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



Dyado came to me two months later and I threw an urn at his head. I missed of course, but the smash as it shattered against the wall satisfied me. He waited, watching as I hefted a glass bowl. The smoothness of the glass cooled my blood and I set it back down on the scuffed wood table. I sank onto the bench and leaned my back against the table edge.

“What do you want?” It was too much to hope for a flinch.

Dyado drifted forward and I rolled my eyes. “I don’t want to be reasonable, Dyado. You should know that by know.”

He locked my gaze with his, grey today. I blinked first.

“I was hoping you would have changed your mind.”

Like boulders into a cauldron of lava, the smooth, damningly reasonable words sent me back to boiling. “No, and I never will.”

He sighed, but his disappointment washed off the shield of my anger. He’d have to try something new this time. “You don’t like that we interfered in what you see as your personal life.”

“You make decisions, Mom makes decisions, when do I get to make decisions. I stopped running my head into table corners two decades ago. In this case, you have no right,” I sat up straight and clenched my fingers around the rough edge of the dining bench. “No right what so ever. I’m not a clueless pawn, Dyado. And after what Mom pulled, what made you think I would simply fall into this plan?”

“Because it makes sense, Sophia.” He crossed to the end of the bench, and sat down, making me turn to face him. I regretted not standing when I had the chance. Now we had to converse like reasonable people.

“Good options are limited.” Dyado caught my eyes with his again. “No one wants to return to the old ways and you have the ability to ensure that.”

“I also have the ability to start more wars than mother ever did and with a far better reason.”

It was the wrong thing to say.

“But you haven’t.” Dyado said and I was impressed yet again by how well he hid the triumph of scoring a point. “You like peace, Sophia.”

“And you like everything to go your way. You lie.” I reached out to the bowl, running my hand around the rim. “There are more ways to peace than yours. This is just the option that gives you the most control.” I shook my head. “I can’t see ten moves forward. I just know this move offends me on every possible level.” Either I’d managed to shock my grandfather, or he was trying to figure out how to fit a stubborn granddaughter into one of his grand designs. He rose after a minute. “Good afternoon, Sophia.”

I watched him leave. The following Friday, I packed my bag and escaped. Escaped from family pressures, escaped from decisions, and just removed myself from the equation. I knew I couldn’t run forever – my family could always find me if they wanted, but for one week I was going to breath, forget destiny, forget being wise, forget family, forget everything except breathing and running and the feel of the wind rushing through my finger tips.