The Thief and the Swordsfrog Chapter 5

By Silent Elegy

Eight very large rats fought over the scraps Frog had brought to the alley behind the bar. The ninth and largest had already gotten his share and was sitting on Rat’s paw. “This here’s Lenny,” she said. “He’s the leader of this gang.”

“Lenny?” Frog asked skeptically.

“Yah, he’s named after a famous thief. Leonard the Shadow.”

Frog nodded in understanding. Leonard the Shadow had been the greatest thief ever to walk the land. He’d started on his chosen path in 456 at age 11. Over the years, he’d formed a gang consisting of himself and 8 other people.

The gang, which was called the Rat Pack, had reigned with an iron fist for nearly 30 years, spreading terror across the land.  Men trembled and women swooned at the mere  mention of the Rat Pack or Lenny the Shadow.  Their one redeeming quality was that they never stole from anyone who couldn’t afford it.  Lenny remembered all too well his impoverished past and had pity for those like him.

Many had tried to stop them, but all failed.  The Pack was simply too smart to be trapped and too strong to be fought.  The Pack had seemed invincible until the day a chance bolt from a lucky man’s crossbow had hit Lenny in the back.  After that, the rest of the Pack was imprisoned and executed.

Frog quickly made the connection between the Rat Pack and this pack of rats.  “Then the rest of thy friends must be…”

Rat grinned and nodded. She pointed them out as she said their names. “Jonny, Scarface, Little Bro, Big Bro, Alan the Knife, Steph, Mikey, and Fingers Mack.”

Frog laughed and shook his head. “And these rats shall discover what’s going on in Guardia?”

“Don’t underestimate ‘em, Frogman. They may be small, but they can get into anything. You should know better.”

“Aye, tis true,” he agreed. He reached out and let Lenny sniff his hand. The rest of the gang rushed over to inspect him now. Apparently, they didn’t mind what they saw because they promptly ignored him.

“A’right, boys, listen up. We’s all gonna go with Frogman here to Guardia Castle. I wants ya’ll to behave. Ya do good, ya gets shinies. Ya do bad, ya gets nethin’. A’right? Right. Now, here’s what we’s gonna do…” Rat gave out job assignments to each of the rats in specific, referring to Frog for a few details here and there. Then she stood. “Le’s go.”

Frog didn’t see the rat pack at all during the first part of the trip. He was worried they might have decided not to come.

“No worries, Frogger,” said Rat when he voiced his thoughts. “They’s coming. They just don’t like to travel in the open.”

“Canst thou understand them?”

“I’m a rat, ain’t I?”

“Aye, but I’m a frog, yet I cannot understand normal frogs.”

“You ain’t a normal frog,” Rat pointed out.

“But thou art not a normal rat, either.”

“Hm, good point. Weird.”

They walked in silence for a while longer. As they came to the Zenan Bridge, the rat pack appeared again, running ahead of them. Rat grinned. “See? I telled ya they was still here.”

As they arrived on the other side, the rats disappeared again. “Where wilt thou be when we arrive?” Frog asked.

“I’ll hang out in the forest. Come out tomorrow, and I’ll tell ya if we found anything.”

“Very well. I shall see the on the morrow.”

“See ya.” Rat disappeared in much the same fashion her boys had, leaving Frog walking alone.

Light, movement, sound, smell…Kitchen. Right. Lenny’s thought process was nowhere near the caliber of a human’s, but it didn’t matter. He squeaked at his gang to get moving, and they’d meet Rat back at dawn. The pack scattered.

Smell, smell, smell cheese…smell…no cats. Good. Lenny peeked out from underneath a counter. Some…what were they…humans. Right. Cooks. Right. Lenny rushed out of his hiding spot. He saw Big Bro across the room, sniffing at an interesting looking mess. Little Bro was, as ever, nearby. They never went anywhere without each other. Lenny ran up some steps.

Smell…still no cats. Right. Good. He looked around. There was Scarface stalking one of the humans that clanked when he walked. Soldier. Yeah, that was it. Lenny twitched his whiskers. Jonny had been by here…

Big Bro squeaked as he came up the stairs. Little Bro squeaked because he always repeated everything Big Bro said. Lenny squeaked at them to get their tails in gear if they wanted shinies. They ran past at high speed.

Lenny twitched his ears. Voices. He hated human voices. Too low-pitched; he couldn’t understand a word they said. Little ones were okay, because their squeaking was a more normal pitch, but big ones just gave him a headache. He followed the voices anyway.

He looked around. There was that one human Rat described to him. He followed her. He listened very carefully to what they said because, although he couldn’t understand the words, he could still parrot back what they’d said to Rat. He had a talent for mimicking human speech, albeit at a much higher pitch.

Smell…something…wrong…not a cat…not quite…smells like…


Lenny ran straight forward, up some steps, and into a small room where he hid in a nearby box. He panted and gasped as his back bled and hurt. Something with fur and claws charged up the steps, but it passed his hiding place. Apparently it didn’t have good smell. Lenny would have laughed if his back hadn’t been hurting.

He peeked out carefully, and caught a familiar and friendlier smell. Fingers Mack. Lenny squeaked at him to find everyone else and get them out. Fingers squeaked back and ran away. Lenny pulled himself out of his hiding place and made his painful way back to Rat.


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