Kirrin’s heart pounded as he raced up the last flight of steps and into the bustling market, scanning the crowds without slowing down. Great! The middle of the market in the middle of the day! He noticed the excess of blue, everywhere. People dressed in blue, blue banners hanging from balconies and windows. The rich deep blue of House Zayam. For a moment, Kirrin wondered what the fanfare was about but then he slipped and almost lost his footing.
There! A wisp of a braid caught his eye and he dashed off in pursuit. No matter how fast he was, his quarry was one step ahead of him, nimble and faster than he had expected. He kept pace but couldn’t gain any distance. He thought he had a moment as he spun into an alley that ran behind the shops. But when he turned the corner, he spotted the blond braid scaling up a drain pipe faster than the squirrels that had made the market square their home.
“Breshan’s balls!” he swore, leaping onto a crate and then springing upwards onto the roof of a shed. From there, he sprinted along the top of a narrow wall. When he came to a place where the alley narrowed, he dove across and rolled sideways on the roof of a building.
He looked up and saw that he had closed the gap.
“By the nine hells!” He watched as Ch’hikk bounced from air vent to chimney to safety walls with the agility and grace of a deer and the surefootedness of a mountain goat scaling cliffs.
He followed her as best he could as she wound her way upward, until she came out on the roof of the high temple, running along the ridge pole as if it weren’t a hundred feet to the ground.
She slowed down, glancing over her shoulder, then nodded slightly, showing her approval. Then she grinned and stepped forward into a hand stand, and walked the remainder of the distance and stopped at the edge of the building.
In the blink of an eye, she dropped out of sight. Kirrin gasped, even though he knew she wouldn’t have fallen but had planned her next landing.
“You’re not going to catch her,” A voice said over his shoulder, “you know that, right?”
He looked backwards as Fern came up behind him showing more nerve than he would have expected.