[Vfw-times] Mk Winter Assault part 60 - The snatch

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Sun Nov 25 23:20:34 CST 2001


   Misha sipped water from his canteen and pondered what Daria had just told 
him. He didn't doubt what she had told said, the young woman would never lie 
about something this important. 

   "Are you sure of what Brenner said?" Finbar asked.

   She nodded. "Yes. Plus it makes sense with what Kyia has told us."

   "Moranasi," Misha muttered quietly.

   "What are they?" Danielle asked.

   "Evil," Misha answered coldly. "Something this world has been cursed with 
for far too long. Just as Raven works with the Lightbringers, others see fit 
to use Daedra."

   Danielle shivered. "Evil," she said simply.

   "You ever faced one in combat?" Daria asked Misha.

   "No," the fox answered. "But I've heard the stories. Dark stories, the 
type of things you whisper on a dark night to scare little children. A half 
circle was tracked down in my hometown and wiped out in my grandfather's day. 
A lot of people died."

   "We have to stop this," Finbar commented. "The Keep's shifting rooms and 
halls are our greatest advantage. Without that they'll pin us down and wipe 
us out."

   "That is their plan," Daria commented. "And a very good one."

   "Can they do it? Actually freeze the keep?" the pine marten queried. "How 
can anyone do that, freeze Kyia completely?"

   "They can do it all right. Sacrifice magic is foul, evil and very 
powerful," Misha explained.

   "Raven wants you to scout around and find as much information on the 
Moranasi as possible," Daria commented. "A prisoner could be of great help."

   "Agreed," Misha replied. "We need to pin down the exact limits of the 
frozen areas and determine their next target."

   "Won't be easy to find," Kershaw commented.

   "What type of preparation would be needed for such spell?" Misha asked 
looking at the woman.

   "Mostly manual labor, removing furniture, and any other debris from the 
area, then cleaning the walls and floor to remove any dirt. The area of the 
spell has to be clean. Setting up the various apparatus and equipment would 
take time, several hours at least."

   The fox didn't speak for a moment but just sat there. "These people won't 
be doing that work themselves. They have to have some trusted servant moving 
ahead preparing the next spell area. If we can find that one and snatch him 
we can get all sorts of good information."

   "But how do we find him?" Danielle asked.

   "That type of preparation requires a lot of labor," Misha commented.

   "And a lot of labor means a lot of laborers," Finbar added.

   "Slaves more likely," Jotham commented. "At least twenty or thirty."

   "We're bound to come across some sign of a group that large," Finbar said.

   Misha put his canteen away and motioned his group closer. "All right, 
first we'll head for the east gate, that's the closest and look around." He 
pointed at the woman. "Daria I want you to take a message to the other Long 
team. I'll tell you where their rally point is, we'll need both teams on 

   "Understood," was the woman's answer. "Then I'll get my team to searching 

   "One question Daria. How long do we have before the Moranasi complete 
their task?"

   She shrugged. "Hard to say, but Raven estimates one day, perhaps two."


   The Snatch

   Misha called a halt with a short wave of the hand. Instantly all five 
scouts behind him dropped to the pavement, looking in all directions for any 
trouble. Carefully Finbar moved next to his leader. "What's wrong?" the 
ferret signed with his hands.

   Misha responded by touching his left ear with his hand and then walking 
his fingers along the floor. "I hear someone walking up ahead."

   The ferret drew one of his knives and waved it in front of Misha. The fox 
responded with a shake if his head and held up both arms crossed at the 
wrists. Crossed like a prisoner's bound arms. 

   The ferret put his knife away and pulled out of his pocket a sock the end 
of the end of which was filled with sand. He would prefer to use his 
blackjack but in the confusion after Madog's warning he had simply forgotten 
to take it. So this would have to make do. The ferret moved forward past 
Misha without waiting for any other orders. No further orders were needed.

   Everyone in the Long Scouts had a special ability, something that set them 
apart from the rest. Kershaw was a great fighter, few could best him in open 
combat. Jotham was a great healer, not on the par with Brian Coe, but then 
again the raccoon couldn't sneak through a lutin camp without making a sound. 
Danielle was a superb tracker, and Caroline was unmatched as an archer. 
Finbar's area expertise was the snatch and the Hush Puppy. Right now Finbar 
was waiting to do a snatch. It was simple really, just sneak up on a person, 
knock them unconscious and drag them off without letting anyone else know it 
had happened.

   The corridor they were in turned abruptly up ahead and Finbar hugged the 
wall on the inside of the curve. Laying low to the floor he blended into the 
shadows that resided there. Anyone coming along and not being careful could 
easily miss him until it was too late.

   The sound of bare feet slapping against stone up ahead came to his ears. 
He heard only one set of feet, so the person was alone. The footfalls were 
light despite the runner's haste, which meant that they were small, most 
likely a child or perhaps an unarmored lutin. Who ever it was, they were 
running fast. Someone running was an easy mark, they were too busy running to 
be looking around for an ambush. Suddenly a figure rushed past in a swirl of 
pumping legs and tattered silk. Finbar jumped up and rushed up behind the 
person. Swinging the sock he cracked the hard, sand filled end against the 
back of his target's head. The person dropped to the ground like a dead body. 
The ferret grabbed the body under the arms and dragged it back to Misha and 
the other Longs. All told a nice, quick, clean, snatch.

   Swiftly the group moved to a small room they had found earlier and closed 
and barred the door behind them. Only then did they get a good look at 
Finbar's catch.

   It was a girl of barely twelve years old, dressed in the battered remnants 
of a fine dress. A quick splash of water brought the limp form back to life. 
Instantly she exploded into thrashing and screaming. It three of them to hold 
her down and stifle her yelling. There was a wild terrified look in her eyes 
as she thrashed her head around. Then she focused onto the furry snout of 
Danielle and her whole body went limp. She was among fellow keepers, not 

   "Are you all right?" Misha asked.

   The girl nodded slowly. "I am now." She reached out and grasped Misha in a 
tight hug that knocked the wind out of the fox.

   "What's your name?" Finbar asked after they had pried to girl off of their 

   "Sarah," came the timid answer.

  "How long have you been running around the Keep Sarah?" Jotham asked.

   She shook her head. "I don't know. I was headed home with Mom and Dad. We 
had been visiting uncle Karl when these Lutins came out of nowhere," she 
whispered in frightened awe. "We were dragged off and made to clean rooms and 
set up all sorts of strange things. When we were moving a big coach I slipped 
away from the group. The guards didn't see me."

   "Why did the Lutins make you clean rooms? They've never been big on 
cleanliness," Misha asked.

   "Lutins didn't make us do that," Sarah answered. "Lutins were only 
interested in eating and staying warm. Lutins gave us to some humans. The 
humans made us clean."

   "What did these people look like?" Misha asked as he passed the girl his 

   "Most were dressed like soldiers," Sarah said after taking a long swallow 
of water.

   "Mercenaries most likely," Finbar said, interrupting the girl.

   "They took orders from a woman," Sarah said continuing her speech. "She 
was different from the soldiers. She was dressed in really nice furs and had 
gold rings and necklaces."

   "Was she wearing a gold collar?" Georgette asked. "One with a gold chain 

   "Yes," Sarah answered. "How did you know?"

   "That's a slave collar, for a very important slave." Georgette commented.

   "Did you ever see her talk to someone else?" Misha asked.

   "Once. I saw her talking to a man and a woman both dressed in black and 

   "Were there four others dressed the same nearby?" Misha asked quietly.

   Sarah nodded. "She was bowing and kissing the man's feet over and over 

   "Did she call him anything? Any name or title?" the fox pressed.

   The girl as silent for a moment before answering, "She called him 
Morinase, or something like that."

   "Moranasi?" Finbar asked.

   "Yes! That was the word."

   "Do you know where they are right now?" Misha asked.

   "No, right after that the slave woman took us to another room, and they 
stayed behind."

   "All we can do is find them, then go for help," Misha said. "We don't have 
the power to take on a group that powerful all by ourselves. Definitely going 
to need Raven, Rickkter and anyone else we can get to kill those mages."

   "First we have to find them," Kershaw finished.

   "If we can't find the mages, I'm sure their slave can tell us where to 
find them," Finbar commented.

   "Good point," Misha noted. He turned to the girl who was chewing on a 
piece of bread that someone had given her. "Can you lead us to that slave?"


  End part 60
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