Medievia Mudslinger

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 business.

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 this time.

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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