The most dangerous place in Jaon was the open stone court where the philosophers claimed their seats between the pillars. You could fit two philosophers and a pathway between the pillars, which made them just far enough apart to be a tricky jump. Bastion cursed whatever mutton-headed retired guardsman turned bureaucrat that had picked that distance and jumped to the next pillar. He looked down at the guards who were keeping him in sight as they threaded through the crowds and upset sprawling philosophers. He didn’t know what kind of opinions the architect held about the guards or criminals as there were benefits and drawbacks for both parties. Bastion leapt to the next pillar, drawing closer to the far end of the court. It ended in a narrow promenade that jutted out over the edge of the cliffs above the roaring sea. The crowd and the guards followed him in his dash hop across the pillar tops. Two of the more daring guardsmen climbed up a nearby pillar in an attempt to replicate his path. If they managed to catch him, Bastion was very curious how they planned to get him down. The wind whipped his messy blond hair and he cursed blue as he paused to swipe it out of his eyes. A crossbow bolt scorched the air in front of him. Standing still was such a lovely invitation for injury.
“Nice try.” he called out. “Improve your knowledge of the real. Limits only exist in your mind!”
One of the philosophers made a rude gesture in his direction. Another two snickered and waved at him. The crowd seemed confused. The guards ignored him. They were probably scowling. He had two pillars to the edge. He entertained a brief moment of doubt. It danced around in his head like one of those monkey street performers. It grinned at him and held up a skull for his consideration. And then the monkey was gone and the edge was in front of him and the crowd was an audible rush and crash echoing and overlaying the sea below. Off he vaulted, off the pillar and over the rail. Falling, falling, falling, through increasingly thick air, only to be grabbed and spun in a swirl of unnatural wind currents and a strong familiar grip.
“What the devil are you up to you daft skipjack?”
Bastion laughed. “I’m glad you know me so well, Captain. Otherwise I might have listened to the monkey.”
Bastion’s Captain steadied the wind he controlled and slowed their descent toward the sea. His eyes glowed as he manipulated his gift and Scotty kept a strong grip on him. “I don’t even want to know.” The Captain muttered. “Just tell me what you did.” He swirled the wind tightly beneath them and started an updraft that would take them back to the spectators on the promenade.
“I ended up in possession of a truly ugly work of art, became embroiled in the complicated legal situation surrounding said ugly art, and may have convinced the locals that I was a spirit of ill luck when one of such parties ended up struck by a bolt of lightning from the clear sky.”
“Remind me why I let you off the ship?”
“You enjoy a complicated life. Plus, someone has to compete with you for the title of greatest rapscallion.”
The lip was nearly in view now. “Are you willing to part with said incredibly ugly piece of art?”
“Of course, but they wouldn’t leave plain old me alone. You do pull off the dramatic and awe inspiring figure so much better. I think it’s the cape.”
“Curse your prating insolence,” the Captain said as he set them both down on the promenade in a dramatic swirl of wind. The crowd was hushed and silent. He kept hold of Bastion’s wrist as he addressed the crowd with a showman’s flair. He’d have them wrapped up in his story. Bastion would play the humbled and chastised minor spirit to his Captain’s lord, give the spirit back, and they would either stay for awhile basking in the power, or move on to bluer ports. He wouldn’t change a jump of it.