When the wonderful team at Tremontaine asked us if we’d like to sign on for a mid-season hiatus holiday tale, we didn’t even pretend we weren’t shouting YES! YES! YES! at the top of our lungs. It gave us the chance to write about one of our favorite side characters, Nimble Willie, from one of our favorite books, Swordspoint, and include a subject near and dear to our hearts: a cat lady…
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Willie Be Nimble
Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett
Nobody fishing the body out of the river saw Willie watching, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t there or that he didn’t see.
So there were a few advantages to being small and mostly—maybe absolutely—unknown, with a face you clocked from “around” if you clocked it at all. And those advantages only meant something when he wasn’t getting stepped on or shoved out of the way.
It wasn’t a talent his partner in petty crimes Allan possessed, although he’d thought he could pass unnoticed almost anywhere. Allan the Ghost, they were calling him ’round the taverns, when cups sloshed and conversation drifted from grand games to smaller acts of larceny. Allan could pass unseen amongst the middle-city tavern crowds, picking pockets as he went—not just coins, but entire purses, and once, even a jeweled watch—“Like a living ghost!” he said, and people took up the tale. Only a few nights ago Willie’s poor pal had been buying drinks for anyone who’d listen to him tell tales of his stealth, saying he had it made, and that now, with a ditty written about him, immortality wasn’t far behind.
Allan the Ghost, he’s better than most, he’ll be off with your coin but he’ll leave you the roast. It was just a quick rewrite of the song about Rupert Hawke, Gentleman Robber, but if Allan noticed, he didn’t mind, and he kept on buying drinks for everyone who’d sing it, nights lasting through dawn into bleary days. Willie was too small to drink much, but Allan was sure to pass him food instead, which was what he really needed.