The Office

* * *

It was early morning and all was quiet.  I sat reading in my office when suddenly there was a thunderous pounding on the front door.  I was sure Chizza would handle it so I went back to my book.  The sound of wood shattering caught my attention.  Screams and a shriek from Chizza had me leap over the desk and hurtle towards the door.  As I rushed into the living room I saw them. 

A fat, immense man in the uniform of a guard captain was yelling at Chizza, his pudgy face purple with rage.  "Where is that bastard," he shouted, "I want his head!"  Chizza quailed at his words, the man still screaming as his lifted the glistening rod of his swagger stick in the air.  Blood boiled in my veins, a red mist threatened to overwhelm my vision.

What happened next I am only able to guess, due to the results I observed later, I acted on impulse and don't remember doing it.  I leaped across the room  at him, catching his fist clenched around that swagger stick before it struck Chizza.  Holding his fist tight around it I snapped off the stick at the handle with my free hand and lashed him across the eyes with the shattered end.  A howl of rage escaped him again, silenced by a strike to his throat before I kicked him straight in the chest.  The mass of our grappled bodies blasted out the open door and onto the street.

He was a big man, he threw me off himself even as he gasped for breath.  I rolled as I landed, crouched and ready to spring again even as he spit and drew a wicked looking dagger.  Blood covered his faces from the thin gashes of the broken wood.  He chuckled and tried to roll up as he yelled, "I'll kill you, you're the one who they saw with my wife!" 

By the time he got to his feet I was on him again.  What followed was a flurry of blows and thrusts, blocked attacks and narrow misses.  Finally in a series of rapid movements I managed to break his grip on the dagger, throwing it across the street.  I'd managed the move by sacrificing position though, one of those massive meaty hands grabbed me and threw me into the wall.  The breath was knocked from my body as I slammed against the unyielding surface.  My training was with me though and I shoved off and bounced even as he charged again. 

We stood across from each other, slowly pacing as we watched each other.  I had a nasty slash across my chest, but his nose was broken and one eye was nearly swollen shut.  Suddenly he paused, looked confused and laughed, relaxing his posture.  I growled and twirled, seeing six of the city guard in full armor charging down the street.  There were nearly upon me when I heard one cry out, "There he is, seize him!"  The man pointed at the captain.

My chubby opponent looked confused as two of the men rushed him, grabbing his wrists.  Another two moved close, short swords drawn in case he tried anything.  From the furious look on his face I could tell my opponent had no idea what was going on.  The guard who had called for his arrest smiled as he walked by me.  He had a sallow complexion and the thin, weaselly features I normally expected on a small time con artist.  Glancing over the captain he paused again and said with an official air to the immense man, "Captain Dace, Investigators of the Imperial Treasury today searched your home, acting on an anonymous tip.  Within they found an inordinate amount of gold and several maps drawn in your own hand detailing the routes taken by treasury officials when last they collected taxes.  As you know, several of those men were murdered and the gold stolen.  I am to take you to the High Court, where later today you will stand trial for the crime of conspiracy to defraud the empire and collusion with known criminals.  After your fair and impartial trial you will be placed in prison and you will be hung in the morning.  If you attempt to resist us, I am authorized to run you through where you stand."

The captain sputtered in their grasp, but simply gasped and kept silent as one of the men gently prodded his belly with the tip of his blade.  His jowls quivered in rage as he stared at me as they led him away.  The weaselly one paused and offered me a little nod, tossing me a gold coin before he began to follow.  "For the door," was the only explanation he gave me as he marched away, self-importantly after the others.