Clocktower.

A bit of fiction from 2012. Not the best and very loosely based on the world of a MMO that I played at the time. I scrubbed references for the game in my minor edits below. A few reworked passages, a few spelling errors, but the tale is largely as-written. I think I imagined a novella at the time, but probably got distracted. I have no firm memory of what the intent was aside from this bit of writing; however, it was labelled “Prelude”. Also, the larger piece was titled “Dancing the Ghost”.


Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Tock.

Lucretia flipped her cloak over her head. She knew that doing so would be largely ineffective, as the cloak was little more than a scrap of oiled cloth and provided very little in the way of disguise, but the largely symbolic act couldn’t hurt either. She risked peeking out between the folds of her cloak, hoping the small, furtive motion would not drawn any attention to the place where she hid.

Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Her pursuer burst into the room, a nervous ferret glancing around the unkempt room, seeking his prey. Lucretia started, almost revealing herself, as his fierce eyes fell upon the door she’d left ajar to check on who may follow. She forced herself to remain still, her only motion being to reach for the hilt of the dagger on her hip, her hand masked by the shadows, floating dust motes, and her upturned cloak.

Tock.

Tick.

Tock.

“Girly,” he said, as he looked closer at the crack. “C’mon out and play, Girly. Ol’, Berund was only kidding about beating the shit out of you. What’s a few coppers, lass, eh? Nothing to get angry about, right?”

He looked around the room, ear bent to the silence, waiting for an answer. Lucretia let out her breath silently. He’d not discovered her yet, there was still hope it wouldn’t come to blood. And if he intended to beat her, she didn’t plan to take the beating without extracting some blood in return.

Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Tock.

Something about the cubby door held his attention, though, and Berund started towards her, the air kicking up the thick dust of the room in its wake, but his roaming eyes belied his ignorance of her whereabouts. She gripped the dagger’s hilt tighter, knowing the sorry blade would only likely serve more to surprise more than injure her hunter, and she likewise hoped the surprise and pain would be enough for her to scramble away to the next hidey hole she could think of. Stupid, stupid, stupid, she scolded silently. It had been a dumb move to choose a hiding place without an exit, but she hadn’t had much choice.

Tick.

Berund’s hand reached for the edge of the the door.

Tock.

Lucretia tensed, readied herself to pounce, blade quietly slipping free of the sheath.

TIck.

And then… the din of metal upon metal descended on them both. cacophonous and painful. Berund quickly covered his ears and roared in pain as he stumbled to the door by which he’d entered this room, cursing at the noise filling the room.

It was noon in Ravenswatch and Lucretia had, in classic mockery of the phrase, been saved by the bell. Her cloak draped over her head did little to deaden the noise of the bell above, and neither did her hands after she had let the dagger slide back into it’s sheath and covered her ears — but she endured, hoping the disruption would give her a chance to escape to a better hiding place until Berund calmed down. Sure, it had been but a few coppers, but coppers all the same. Berund hated to lose even one, and she’d abandoned nineteen when the guard asked for her begging papers, which she’d not renewed for lack of funds. That alone would have been easy to hide, but for that damn Mouse who’d made sure to tell Berund about the coin she’d left behind. They’d been close once, but now he seemed determined to torment her.

She’d have to hide for several days before Berund’s demeanor would revert to merely perpetually surly. What had been lost was a full evening’s worth of drink, by Lucretia’s estimate. Until he’d gotten his alcohol levels back to normal, it was best to avoid Berund unless she wanted a broken arm, or worse.

She huddled there in the darkness of the shadows once the bells ceased…. watching….. waiting.

Tick.

Tock.

But Berund didn’t venture back, probably thinking she’d not survived the clamor with her senses intact and that’d be punishment enough; or he’d thought to look for her in less noisy places.

Tick.

Either way, Lucretia deemed it was safe after a spell and snuck out to find a spot to hide near the farms of Landenshire, perhaps the caves she’d explored when the city became too oppressive to her, as it had on more than one occasion.

Tock.

The sound of the clocktower counting away the seconds faded as she made her way to the main gate of the Watch. Yes, she told herself, she was overdue for a vacation. Staying the shadows on her way to the gate, she left her problems behind her, like an old shirt or a trinket, of which she’d grown weary. Lucretia kept her face hidden under the hood of her cloak, avoiding any attention from the guards as she slipped past the tall doors leading to the farmland beyond the city walls, unaware she was being watched from shadows darker than those she’d used to her advantage.


Mouse took note of where ol’ Lucky went, fairly certain of her final destination. When they were younger the two of them, along with some of the other guttersnipes, often went to the small cave just outside of the Watch to play monsters and warrior as break from the normal begging and petty theft that filled the rest of their lives. As they grew older, the guild expected them to contribute more to the common coffers, leaving scant time for puerile heroic games, but Mouse had watched Lucky follow the same worn path they had used to reach their childhood sanctuary more times than he cared to remember and it didn’t take many brain cells to figure out this was where she’d go again.

He followed her as far as Landenshire to be certain and, having convinced himself his assumptions were correct, he contemplated how much Berund might be willing to pay to learn this news. Considering he was still likely enraged about his lost coin, Berund would probably pay at least as much as he’d lost in exchange, possibly more. Worst case, Mouse would still be a couple of coppers richer and his prestige with the guild would increase.

Turning back towards the city din, Mouse smiled at his fortune. As far as he could see it, it was a win-win situation for everyone involved — everyone except for Lucky, and she ranked low in his hierarchy of the world. Collateral damage.

She shouldn’t have left him behind years ago.


© Michael Raven

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s