No Honor Among Thieves (Part 2)

Posted: September 20, 2016 in Fantasy, Fiction, No Honor Among Thieves
Tags: , , , ,

This is the second part to “No Honor Among Thieves.” Why write these serials? Mainbly its a way to motivate myself, to get me to write something every week. And, the thought goes, if I manage to write enough words, I can maybe pull this together into something I can publish as a piece. Anyway, you don’t care about all that at all, but rather (hopefully) the actual story. As always, feel free to like, share, and comment. Criticism (of the constructive kind) is always welcome.

Barrion sat in his office above the Tinworker’s Guild Office, drumming his long, thin fingers against the polished wood of his desk. He toyed with the crystal glass in his hand, studying the way the candlelight shone through the brandy. A ledger lay open in front of him, its pages covered by his tiny, neat handwriting.

He picked up his quill, dipped it into ink, and prepared to cross out a particular account. His thick pink tongue stuck out between thin lips. Striking a name from his ledger wasn’t quite as satisfying as driving home the knife himself, but I came close. Besides, it wasn’t as if Barrion had never gotten his hands dirty. Best to leave that work to the younger kind now.

A knock on the door interrupted his thought. Barrion sighed, placed the quill back and pushed back against the desk, making sure his posture was straight. “Come in.”

The door opened, and a wisp of a man entered. He pushed back the dark hood covering his wispy blond hair and inclined his head at Barrion.

“I take it’s been done?” Barrion asked.

“Uhm… what?”

Barrion shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Sorry. Thought you were someone else.” He narrowed his eyes, his hand creeping toward the knife he kept tucked in his belt. “Why are you in here?”

The man stared hard at Barrion. “You don’t remember me?”

Barrion shook his head. “Son, I’ve got around thirty cutthroats, cutpurses, and card sharps working for me at any one time. Some of them don’t last a week, never mind a year. So help an old man out and remind me.”

The younger man shrugged. “All right. I’m Petrus. Worked for Travers.”

“Ah, yeah, okay. Wait? Did Travers send you?”

The man shook his head. “Not in so many words, no.”

“So why are you here?” Barrion felt his ire rising, and was carefully to enunciate each word clearly.

“Travers is dead. Found him down by the docks, throat slit from ear to ear.”

Barrion leaned back hard in his chair. He felt the blood rushing to his head, his heart thudding in his ears. Every breath felt like a fight.

“Uhm… sir? We were hoping you could tell us what to do next.”

Barrion snorted through his nose, forced the panic back down with a vengeance. “Any idea who was responsible?”

Petrus shook his head. “It’s not like they left a note or anything. Wilhelm, one of the other boys, was passing by on the docks. Saw a crowd gathered, so he decided to check it out, maybe lift a few purses while he was at it. Business as usual, right? He gets closer and realizes its Travers. He hangs around a bit, see if he can pick up any chatter. All anyone knows is that Travers was rolled out of a carriage. No one else says ‘boo.’ Just another dead body in Milieux.”

Barrion stared down at his brandy. He takes a sip, realizing his mouth had grown uncomfortably dry. “Do you know Gray, Petrus?”

Petrus nods. “Sure. Pretty much everyone knows her.”

“You see her recently?”

“No. You need us track her down, see if she can find the killer?”

Barrion shook his head, takes another drink of his brandy. “I’ve been receiving news recently that someone might be trying to sell me out to either Simeon, or worse the City Guard. Word trickled into me that Gray, either with or without the knowledge of her crew. I asked Travers to look into it. And now, you tell me Travers is dead.” Barrion frowned, deep lines etched on his face. “You know where The Sailor’s Remorse is, down by the docks?”

Petrus nodded. “Yeah, it’s not far from where Travers was found.”

Barrion nodded. “It figures. Go there. Ask for a man named Matryc.”

“One of ours?” Petrus asked.

Barrion snorted. “Hardly. He’s more what you’d call a freelancer. Knife for hire, if you will.” He fished out a small pouch and tossed it on the desk between himself and Petrus. The sound of coins jangling together filled the otherwise quiet office. “I want Gray dead, do you understand? Bad enough she went rogue, but to kill a loyal associate such as Travers compounds her treachery. Matryc will know what needs to be done.”

“What about Travers?”

“What about him? He’s dead, isn’t he?”

Petrus blinked at Barrion. “Yes, I meant, do you want to do anything with the body. Did he have any family?”

Barrion sighed. “We were the only family he ever had.” He fished out another, smaller, pouch and tossed it to Petrus. “See he gets the proper burial rites. It wouldn’t stand to have people see us not take care of our own. And I better not find out you drank that coin and just tossed his body in the harbor, understand? And I will find out.”

Petrus ducked his head. “As you say, boss.” He left, leaving Barrion staring down at the ledger, at the name he was about to mark off.

“You crafty bitch,” he muttered, striking out Travers name instead.

#

Matryc sat in The Sailor’s Remorse in a back corner of the tavern where he could easily see both the front and the back doors. The stein of weak beer sat untouched in front of him, much to the dismay of the serving girl, but he didn’t pick this place based on the quality of their libations. His face, crossed by five livid scars, kept anyone from inquiring if they could join him at his table, and anyone trying to take the extra chair at his table reconsidered when the curved knife appeared in his hand, its crystal blade throwing a prismatic display against the stained wood of the table.

A gust of wind coming from outside, bearing the scent of salt and old fish and sending the torches sputtering, caused him to look up. A man entered, cloak wrapped tight around his body and the hood pulled up. He strode over to the barkeep. Words were exchanged, too faint for Matryc to hear over the raucous card game happening in the center of the room, but he saw the barkeep point in his direction.

The man walked over, hesitant, but making sure to keep his hands visible. Matryc felt his lips twitch up into a smile. He studied the young man as he approached. Graceful enough, but unsure, scared. One of the dock rats that infested this city, but no one that would be any real challenge to one of Matryc’s skills.

“Matryc?” Now that he was closer, Matryc saw he was little more than a youth, a few wispy strands of blonde hair masquerading as a beard under his lip.

“Please sit,” Matryr gestured to the chair across from him with his left hand, his right tight on the handle of his knife under the table. His voice was soft and slightly effeminate, the hand he gestured with long-fingered and fine boned. The hand of an artist.

The youth pulled the chair out and sat. “My name’s Petrus. Barrion sends his regards.”

Matryc’s smile grew wider. “And what does that old spider sitting in his web want from me?”

Petrus blinked. “He has a job offer for you.” He started to reach into his cloak, but paused when Matryc clucked his tongue at him.

“Slowly, my lad. No sudden surprises, understand?”

Petrus swallowed hard, the apple of his throat bobbing hard. Slowly he pulled a coin purse out of an interior pocket of his cloak and deposited it on the table.

Matryc reached out his left hand and took the purse. “Seems to be about the right weight to me. So what can I do for Master Barrion?”

“Do you know a woman named Gray?”

Matryc lips turned down and he worked his tongue against his teeth. “I know her by reputation. I heard she was one of Barrion’s rising stars. Perhaps what I’ve heard is incorrect?”

Petrus shook his head. “Well, she was. Not anymore. She’s become a problem Barrion wants dealt with.”

Matryc’s eyes went flat and hard. “Don’t dress it up with pretty words, lad. He wants her killed.”

Petrus swallowed again, and Matryc couldn’t help but think what that bobbing apple would look like opened by his knife. He pushed the thought down. There’d be time enough to indulge later. “Yes. He wants her killed. Her companions as well.”

Matryc twisted his lips and used one hand to open the purse. “Yes, this should cover it. Any special requests?”

“What?” Petrus had started to get up, and was caught in the awkward halfway stance of sitting and standing.

The purse disappeared under his cloak. “Does Barrion care how it’s done?”

Petrus shook his head. “No, I don’t think he does, so long as it is handled quickly.”

Matryc smiled. “I do so love being given discretion. So few of my patrons are willing to let an artist work.”

Petrus shook his head and hurried from the tavern, not even pausing as the serving girl called to him.

Matryc leant back in his chair and smiled. He picked up the stein, took a sip, and grimaced. At least he had coin to afford better fare, now.

The serving girl turned toward the corner, looking to see if the scarred man required anything, but the chair was empty, as if he had never been there in the first place.

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Comments
  1. I’m liking this story so far =) Quick note… you change from past to present tense for a bit “He takes a sip, realizing his mouth had grown uncomfortably dry.”

  2. […] one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here. Comments are always […]

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