@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.

With this specific story, it's worth noting that Felzur are arboreal - not tunnel dwellers.

A Spy Underground

...gnomes aware. Playing tattletale. Sending profits...profets..pro...

"Oh bloody fragging shock!" he grumbled, flicking the thin shard of charcoal onto the cavern floor. "A damned waste, writing. Leaves evidence. Too messy. Incriminating, that's what it is." Nodding agreement at this own words1, Mhauz tossed the strip of bark into his mouth, chewing eagerly. "Blech" he frowned, picking a splinter from between his fangs. "Elm. Never did like elm."

He dropped his head down a bit, peering upside down from the cavern ceiling; the hall was empty2, barely lit by the wall sconces paced along it's corridor. Grumbling his annoyance the felzur dug his nails into the yielding earth, crawling along the ceiling length as he made his escape.

"Go down the tunnels, Mhauz. See what the Gnomes are up to, Mhauz. Bloody well don't get claustrophobic, Mhauz. Oh, and don't mind the dirt while you're at it, Mhauz." It's not as if he had a choice. I mean, being a Felzur simply meant he was supposed to obey the V'lalek, right? Kind of a birth-caste thing. Stamped it on his birth certificate, they did: Thou shalt always obey the Vampires. All official and noble and all.

Of course, being a novice standing in the middle of a room of blood-sucking leeches3 sort of gives you a right-crystal-clear sense of duty and purpose. "Yessirs, right away sirs, and would you be needing your laundry done when's I get back?" is the usual correct answer. Anything else and you end up hanging from your hindclaws with your neck slit, saying something along the lines of "gurgle, gurgle" while someone beneath you prattles on about "what a good vintage" you are.

He froze, the sound of voices echoing down the tunnel at him. His eyes narrowed to slits as the female gnome, Calliope or something-like, wandered down the hall with a group of robe-wearing males flanking her. This could be his big chance! With one swift blow, he could strike fear into the hearts of the gnome populace and rid the world of this rabble-rousing troublemaker! He steeled himself; his fur bristled with anticipation as the gnome walked closer and closer, oblivious to the danger hanging from the earth above her head. Years of training came into focus as he slowly, ever so slowly, drew his favorite dagger4 from its sheath beneath his vest and waited, savoring the seconds as they ticked away.

His moment at hand he leaped, the dagger clutched tightly in both paws as he pushed from the cavern wall, using the added momentum to fuel his strength as the gnome's back came rushing up at him... ...and passed him by as he overshot his target by several feet, tumbling in an embarrasing heap past the surprised gnomes.

Realizing his error5 he sprang to his feet, brandishing his dagger menacingly at the Gnomes. "Back away, small ones, or taste the bite of my blade, Ember!" One of the Gnomes pulled out a pipe, tucking it into his mouth as he frowned. "Not much of a blade there, is it?" he chided.

Mhauz glared at him, then at the now-broken wooden blade he held in his hand. "Damn Troll merchant; it's enchanted, he says. Guaranteed to last, he says." Tossing aside the useless stake he smiled warmly at the gnomes, spreading his arms wide. "You're all busy, right? You look busy. We don't need to talk about this to anyNOW! ATTACK NOW! GET THEM NOW!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, his claws already extended as he flung himself at the ceiling to make good his escape...

1: since, after all, no one else was around to agree with him.
2: of gnomes, that is. Can't be empty, empty. It's a dirt tunnel; if you could walk five paces without stepping on something squirming, crawling, or wiggling, you've got pretty small feet. Like a gnome.
3: Not, of course, that Mhauz would EVER call the noble and righteous V'lalek leeches. I mean, so what if they both suck the blood right out of you? And no one really wants either of them hanging around too close? And the smell, ye gods, like worm rot...but nope. Not Mhauz. Too much respect, there.
4: A handy little tidbit about the felzur. Any dagger is a favorite dagger, as long as it's handy and not locked away in a chest at home or something. Then it's that "bloody useless dagger", or somesuch.
5:Funny how a busted rib, two broken claws and a rapidly-swelling lip will make you see the error of your ways, isn't it?


-fin-