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The following is a fan fiction about some members of the seventeenth shard that I made up: Wan ShaiLu from The Emperor's Soul and a Terriswoman I named Kuthyl. It is set in T'Telir on Nalthis. They were finally going to catch Hoid. Shai’s heart was beating so fast with excitement and anxiousness that she thought it would explode. It had been so long since she had set out to find him on her home world of Sel, and she had only grown to hate him more and more as the years passed. She had learned that he was much more than a simple thief. Apparently, her desire to find him and her skill as a Forger had attracted the attention of the 17th Shard. They also desperately wanted to find Hoid and they wanted her to join their ranks, so she did. Thus, she found herself with powerful allies, like Kuthyl. Over the years, Shai had gotten to know Kuthyl pretty well: she was an elderly woman and very tall for her age, or any age for that matter. She was also smarter than any person had a right to be; she could learn languages even faster than Shai in her scholar form, and she was always giving her little pieces of knowledge and advice. Most of these she knew already, but sometimes they could be quite profound. There was one thing about Kuthyl that slightly worried Shai in regard to their current mission: she was a tenderhearted pacifist. Considering the fact that Shai knew herself to be somewhat tenderhearted, they were not the best team for a killing mission. However, this was Hoid they were going after, and they would both do just about anything to get to him. “I really wish there was a better way to do this,” whispered Kuthyl. She was crouched in the empty alleyway behind Shai. The darkness protected them from the watchful eyes of the guards patrolling the top of the wall that surrounded the court of the gods. Shai didn’t respond. She was using a new form that she had made for situations like this. She had constructed a new Essence Mark that revised her history so that she grew up and trained with a family of assassins. In assassin form, she did not like to talk, much like Shaizan, her warrior form. Besides, both of them knew that this was the only way available to them. The only people who could enter the court of the gods through the front gate were priests and important people, and it was impossible to disguise themselves as one of these without Breaths. Thus, they had to go over the wall, and that meant killing a couple of guards. She unpacked her bow and arrows which she had constructed with wood from the local jungle and her survivalist Essence Mark, and slowly approached the wall, staying in the shadows. “The key to sneaking is to not make any sudden movements,” whispered Kuthyl as Shai left her behind. It was another useless piece of advice. In her assassin form, there were very few people who could sneak better than her. Shai nocked an arrow and shot one of the guards in the neck. Before his partner was able to respond, another arrow had taken him out. They were now racing against the clock: the guard changeover would happen in three hours, and they would notice these two missing guards. She quickly unwrapped her grappling hook and threw it over the wall and then climbed to the top. She gave the signal, telling Kuthyl that it was alright for her to climb the rope now, but she didn’t go to the rope. Kuthyl got to the base of the wall, and then all of her muscles grew to impressive proportions in less than a second. She jumped and flew all the way to the top of the wall, and then landed on top as light as a feather. It was ironic to see such a bulky body move with the grace of a lightweight dancer. “We must hurry,” Kuthyl said, “even the best plans can go wrong. It is usually a good practice to assume that something will go wrong, like an early guard changeover.” Again, Shai did not respond. She did not expect this to take three hours. She quickly lowered the grappling hook down the other side of the wall and rappelled to the ground. Then, Kuthyl leapt down to the bottom with the grappling hook in her hand, she landed just as lightly as before, but her muscles had returned to their normal sizes. Their target was in a building that was just visible in the distance ahead of them. It had taken a long time for them to discover that Hoid was there. First, they were lucky enough to find an informant who knew Hoid from his description. The informant told them that Hoid was a master storyteller that spent much of his time in the court of the gods. From there, Shai and Kuthyl had spent many weeks entering the court of gods in the daytime as petitioners. They went to each god to see if they could find Hoid in their retinue. Shai had to use all of her different identities except for the one that would make her forget Forging. Kuthyl had been able to go in several different times because she changed her age. Finally, two days ago, Shai had seen him among the retinue of Stillmark. Luckily, he did not recognize her in her beggar form. “Okay, let me sneak up to the building, and I’ll give you signal as soon as the coast is clear.” Kuthyl swept her eyes over the court and responded, “Don’t worry about it. The nearest people in the court right now are a couple of priests just beyond Weatherlove’s place over there.” “How can you see that far?” asked Shai. Her silent nature was overcome with incredulity. Kuthyl simply tapped her finger on one of her earrings. “It’s just another advantage of being a Feruchemist. Let’s go.” When they got to Stillmark’s household they found it guarded by three guards. They were ready for this. Kuthyl ran to the side of the house and leapt onto the roof. The guards did not see her because she ran so fast that she was just a blur, nor did they hear her land on the roof because she had landed too lightly. Shai approached the guards at a slow, sneaking pace and when she was within range she took out her bow and arrows again. The first guard died with an arrow in the neck and the other two guards died simultaneously a second later. When Kuthyl saw the first guard die, she leapt off of the roof and somehow increased her weight without becoming bulky like before. She crashed into the second guard and crushed the life out of him just as the second arrow took the third guard. The plan was going perfectly so far. When they got into the house they decided to stick to the hallways at first. Unfortunately, this is where the servants went on their nightly routines. Shai and Kuthyl ran into one of these servants at the far end of a hallway after a couple of minutes of exploration. The servant stared in shock for a moment and then turned and started to run in the other direction. There was a blur of motion and a gust of wind and then Kuthyl appeared right beside the man. The man let out a loud yelp of shock just before Kuthyl bulked up and punched his face in. That yelp had to have been heard by someone. The plan was no longer going so perfectly. Then there was a loud call of alarm from behind her. She turned to see a guardsman who had come to check out the noise. She drew a dagger and threw it at the man, killing him. “We need to get out of here,” she called to Kuthyl as she started to run in the direction where the guard had fallen. Kuthyl followed behind. When she got to the guard’s fallen body she took out her warrior Essence Mark and stamped herself with it. She was now Shaizan, a warrior trained by the Teullu. She picked up the guardsman’s sword and readied herself to fight her way out. It was a good thing she had, because the guards started to pour in from both ends of the hallway. There were a lot more than she would have expected to be in a single god’s house. Shaizan busied herself with the guards in front of her, parrying and striking expertly. Meanwhile, Kuthyl increased her muscles to incredible sizes and charged straight into the group coming from the other direction. She bowled them all off of their feet and took a couple of hits from swords and spears, but those cuts quickly healed up. As she turned around to finish off the men she had knocked down, a man appeared behind her that didn’t look like a guard. He wore the colorful, elegant clothes of a T’Telir nobleman, and had a long rope in each hand. He whipped one of these ropes at Kuthyl’s feet and it wrapped itself around them, causing her to fall over. She immediately shrunk her muscles back to normal size to get out of the bonds, but the ropes tightened as her muscles decreased. Then one of guardsmen got up and knocked her out with the butt of his spear. After that, Shaizan was easily overpowered from two sides and tied up with the other rope. They were taken to an underground dungeon and left in a cell with their hands tied up to brackets on the ceiling. Kuthyl woke up a few minutes later and looked around to get her bearings. “Well, when you are captured it is usually best to escape as early as possible, because you only get weaker the longer you spend in captivity. Do you have any plans for escape, Shai?” “Not with my hands tied like this,” responded Shai, “do you?” “Yes I do. Fortunately, they don’t know anything about Feruchemy so they didn’t take my metalminds. But it’ll take me a little while before I can do anything. Hopefully they’ll be leaving us alone for a while now.”