Chapter 1, The first in a little series. Meet the kids of Grovewood Ruins, a gang of orphaned bandits living in what remains of a wizard\'s sanctum. With police on their tails by the day and Lord Black becoming more and more interested in the gang. Will they all find themselves in the Education Centers or will they continue to live in the forest?
Twitch held the back of his head "Ouch! God, Rog why'd you do that?" he said picking up his hat.
"What 'ave I told you 'bout talkin' 'bout the den when we's in the town, Twitch? You wantin' the pigs to find out were we's hidin'" Rog was the eldest of the three boys standing in the town square eying up the rich, the well off or the slightly less impoverished, as such he was also the authority.
"No Rog" said Twitch holding his head low "All I was saying was that I want to go back... I don't like it here, the pigs know what we're up to" Rog was forced to hit him again.
"All I is doin' is takin' my two darlin' little bruvahs out for a day trip."
"Rog?" boomed the tallest, widest and fiercest looking of the three.
"Yes Buffalo?" Rog asked folding his arms and staring up at the mountain that was Buffalo Billy, biggest bandit this side of Brookridge (Under twenty three years of age).
"We's not bruvahs though... We's orphanins" Buffalo for his large frame had a peculiarly small brain. Rog buried his head in his hands and sighed.
"Orite, lads what we's goin' do is, see that toff ovah there, yeah that one, wit' the fancy coat on. We's gonna see if he's... Gonna make a donation to our little cause."
"What cause is that Roger?" came a fourth voice from behind the elder male.
"Blimey to goodness, Missy. Near gave me a heart attack you did, you better watch out for that too... What got my old man it was"
"I thought your old man was killed by ogres down in Southcliff durin' the battle for Black Hall" replied the Missy, the sole female of this gang, being the same age as Rog she had as much authority over him as he did over the others, and down to his deepest and most honest of pledges he could never hit a girl, and this was used to Missy's advantage every hour of every day.
"He was, them Ogres are big I say. Even sword wielding heros get scared to death y'know" said Rog pulling his hat down tighter.
"Anyways that toff bloke over there has nothin' worth stealin'... Not no more anyways." Missy said pulling out a black velvet money pouch. Rog snatched it off her.
"I'll take that darlin' don't want you spendin' this weeks food cash on Raggy Maggy dolls now does we?"
Buffalo and Twitch both nodded in agreement.
"Orite then, but I'm coming wif you to get the food... I know what you buy wit' the cash."
Rog only blushed and replied "Orite Missy, Fellas think you can get back to the den- Youch what was that for!?" Rog said holding his head in pain.
"Thought I told you not to talk 'bout the den in town!"
They purchased their weekly goods from their usual source. They knew a man in Old Town that knew enough, judging from various scars, not to ask too many questions. On their way out of the city limits a band of police officers walked by them, eying the pair up. Rog spat on the ground in front of them publicly displaying his dislike of them. "Oi, Rog! Why you do that all the time? You'll get us in trouble you will acting like that!" Missy exclaimed grabbing him by the cuff of his coat.
"Watch it, pal. I'll have you know that this coat was hand tailored"
"But not for you, it barely fits you."
"Beggars can't be choosers my dear, and in any case the pigs deserve what I give 'em... Right bunch of rotters they are."
They began to walk through the woods, still carrying their bags of produce. There was a path laid here once, covered now by fallen leaves but still distinguishable by the worn look of the soil sandwiched between fertile green grass. They got in deeper until they eventually came to the Den.
The Den was a large building, or rather what remained of a large building. Only a good half of the original structure remained, none of the inhabitants were aware exactly how old the ruin was or how it came to be, all they knew was that it was home. Nicely nestled in amongst the trees, there was an abundance of old chairs, tables and even a few beds. Burnt marble bricks were littered around the area, suggesting a fire had been the plight of this poor building. There were books and scrolls and all sorts of weird looking instruments lying around. Its various exposed rooms housed around thirty runaway, orphaned or just unlucky children all whom were happy under the council of Rog and Missy.
There was a thud from behind them and Rog turned just in time to dodge a blow from something that had just leapt from a near by tree. "Oh, Gosh... Sorry Rog, thought you was a pig there" chuckled his attacker.
"A pig!" Rog spat "Well I never! I ought to have your head for that one Slips"
Slips was a skinny boy rarely seen without his trademark red cap. He wasn't much in the brains department, but he fought with the best of them and could disappear as if into thin air if the police showed up at the wrong time.
"I said sorry Rog, that means you gotta let me keep me head..."
Rog pointed his finger and narrowed his large oval eyes "You got me this time Slips... Say Did Buffalo and Twitch get back yet?"
"Ya-huh, there wif Brains just now though. Brains says he wants to show you somefin too..."
"Not another of his gadgets is it Slips?"
Slips only shrugged "He just says to me 'Slips when Rog shows up you go..' uh... 'Contract him'"
"You mean collect don't you Slips?" Missy corrected.
"Yeah! Yeah! Thats the one!"
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