Legal Theft Project: Disbelief, Teeth, and Dramatic Escapes

He pivoted left, letting the blade pass harmlessly a breath from his ribs, and felt their rage and terror pour into him. More palace guards were entering the courtyard to engage his small crew and their insane battle toward the sea wall. Felix couldn’t manage to laugh as he dodged another strike from the guards. Val had lost half of his stolen guard armor, which was great for identifying him, but possibly a detriment to his protection. Their friend the other guard was busy carrying the now unconscious Shadrian and unlocking things that should not be unlocked. How that person was doing so was not apparent to Felix.

Kate came up on his right and engaged the guards trying to kill Felix. “You know, paying attention and quipping annoyingly would come in handy right about now, Captain,” she said between strikes.

Felix blinked. “I… I’m out of practice.”

“Improvise!” Kate demanded as she disarmed a guard. She kicked the guard’s blade into Felix’s hand and returned to holding the line for the retreat. Felix grabbed the hilt out of habit, and parried mechanically. They weren’t going to make it. There was nothing around that he could use to … to change anything. Damnit, this wasn’t how his final chapter was supposed to go! “I ask again, what in the seven watery realms are the lot of you doing here, Kate?”

She shot him an ‘oh-heavens-not-this-again’ look and continued fighting. A blade got through her guard and nicked her cheek lightly. Felix didn’t know if it was luck or skill that it was so light.

“Seriously, this is your dramatic escape? Try to kidnap a wicked monarch and get murdered on the way to jump off a wall. Toward the sea? Even if we make it, we can’t swim that far.” Felix swatted a guard’s blade away, but wasn’t fast enough to quite avoid the graze to his arm.

“He still complaining?” Val called over the din. “Told you we should have shoved some whiskey down his throat. He’d be better off a tad soused.”

“He’d be a worse swordsman,” Kate called back. She surveyed the field and the crossbowmen setting up on the balconies. “Call Mel, we can’t wait any longer.”

“Works for me!” Val replied. He put his fingers between his teeth and let out a deafening whistle. Nothing happened for a couple beats of battle, then a dark shadow fell over the courtyard. The palace guards slowed their pursuit. The crossbowmen shot, but their bolts all shattered against the scales of the looming sea serpent whose head continued to rise over the sea wall. Holding onto the serpent’s crest for balance was Mel. Mel scanned the ground and spoke to the sea serpent, not that anyone on the ground could hear what she said. Kate stepped back from the conflict, grinning. “Okay everyone. We are going to go join our good friend Dakuwaquan, one of the seven lords of the seas, and as long as no one bothers us, we will leave your royal pain in the ass, right on that battlement. Got it?”

For his part, Dakuwaquan smiled. With teeth. Lots and lots of teeth. The palace guards retreated.

Val, Kate, Felix, and their new friend carrying the unconscious Shadrian all got up to the palace wall below the sea serpent’s head with no issue. At which point, Mel tossed down a rope and Val clambered up. Their new friend followed him up. Kate and Felix had a staring match to determine who would climb next. Felix lost to Kate’s unflinching gaze. While Felix was climbing, Kate leaned down and made sure the unconscious royal pain was secure. Then she patted his head and ascended the rope. Everyone was a little crowded, sea serpent heads were slippery and not intended for booted feet. However, they managed jaunty farewells and Mel whispered to Dakuwaquan.

The sea serpent rose a few more feet, taking himself off the wall and moved away. Slowly sinking into deeper water, until just his head and the people on it, were above the water. Felix watched the palace fade behind them and surveyed the sea serpent and the ocean as they swam further out into the sea.

“Mel,” he said mildly, “What in the stars did you offer our friend here?”

Mel looked up at her captain. “He had a craving for banana bread.”

Felix raised an eyebrow in disbelief.

Val nodded. “Mel made a loaf the size of a house. He ate the whole thing. Took an island’s worth of bananas.” Val continued tossing bits and pieces of palace guard armor into the sea. He ditched the gambeson too. He looked more like Val.

Felix looked over his friends, all stubbornly pleased with themselves. Except… “Hello friend, I’m Captain Felix Garret and I’m usually better at introductions during daring rescues, but I will admit I have never been the rescued before. A pleasure to meet you.” He bowed to the newest apparent addition to the band.

The armored figure waved. Felix looked to Kate who shook her head. “Nope, not enough time for that story.”

“Not in the slightest,” Val agreed.

Mel nodded emphatically.

The armored figure shrugged.

Dakuwaquan nodded in agreement. Those standing on his head all lunged for a hand hold on his crest. Everyone laughed.

“Alright everyone,” Kate said. “The sun is setting, the mood is right, please strike your successful daring rescue poses as we approach the ship and prepare for debarking.”

Val laughed and picked up Mel to sit on his shoulders. The armored figure balanced carefully so as to appear nonchalant and immovable. Kate adjusted her hand hold on the sea serpent’s crest and held out her other hand to Felix. “Captain?”

“Damn.” Felix grinned a bit of his old outrageous grin. “It’s good to be back.” He took Kate’s hand and turned to face the horizon. Dramatically.


I stole this first line from Kid. It got away from me a bit. See who else was dodging blades over here.

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Legal Theft Project: Coins, Confidence, and Kidnapping

“Heads I win, tails you lose, your choice.” Shadrian flipped an ancient coin between his fingers, smiling. Relaxed in his throne like chair and flanked by hulking guards, faceless in their full plate. Captain Felix knelt in front of his nemesis and glared, but it was a muted thing.

“What, Felix, aren’t you feeling lucky?”

“I was merely respecting your binary. Otherwise I choose the edge.”

Shadrian laughed. “Of course you would. Ever the contrarian. Well, let’s see if your luck still holds… I’ll enjoy the outcome either way.” Shadrian flipped the coin into the air. Felix watched it, hypnotized. He’d spent so much of his life chasing gold and ignoring the odds, it seemed fitting that the two together would be the end chapter for him. All luck runs out. Gold can’t go with you when you die. Edge over edge the coin turned.

Then an armor clad fist snatched it out of the air. Shadrian and Felix glanced in shock at the guard. “Okay guys, this is taking way too long. And I hate this get up.” The guard tossed the coin to his partner who caught it and tucked it away.

“What in the name of the four-”

“We’re foiling your evil plans.” A female voice interrupted, the woman herself strolled in through the side door to the audience chamber. “Coin never hits the ground, luck doesn’t matter, does it?”

Felix blinked at Kate, mouth slightly open. She walked over to her captain and neatly severed the ties on his wrists and ankles. Shadrian rose in protest before each of his guards placed a hand on his shoulder. The guard who had grabbed the coin removed his helmet. “That’s enough out of you, you overgrown pickle,” he told Shadrian, and placed the helmet on Shadrian’s head, muffling any further protests. Val shook his hair free and grinned at Felix. “You look like a fish.”

“You are going to get us all killed,” Felix said, throat dry. Kate and Val glared at him simultaneously.

“Big words from you, idiot,” Kate said. Val started to frog march Shadrian down the stairs with the help of the other guard.

“Come on Felix,” Kate continued. “We have to make a daring escape. Mel’s gonna be pissed if we’re late.”


I am a thief who held onto this first line for a long time. I stole from Kid, who left that wood gate open. Look here to see what everyone else wrote.

Legal Theft Project: Something That We’re Not

“So, after all that, You don’t care?”

Bastion looked at her, looked at the crowd of onlookers, at the hired band. Looked back at her. “Jen…” Bastion put a hand over his face for a moment. “Will you come over here? I don’t want to shout.”

“Bastion, anything you have to say to me can be said in public. I’m not ashamed of what I feel. Neither should you!”

Bastion took a deep breath and prepared to make an idiot of himself in public. Again. He drew on his high school theater training and projected his voice. Stopped. Held up a hand to the crowd as he began to mess with his phone.

“You know, you didn’t give me a way to respond appropriately to such an… epic… presentation. I’m gonna do my best here.”

The crowd cheered at him going along with the gimmick and Jen beamed at him, still in her glittery costume from the, well, broadway musical number that had just happened in the middle of the quad. However, Disney princess he was not. He shrugged, “Youtube ads, what can you do?” Then he pumped the volume on his phone and made a mini speaker and blasted “Something That We’re Not” karaoke by an alumni of disney. He had a good voice, and knew enough of the lyrics not to look incredibly stupid.

Jen turned red, then teary, then banished the tears with her fury. The crowd, now equal parts her friends, his friends, and passers by who found the whole thing hilarious, was too evenly matched to start something that wouldn’t end in a riot. Which would not be appropriate at noon on the front quad. Jen and her friends retreated to the art dorm as he finished singing and Bastion took himself off to his next class, shaking his head.

One of his friends walked up to him. “Dude, you have the worst luck with exes.”

“She’s not an ex. We didn’t date.”

His friend snorted. “You’ve had more beer dumped on you by angry chicks, than any other guy I know.”

Bastion laughed. “Fair. But I’m gonna count myself well off so long as none of them try to kill me.”


I stole this first line from Bek. Look around for other thieves!

Legal Theft Project: The Harlequin’s Day

He capered across the wall and those rising to start their tasks looked away from him. Some mornings he was more of a spectacle than others, yet everyone pretended not to notice. When he came to the corner of the wall, the man in a harlequin mask ceased his capering and draped himself into the crenelation. A thin knife flicked around his knuckles as he idled and watched the goings on in the square.

Time passed, and a merchant got into an altercation with a buyer. Voices raised, faces red, and blows imminent, until the harlequin dropped lazily from the wall and strolled by them. Knife sheathed, he tapped his fingers against the hilt. Silence followed him. He paused and tilted his head back at the arguers. The conversation resumed, much subdued.

So went the morning, the man wandered, and in his wake, people banded together. A woman and her daughter were tending their vegetable garden and they froze when he passed them by. The hand on his knife stopped tapping and he gave them a clumsy bow. The woman put an arm in front of her daughter, and shook her head at the man. He made a negative sign with his hand and stumbled back a few paces. He bowed more deeply and more sincerely, before turning and striding briskly away.

His steps brought him to the keep where a bearded man in fine clothes was talking with merchants. The harlequin man stayed within view, but at a distance, and leaned against the wall. Flipping his knife. Swish, flick, flash. Swish, flick, flash. The business was soon concluded and the bearded man nodded to him. The harlequin man fell in at his shoulder, a pace of so behind, and shadowed him through his walks and meetings. Close to dusk, the bearded man gave a quiet order. The man in the harlequin mask saluted him and jogged off into the dusk. For once, his knife was silent.


Some literary thieves have run off with this first line. See what they did with their capering gentlemen here.

Legal Theft Project: The Measure of Help

Kimball was dashing through the game room when he saw something odd. As he didn’t know what exactly what it was he saw, he doubled back to check and make sure he wasn’t hallucinating or something. Nope. His friend was still there, and still had… “You have something furry on your back.”

“Fuzzy. I have many fuzzy somethings on my back,” was the response from Rell. “Technically, in my hood, not on my back. Which is the reason I am not currently out patrolling.”

Kimball hooked his mask onto the loop on his belt and wandered over. He looked into the fabric nest and down at the four sleeping kittens nestled there in and let out the most sincere awwww. “They’re adorable. Are they okay? Are you taking them to a shelter? Are you adopting them? Were they the witnesses to a robbery?”

Rell was staying mostly still and looking through his phone. “Yes. No. No. And I have no idea. They were alone, cold, and I have no idea where to find the nearest no kill shelter, or animal rescue center.” He held up his hand as Kimball opened his mouth. “No we are not setting up a drive, we are not going as our masked personas to hand out kittens to random people. I will donate to the shelter, but I am …. I…” Rell trailed off and Kimball kicked back on his heels. Rell listened to the soft purr of contented kittens.

“I needed the reminder that I can save people without a mask, okay?” Rell said.

Kimball nodded slowly and perched on the arm of the couch. “I can get you a couple numbers. I’ve volunteered before.”

“You should still patrol.”

Kimball shrugged. “The others will cover it. You can’t fight the scale. Tonight, you need a friend, and kittens need a home. We can foil super villain plots another night.”

Rell handed his phone to Kimball. “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it.”

“I won’t- and if they ask you…”

Kimball grinned. “What?”

Rell shoved at him, gently so as not to disturb the kittens.

“We were patrolling, found some little stuff, took care of it. The End.” Kimball said and smiled.


I am a thief! I stole the line “You have something furry on your back.” and wrote a bit of fluff around it. Click on the line to see who else stole it what what other furry things were identified or misidentified.

Legal Theft Project: Lost in a Song

There were stories about her kind, stories old as islands and only slightly younger than the names of the stars. As she walked the shore, tide curling around her ankles, she sang. Pouring rippling waves of sound, draping the evening in an otherworldly cloth as her blue black dress clung to her sinuous curves. Stars began to dot the velvet dark of the sky and she made no attempt to disguise her nature. Her skin glinted with sharp edged scales, her teeth were too long and sharp in her aquiline face, and the perfect piercing notes she sang could never have come from a mortal throat.

In nearby villages and towns, doors closed, shutters latched, and parents made sure their children were safely inside. However no one felt the tug to go to the sea, for all the stories, there was no beckon in the siren’s voice, not that night. Hushed conversations around stoked fires wondered if she mourned, others said she was marking out a territory and hunts would begin in earnest later. Yet others posited that she was stood up by her love, her sisters had died, or she had been dealt a wrong by a man on the coast and she was calling him out in challenge.

None were correct, the siren herself barely knew why she’d come here, and why she was crying to the heavens. Unless for the sense of fruitless eternity that could sneak up on any immortal when you paid too much attention to time. So she wandered further and farther down the shore, the waves erasing her footsteps behind her.


I am a thief, a very greedy thief who held onto this line stolen from Gwen for a long time. Take a look at the other old stories here.

Legal Theft Project: Effects of a Frozen Heart

The last thread of humanity broke and he collapsed into the explosion of power. Not many people noticed the moment it happened. They only witnessed the aftermath of that last bit of warmth leaving his eyes. Inside, the cold expanded to fill his veins and it nearly sang with potential, now that the last limiter no longer applied. Outside, he walked calmly down the stairs to the meeting chamber. The dozen politicians and diplomats he’d been meeting with for the past three months, and debating the future of nations, rose as he entered. He walked to his place at the head of the table and stood in front of his chair. He waited. In a few moments the conversations stilled and all eyes turned to look at him. But the atmosphere in the room hadn’t shifted, the impatience, the self importance, and the combative spirit still bubbled around the edges. It would not do.

“We have been pushing around useless hot air for a quarter of a year. The only progress made has been minimal, pointless, and outside the scope of the work we announced we would be doing. The world does not have time for this speed of progress.” His clipped level voice had everyone’s attention. A few of the dignitaries who knew him a little better than the others had narrowed their eyes, trying to determine what had changed about him. He continued, hands clasped loosely at his waist, posture straight and formal, but not stiff. “In the next four hours we are going to change that. No one is going to like the document, but I no longer care about the posturing, bickering, and self entitlement from anyone in this room. We will create the treaty, and it will be binding.”

The silence hung for a moment before being broken by various expressions of disbelief. One of the more self involved dignitaries tried the door and found it locked. “What is the meaning of this?” the dignitary demanded.

The man at the front of the room sat down in his chair. “It means, dignitaries, that if in the next four hours you wish to leave with your heads still attached to your shoulders, we will come to an agreement.” He let the silence ring a minute. “Is that clear enough for you?” The slight uptick at the side of his mouth was not reassuring.

“I won’t stand for this madness.” One of the dignitaries in the room declared. “You are not my liege lord, and-”

The man at the head of the room turned to the side and said clearly, “Captain, fetch me my pistol. And have another brace standing by.” He turned back to the room to see the dignitary turning red and opening his mouth to bluster. Before he could blow out any hot air, the man continued, “If you impede the progress of this treaty for another minute, I will have you arrested. I am done with this circus.” He hadn’t raised his voice or risen from his chair and a number of the dignitaries were beginning to sink back into their seats, eyes stuck on him, but the cold in the man’s voice was finally dispensing their bluster and intransigence.

“If you insist on treating this conclave as a blustering posturing farce, then I will end it and emerge the victor. If you want to get work done, then cut the bullshit, put your cards on the table, and we can all negotiate from positions of honesty. Which is better for all of our nations, not to mention everyone’s personal health.” His eyes swept the table.  The last remaining blusterers sank into their seats and everyone looked at everyone else. Finally, one woman began to speak, laying out her country’s absolute necessities and possible concessions. Then another. Then another. And they all studiously ignored when the guard captain returned with the cold eyed man’s pistol.


I am a thief who stole this first line from Kid awhile back. Take a look at other explosions of power over here.

Legal Theft Project: Maligned Intentions

He was not an innocent man. He’d been chased through mountains, across oceans, and through deserts. He traveled the world and inevitably, somewhere, somehow, one judgmental sword-bearer or another ran into him and swore to end or apprehend. Perhaps they’d started a social club. One where they could practice swordplay and update his list of crimes. Perhaps they competed … no that couldn’t be right, they were all too sure they were on the righteous side of things. Of course… they were… but it would be nice if they might look up from their blind pursuit of justice and look into the shadows right behind him.

It would have so many benefits. They might realize there was more to the situation. They might take a spare moment to consider that it would have been rather difficult to pull off some of the crimes he was accused of, alone. They might, well, live a little longer.

Or they might decide that he was obviously a murderous zealot who’d struck a deal with an ancient evil to cover the earth in darkness.

Really, could no one imagine complications anymore?

Then again… he had woken up ancient evil. Not on purpose…. so… Not innocent, but he was doing his best.


I thieved this first line away from that diplomat with a machete

Legal Theft Project: Boulevard of Broken Hearts

He laughed around the panic clogging his throat, but his gun never wavered from its target. Said target, the bastard sprawled on the couch, and the target’s two standing companions ignored him and continued bickering. This lasted for a few moments. Finally he couldn’t take it.

“Are you all nuts?” He managed to spit out. “I’m the one with the gun!”

His former lover, the bastard, rolled his eyes and didn’t bother to get up. The woman gave him an incredulous look and pressed a hand to her temple. The other asshole turned around and plucked the gun right out of his hand.

“And now you aren’t,” the asshole said and smoothly disassembled the gun.

The former gunman blinked. “What, how?” His face began to crumple and the asshole turned back to the bastard and the woman.

“Seriously,” the asshole said to the bastard, “Could you try to break up with people in a way where they don’t want to murder you afterward?”

“What would be the fun in that?” he drawled. The smirk that accompanied the response chilled the former gunman but merely seemed to exasperate the other two.

“You do tend to break your toys,” the woman muttered. She stepped up to the former gunman. “He’s not worth you ruining your life over.” She ignored the bastards mild objection and took a breath. “He really isn’t. You really don’t want to get involved with all of us, we’re not good people, which you probably already knew, but you probably don’t realize exactly how bad.” She was looking at him with a minor amount of sympathy, and a whole lot of confidence.

“That asshole,” he said slowly, “disassembled my gun.”

“Yes he did,” the woman said.

“I was just going to threaten that bastard.” The gunman confessed.

“With a loaded gun?” the asshole said dryly.

“He would be able to tell!” The gunman replied.

The bastard shrugged his shoulders in agreement. The woman looked over her shoulder, “You two are not helping.”

They shook their heads at her.

“Okay look,” she said, turning back to the bewildered gunman. “You have two reasonable choices.” She took out a business card. “You can take this card, go to the address, tell them you’ve had your life ruined by a smug snake, and enjoy the ensuing evening of drinking and commiseration….Or…” Her smile was the best expression of a threat. “Those two gentlemen behind me are going to make you disappear. You fucked that one, so…. You should know I’m not kidding.”

The gunman took the card. As he stumbled down the steps out of the building, he came to the conclusion that, perhaps, he had just dodged a major bullet.


I am a thief. I stole this first line from a Kid who really should not be holding a gun. Click to see how well other people handled firearms.

Legal Theft Project: New Beginnings and Old Friends

The camp was busy with people getting ready for dinner. Newly minted teenagers shrieked and clamored in the early summer air. Hugs were exchanged, plans were plotted and improved, goals were boasted, and comebacks flew spark quick. It was a beautiful portrait of a beginning, vital and chaotic as only the young could be. Chase smiled as he looked out over the grounds of the camp, his camp.

It was the first step, the hopeful one, before the realities of finding one’s place in the world sank in. Kona, his dark furred hound, let out a breath. Chase scratched Kona’s head and chuckled. “I hope you and I don’t have to rescue too many of them this year.”

The hound gave him a skeptical look.

“I know. I know. One can hope.”

The hound chuffed and leaned against his leg. Chase had befriended Kona almost two decades ago on his own journey. Others had been looking for companions who would assist them in earning prestige, dream jobs, flashy skills, or practical purposes. Chase had been looking for a friend and managed to find some of the other benefits along the way. “Well, I’m glad you took a chance on a dumb boy who didn’t know better than to wander into the deep woods without a flashlight or basic camping supplies. And even gladder that you don’t mind helping him pay it forward.”

Kona stood and shook himself, then licked Chase’s hand. The hound turned, walked into Chase’s cabin and emerged with a thick handled brush. He wagged his tail happily. Chase grinned. “Alright. You deserve to shine tonight. Come here.” Chase knelt down and Kona brought him the brush, wiggling happily as Chase took to the serious business of pets and grooming. New beginnings could wait.


I stole this first line off a camp table