May 27, 2001
Looting the Thieves - By Ycef
I drew my cloak tighter around my shoulders as I shivered in the rain.
When I'd decided on this little adventure of mine I had no idea it was
going to be so cold. The lightning storm hadn't helped either. The
trip over from the White Rose town had been filled with enough danger to
make me seriously consider giving up and going back to the bar for
another drink. Yet the lure of riches led me on, as ever, and eventually I
arrived. The path behind me was littered with corpses and a lot of blood
(mostly mine), marking my path for anyone wishing to follow me. Not
that anyone would be, no one else was stupid enough to be wandering about
this time of the night.
I crept softly into the house after picking the front door lock. Not a
smart way to enter the house, but I'd searched around and this was the
only way in. It was a small house, hardly the size I expected, not with
the rumored wealth of the owner. I wondered for a moment if I'd found
the right house - the place I was meant to be breaking into was mean to
be owned by a filthy rich merchant. The tales I'd heard said he's spent
heaps of money on the place. Given the wealth involved I expected to
find something more than this shack! I shrugged off the fact, I was here
already and there was nothing I could do about it now. If it turned out
I was the benefit of some cruel joke then the story mongers would hear
about it when I got back, meanwhile I might as well settle down to
Two hours later and I'd given up. Nothing was to be found. I was
disappointed and angry; I'd been had! There were no gold or jewels here. I
turned to leave the house, shoulders hunched, another failed heist to add to
the list. I was lost in thought as I left the house, idly looking at the
floor as I considered possible career changes, when a large fork of
lightning lit up the interior of the house. I was jolted from
introspection, something was wrong about the floor rug. Off to one side the
outline of a trapdoor was visible. I must have moved the rug covering in my
search for the gold, because I was sure I hadn't noticed it on my way
inside. Spirits buoyed by the prospect of treasure I bent to open the
trapdoor. It was then that I remembered the other rumors I'd been told;
the ones you only heard in the dark alleys of the poor quarter, the
ones hinting at the source of the owner's wealth; stories of highway
robbery and assassination. Was this the den of thieves I'd heard about? I
had to find out.
I opened the trapdoor. A set of stairs led down into the darkness.
Sensing the need to be well prepared for anything I decided to take some
time to recuperate my strength. Eventually I stood up and organized
myself. Reaching out of the physical realm I focused my mana and cast a
series of spells. Glowing with a soft white light and with the spirit of
the raven guiding my blade I felt almost eager to explore. Making sure to
make only the softest of sounds I descended down into the gloom.
I passed within inches of a man halfway down the stairs; he didn't see
me until it was too late. A vicious twist in the small of his back with
my blade and he collapsed to the ground. I searched his body, looking
for something that would shed light on what kind of operation was
working here, but found nothing aside from an ugly cowl and some gold pieces.
I tiptoed down to the bottom of the stairs. There was another thief
waiting here, but this one was more alert, probably the senior guard. I
cast a globe of darkness around his head, hoping to dispose of him in his
confusion, but my spell failed and he quickly shook off the effects. He
went to sound the alarm; I needed to stop him quickly. In a moment of
desperation I threw all my mystical energy at him; summoning a huge
column of flame that consumed him.
Hoping I hadn't ruined any important items he was carrying I
systematically examined his charred body. My labors were rewarded when I
found a stone key hidden in the remains of his shoe. I then scoured the
room for any sign of a keyhole or hidden compartment and was rewarded when
I found an indentation in one of the walls. I inserted the key and it
crumbled to dust in my hand. I jumped as magic was at work here. A huge
groaning reverberated around the room.
The wall to my right slowly opened, and as it did I could see that
standing in the shadows past it there were two men. They had come up to see
who was entering this time of night and were suitably prepared. Knowing
there was no way I could talk my way out of it, especially with the
remains of their fellow guard littered round my feet, I quickly launched
into attack. A soft word and sign and the ground beneath their feet
heaved about, knocking them to the floor. I was quickly upon them.
My dagger descended on the first, sending him dodging backwards, while
at the same time I cloaked his partner's head in a globe of
darkness. The blind guard cried out in surprise, diverting my attention for a
moment. I quickly turned back to the first combatant, but my momentary
lapse had been long enough for him. He'd succeeded in loosening his belt
and was lining me up with one of the many throwing daggers he had
stored there. I fell to the floor and the blades flew over my head, at the
same time lashing out with my legs, knocking him to the ground. With his
ability to throw disabled for now, I quickly closed on him, locking him
in hand-to-hand combat. The other thief behind me had quieted, using
sound to pinpoint my position because of his lack of sight. A stab of
fear entered my heart; these two were obviously professionals, not like the
pushovers guarding the door. I heard a rumble and looked back to the
door. The wall had slid shut again, blocking any chance of retreat. I
screamed silently to myself. Stupid, stupid, of course it'd be easy to get
in, this was a thief stronghold, it was getting out again with my gold
and life intact that was the problem.
Looking around frantically my eyes found a large grating in the floor.
I spotted the key hanging from the blind guard's belt. Sizing up the
angles I realized it was my only chance. Three running steps and one
desperate dive later and I was on the grating, key in hand. I turned the
key desperately and the grating clicked. For a moment it held, then the
rust gave way and it opened, collapsing inwards. I was too slow to grip
the edge as it cracked open. I tumbled down into the dark, landing with
a loud crack on the back of a man standing below. Fear and desperation
fueled me as I plunged my dagger deep into him. He was instantly
killed. Before my wits left me I slammed the hatch above me closed and
blocked it with the guard's weapon, jamming it shut. That would keep the
guards above off my back for a while. Quickly retrieving my weapon I
glanced around and slunk west, looking for a place to rest and hide while I
considered my next move.
The noise from down the corridor was growing louder and louder as I
approached. I was now close enough to make out the sounds; steel upon
steel and the grunting of people fighting. Having rested long enough to
regain my strength I was now eager to continue looking for things to
steal, hopefully the room up ahead would help me get my bearings.
There were two exits at the end of the hall, an open archway on my
right, and a closed door on my left. The sound was coming from the right, a
large cavern in the rock. There was apparatus arranged around the room
that made it seem like kind of gym. But what a gym! It was like
heaven - they had pieces of practice equipment I'd only ever dreamed of
seeing and with this stuff I could really develop into a top class thief,
break into some of the more secure mansions in the City of Medievia and get
enough money to retire. Who knows, I could probably bulk up and learn
how to fight properly! I made a split second decision and crept into the
room to try and pilfer some items.
And this is where my story ends. I was creeping across the room when I
accidentally knocked a jug off a table. No sooner did it hit the ground
than I found myself face to face with three trainee thieves and their
instructor. Put in a hopeless situation I did what all thieves do; I
pretended to be a warrior and charged, screaming at the bunch of them. I
lasted about fifteen seconds before the first dagger found my chest,
then the second, the third. I'd been stabbed by all of them when I finally
slipped into unconsciousness.
I woke to find myself lying in the dirt outside the house, they hadn't
killed me after all, I was alive enough to feel the pain raking my
body. I checked my pockets, all my gold was gone, along with my weapons and
armor. I was lucky, they had probably just decided to give me a warning
So I slunked home empty handed, taking nothing from the thieves but the
experience, regretting what could have been. But I'll come back, next
time I'll show them. I'll be a thief yet... I hope.
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