Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by Jack Goodchild
"

Clarisa Wickes awaits the results of her final test - if she passes, she becomes one of many Snatchers operating in the Kingdom of Syakus.

"

Chapter One


The office was a simple affair. A desk in the center, two chairs, one either side. The walls were drab, and the book shelf behind the desk was poorly organised. Tomes were jumbled alongside reageants and other magical ingredients. There was a stream outside, taunting the girl that sat in the chair faci ng the bookshelf. The room had no windows, and she could kill for some fresh air.

Clarisa drummed her fingers on her knee, letting out a sigh of frustration as she sat alone in the room. She was awaiting the results of her final test. After this, she would have passed everything, and proven herself to be a worthy enough Snatcher to join the others. The Organisation was always looking for the newest, brightest talent.

"Sorry if I bored you."

The gruff voice threw Clarisa somewhat, previously drowning in the sounds of the stream and very little else. The hairs on the back of her head stood up as nerves began to creep up on her.

"Not at all," she said, "I was just admiring your book collection again."

"It's nothing too impressive."

She knew it was a waste of time trying to compliment the instructor as he paced his way towards his chair. He placed his hands together, looking her dead in the eyes.

"Do you think you've passed?"

"I'd like to think so, yes."

"Well," he said, holding his breath momentarily, "you won't have to report to me any longer. Congratulations, Clarisa. Welcome to The Organisation."

Clarisa struggled to find an appropriate response for a moment, ending with an exhalation and a noise combining to make a rather awkward expression. She blushed, but couldn't stop herself from smiling. She was a Snatcher, and soon she would be eating in the halls of Kings, whilst simultaneously stealing the rings from their fingers.

"I would suggest you go and celebrate," he continued, "but the Master has requested your presence at six, sharp. You'll be there, correct?"

The Master was the head of The Organisation, and one of the most dangerous men alive. Nobody knew his true identity, or, at least, treason faced any who dared to utter it. To think that she would miss a meeting with him!

"Yes, I'll be there. Did you know what he wanted with me?"

"He mentioned that he's found you a tutor. He never usually bothers himself unless it's important. He seems to have something in mind for you."

He smiled. It seemed, for just a moment, that the instructor was proud of her, but she knew better. He snapped his expression back a few moments later, a frown retaking his face.

"So don't be late!"

"Don't be late," she replied, "Got it. Can I return to my quarters and prepare myself?"

"You're a snatcher now, Clarisa. Do what you please."

Clarisa nodded, pulling her body up from the chair and looking down at the seated man. He seemed so small now, like the novice inside of her had been stripped away. She felt strong. Confident. So much a title could provide that mere skill could not. She smiled.

"Thank you, sir. I'm sure we'll meet again."

He seemed taken aback, but simply shook his head. "I hope so too, Clarisa."

"Bye, Archimas."

With that, she was gone. She pushed the door away from her, and walked into the equally depressing hallways. She would have to get used to it, as these paths would become her home from now. She turned left, heading towards the novice quarters, and what few belongings she had.

The Organisation housed itself in the various ruins on the outskirts of the Syakin City. The entire kingdom of Syakus was built on the ruins of an old empire, their borders marked by degrading walls and their city built on the old remains of the Capital. The ruins extended far into the mountains that the city was built on; the majority of the Organisation complex was underground, in weaving tunnels and renovated halls hidden to the outside world.

Clarisa took another left, walking past a couple of novices muttering about another student. Clarisa felt taller, stronger in front of them. She was now nineteen. It had taken a full year of proper training and testing to become a Snatcher, but the many years of study beforehand, specializing in a certain niché for the group, took up the majority of her teenage years.

Clarisa herself was tall, ranging near six feet, with blonde, shoulder length hair and blue eyes. Freckles were littered over her nose, which was long and slender. Her mouth seemed to be upturned into a natural smile, something she attempted to surpress when trying to intimidate.

She took a right, finally arriving in the hall her quarters were located. Wandering across the empty dinner court, she opened a door and pushed into her small room. It was a tiny box in comparison to the office she had just been in, but for the past six years, it had served as home. A comfy bed, with plump feathered pillows and a soft mattress dominated the left-hand side of it, and on the right was a desk and a wardrobe. On the wall was a weapon rack. Novices were only allowed one weapon of their choice, but soon her arsenal would be expanding.

Clarisa began to pack her things. She didn't have much; a picture of home, and family; a couple of drawings she was proud of; a bedroll and some basic supplies. She reached up to her weapon rack, taking down her rusty sword and sighing lightly, sliding it into the sheath attached to her belt.

She had specialised in two schools whilst she was studying. Entry and Exit, a specified course for lockpicking, evasive maneuvers and stealth, and magical studies complimented her natural agility quite well. She had specialised further into illusion magic. She could make herself invisible, appear as something other than herself, and even trick others. Few had the ability to use magic, but those who did often studied quite extensively in that field. Weapons training and agility training were both mandatory. She was what the Organisation termed an "Illusionary Snatcher". She didn't like the title, preferring the single world.

"Off so soon?"

Clarisa blinked, turning around and looking at the younger face of Jarig.

"Oh, Jarig, it's you. You snuck up on me! You're getting better every day."

"I know, I know. Hold the applause." he smirked, looking her up and down. "So, you passed? Congrats."

"Yeah, cheers. I've been called to see The Master, which is why I'm in a hurry. I was hoping to get a drink with everyone before I left."

"Not everyone is so lucky." he said, smiling.

Clarisa slung her now-packed bag over her shoulder, looking the boy up and down. He was seventeen, a mop of unruly black hair often pushed behind his ears and out of the way. He had brown eyes, and an indominable grin. She stepped forwards in one, fluid motion, squeezing him tightly in a hug. "I'm going to miss you, Jarig. I promise I'll visit."

"I know you will."

He squeezed back, and for a brief moment, everything went still. Then, they were apart again. Jarig stepped aside, and Clarisa walked through the door, saying goodbye to her old world forever. It would take a long time for her to return.



The Master's chambers sat deep in the mountains, past many of the other buildings she had been too. It was starting to get cold in the winding tunnels when she finally came across his door. It was large, made of old oak and trimmed with bronze. She clenched her fist, knocking on the door a few times.

"Come in!"

Clarisa pushed at the door, but it wouldn't budge. She pushed again, with more force, and finally the door shifted, latched onto something in the frame. She flew forwards, stumbling into the room. She instantly corrected herself, standing up straight, trying her hardest not to blush and failing.

"Quite an entrance."

Clarisa looked up, glaring at the man who had made the comment. A young Snatcher, perhaps in his only twenties, was leaning against the wall with his arms folded. He had a smirk drawn across his face and his left eyebrow raised, bemused. When she looked to him, his smirk exploded into a grin which dominated his face.

"Enough, Aric. She must be flustered enough. Congratulations are in order, I believe, Miss Wickes!"

This voice came from the elderly man behind the desk in the center of the room. She looked to him, and then, realising who it was, let out a gasp.

"T-thank you, Master." She bowed lowly for him, but he tutted, tapping his fingers on the wood.

"No, none of that," he said, "I hate it when people do that. Greg'or still salutes me. Drives me insane!" He chuckled, a noise that Clarisa never would have expected to hear from the Master of the Snatchers. She shook her head slightly, smiling.

"Sorry, Master," she said, "I didn't mean to annoy you."

"No, no," he replied, "I just don't like all this formal rubbish."

She looked around at the mix of different shapes and sizes standing to one side of the room. They were surely a mix, but one stood a step in front of the others. He had grey stubble, eyes that matched the same colour and aged skin; he was presumably the second oldest in the room. As she thought about this, he cleared his throat, looking to the Master;

"Do you mind if I introduce ourselves, Master?"

"No, not at all."

Clarisa turned to look at the group, bowing her head lightly towards the man. Behind him stood five individuals of varying heights; the boy who had spoken before, who she presumed was called 'Aric', continued to lean against the wall he was on earlier. To the side of him, and a step closer was a man who could be no longer than four feet tall. He had a hood wrapped around his head, but the bushy beard spouting from his jaw instantly highlighted his race - he was a dwarf.

A tall woman, nearing six and a half feet, Clarisa reckoned, was clearly a hunter from the Howling Woods, fierce mountain lands that only the hardiest of adventurers could survive in. She was also draped in a hooded cloak, matching that of the dwarf. A small boy stood in front of her, only a tad taller than the dwarf. He wore the hood as well, had blue eyes and a wobbling mouth, hinting at how nervous he really was. His legs were shaking, his fists clenched. He was a year or two younger than her, Clarisa discerned.

It was then that she noticed the woman standing to the back of the group. She instantly caught Clarisa's attention, for she had never seen someone quite so stunningly graceful. She was tall, close to six feet, and green all over; her skin made up of smooth leaves and greenery and her hair formed of vines and roots that wrapped down around her head. Gleaming amber eyes watched out across to her, and she was momentarily transfixed to the spot, unable to focus.

She was one of the Faeborn, a race only heard of in legend; it was said that those who saw one were blessed with a beautiful view many thousands had not, and Clarisa felt that way now.

The man in front smiled at her, shaking her gaze back towards him. "Paying attention?"

She nodded, scratching her cheek and attempting to focus. He continued.

"The Master and I have gathered all of you for a reason," he said, pausing as he took another step forward. He began to pace, walking between Clarisa, the Master and the other group and looking at them all. "You've all been chosen because you're experts in your field, and we need the best Snatchers for the job."

"What are we snatching?" Aric said, leaning forwards.

"Let the man finish," the dwarf uttered in reply, his gravelly voice scratching against the insides of Clarisa's ears.

"Thank you, Greg'or," the speaking man said, before starting up again, "My name is Thall, and I will be leading this operation, wherever it may lead. We have a target, you all have individual goals, and we begin in three days. You will meet in my quarters in the city tomorrow evening for a detailed briefing."

Clarisa nodded, along with a majority of the group. The faeborn remained silent, simply folding her arms, closing her eyes and nodding once. They mumbled in approval and began to kick off from their positions, but a throat being cleared stopped them dead in their tracks. Only the Faeborn didn't return to her natural position. The Master was about to speak.

"This mission may be the last I oversee," he said, not waiting for any permission to begin, "I expect this to be performed with utmost professionalism. This will reflect on me, The Organisation, and all of you. Do not fail me."

"Yes, Master," they all replied, without fail.

"You are dismissed. Good luck, Snatchers."

With that, Clarisa turned to leave, opening the door and holding it briefly open for the next person to pass; the Faeborn slipped through the door and past her in a heartbeat, the smell of her causing Clarisa to go fuzzy. It smelt like blossoms.

Tomorrow evening, their plan would begin. 






© 2014 Jack Goodchild


Author's Note

Jack Goodchild
This chapter is meant to introduce the character, some of her thought processes and her skills, as well as begin to hint at some of the other characters. They will be introduced at the meeting mentioned in the chapter. I hope you all enjoy, and feedback is greatly appreciated!

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Added on December 1, 2014
Last Updated on December 1, 2014
Tags: fantasy, adventure, heist, moon, thief, war, snatcher, Clarisa, Wickes


Author

Jack Goodchild
Jack Goodchild

Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom



About
Hey all! I'm Jack, a Creative and Professional Writing student at Canterbury Christchurch University. I'm an avid video gamer, reader and film-consumer, and enjoy fantasy, sci-fi and thriller genres... more..

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