Part 13: The Thieves Guild
I woke up early the next morning. I had training to get through and I wanted to get through it before the afternoon.
I met up with Wulfgar first. He spent awhile teaching me about the basics of handling a one handed sword including how to hold a sword and the best way to swing it.
After my melee training, I met up with Bartok to pick up a few pointers for handling a bow. Bartok wasn't able to teach me as much as Wulfgar, but I did feel more confident in my ability to hit a target.
It was about noon when I finished with Bartok. I was on my way down to the harbor when I remembered the key I'd found in the barracks last night. The key proved useless when it came to the tower near Thorben's house.
I then tried the tower near the blacksmith and, sure enough, the key fit.
Inside was a finely crafted and well balanced short sword. It didn't look too useful to me, but it did appear to be valuable. I stowed it away and ventured down to Kardif's tavern.
I came down here to find out more information on the swampweed, but as soon as I walked through the door, Kardif informed me that I had a message.
"Hey you, come over here. I've got something for you. There was a fellow here who insisted on talking to you. Since you weren't here, he told me to give you a message. He wants to meet you behind Halvor's fish shop. This piece of information is free - but that's an exception, kid! Anything beyond that will cost you."
I took out my coin purse. "What did the guy look like?"
I slid ten coins across the counter. Kardif nodded. "Well, rather tall, dark-skinned and strong - but no uniform. Somehow... menacing."
"And his face?" I asked.
"His face? When he looked at me I was glad that it wasn't me he had come for. There was something scary in his eyes - anyway, I think you should go see him. This is bound to be interesting."
"Yeah... the question is, for whom..."
While I was here I decided to find out more about the swampweed, too. "What do you know about a package of swampweed?"
"Whoever owns such a package is a rich man. And probably a very relaxed man as well!"
"Don't try to fool me", I warned. "You know something. So spit it out!"
"All right, all right - this fellow came to my pub the other day. One of the mercenaries. He said that he'd sold a package of swampweed at the harbor, but of course he was completely stoned. That's all I know. "
That was marginally more useful. It looked like I was going to be needing to visit the farm again in the near future.
Before going to see the mysterious stranger who requested me, I stopped by Halvor's fish stand. He'd told me that he would have some "special" fish in stock and, sure enough, he did. I purchased each of the awkward and stitched up fish for about 20 gold a piece.
Each fish had a different item inside and was no doubt stolen property. For the four fish, I acquired a lump of magic ore, a magical ring, 50 gold pieces, and three lock picks. That wasn't bad at all. I put all of my new goods away and proceeded to go behind Halvor's shop.
I saw the man waiting for me just behind the fishmonger's. He was in a leather outfit with a sheathed sword and a crossbow. I placed my hand on my hilt in case this went poorly.
"Ah - finally. I've been waiting for you, stranger." the man said.
"Who are you, and what do you want from me?" I demanded.
"That isn't important. What is important is what you've done. You have remained loyal - even if you weren't aware of it. Some benefactors have become aware of your loyalty. And they are offering you a chance. So use it."
"Hey, just tell me why you're here."
"I have a gift for you. Everything else is up to you." Attile laughed and handed me a key.
The key was rusted and damaged from exposure to salt water. It took me a little while, but eventually I thought of a fitting place. Down by the water, the sewers exited. Everyone simply thought they were filled with vermin and refuse, but could it be someone lived down there? I swam to it and tried the key.
The key worked, and I walked inside. The tunnels were filled with dilapidated barrels and crates, but freshly lit lanterns and torches lined the walls. Someone, or something, lived down here.
The tunnels forked into a left and right passage ahead. I first journeyed down the left one. Some giant rats immediately ran out of a small, dark room to meet me. I dealt with them and walked inside.
A chest inside the darkened room contained a bow, eight pieces of silver, and a golden plate. I inspected the bow closely and came to realize that it belonged to Bosper. That meant the silver was likely Coragon's. The golden bowl was the only thing I didn't recognize. I could make out an inscription on it which had the names "Onar and Maria". I took note of the first name and wondered if it was related to the landowner.
I lit a torch and slowly examined the rest of the room. On the wall opposite the chest was a large, black shrine. I recognized the figure immediately: Beliar.
I'm still not sure what compelled me to do it, before the idol.
Suddenly I felt like I was dying.
The feeling passed a few moments later. I was alive, though I felt noticeably weaker and like something had been taken from me. As I got up to leave I saw that the bowl at the base of the statue was now filled with gold coins.
The rest of the left passage was blocked off with a grate. I turned around and went the other way. The sewers were labyrinth-like with several dead ends. As I turned to go down one of the tunnels, I saw someone before me in the distance.
The figure was not happy to see me, but he was also not openly hostile. "Hey, what are you doing down here", he harshly asked. "There's nothing for you here. So, out with it, what are you doing here?"
"Attila gave me a key. That's why I'm here. So what do you want of me?"
Jesper grinned. "Wouldn't you like to know? Keep your cool. Go see Cassia. You're expected." Jesper motioned for me to follow.
Cassia was reading a tome when I came in. She looked away from her book to greet me. "I see you received our gift. I am Cassia."
"All right, Cassia, so tell me why I'm here."
"You caught our attention by winning the trust of some of our friends and we want to offer you a chance. You can join us."
"What's in it for me if I join you?"
"You can learn special abilities from us - abilities that will allow you to live in luxury."
"I wouldn't have to hide out down here, would I?"
"No. You only have to stick to our rules. That's all."
My interest was piqued. "Tell me more about your organization."
"People in town are pretty nervous about us but nobody knows our hideout. The handful of people who even know that the sewers exist believe that they are locked and not accessible to anyone. And as long as they don't find us, we can work in peace."
"What are your rules?"
"The first rule is: You don't breathe a word about us. To anyone. Ever. Second: Don't get caught. Third: If you draw your weapon down here to attack someone, we'll kill you. And the fourth, and last rule is: those who want to join us have to prove themselves. "
"What happens if we get caught?"
"Just don't get caught, OK?"
"What can I learn from you?"
"Jesper is the master of stealth. He will show you how to move without making a sound. Ramirez is an exceptionally gifted burglar. No lock can withstand his picks. And I can teach you how to be a pickpocket. I'm also going to help you become more dexterous. For dexterity is the key to your abilities. "
That sounded great to me. I'd helped the thieves guild so far and having more powerful enemies when I had gods damned dragons to fend off wouldn't be helpful. "Okay, I'm in."Besides, I figured I could always turn them in later.
"Great. You'll be given an opportunity to prove yourself. And if you want to learn from us, you're welcome."
"How am I supposed to prove myself?"
"That stubborn old alchemist - Constantino - has a beautiful ring. He doesn't really need it. I want to see it adorn my hand." Typical woman. I agreed to her terms. First I wanted some training, though.
"Can you teach me?"
"Sure, no problem. Just let me know when you're ready."
"Show me how to pick pockets."
"If you want to empty somebody's pockets, distract him. Just start talking to him, have a chat. While you're talking to him, size him up. Look out for bulging pockets, jewelry, or leather straps around the neck. And, most of all, note how keen the fellow seems. Robbing a drunk day-laborer is not the same as stealing from a mindful merchant, mind you. If you're too clumsy, of course, he'll smell a rat. So, above all, keep your cool. "
I trained my speed and dexterity a bit more with Cassia before departing the sewers in the same way I came.
I had some time to kill before Constantino would be vulnerable and I wasn't tired enough to sleep yet. I decided to check out the harbor district a bit more, specifically the slums behind the warehouses.
While exploring I came across a very annoyed man seated on a bench outside of a shack. "Boy, that lunatics hammering is wearing me down." he said to nobody in particular.
"Who are you talking about?" I asked.
"Can't you hear the hammering? Who do you think hammers all day long in the harbor district? I mean that lunatic Fellan. He takes the hammer to his hut everyday."
This sounded like a job for the Militia! "I could take care of Fellan."
Alwin looked concerned. "You want to help me? What's in it for you?"
"You tell me." I said.
"Oh, that's how it is! All right - if you can get him to stop hammering, I'll pay you 25 gold pieces. But I'll tell you one thing right now - you can't talk to the guy. He's nuts. The only thing that will help is a few decent punches!"
"I'll see what I can do." I said and I stealthily grabbed the man's coin purse.
I found Fellan just around the corner from Alwin's house.
"Could you stop hammering?"
"No, I have to finish this."
That was no way to obey the Militia. "Stop that hammering, or I'll break every bone in your body."
"Forget it, or I'll knock some sense into your head with my hammer." He asked for it.
I knocked him about the head with my stick. He quickly saw reason. "OK, so you beat me. Some heroic deed that was."
"Will you stop hammering now, or do I have to thrash you again?"
"No, don't hit me any more. I'll stop. But if everything collapses around here, it'll be your fault!"
I returned to Alwin with the good news. "Fellan will hammer no longer."
"Hear that? No more hammering. At last. I thought the fellow would never quit. You've done me a huge favor. You know what, I'll give you 30 gold pieces." Alwin was so pleased with my work that he tossed in extra coins. A job well done.
I continued on through the slums. I found myself behind a large warehouse at the end of the harbor district. A small crowd had gathered so I approached to see what all the fuss was about.
A single man seemed to be in the center of the crowd. I approached him. "What are you doing here?" I inquired.
Alrik laughed. "This is my home! But if you mean, what do I do all day - I arrange fights."
"You arrange fights?"
"Every day from noon until evening. And right here! Behind the warehouse in the harbor district - home, sweet home!"
This sounded interesting. "What are the rules for the fight?"
"Quite simple: All regular weapons are allowed. No bows or crossbows and NO magic! We fight until one of us drops. And as soon as one of us is flat on his back, it's over, got it? Whoever leaves the corner is out! So if you quit, I win! The stake is 50 gold coins. If you win, you get 100 back. If not - well - then your money is down the drain." Alrik grinned at me.
Sounded fun. "I want to fight against you!"
"Do you have 50 gold pieces?"
I nodded and gave them to him. "Here you are."
Alrik turned to the crowd and spoke loudly. "We have a new challenger! The bets are placed." The fighter looked at me. "Are you ready?"
I nodded and drew my weapon.
"Then lets see what you can do!" Alrik unstrapped a wooden club from his side.
The battle lasted only a few seconds and I emerged victorious.
Alrik stood up and looked at me. He still had that goofy grin on his face. "Oh man! You pack quite a punch. Here's your 100 gold pieces! You've earned them! And one more thing: No one talks about what goes on behind the warehouse."
"I want to fight against you again."
He shook his head. "Nah, nah. Before I go up against you again, I need a better weapon. I had to sell my sword a few days ago. With that baby, I'm unbeatable! If you get it back for me, I'll take you on again!"
"To whom did you sell the sword?"
"I swapped it to a trader in the marketplace for some stuff. The guy's called Jora. The torches and the bit of meat that he gave me are long used up."
"He isn't likely to give me the sword for nothing." I stated.
"It's an old sword. He won't want much for it. Just think of the money as an extra stake for the fight."
I left and headed toward the market.
On my way back to the marketplace I met with fellow militiaman Pablo. We chatted for a bit about things in the town. Overall, nothing of much value was discussed though I did manage to snag another tower key from his pocket.
I stopped by Hakon and picked up a belt to match my new armor.
Then I went and spoke with Jora.
"Alrik says you've got his sword..."
"Do you mean that ragged fellow who traded his weapon to me for a few torches and chunks of meat?"
I nodded. "That's him."
"I still have the sword."
"How much do you want for it?"
Jora rubbed his chin. "Well - for you.. Ah, so what! Here, take it. After all, you did help me get my gold back."
I walked about the marketplace a little longer, browsing goods and selling excess equipment. I came across the seer, Abuyin, again.
"Can you make me a prophecy?"
"Yes, time has progressed and I shall give you a prophecy in return for a few coins."
"For a paltry 100 coins, I shall risk a glance through time for you."
I counted out 100 coins and tossed them over to him. "Tell me about the future."
"All right, Son of Bravery. I shall now enter a state of trance. Are you ready?"
I nodded once.
Abuyin levitated a foot above the ground and a blue aura surrounded him. "A mercenary... he will need you... a terrible murder... the Eye... the sinister henchmen... they are coming... searching for you... a guardian will fall … but the three shall unite... only then shall you receive what is yours..." The seer's trance ended and he drifted back to the ground. "That's all. There's nothing more I can see."
I walked by the outdoor bar and caught the glitter of sunlight hitting metal from Ragnar. I struck up a conversation with the drunkard and acquired a third tower key when I found an opening.
I went to the militia headquarters and sought out Mortis for some strength training.
After that, I went to Coragon's pub to return his stolen silver.
"I've got your silver." I told him.
"Really?" he looked shocked. "Here - take this as a reward. A very special beer. This is my last keg." I downed the special brew and said my farewells. Whatever was in that beer made me feel a somewhat healthier.
Before I went back to the Harbor district, I wanted to find out which two towers my new keys would open. Both keys opened the towers nearest the southern gate. Inside the western tower was a locked chest with some potions and 70 gold coins.
The eastern tower contained a light two-hander. It was of good make and would sell for a tidy profit.
While I was here I decided I would visit Master Bosper. I'd found his bow and he'd been nice enough to me to deserve it back.
"You up and joined the militia, eh? Not that I care. Just as long as, besides orcs and bandits, you hunt a few wolves as well." Bosper grinned.
I ignored him and went straight to my point. "I think this bow belongs to you."
Bosper's eyes widened. "My bow! Where did you find it?"
"In a dark hole full of rats." I said.
"I hope you didn't get into trouble."
I shook my head. "No - I've done this kind of thing before. "
"Hm - thank you anyway. I owe you for this!"
I remembered the skins I'd acquired on my latest trip. "I've got a few skins for you..."
Bosper took the skins and examined them closely. "A sheep skin? You didn't go slaughter some farmer's sheep in the pasture, did you?"
"I wouldn't dream of doing that." I'd actually found the skin in the bandit cave.
Bosper looked over the rest of the skins. "Wolf skins, that's good... Good work. Come see me again when you have more." He handed me 80 gold for the skins and shuffled away to store the furs.
I ventured back into the Harbor district and sought out Alwin. I couldn't find him behind the warehouse. It must be too late for him. I climbed on top of a hut for a better look and was surprised to find a number of coin purses, scrolls, and other miscellaneous items scattered about the rooftops.
I eventually found Alwin inside Kardif's tavern.
"I've got your sword!" I told him.
"Ah! That's much better than fighting with an old stick!"
"I want to fight against you."
"I only fight from noon until evening. The fighting is only worth it if there are enough viewers to make bets! It's much too late now. Come back tomorrow at noon!"
The sun had begun to set so I skulked back up into the lower districts. Predictably, Constantino had already gone to bed. I carefully snuck inside.
His chest opened easily: the lock was no match for my skills. Inside I found 20 gold coins and the ring. The ring was my only objective here. I had no reason to take the coin.
I left the money for the old man and hurried back down to the sewers.
I found the woman thief just as she was about to go down to sleep. "I've got Constantino's ring." I said.
"Congratulations. You passed your initiation test. Now you're truly one of us. Take this key. It opens the door to the hotel." She smiled and gestured toward the other doorway in the room. "Then you won't have to swim every time. Furthermore, you should know that we have a secret sign. A particular nod."
She demonstrated the sign and I repeated it. "Exactly. When you talk to the right people and make this sign, they'll know you are one of us. "
"Have you got a job for me?"
"Yes. There is a matching set of chalices. Six of them. King Rhobar once captured them during a campaign but he sacrificed many men so he could get them. That's why they're called the Blood Chalices. Each of the chalices by itself is not at all that valuable but the six of them all together are worth a tidy sum."
"Where are these chalices?"
"They're here, in town - they belong to the rich merchants in the upper quarter. Bring them to me. In the meantime, I'll try to find a buyer for them."
"What's in it for me?"
"Either half of the profit, or you get to pick a special item from the booty."
That sounded like a fine deal. I accepted and went on my way. I climbed up the ramp Cassia had opened to me and found myself in the Inn.
Hanna didn't look too pleased. "Look at you! Where do you come from? Hm?"
I looked down at the ground. "I.."
Suddenly she laughed. "I know! You don't have to tell me. I know everything. Just don't even think of stealing anything here, got it? We can't afford drawing attention to the hotel."
I was exhausted. I'd done a lot today and desperately needed sleep. I retired to my bunk and fell asleep.
Other: I forgot to get a character sheet for this update. I'll have one at the end of the next update.