Villidarfel was a tinker rat. A working rat. Toiling away at clockwork and machinery, keeping engines running and clocks ticking (not that they would ever tick in quite the right way).
Antonia was a devout bandit when she married him. Was, and remained so, be it her husband was not partial to her bouts of crime.
“All those bullets and knives flyin’ ‘round. Will get ya killed ‘un day. Not like it pays ‘ell, either,” he would grumble.
“Ah, darling,” Antonia would smile, “Should we compare jobs? Or swap them? I wonder how long I would last inside an engine – how long would the engine last, how great the fire might be? Or should we stick to what we know best?”
The rat is a noble creature. Partial to danger and creativity, the two were no strangers to excitement; and so they lived together happily.
Excitement, however, comes with a price. That price has shown its face when Antonia found a letter on their doorstep.
Come, find your husband, and bring that which was mine, o Faber Bandit.
Signed with a paw, an address attached, the letter taunted her.
She found him, bound and gagged, ferocity in his eyes. Rats with pokers stood on guard. A great grey mouser sat behind, cleaning up its awful hide. It spotted the bandit, and smiled.
“Good of you to join us, dear. Have you brought what to my heart is near?”
“Choke on it, if you will,” with anger she reached behind, in one stern motion unclothed her cart. A brilliant gem, a rat’s head size, sitting atop scrap. The guards wheel it forth, send Villidarfel stumbling by.
“Drat!” he gasps, “Antonia! That thing could of wiped our debts! That scoundrel will just get us back – bastards like ‘at ne’er forget.”
In her arms she took him, a sigh of relief escaped. “Oh, darling, don’t you know me well? Your wife has learned a trick or two from the years of your sweat.”
The mouser coos, purrs, lavishes its prize. The guards pick it up – a tick, tock, tick, tock, tick…
“You devilish woman!” Villidarfel laughs-
-“I knew I married well, all those years ago!”
The gem – smaller, barely tenth the price. The mouser – likewise, and toasted all around.
The lovers – well, perhaps changed as well. He grumbles less, and she takes greater care. The rat is a noble creature, no stranger to excitement; and excitement is, in their lives, abundant.