He leaned himself on the branch of the tree, looking neither skillful nor tactful in his intentions. Certainly not stealthy or disguised, but they were dogs, and so, of course, that didn't matter. He leaned himself as much as he could without coming in danger of falling off and looked down at the dogs below. Damp with rainwater, but still barking away and showing off their teeth in snarls. Their wet fur made them appear smaller and less intimidating, but Secrat still had no intention in fighting them head-on. Though, his intentions were to maim them.
He sent his knife spinning out of his hands downward. It didn't build up the type of momentum that would cause for it to swish through the air, he was only about eight feet off the ground. It didn't take very long for it to hit its mark either. But it didn't puncture into one of the canines like he thought it would. It stabbed into the mud with a small sound and the dogs sniffed at it like they thought it was a slab of meat.
That didn't last long and soon after, they once again went back to barking at the thief with the same hatred and vivacity as before.
Secrat sighed. But didn't stop there and took another knife out, one strapped to his leg by a cheaply made piece of leather.
He held the knife in his hands. Completely indistinguishable from the last one. The members of The Red Flux usually had like fifty or sixty of them each, it was a bizarre and strange little tradition they had for themselves. Like his leather strap, it was also cheaply made. The knives usually had handles made from random, stolen supplies, but occasionally, they would just go all-out and steal knives. Copés' knives weren't like that though.
They had a certain niceness to them. A sentiment. Father Toucan Veras had been a blacksmith before dispatching off from wherever he was before the Flux, Secrat didn't ever ask about that. Toucan never really seemed eager to share his past with him, but at the very least, Secrat knew he had once been a blacksmith. Because of this, and because of how close Toucan had been with him, all of his knives were hand-made. They had the steel of a blade, and were ordinary knives, but a chunk of silver was encrusted into each of them. It wasn't a lot of silver. A very teensy amount, but it was visible enough on the black handles to show off the letters 'SC' on them.
Taking aim at one of the dogs, Copé chucked the knife at it, using enough force as he could without jeopardizing his aim. The knife sank into the side of the dog's rib-cage and sent it spiraling down on its side. A whelping sound came after and it didn't stop until a short while. The other dogs flinched some at the sight of the knife, but other-wise remained trying to scrape and crawl up the tree.
The animal wasn't dead but was starting to lose some blood. Copé was fine with that as a result. He saw no reason to kill any of the dogs, and while he felt nothing bad about killing them, it wasn't his objective. All he had to do was maim them bad enough so they couldn't offer him any trouble.
Alas, 'twas not to be, the thief soon came to discover as he felt around his body and discovered no more knives at his disposal. The fact actually surprised him some. But only a little. He couldn't remember a time when he was without a knife, but looking back, he couldn't remember a time when more chaos happened in such a small window of time. It was no wonder all his knives became misplaced.
That thought didn't stick with him for very long.
Or at least, his mind found priority elsewhere when he remembered the man was likely nearing by now. And with three dogs, and the advantage of not being caught up in a tree, chances are he would be able to win in a fight.
Copé looked around the tree. Looking around for some means of survival. His mind toyed with the thought of breaking off the smaller branch and reaching down and beating them over the head with it until they each lost consciousness. But that would take too long, and chances are that something like that wouldn't even work. The answer to his dilemma would be the simplest one. He knew that much, but that didn't really get him any closer to finding it.
He looked up the tree. The rain coming down, he was leery about climbing any further up it, but he didn't have much of a choice.
He stood to his feet on the branch, being careful not to slip or fall off. Hugging the tree like a child did their father's leg. Couldn't get his arms all of the way around it though. His fingers latched against the tree with all of their might, but there was no way for him to ascend up. The bark was wet and difficult for him to grab onto, and his knives were now down with the dogs. The surroundings didn't offer up too much assistance. If ascending the tree had been more of a possibility, he would have, then made way to one of its nearby brethren to hide until the man and his dogs left him. But that didn't seem like a viable option. The next tree-branch was a far distance. He'd have to leap a distance of at least four feet, not forgetting a vertical of about a yard. He dug his fingers into the wood of the tree.
This wasn't something he'd be able to climb his way out of. If he wouldn't have thrown his knives earlier, maybe it'd be a different story, however. No clean-cut way of escape, no lingering detail he was forgetting, there really was no other options for him to work with. His eyes followed droplets of rain on its way down and saw the dogs. The wounded one no longer moving. Dead. But that still left the other dogs to contend with, and Secrat knew it would be a matter of minutes before the man joined them. There was only one option for him.
And that was that, beggars for survival couldn't be chosen for survival, that's how Copé saw it. No part of him at all wanted to die. He liked himself too much.
And so, the thief stood at the top of the branch, his legs shaking awkwardly for a times as he tried to discover stability. As he found his comfort, he looked out at the far away branch, and a feeling of apprehension filled him. Butterflies in his stomach, but those butterflies wouldn't help him fly, and neither would apprehension.
He swallowed the lump in his throat and leaped out off of the branch and toward the one much higher.
And he missed.
It didn't matter how much momentum or oomph he could have had; it wasn't in his abilities to make that jump.
The fall was fast. The impact happened before Secrat even had the opportunity to realize he was falling. The fall was only about ten feet and wasn't fatal, and not only that, but nothing seemed to be broken. A shrub broke his fall and kept him from cracking any important bones.
Thorns plucked into his arms, however, and that was certainly from a pleasant feeling. Secrat didn't make any striking moves to free himself from the bush. The thorns drew blood on both of his arms, including the arm that had been splintered by a plank of wood not long ago, but he didn't move. He gritted through the pain and listened.
No rustling through the grass or fast movement. The dogs didn't acknowledge his absence. They thought he was still up in the tree! Copé almost wanted to laugh, but didn't, knowing even the faintest sound would likely have them on his tail.
He rested his head against the leafy pillow the bush provided and felt the rain dampen him. Moistened face. Wet hair. His eyes went out and saw green leaves, beyond that, he saw how much the sky had darkened. The water droplets coming down on his face became more and more abundant, and soon, he wasn't able to keep his eyes opened. He brought his hand to his face and wiped the rain away.
The barking stopped. Copé's ears pricked as he listened. Beyond the rain and the brewing sound of thunder, he could hear the black man's deep voice calling them off. By the time the voice traveled out from earshot, Secrat couldn't help but feel some disappointment and sadness feel inside of him.
A disappointment in man's cruelty.
All he had wanted was shelter from the rain.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)