Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Among Thieves

"The coins," a tiny man whispered over the table, "show the likeness of Aris IV, yet appear freshly minted."  He dropped the gold pieces and wiped his mouth to hide a smirk. "You wouldn't be trying to pass on some counterfeits, would you?"

Malek leaned forward. "Sadly, no.  They've simply been kept locked away for some time.  They're more than genuine, I assure you."

The smaller man casually glanced at the bosom of a passing wench. "I see.  Alright.  Suppose I'm daft enough to follow you into a wizard's lair, past his baronial guards, and deep below.  What then?  I'm guessing you're not looking him up just for a chat.  Is he wanted?  Does he have some thing of value that requires a dagger in his kidney, or what?"

Malek sighed. "It's immaterial, Yrmus.  I simply need a skilled hand to help out here.  I've arranged for the company of two sellswords.  I've bought them already, just as I'm paying you up front.  I feel sure there's the promise of loot as well.  At least, they seem to think so." 

Yrmus waved a hand. "Is your plan any more complex then this?"

"Complexity," Malek smiled "endangers goals.  Neither the wizard nor his companions have been seen for some time.  I strongly suspect they are dead.  We merely need to verify this.  That's all."

"If it's Doomwatch," Yrmus muttered, "then they likely won't be found, and perhaps we won't either."  He leaned back. "Forty percent of the loot."

"Twenty," Malek countered.  Yrmus glanced off and grinned.

"You'll do better than that."

Malek casually traced the letter C on the table with his finger, the back of the letter facing Yrmus. The smaller man gazed down, gazed up, and formed another C to sit back to back with Malek's tracing.

"Twenty," he sighed.
Outside, the two met with a pair of large, armored men.  Malek stepped up to them and pinged their chainmail.

"No," he stated.  "Leather only."  Both looked at him as if he suggested wearing girdles. "I know, I know, but entrance requires stealth.  You'll put your mail in this." He produced a bag from under his tunic. "It will hold whatever you need."

The two fighters glanced at each other and then nodded their assent.  The four walked away from the tavern into the darkness as Malek explained further.

"We approach the house from the southern side.  There will be one guard on duty on the premises.  Others will be patrolling the road, but that won't matter.  I've arranged for a diversion to be made just before dawn.  The guard on the door will go to the guard house for reinforcements... while he's away, we'll have perhaps two minutes to climb through the window and get inside.  From that point on, stealth is the word.  Once we are below, you may then change back into your mail.  Understood?"

Everyone else nodded.

"Fine," Malek smiled. "Leave nothing in your rooms.  You won't be coming back here no matter what."

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