On the Road Again - I

((Town of Nuros, West of Osilon, 1208 NE))

--40,880 DSTR--

"Goddamn it, I won't tell you again! STOP RIGHT THERE!"

V fired another bolt, but the bastard was fast. Just as soon as the Elf had managed to line up a good shot his target was already speeding off, kicking up dust as he went to cover himself. With his impressive eyesight, V could see far, but that didn't mean he could see any better when his line of sight was obscured. A thought sat in the back of the Elf's mind, something along the lines of how his father would be more than capable of pegging a target from tens of yards away through a cloud of dust. Alas, such thoughts wouldn't help him catch his quarry.

He had to use his surroundings to his advantage, this was a residential area, the buildings would provide high ground, thus making it easier for him to track his target, yet the speedster would not be able to track him as easily, and of course the nonexistent foot traffic would be a boon as well. Decided, V leaped, grabbing onto the roof of a one-story building and hoisting himself up. Sprinting across the paneled roofing, V gulped down one more Blacksparrow potion, a brew dedicated to increasing a hunter's stamina on the run, a key item among his father's arsenal for jobs such as this.

He spotted his target once again, a human, seemingly about 20 or so years of age, but as an Elf V could be off 10 or so years. It was clear now, as he caught more and more glimpses of the man, that he was using some sort of wind spell to increase his speed. Otherwise, V would have outpaced and captured him a long time ago. But, not all was lost. V grinned, the mage was cutting back and forth through alleys and around buildings to try and shake the Elf. He had lost him, and now was taking every available turn hoping blindly that he might confuse his pursuer, but little did he know his antics were slowing him down.

V moved directly towards him, his height advantage and keen sight helping him to keep an eye on his quarry, but with every turn the distance between the two shortened. V looked up from his prey only to find that the outskirts of the town were drawing near. If he didn't catch the bastard now, their chase would spill out into the forest, where V's athletic advantage would dwindle, his skill of pursuit amongst the trees was shoddy at best. He had to end this now.

Cranking it up to eleven, V bolted as fast as his legs would take him, bounding from rooftop to rooftop. In an over-the-top display of athleticism, V leaped off of the last building before the treeline, spinning mid-air. He guessed right, the mage was coming up fast, V was only seconds ahead of him now. Still soaring through the air, V tucked his legs, lower half bracing for impact and higher half lining up his shot. It was a blur, but he locked on to where he thought the bastard was and let a bolt loose. No more time, V's attention shifted to the ground, he could break his fall with a roll, but he'd need his hands. As much as it pained him, he released his clutch on his crossbow, and landed in a deft roll, ending on his knees. He then looked to the fugitive mage and his gaze settled on a bolt embedded in the dirt. But to his surprise, the stray bolt managed to spook the bastard and he had skidded to a stop. He would have to reapply the wind spell to get going again, but V surely wasn't going to give him enough time for that. He stood, right hand reaching down and tightening around the grip of one of his handaxes. He had him where he wanted him. Now he needed only put on a mean face, scare the bastard into submission, and take him in. Taking steps towards him, V spoke.

"Now, know I'm supposed to take you in alive, but if you make this any harder for me I'll have to recon-"

"N-NOOO!! BACK AWAY!!!" The mage screamed, almost as if the killing had already begun, and thrust a hand forth. V saw a crackle of energy course through his arm, he was about to let loose a spell, and it didn't look like a pretty one.

"oh shit-" Pure survival instinct kicking in, V put both his hands in front of him and willed forth a spell of his own.


A barrier of arcane energy materialized before his hands, waves of refracted light forcing matter away from the point in front of him. With a murderous glint in his eye, the mage let loose a thunderous bolt of lightning, which struck V's spell ward with such force that he nearly buckled under it. But like a flash of lighting, it was over in the blink of an eye, and V could see that with all the spells the mage had deployed in the past hour, he was beyond exhausted. In truth, the feeling was mostly mutual. He had been sprinting for upwards of two consecutive miles in pursuit of this bastard. And in the moment, somewhat fearing for his life, V may have deployed a ward strength than was necessary. So of course he was swamped. Though now, he was sure the mage didn't have any more tricks up his sleeve. He then dropped to his hands and knees in exhaustion and defeat, confirming the Elf's suspicions. V himself rested his hands on his knees, giving himself just a second to breathe before speaking again.

"If...*huff*...you try...*huff*...anything else...*huff*...I won't hesitate to-"

"Please," The mage snarled breathlessly, "If you really wanted to kill me...*hah*...I'd be dead already."

V's breath caught in his throat. Once again, a reminder that he was nothing like his father. If Oruvand had a target in his sights, he always went for the kill. Thinking of his father, V turned in a moment of slight panic, realizing that he had forgotten about his crossbow. Spotting it, covered in dirt and half-buried, V made a few cautious steps toward it, all the while keeping his eyes on his quarry.

"Not like it matters anyway. What awaits me in Verden will be a fate worse than death."

V's eyes snapped to the mage's. He picked up the crossbow and returned it to its place on his back, before facing the mage and standing up straight, that cockiness from before returning tenfold.

"If you aim to make me feel sorry for you, you should have tried that two miles ago."


Finally able to catch his breath once more, V grabbed the deflated mage by his arm, forcing both behind his back and locking a device onto his wrists, a Verden specialty that would sap at the man's arcane energy, keeping him in his weakened state for as long as they were on.

"Now, what to do with you... Come along now."

Gripping the man by his shoulder, V moved the man along through the streets of the town of Nuros. It was a humble little town, the houses and buildings were little more than shacks, all bundled and closely-knit, which proved a great boon in V's chase, offering him a large array of high ground to utilize. He could have guessed that said chase might disturb the local townsfolk, and he was right. During the mayhem, they might have looked out of their windows or peaked out of their doorways, but now that the commotion was over the townspeople were coming out in droves to investigate. V walked past them with an air of confidence, and almost as if sensing it, the people made way for him. Though had any of them seen the chase, it would not be unreasonable to be wary of someone who had just sprinted across their rooftops like a mad man. And then, there were the ears. V was functionally an Elf, the son of a Half-Elf and a full-blooded Elf. And, what with the Iron Queen's vendetta against all of mankind, it was only natural to distrust the Elves. His only saving graces were the color of his skin and the structure of his face, features that highly favored the Human traders of the Shadr clan, warm and down-to-earth people, and exceptional fighters. That and his immediate patronage, his father being Blacksparrow, known to be a Half-Elf and known to owe his allegiance to no one. That placed him as a Half-Elf with likely no ties to any Kingdoms or Alliances. A merc, cut and dry. As long as they knew his name, they would likely guess as much as well.

He heard whispers amongst the crowd, "What a ruckus...Is he an Elf?...Did you see the way he sped across those buildings?...He's awful dark to be an Elf, isn't he?..."

V ignored them, dragging the man along behind him. He had decided that if he could convince the town's authorities to hold him, he could be collected later and out of his hair. Spotting an official-looking man with an impressive mustache, all signs of law enforcement, V stepped forward and dragged the mage in between himself and the sheriff. Even he seemed rather disturbed by the Elf's appearance but disregarded it.

"Excuse me...sir...but you wouldn't happen to be responsible for all of this commotion would you?"

V nodded, seemingly already tired of the conversation, "Only partly, I was pursuing this fugitive and my chase led me here. If you want to blame anyone, blame him."

The sheriff made a face, the sort of face older Humans make when they don't like what you've said but don't want to show it.

"Hmm. But, you are responsible for this man, yeah?"

V cocked his head one way, eyebrows furrowed slightly.

"I am. But my job is done now. I only need this man collected by the individuals who have paid me for his capture."

"That doesn't change the fact that this man has caused damages and disturbances to the town of Nuros under your watch..."

"Not my watch. I'm responsible for him now, now that I've captured him, beforehand, he was a fugitive acting in his own accord, and I detained him. I didn't bring him here, he came on his own."

"Okay, but-"

"So, now that he has been neutralized, he needs to be held until my employers collect him, otherwise he might escape and inflict damages and disturbances upon other towns, and we wouldn't want that now would we?"

V stood his ground, staring into the mustached man's eyes. He stood at 6 feet and about 4 inches, as compared to the sheriff's 5 and 11, so the Elf would likely appear quite imposing up close. The man twisted his mustache, eyes narrowed.

"You expect me to hold this fugitive, of which I've never seen, in my jail out if the kindness of my heart?"

"I can compensate you if that's what you're getting at."

"Say that was what I was getting at, how could I know you're good for it?"

V nodded, closing his eyes and inhaling, a somewhat pained smile on his face. It always came to this. It was a card he hated playing, but now he had no choice.

"Do you know who I am?"


V took a slow step back, jaw working as he stared the man down.

"You don't, do you?"

The sheriff shook his head.

"Okay, I'll bite, who are you?"

V spread his arms out arrogantly, "You are talking to Vistlend Blacksparrow, son of Oruvand Blacksparrow."

The sheriff's eyebrows raised, "that Blacksp-"

"Yes, that Blacksparrow. The same one who captured the terrorist who threatened the Kingdom of Verden, only to thwart an assassination attempt on high nobles of Aelmere the next week. A professional Mercenary, and I'm no different."

The sheriff stood, stunned into silence. The name Blacksparrow held weight, a highly capable mercenary liable any day of the week to be on business of greater gravity the goings-on of entire towns.

"I'm here on behalf of the Kingdom of Verden, this criminal is a threat to the common populace and therefore must be detained by any means. A few days and he'll be off your hands, and of course, I'm sure the Verden officials awaiting his detainment would be more than willing to compensate you handsomely for aiding in the capture such a dangerous element of chaos."

Slight exaggeration, but these simple townsfolk would be none the wiser. Letting out a grunt, the mage, turned to V and made a face.

"It's really not that seri-"

V grabbed the man, putting him in a tight chokehold.

"Silence, terrorist!" V turned to the sheriff," He is slippery and prone to make false statements. Close your ear to him, lest you be swayed into releasing him."

The sheriff nodded attentively, grabbing the man and calling over men to hoist him off.

"I'll get in contact with my employers. As I said before, within three or so days' time, they should have this man in their custody, just keep him alive, however barely, until then."

"HOWEVER BARELY!?" The mage shouted after V, before being dragged around a corner in what the Elf assumed was the direction of their jailhouse.

The sheriff looked toward V, a look of wonder on his face.

"You know, your father was pursuing criminals before I was born, and I've been here a while. And even though he could have taken any job, he only ever took the ones that involved protecting the innocent and pursuing the guilty. And boy was he good at it! They said he could end a life without blinking and especially if he-"

The man blathered on, apparently, he revered the Half-Elf as a child and thought him a legend due to his long life. And he truly was, everything "they" said about him was true...it was just that, he didn't need it told to him all of the time.

I know. I'm his son. I was sort of there, V wanted to say, but he didn't want to come off rude and instead waited for the man to finish before simply saying, "Yes. My father was...really something else."

It wasn't that he disliked his father, sure, maybe he could have spent less time teaching him to kill and more time actually bonding with him, but overall he wasn't a bad father. If anything, it was really only how much everyone talked about him that ticked V off. And how he never seemed to matter until he uttered his surname. Never the less, V's job was successful, he needed only to contact his employers now.

"Thank you for this, I'll remember the town of...Norrrre-N-Nuros? Nuros...for your...aid in this job. I have to go now, my employers are expecting word of my success."

With a wave, V was finally rid of that damn town, and free to handle business without prying eyes. And he wouldn't have to worry about hauling that mage all the way back to Verden, so that was a plus.

First was his employers, nobles from Verden, that much was the actual truth. Reaching into his bag, he pulled out a small stone, a little unassuming thing, but those knowledgeable would recognize it as a sending stone, a truly useful device that allowed the user to communicate with whoever possessed its twin counterpart. With nothing more than a squeeze and a thought, a signal was sent miles away. The sending stones allowed one message per day, after which it would be unusable until the next dawn.

'Job has been completed. Jrue Clauz awaits collection in the town of Nuros, west of Osilon.'

Nothing on the other end, until seconds later.

'Confirmed. Your payment awaits in the capitol of Verden.'

Great, now he'd have to back to Verden no matter what. But the job was still over, that much was good. Now he could turn his mind to other things. Namely...

V pulled the crossbow from his back to properly assess it, he'd only glanced at it before.

Looking it over, V winced. The prod of the bow had been cracked, not entirely, but the weapon was practically unusable now. He frowned, looking over the weapon for any other damages and clearing off the muck and grime it accumulated during his tumble. Feeling sorry for himself, V barely notice the glowing rune along the prod, though once he did he felt relief.

"That's right..."

This crossbow had over the years been enchanted over and over again. His father may well have invested half of the Blacksparrow fortune into that thing. As a result, a rune of mending had activated as soon as the weapon broke. He could see it now, strands and fibers of the ornate wood that had broken were glowing with arcane energy as they molded and bent back into shape. With time, it would be back to normal. A final sigh of relief left him, but not all was well. These enchantments operated on a magical charge, residual energy that was to lie dormant within the item until an enchantment need to fire, in which case it would draw on that energy to do whatever it was meant to do. In other words, without a charge, should the weapon break again, it would be doomed to stay that way until it was charged again. V felt he should be proactive, ensure the charge was full so that such an event would never come to pass.

Now, V had some affinity for magic, but he was no expert, and he'd require one to determine how close the charge was to empty and to recharge it at all. He himself had not the slightest idea, but he would need to find an enchanter of some sort. How would he do that...

He observed his surroundings, looking up toward the sun. Thinking of directions, he remembered, he was West of Osilon now, wasn't he? That meant if he moved East...

As far as he knew, Osilon was the closest town here, and hopefully a much bigger one, he could get some grub to fill his stomach, wet his lips, find somewhere to lay his head (he didn't want to camp outside as his father had on multiple occasions), and with any luck, though it seemed he was running short on it today, he might actually find an enchanter, or someone decently skilled in magic. At the least, someone might be able to point him in the right direction. V looked up at the sun, utilizing the tracking skills that had been taught to him long ago to orient himself.

"Okay...if that was is North...then East must be....This way."

V pointed into the trees, his intentions unbeknownst to anyone but himself.

"Welp, on the road again, I guess..."

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