No Honor Among Thieves (Part 7)

Posted: November 2, 2017 in Fantasy, Fiction, No Honor Among Thieves
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Part Seven! And less than a month from the last one! I know, I am as shocked as you are!

Anyway, here is the latest installment of the trouble three thieves get into when their old boss thinks they are more of a liability than an asset. And we finally find out who Simeon is and why’s he’s trouble for the the thieves of Milieux.

Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here. Part five is here. Part six is here. Comments are always welcome!

Gray shifted from one foot to the next, felt the sweat sliding down her back, biting down on the urge to say something. Next to her, Tamara and Artair likewise held their tongues, trying and failing to look demure and contrite. In front of them, behind a heavy desk of oak, sat Rook, well-groomed with a carefully trimmed ash-colored beard and slicked back hair the same color as soot. The room was otherwise unadorned, lacking even a rug to covert the cold stone of the floor. Rook’s eyes, piercing blue under a heavy brow, moved from thief to thief, giving them the distinct impression they were being weighed as so much produce in the market. Behind them, four of Rook’s men stood, leaning casually against the walls, all with blades out and in their hands. The trios weapons had been confiscated as part of the process of being ushered in to see Rook.

“I-” Artair started to say, but Rook held a hand up.

“Stop. I don’t want to hear any of you talk, in fact. But you, shitlicker, I especially don’t want to hear talk. The only reason you three are standing here now and not floating in the harbor is simple.” He pointed to the pouch sitting on the table near his left hand. “You have shown you can earn. The fact you took it from a rival of mine does bear some consideration, but I have to weigh that against the mound of trouble you’ve brought to my door. Even now, Barrion is hearing how three people he very much wants deceased have shown up at Rook’s door, pleading for succor. Now don’t mistake me, I believe Barrion is akin to the scum I wipe off the bottom of my boot, but he’s still a man with some power. And you three? What have you got but a penchant for trouble?”

Gray opened her mouth, then closed it, trying and failing to find her voice.

“Yes? You want to say something in your defense?” Rook leant back in his chair, resting his hands on his stomach. “Something about how I would be making a colossal mistake in passing by this opportunity you’ve all but giftwrapped for me? Please. I’m curious.”

“Barrion betrayed us,” she spat, feel her eyes grow hot from the tears threatening to overcome her. “We were loyal. Good earners. And he went and had us ambushed.”

“So you want to work for me.”

Gray worked her tongue over her teeth, considering her next words carefully. The truth was she was tired of being beholden to a boss. But, she wasn’t in a place to go against Barrion directly, and starting over in a new city wasn’t much of an option.

“Yes. Consider that our entrance fee.”

Rook chuckled. “That pittance? That was your entry fee to talk to me.” He stared hard at Artair. “And I don’t know if it’s enough.”

Rook leaned forward, drummed his fingers on the table. He picked up the pouch, weighed it in his hand.  “Do you know want to know what I’ve heard about you three? That you were going to turn on Barrion. That you killed Travers. That you hit people under his protection. Now. Why would I want to welcome trouble of that sort with open arms? How am I to know you aren’t looking to tickle my kidneys with a blade first chance you get?”

Gray frowned, looking from the pouch Rook so carelessly dismissed to the man himself. His face was composed, and he looked relaxed, untroubled. She knew the look well. Barrion frequently wore it when he knew he was in total control. She suppressed the urge to smile, given how well that had worked out for Barrion.

“You want something.” It wasn’t a question. “If you didn’t we’d already be out on the street or floating in the harbor. And yeah, we hit back at Barrion, but he betrayed us first, but you don’t care about any of that. So what is it you want?”

Rook grinned, a cruel expression of white teeth over his trimmed beer. “You know Simeon Hawker?”

The trio let out a collected groan.

“This again?” Artair groaned.

Rook frowned and his brow furrowed. “What do you mean ‘again’?”

“This Simeon fellow, Barrion gave us instructions to take him out. ‘Course that was when he sprang his trap on us,” Artair explained, forgetting for a moment he was supposed to look contrite and keep his mouth shut. “It’s the thing that landed us in this mess in the first place.”

“Who is this Simeon anyway?” Tamara asked.

“Does it matter?” Rook asked.

“Asked us that a week ago, I’d say no,” Gray replied. “Now, yeah, I think it matters.”

Rook sighed and nodded. “All right. He’s an investigator with the City Guard.”

“So?”

“He’s making things uncomfortable for quite a few of us, and not in the usual way that the guard does. Most times we’ll buy one off, or have him killed. Sends a message, understand? But Simeon, well, he’s crafty. Haven’t been able to get to him yet.”

“You’re saying you found a guard you can’t bribe?” Artair asked.

“Not in the least. He doesn’t want to be bribed, because he’s taking over the, ah, shadier side of the business. He’s taking protection money. Running brothels. Expanding into smuggling along the docks. Contract killing. And he’s carving into my territory. Barrion’s too, if what I hear is halfway true.”

“And what’s the city to come to if the guard muscles out an honest thief?” Artair asked, the corner of his mouth turned in a quirk.

“Your sarcasm isn’t needed nor appreciated.” Rook leaned back in the chair, rested his hands over his stomach. “So. That’s my price for my protection. What do you say?”

Gray looked to Tamara and Gray. The former nodded while the latter gave a half-hearted shrug and a smile.

“All right. Where can we find him?”

Rook’s face broke out into a wide predatory grin. “Thought you’d come around to my way of thinking.

“Oh, and Artair?”

“Yeah?”

“My sister said to say, ‘Hi.’ You survive this, she’s expecting you to pay her a call.” Rook twisted his face as he spoke the words, as if uttering them caused him a great deal of pain.

Artair spluttered and blushed a deep crimson as the three were escorted out of Rook’s.

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Comments
  1. Yay, more to the story! This makes me wonder if Gray’s crew can’t turn the Simeon thing to their advantage…

  2. […] jennifermzeiger on No Honor Among Thieves (Part… […]

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