The Night Hawks were becoming ever more daring. They had never been solely satisfied with raids on the caravans, but the caravans had held most of their attention. Not so in the preceding weeks. They now amused themselves with infiltrating the stores, the treasury, and my home.
A man's home was his castle, and if he couldn't defend his castle, what could he defend?
And on top of it all, their seemingly carefree, whimsical leader took every opportunity to confront and mock me. When I told her that she had never yet won on equal terms, I had spoken true, but the Night Hawks didn't fight fair. They didn't follow the rules.
Why should they? The fact that I won when things were fair was little incentive to change things I suspected. If I had been in their shoes, I would have done the exact same thing.
But I wasn't in their shoes. I was in mine, and that needed to change. To beat them I needed to think like them, understand them, know them.
Planning and strategizing had been taking up the majority of my time recently. I had come to the obvious conclusion that whatever I was doing was wrong. They were playing by different rules, and they had the advantages.
But despite the toll that the myriad of raids of the past few weeks had taken, they had given me a thought. A thought that I was now acting upon.
The Hawks were becoming more daring. More risky. More cocky.
Especially their leader.
And If I stepped in their shoes for a moment, I could easily deduce their next big move.
It was big. It was bold. It would make me look like a fool if they won. It was perfect.
Preparations for the party were moving at full speed, and I found myself barely able to sit still. This was my chance to strike back. To regain the respect I had lost. To prove myself. I filled my days as full as I could, but now there was nothing more to do. The only thing that needed my attention was another idea that I had set into motion. I was trying to find a commoner or two to work me. Someone who knew the forest, and had any degree of direct or indirect contact with the Night Hawks. Someone who was close to the whispers. It normally would have been an easy task, but I was trying to keep my plan as quiet as possible. If I was too obvious, or picked the wrong person, the whispers would make their way to the Hawks and it would all be for naught.
So in my ever increasing amounts of free time, I thought about the Night Hawks and their mysterious leader. I hoped she was the one that would fall into the trap I had devised for the Party. I would get the most satisfaction out of watching her squirm as the tables reversed in a stroke of poetic justice.
I wondered if she would still blow that kiss once she was behind bars.