriously sending you on an assignment without me?" she asked in disbelief.

I quickly pulled my head out of her grip but continued to look at her face as I responded, "Yes, they most certainly are. And I admit it will be quite refreshing to be rid of your constant company for the few days that I’m gone." She looked as if she was about to voice her offense at this statement when I continued. "If you have any issues with this arrangement, I suggest you speak with Alivar yourself." Simply the mention of his name seemed to say enough, for she kept whatever protest she had to herself.

She hated Alivar, and rightly so, for he believed her unqualified to be a part of this organization, an opinion he voiced often. This specific mission happened to be his to prepare and plan for, therefore he made certain Amber remained on the sidelines.

What I didn't understand was why she didn't march out of my room this very second to go stab his eyes out. Recently she's just been letting him do what he wants without protest.

Perhaps she was being blackmailed or threatened. Whatever it was I could hardly care, it didn't involve me after all; I was simply here to do my job.

Despite her disappointment with this information, I couldn't entirely feel bad, for during this particular assignment she truly would only prove to be a burden, but not for the same reason Alivar thought.

I watched as Amber turned to go sit at the foot of my bed with a frustrated expression, I then turned to my desk and brought my full attention back to my work, quickly becoming too distracted to remember she was there.

***

A little over an hour had passed when I found myself tired enough to be finished for the day.

But as I stood up from my chair and turned to push it under my desk, I was finally reminded that Amber was still here...and now asleep.

Sighing and shaking my head, I approached the side of my bed and bent down to lift her up, praying she wouldn't awaken — and not wishing this in consideration, but rather I simply didn't want her opening her eyes to find herself in my arms. That may only encourage her unwanted affections towards me.

Amber's quarters were only a few doors down, but despite the short distance and late hour, I came across someone in the hallway. Azgaar was walking in my direction, presumably heading to his own room.

He jealously rolled his eyes at me as I passed. The man foolishly seemed to think I was his rival or some such nonsense, despite telling him myself that Amber was little more than a colleague to me. However, I suppose this situation did me no favours in convincing him, although it hardly mattered. I couldn't find myself caring much what the hell the guy thought of me.

I reached Amber's door, opened it, and walked into the room, immediately being reminded of how disorganized the woman was. Her bed looked as if it hadn't been made in days, her desk was covered with so many books and paper that there was no trace of its wooden surface, and more clothes appeared to find their home on the floor rather than in her wardrobe.

As a result, I found myself dodging all sorts of her belongings as I tried to reach her bed, but at last, I was able to set her down on her mattress.

I couldn't be bothered to pull a blanket over her or snuff out her lantern, bringing her here was already uncharacteristically considerate of me. Honestly, I coudn’t find a reason as to why I hadn’t simply woken her up and ordered her out of my room. But, I quickly excused the gesture as being a result of the alcohol in my system, which, apparently to my sister, makes me kinder.

I returned to my quarters, thinking I’d finally be able to rest, however, that hope was immediately forsaken when I found some company waiting for me on my desk chair.

“Why all the excessive paperwork?” asked Elvira as she inspected the mountain of paper and books on my desk.

"Unfortunately it comes with the position,” I answered as I approached the desk, arms crossed, "and it all also happens to be confidential, so I would appreciate it if you could contain your curiosity and leave my possessions alone.”

She smirked as she rolled her eyes —an action she exercised frequently— but respected my wishes, standing from the chair to go sit on my bed.

I quickly organized the things at my desk, then reached up to the wine bottle and glass that sat on the shelf above. I could practically feel my sister's frown of disapproval burn at my back.

I poured myself a drink, and would have offered one to Elvira as well if I hadn't already known her answer; she'd likely accept and drink the whole damn thing.

"You know it's stupid to start drinking when you have work tomorrow." She stated nonchalantly as she tucked a piece of her short black hair behind her ear.

"Start drinking?" I took a sip from my glass, "I never stopped."

My sister enjoyed a good drink as much as anyone, but she never drinks before a mission because she knows how much of an effect it has on her; a few glasses and she was intoxicated enough for three people. She also knew how the poison affected me, knew it could cause me to be far less...cautious.

She shrugged and lifted her hand to inspect her nails. "Look, I'm just saying that if you want to continue pulling off this little charade you've got going on," she leaned back on her hands, "it's probably best to keep sober."

I set my glass down on the bench at the foot of my bed and turned to stare out the small round window in front of me. "Vira you know I'm not foolish enough to let my habit of drinking interfere with anything," I reassured her, crossing my arms over my chest, "The job starts the day after tomorrow, which gives me plenty of time to recover from the alcohol withdrawal."

"Well let's sure hope so," she responded with a smirk.

Several seconds of silence sat in the air before Elvira continued to rather suddenly say, "You realize if Amber doesn't join you on this assignment she won't be there to kill your victim for you."

I was gone for no more than a few minutes, how the hell did she manage to piece together any of that from the few forgeries and documents that were laying on my desk.

I let out a long sigh, running a hand through my hair. "Were you able to collect information on the whole damn mission as you violated my things?"

She laughed as she laid down, resting her hands behind her head. "You forget, Von, that finding information is practically what I do for a living."

It was true. While Amber and I were out disposing of the threats that interfered with the plans of this establishment, Elvira was the one gaining crucial information; information that allowed us to do our job effectively.

Frowning to the ceiling she asked, "So are you going to kill that man yourself then?"

My silence answered her question.

I heard her sigh heavily. "You don't necessarily have to kill him, Von, you could find a way around it."

"Not in this case I'm afraid," I responded quietly as I picked up my drink and brought it to my lips. "It's not like he's an innocent man Vira, countless people have died by his hands."

I then watched as she sat up and rested an elbow on her knee. She stared at the small round window in thought. "Did you ever consider that perhaps this man has the same mindset as you?" she lifted her hand to place her chin in it, "He too could have believed that it was alright to kill the people he had, simply because they weren't innocent of crimes themselves,"

Weary, I closed my eyes and ran a hand down my face. "I'm not saying he deserves to die because of his sins, my point was that if I must kill at all, better it be a man with blood on his hands than one without."

Elvira swung her legs to the side of the bed and stood up. "Then don't be surprised if someone decides to end your life for the same reason," she concluded, before striding over to my desk and picking up the bottle of wine on it. "Mind if I have some?" I nodded my permission.

She popped the glass stopper off and began drinking as she walked towards the door. She placed her hand on the doorknob but looked at me before turning it and said, "It's easy to forget when you're pretending otherwise, but remember Von...you're one of the good guys." She then opened the door and exited, at last leaving me able to get some rest.


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22 Reviews


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Reviews: 22

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Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:45 am
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Josie24 wrote a review...



I liked this, it was nice to read. I'm sorry; I'm too tired for excessive compliments, but that first sentence would be big if you actually knew me and cared about my opinion.

"... brought my full attention back to my work, quickly too distracted to remember she was there." Maybe instead you should say, "...quickly becoming too distracted...".

"Her bed looked as if it hadn't been set in days..." Would sound better if written, "Her bed looked as if it hadn't been made in days..."

Little nit-picky things; I just needed something to review, something that wasn't a bad read.




SnowGhost says...


Glad you liked it. And you're not being nit-picky at all, those are very helpful tips! In fact ima edit it right now. Thank you so much, I appreciate the review. :)



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Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:36 am
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Rin321 wrote a review...



Hello! This story really seems interesting

I love your style of writing, along with its descriptions, but there are some instances where your sentences get a little bogged down and wordy:
"As I was at my desk working late, I heard a quiet knock at my door, which seemed to be a rather unnecessary action, for the person knocking didn't bother to listen for my response before entering"

To cut down the sentence a little, take out the little bit in the middle and say
"As I was at my desk working late, I heard a quiet knock at my door, an unnecessary action, for the person knocking didn't bother to listen for my response before entering."

Another instance I see this is here:

"She hated Alivar, and rightly so, for he believed her unqualified to be a part of this organization, which was an opinion he voiced often."

Just cutting out two words can make a sentence easier to read:
"She hated Alivar, and rightly so, for he believed her unqualified to be a part of this organization, an opinion he voiced often."

Other than those small details, the overall writing is great! I love the detail that you put in, really helping develop the characters' personalities and relationships with one another.

Great job! Keep up the amazing writing! :)
~RIN




SnowGhost says...


Thanks for the awesome advice! I'll definitely fix those two things you mentioned :)



Rin321 says...


no problem! That's what we're here for on YWS, to help each other thrive as writers ^^




Every really new idea looks crazy at first.
— Alfred North Whitehead