@Copyright E. Charles Tucker, all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of the author.

This was written during my stint with the online RPG, Illusia. I'd played a number of characters, but one in particular became near and dear to me: a Felzur thief.

Some background: the game world centered around two alliances, light and dark, one led by the "goodly" humans and the other led by the "evil" V'lalek, or Vampire race. The Felzur were aligned with the V'lalek race, and were master spies, thieves and assassins.

My character, however, thought himself more skilled than he was capable of. I chose to play the character as a condescending, sarcastic, self-serving thief who was always searching for his next big opportunity. Unlike the Minotaur Chronicles I'd written, Mhauztales were meant to be humorous with obvious nods to Terry Pratchett's style.

It's worth noting that Felzur are arboreal - not tunnel dwellers.

Opportunity Strikes

"...buggered little rabbits! Wormholes, that's what they live in. Wormholes!"

The young Felzur angrilly brushed a smear of dirt from his vest, grumbling over his time in the Gnomish tunnels. His mission a success1, he'd travelled the distance from the HAR lands by skirting the forests, barely avoiding the Elvar and Centauri patrols that stumbled their way through the woods.

His ear twitched reflexively, a sound causing the furred spy to freeze in place. "Halloo?" he whispered, noticing the sudden silence of the forest around him. Rather than wait for a response he scrambled up the nearest tree, wrapping his dark green cloak around him as camoflage.

And none too soon, it seemed; a humanoid blur streaked underneath, leaving a flurry of leaves and broken brush in it's wake. Mhauz grinned, recognizing the reckless movements of a certain humanoid leech. "Always said you moved like a four-legged Ogre" he chuckled, launching himself into the air and landing nimbly onto an adjacent tree limb. A rush of air overhead caught his attention; he jerked his head upwards towards the sound, cringing as he caught sight of a winged figure chasing after the neonate V'lalek. His eyes gleamed; something interesting was happening, and here he was - Mhauz - the only potential witness to it! His mind racing at the possibilities he streaked through the treetops, chasing the two VAR as quickly, and silently, as possible.

The Felzur stopped in a well-concealed treetop, watching as the vampire Nekbiter stopped within the clearing to dance a circle, sprinkling blood on the grass around. His eyes widened as Nek vanished, just as the winged one thundered to the ground. "Nice trick" he muttered under his breath. "Bet someone will pay heavily to learn that one."

He hugged the tree tighter as the battle began beneath him; his fingers itched to have a hand in the outcome! Suddenly the tree shook violently, Nekbiter's body sending splinters flying to the ground. The Cherub reached for the young V'lalek...and in that second, the Felzur saw his great opportunity!

His hand slid under his belt, smoothly drawing the dagger Frost from its sheath; the winged demon was directly beneath him, unaware of his presence, with his back turned! Attack his friend, would he? Come into his forest2, would he? Now he'll see the skill and cunning of the Felzur! This wouldn't be like the attack in the Gnome tunnels, no sir! Gnomes were tiny, miniscule targets - no one could blame him for misjudging his leap! No, this fallen one, this Cherubim...there was no way he could miss! Why, the very size of him, he was massive! Huge, even!

Mhauz paused for a moment, using the dagger to pick at a fang as he reconsidered the situation. The Cherub was pretty big, and although Frost was his very most favorite dagger, it was pretty damned small. Winged bastich is pretty muscular too; and his temper! Nekbiter, on the other hand...I mean, what's one more leech gone? He's already dead, right? As for being friends3, that's such a strong word. Passing acquaintance, that's what he is.

He grimaced at the sound of bones breaking, the sound rattling him from his reverie. Mhauz considered leaving with the information in hand....that is, until he spotted the discarded daggers the winged creature oh-so-casually dropped aside.

The Felzur glanced down at the crumpled body below; Nekbiter was down, but still twitching with a spark (drop?) of life. "Sorry, but it's every sentient for himself" he grinned, digging a finger into his pouch and removing a spool of Centauri hair-string. The thief hooked a claw into the trunk of the tree, scraping under the bark and removing a thick glob of sap. He quickly molded the gum around a fishhook from the folds of his cloak, attaching the tiny metal strip to his string.

"Round and round and round she goes..." he thought to himself, swinging the makeshift grapple in a tiny, fast loop before hurling it out into the middle of the clearing - and landing just aside one of the discarded daggers dropped by the wounded Fallen One.

He fought down a yelp of excitement as he began respooling the string, slowly drawing the gum-encrusted hook closer to the dagger's hilt. With a quick jerk he secured the fishhook against the quillon of the hilt and pulled, silently bringing his prize up the tree.

Mhauz smiled in triumph, twirling the blood-encrusted blade in his nimble fingers. What price, he mused, would a blood-mage pay to possess the blood of a fallen Cherubim? With a silent salute to the broken V'lalek below he leapt through the trees, visions of wealth and power guiding him on his way.

1After all, success is measured by the ability to breathe afterwards. And as the Felzur ancients once said, "Are you dead? No? *WHAP!* Then shut your trap and quit bellyaching!"
2Felzur are as bad as Elves when it comes to forestry ownership rights (just not as anal about protecting it.) The best recorded example of this was the Great Termite Campaign started by the Felzur against the Elvar woodlands in 1118.
3Friends (frendz): a humourous concept perpetuated by the HAR races that require such mythological ideals as loyalty, love, and truth. See also: stupidity, weakness, Elvar.
- Wibstar's Felzur Dictionary, Vol. XVI