No Honor Among Thieves (Part 3)

Posted: October 26, 2016 in Fantasy, Fiction, No Honor Among Thieves
Tags: , , ,

Part One is here.

Part Two is here.

So here is part three of “No Honor Among Thieves,” my fantasy piece revolving around thieves in the city of Milieux. This is also it for me for the blog as far as fiction goes until December at the earliest. I’ll (probably) post updates on how the NaNoWriMo project is going, but I’ll be picking up Serpent’s Map and No Honor Among Thieves in December.

As always, like, comment, and share!

“We’re going to need money.” Gray sat at the back of The Golden Hide, her hood pulled low over her face and her back to the wall. A cup of cheap wine sat in front of her.

“Hmm?” Artair asked, pulling his gaze from the serving wench gliding among the tables as she balanced cups and mugs.

“We’re broke,” Tamara affirmed.

“Wait, what? But, we’ve been flush for months. All those jobs we pulled-”

“And Travers took part for Barrion. And he banked the rest for us, remember? Doling out a bit at a time as we needed it. ‘Acting as our bank,’ he called it.”

Artair blinked at Gray, realization sinking in. “So we’re fucked.”

Tamara wrinkled her nose. “And Barrion didn’t even buy us a drink first before doing it.”

Gray nodded. “That about sums it up. But, there is an upside to all this.”

Artair looked up from where he’d suck his head into his hands. “And what would that be?”

Gray smiled, a knife edge of white in the dim light of the tavern. “We’re thieves. This is a city. So let’s go earn a bit of money.”

Tamara and Artair looked at each other then back to Gray. “Yeah, you’ve got a plan?” Artair asked.

Gray nodded. “I’ve got a place lined up. Don’t need to worry about who they’ve paid protection to. Don’t need to worry about giving some boss their cut. We only take small things. Easily fenced. Hard to trace. We fly under the radar.”

“What about going to war? What about how Barrion fucked us?” Artair asked, his whisper like a blade against a stone.

“In time,” Gray said. “Don’t think I’m for staying low key forever. Barrion will get what’s coming to him, but for that we’re going to need a plan and resources, and that’s going to take more than the dust we’ve got in our purses. Understand?”

Artair grunted, but nodded his assessment.

“So you’ve got a place marked out then?” Tamara asked.

Gray nodded and sipped some more wine. “You’ve got your tools on you?”

“Now what kind of question is that?” Artair responded. “Rather go out unarmed than without my gear.”

“Fair enough. You two sober enough to pull a job?”

Tamara sniffed. “We didn’t even have enough coin to buy a cup of good wine.” She picked up her cup and swirled it around. “I’d say at least half of this is water.” She wrinkled her nose. “From the port.”

Gray stood up, the smile gone. “Let’s get to it then. The night won’t last forever.”

Outside the tavern the air was clammy, wisps of fog drifting over the cobblestone streets. It was early yet and the streets were far from deserted, revelers headed to parties and clerks finishing their long days and headed back to cheap apartments, women of the night hawking their services as dark eyed men watched.

“How much for a tumble?” a masked reveler called to Gray as she walked by.

“More than you can afford,” she replied, letting her cloak slip open to reveal the hilt of her sword.

“Maybe we can earn some coin that way?” Artair muttered under his breath.

“Sure, but who would pay for your ass,” Tamara replied.

Gray lead them down narrow streets, stepping with a clear purpose. She didn’t steer them away from the small patrols of guards walking the streets, but bid them a good evening as if she belonged there as much as they did.

She turned right into a narrow alley, the buildings so close together she could reach out and touch two opposite sides simply by stretching out her arms. She stopped at an iron bound door, the wall brick covered plaster, the windows overlaid with narrow iron bars.

Tamara spat on the ground. “I know this shop.”

“You don’t say?” Gray replied. “Artair, the door if you please.”

“Hold on,” Tamara said, placing a hand on Artair’s shoulder. She reached into a pouch on her belt, retrieved a small vial filled with a mercurial substance. Holding it carefully, so as not to drip any of the substance, she unstoppered the vial, sprinkled some of the liquid along the lock. Wisps of blue back smoke streamed from the metal of the lock, the wards placed there glowing with a sickly green hue.

“What place is this?” Artair hissed.

Tamara shrugged. “If Gray isn’t going to tell you, don’t expect me to. Now shove over and let me have a look.” Pulling a small notebook from her satchel, all brown cracked leather and yellowed pages, she knelt down and studied the glowing lines. Her tongue stuck out between her lips and she hummed tunelessly as she worked.

“Can you get it open?” Gray whispered. She shivered, feeling as if eyes were on her.

Tamara held up a hand, and Gray bit her tongue. She knew Tamara wasn’t much of a magician, but she figured she had picked up a few things during her aborted apprenticeship to a hedge mage. Still, if the wizard the owner of the shop hired was even halfway decent, that might stymie their plans.

Tamara used a finger to smudge out one of the lines, and the glowing sigils winked out. “Not a problem.” She grinned. “See?”

Gray raised an eyebrow at her. “If you say so. Artair, the lock?”

“Yeah, I’m on it.” He slipped out his lockpicks, teased the tumbler of the lock open. “Easy as all that,” he said with a grin, popping the door open.

“All right, in we go.”

Inside, it was a collector’s dream. Glass cabinets lined the walls, each filled with curiosities and valuables. Gem studded necklaces were draped elegantly over velvet cushions, gold and silver chain as delicate as lace. Glass covered tables were arranged in neat rows, each to display their wares. Gemstones glittered in the dim light. A staircase led upstairs to where Gray figured the owner resided. It was a common configuration among merchants. They didn’t want to be far away from their goods and it let them get an early start on their day.

Artair grabbed Gray’s shoulder. “We’re hitting Heron’s?” he hissed.

“You’re just figuring that out now?” Gray asked.

The stocky thief shrugged. “Wasn’t paying much attention to where we were going.” He looked around and gave a low whistle. “He pays Barrion, doesn’t he?”

Gray nodded, a smile ghosting across her lips. “Why I do believe he does. So grab small items.” She looked at a particularly gaudy piece, all gold and emeralds that she guessed weighed five pounds. She slid it into her bag. “Or pieces we can break apart to fence. Let’s not make it easy for the Kings’ Own to trace it back to us, shall we? Give yourself a hundred count and then we leave.”

“He didn’t do a very good job of securing these, did he?” Artair remarked, pushing up a glass case filled with displayed amethyst stones.

Tamara paused from wrapping up a silver statue of a cat with gold flecked eyes. “Why would he? He had a decent mage ward on the door. And how was the lock?”

Artair shrugged. “Decently made. Probably give some teasers pause.”

“Didn’t seem like you had much trouble with it.”

“That’s because I’m a profess-”

Artair stopped speaking midsentence, stared down at his stomach where a crossbow bolt had sprouted. “Well, shit.” He collapsed to the ground, clutching his stomach.

“Thieves!” An old man on the stairs leading to the second floor busied himself reloading the crossbow he’d just fired.

“Shit,” Gray said as Tamara rushed for the stairs. Her blades came out and the old man was left bleeding on the stairs, hands clutching feebly for his crossbow.

“You still with us Artair?” Gray asked, stepping over to him, eyes open for anyone else who might be lurking about.

“I must be if I’m in this much pain and still having to hear you yap,” he replied from between gritted teeth.

“Anyone else?” Gray asked.

Tamara shook her head, coming back down the stairs two at a time. “So we’re done here?”

“We’re done. We’ve got to get Artair help.”

He tried to push Gray away, but his arms weren’t responding the way they should. “This is coming out of my part of the cut, isn’t it?”

Gray shook her head. “Not at all. We’re a team here, and that old man could have hit any of us.”

“He’s dead?”

“He is,” Tamara replied. She wiped her blades off on a bit of cloth she found, returned them to her sheaths.

“Shit. So much for a simple robbery then. What now?”

Gray shrugged. “We get you to a cutter. We find a fence. We plan our next move. Now, up you get.” She and Tamara got Artair to place his arms around their shoulders, and they half-carried, half-dragged him from Heron’s and into the fog shrouded streets of Milieux.

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Comments
  1. Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

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

  3. […] one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here. Part five is here. Comments are always welcome! (And yes, it’s been […]

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