‘Origin Code’ by Ian Bristow is one of nineteen Game Lit stories by as many authors in Rise and Rescue Volume 2: Protect and Recover, out today to help celebrate Earth Day. All profits from the Rise and Rescue anthologies will go to support wildlife devastated by the Australian wildfires.
Origin Code – Zadyn had a choice. Steal to save the world or die. And he didn’t plan on dying.
Countless merchant stalls lined the streets of Averisk’s city center, making it one of Inworld’s most visited hubs. Chatter from busy shoppers melded with the yells of business owners offering their latest deals on armor, weapons, potions, food and anything else a Quester could want.
The center of a crowded market wasn’t the sort of place Zadyn would have normally agreed to meet an informant, but on this occasion the potential prize was too great to let his usual code of conduct get in the way. And it had been made more than clear by his informant that he wouldn’t be making the rules for their meet. He smiled at that last, knowing full well his reputation for talking his way into or out of anything clearly preceded him.
A quick glance at the purpling sky prompted him to scan the busy street for his mark. She was supposed to arrive at the produce stall across the street from where he had stationed himself at dusk. It wasn’t wise to linger, so if she didn’t show soon he’d have to move on. But even as that thought occurred, a hooded figure arrived at the stall.
Zadyn waited for the signal to be sure it was her—a hand gesture, displaying only three of the woman’s five fingers—then he started toward her.
“Nice evening, isn’t it?”
The four words chosen to let her know he was the one she was meeting.
“It is. But the wind is picking up.” She responded without turning to face him. Then she set off down the street at a sharp pace.
He followed and soon she turned off the merchant-crowded street and into a vacant alleyway, her cloak billowing in the evening breeze. Cautious from his many years thieving, Zadyn hung back, suddenly wondering if this was some kind of trap. She gave a quick backwards glance and slipped into the doorway of a small building.
He’d been told this job would pay more than he could dream of. That if he did this, he could live a life of luxury. Buy any armor or weapons upgrades he desired and still have coin to explore even the farthest reaches of whatever world expansions he wanted. No more joining raids as the expendable thief just to make ends meet. He was tired of being the one who got ignored as soon as he’d swiped the all-important dungeon key or retrieved the necessary ingredients for some ungrateful warlock’s potion-making needs.
Sure, in recent times he had moved on to more high-profile work here in the city, but there was always the looming threat of reverting to darker times if these posh jobs dried up. But if he did this, all that would be part of his forgettable past.
Rise and Rescue Volume 2: Protect and Recover is out today, so to keep reading snag your copy now and help support Australian wildlife.