Chapter 15 of Lead Heart is up! I wanted to give her some fun before she was cramped into a stuffy airship, but she’s unfortunately pretty bad at decision-making. Please feel free to comment any suggestions
Leliana bounced around, flailing her hand in pain.
She loomed over the aggressor. Then bent down to try again.
The last hour, by her estimate, she’d spent trying to snap a stubborn glider wing back into place so she could play with it. So far, the only thing she’d managed was to snap herself repeatedly with the elastic band and, just now, punch herself in the eye. “Hnng!” She’d started initially stealthy and quiet, a shadow in the night. Something about giving yourself a black eye made it harder to care about being heard. The streets were quiet this time of night, naught but the occasional fight among the homeless or tavern-crawlers getting sick between the buildings.
She sat atop the highest building she could find in the dark fighting with her new toy. Well, one of them. Coincidentally the structure she’d chosen was an apartment, and at this point she almost hoped someone would show up to fight her, damn stealth and silence to the 9 hells!
“Hot steam in the jimmies!” She hopped enthusiastically as the wing snapped into place. “This thing is pretty cool.”
She waved it through the air a few times, watching the flexible metal arms sway and bend as the breeze caught the smooth material. A rope harness toward the back, metal handle and rope toward the top, and a metal frame around which the stretchy fabric-like wing itself slid into place – it seemed pretty straightforward to use.
The door to the rooftop thumped against the rope she’d used to lock it. “What the devil’s goin’ on out here?!”
“Whoa someone’s grumpy. Time to go!”
Leliana tucked the gear into the back of her new suit and hopped into the harness. She secured the fastenings, then remembered that the bit to hold her top half was currently irritating one of the locals. “Yeah, yeah, I’m coming already.”
“Eh? Who the blazes-.” He cut off as Leliana yanked the door open, hands on hips.
“Excuse me, can I help you?”
“Wha-? Help? Well I-I just…Now wait just a blasted minute I’ll do the questionin’ ’round here missy. What are you doing up here in the middle’a the night?” It was hard to make out any details against the small lantern swinging behind him, but she definitely caught the limp as he hobbled on a wooden leg in her direction.
She definitely wanted someone to beat up on a few minutes ago, but she was not fighting a guy with one leg. It’s not like she hadn’t already taken her share of killing for the night so this was probably for the best. No need to risk losing control. She secured the rope around her chest to the wing while the grumpy resident continued his rant about manners and rooftop criminals.
“Ye damn thieves wouldn’t need to use the rooftops if you’d any respect and common sense anymore. My day, we used to pick scraps off the caravans that hauled-”
“Thanks for the lesson dad. I gotta get going, you get back to bed okay!” Leliana teased lightheartedly, then sprinted at the edge of the building. The edge came up a lot faster than she’d anticipated, and suddenly she was taking the leap over the side. Did I tie this thing right? Wait how do I know this even still flies? How far is it to the ground? How do I stop?!
She was assaulted by dozens of questions it was too late for in span of a heartbeat. The next beat, she spotted a flickering candle at street level some 50 feet down. Everything else shrank away from that small light, making it zoom up and fill her vision as her own stomach fell out from under her at the same time.
Her breath caught at her lips, everything slowed for a split second.
“Holy sheeeeeeeeeeeeee” Leliana launched herself from the rooftop, letting the wings snap into place behind her. The wingtips whistled as she plummeted toward the streets. “Aaahhhh!” Screams of terror she didn’t know she could make -“YEAH!” changed to screams of exhilaration as she pulled the nose up, the rest of the wing following. She split the peak of a fountain in an instant, street-lanterns blurred past at a dizzying speed.
The same tavern patrons that were puking all over the city fell back as she whizzed by, but the normal residents took to screaming from their windows. She didn’t care, this was the most she’d felt her blood race in the last decade.
Suddenly, the wide streets turned sharply, narrowing into a few scattered alleys. She nicked a window, shattering the thin glass and snapping off the end off the wing. “Wait!” She didn’t want to stop already! She fought a wave of nausea and the whirling descent she’d gotten into simultaneously, all while the ground hurled itself at her. She flipped the unbroken wing down and let it spark against the stone road, bowing and bouncing and finally snapping – sending her sliding across the street. The reverberations jarred her to the bone before she remembered she was wearing a brand new, very expensive armored jumpsuit. She bucked into the air, landing on hands and feet before sliding to a hasty stop against a lamp post.
“Owww…” The pain flared up like she’d accidentally went swimming in fire. At least she didn’t need to come up with a story about all the blood now.
Cuts and scrapes dragged up and down hands and face as she detached herself from the mangled contraption. Her breath ran wild for a few minutes. That thing was. Amazing. The sting of the wind and rush of the blinding speed was intoxicating more than any ale she’d ever had. “I wonder if Jovi has any of these.”
She looked sadly at the wreckage. It’s probably just as well, she thought. There’s no question that I’d have thrown myself overboard at one point. This might actually make my doom less inevitable.
She trudged through the night, leaving the glider where it broke and a trail of blood to shock the residents in the morning.