Story in the Style of Terry Pratchett
The illustrious and well-renowned city of Illann scintillated with a set of luminous lights lifting the spirits of its citizens. On the night that this tale begins, various projectiles and fireworks burst into the darkness and illuminated the sky, while the pyrotechnics scattered in the air like a thousand dancers prancing with the wind; each one perfectly choreographed with the sounds of the soothing music behind the sound of large bangs in the sky.
The Festival of Thieves was the grandest of the Grand Traditions; of which there were three in total, and the celebration was about the same importance to the world of Mondus as the atom carbon was to human existence.
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As coincidental as it may sound, this story begins on the exact same jovial night as the two thousand year old convention that was the Festival. Arguably even more ironic was that this particular Festival, where the story begins, was the two thousandth of it’s kind.
The city of Illann was located right between the Sister Citiesï¿½. It was an industrial and mechanical city, which thrived with nightlife, high-rising buildings, neon lights and corruption. Most of the city was exuberant with gambling, streetwalkers, mass transgressions and, most predominantly, thievery. Needless to say it was never a renowned apathetic or a lethargic community, but rather it was vigorous and keen. Although citizens from the far calmer Sister Cities would claim the “thugs of Illann”, as they were considerately named, were a little too keen for their liking.
The people of Illann were all finely dressed for such a grand occasion, but each of them was looking on intently for an unsuspecting victim to steal from. Although it could be argued that everyone suspected everybody else on that night. Everyone in Illann on this night was a thief. It indeed ended up like the most unorthodox game of hot potato anyone could ever imagine: a watch would start on someone’s wrist, have it stolen, who in turn has it stolen, who then follows the trend by having it stolen. The extremely fortunate of people would end up stealing back whatever has been stolen from them, however such a thing was awfully rare, and you would probably end up replacing your expensive diamond-encrusted with a significantly cheaper plastic version. It all depended on how good your thievery and pick-pocketing was.
The shadows of the night’s sky couldn’t engulf the city, except for the darkest corners of Illann, but rather the fiery orange and yellow lights lit up the city, giving a warmer atmosphere, despite being on the fourth season of the year. It should probably be noted that there were six seasons on the world of Mondus, due to the distance from the sun, and the odd rotation of the world on it’s axis. Due to the uniqueness of the world’s axis, the seasons went in order of heat, with the first season being the warmest, and the final being the coldest.
A bustling man scurried through the hordes of thieves cramming the cobbled streets of Illann as fast his little legs would carry his portly body. Stubby fingers were crammed into the pockets of his shabby grey trousers, as they grasped onto his wallet
ï¿½ The term Sister Cities was controversially named such by Cardone the Conquerer, who famously forgot to carry a one, while doing long division during the process of measuring the sizes of the three cities. And thus, he claimed boastfully that Illann was the larger and more dominant of the three. Years after Cardone’s Theorem was discredited, the title of Sister Cities, also referred to as Rosemary and Flagran, was maintained as a constant reminder to all mathematicians to not try long division without showing their working out
and personal belongings. His attire wouldn’t have looked out of place in an orphanage or a homeless shelter.
The hasty fellow who squirmed through the crowds was a rat-like person, with a scrunched up face, a large hooked nose and a set of crooked and yellowing teeth. Iggy, as his mistress called him, was a cowardly sort of man who feared large cities, so it’s blatant to see just how much he despised this night but he knew of the important errand his mistress had requested.
Iggy began to walk hurriedly towards his destination: the third valley of the fifth street of the Western district of Illann was where his mistress ordered him to meet on this momentous night. The mission was simple: get the item to his mistress, receive your pay, allow the mistress to execute whatever devious plan he had and celebrate their victory together.
The hustle and bustle of Illann didn’t deter Iggy from his task. He approached the third valley and crept like a rat into the putrid corners of the city. Immediately he saw the cloaked, thin figure of his mistress. Their face was masked by a triangular bib which balanced on the edge of his nose, and concealed everything beneath his eyes. A bandana cloaked everything above their eyebrows, and the rest of the black clothing meant that simply the eyes were visible even in daylight so, in the deepened darkness of the valley, only the gleam from their pupils and the outline of their body was noticeable.
“Iggy, you’re late.”
“Many apologies, Lady Latona,” squeeked Iggy “I was delayed by the activity of the Festival. It shan’t happen again.”
“At last, though, you have arrived,” Iggy’s mistress, known as Latona, said in her soft female voice “albeit that you have arrived late, your presence is most welcome yet.”
“You are most gracious and wise, Lady Latona,” Iggy replied, bowing down.
“You have my item, I presume?”
“Only the finest for my mistress,” Iggy replied, rising to his feet and reaching into his lice-infested pocket. He pulled out a grey, plastic ball and handed it to Latona. “This flash bomb was hand made by Sir Greenald Fister, and can cause a distraction for up to ten seconds.
“That is excellent – a most joyous and wonderful day for me. You remember the plan, yes?”
“Marvellous,” Latona laughed, as she inspected the flash bomb closely. “Soon our quest to kidnap the girl will come to fruition. Kyrie won’t evade me anymore. Iggy, get back to the hideout and clean out the gutters – I have some business to attend to.”
Gutter work. Iggy’s least favourite chore. It was times like these that he wondered if the Gods hated him, or if luck itself opted to ignore him like the plague, or perhaps just that he was genuinely the most pathetic form of life on Modus.
Unbeknownst to the citizens of Illann, something incredibly dark was going to happen that night
“I love these festivals!” exclaimed an excited female voice, as she looked around at the dazzling fireworks display, and the hundreds of thieves pacing the streets menacingly.
“Me too,” the handsome young man replied, smiling at her. He stood tall with an elevated chin, and short, spiky hair and sapphire blue eyes. “I can’t believe it’s the two thousandth Festival – I’ve waited all my life for a night like this.”
“I know! I don’t believe we missed it last year, but its bound to make this year even better, isn’t it? Oh, I can’t believe we’re here now. Oh, and the legendary thief is here herself! Imagine that! This is the happiest time of my life, I swear! O, what if we were to see her in person? I’d be so proud. But I’m just thankful to be here. Just think of all the things we may pinch tonight, right, Boyd?” The girl’s voice was very fast and excitable. It was times like these that the famous scientists of the world would blame these rare occurrences of excitement on some sort of exciting happening. And it was these sorts of claims that make the people of the world argue that all scientists should be fired.
“You should rejoice, Amie,” the man known as Boyd replied. “This is our night,” he said, as he strategically knocked into a six year old just so he could steal a necklace. Boyd was the kind of man who would look down at what he had just stolen and think: what did this mean to the person that had it? Would they even notice that it was stolen, or would they simply ignore the fact and assume they’d lost it? Did it mean practically nothing to the person, or did it mean so much that they became a manic depressive? Then Boyd would lift his head after thinking he may have caused a child to be miserable, and say –
“You know, life is good.”
And on this night, during the two thousandth Festival of Thieves, the entire perception of Illann was about to change drastically.