Mr. Thimble had no way to know if Beau actually saw what happened next. He barely had time to see it himself.
The crossbowmen stepped up and raised their weapons. Ha, impetuous shrew-son bastard, thought Thimble. He raised a hand and spoke a word as the cords twanged. The bolts flew.
And a handful of leaves were caught on a wind of aura and swept away in the rain.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Thimble shouted at Beau. “Time and tide and all that. Step to. We don’t have all day.”
Thus the game began. What gambit would the eorman play next? Thimble grinned as he plotted the possibilities.
And what actually had happened in a span of time far too short to tell it? Why simply that Mr. Thimble had done what his kind do. For he was of the Phooka tribe, master shapeshifters all. And surely those who knew so well how to shift their own shapes should know how to shift other things’ shapes just as easily. Thimble had pushed a shield of aura at the oncoming bolts and transformed them all into dead leaves, a standard fae trick. The next time anyone picked them up, they’d be crossbow bolts again, but by then the wind would have scattered them wide.
So, lad, come to know your betters, Thimble thought. Assassin you may be, but I’ll wager myself against you any day.
In truth, he’d hoped for this contest from the first moment he’d seen Beau Bergeron stirring up a ruckus in Sesus. The conniving audacity of this upstart then had offended the wizard’s valet to his core, for not only did such antics inconvenience his noble employer, they gave the Guild of Assassins a bad name. Indeed, to Thimble’s mind, this fellow reflected badly on the whole community of “Pwyll Under the Wig,” the traditional nickname of the shadowy classes that operated beneath, behind or outside of the law. It would be unwise of anyone to underestimate Thimble’s loyalty and affection for Jeneyeru Nightwise Ereonis, but equally unwise to discount the pride he took in his own, true profession.
Just then, a new complication wrinkled the group, and cackling an old man’s giggle, Thimble jumped aboard the boat and hurried Beau all the more.