Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: A new life|
I was a noble’s son, a bastard. Oh, I got schooling and even some training in the martial skills. One thing I learned was that any offense with an edged weapon was cause for imprisonment. As soon as I was old enough I set out on my own. I headed towards the other side of the kingdom. The large port city of Tide was a major port and trade city as well as the capital for the kingdom.
For two weeks I moved through the shadows of the night. It was the dark of the moon and the four men I had been watching would be moving. I knew where they would enter the merchants manor, just as I knew were they would come out. I knew where they would take everything they stole, now it was just a waiting game. It was right after midnight when they moved and I waited and then moved to the shadows down the street from the side door.
It was only about an hour before the side door opened and they came out. They were carrying a lot of heavy stuff and moved slowly. I waited until they were passing me before stepping out. I was carrying two thick, engraved hard wood clubs. Each was two inches thick and thirty inches long.
I slam the right one into the side of the last man’s head and the left one into the back of the next man’s head. The other two men started turning to see what was happening but it was to late. I struck sideways with the right club as I continued to walk and it cracked into the forehead of one of the other men.
My left club came straight down on the top of the last man’s head and it was over. I quickly searched them for weapons and tied their hands behind their backs and gagged them. From the amount of blood on their clothes they had probably killed the merchant.
I slapped them awake and got them onto their feet. I loaded them up with the loot and led them away. When I pulled them into the city guard building there were only a few guards there. A commander stood, “What’s the meaning of this!”
I nodded to the men as I began pulling the loot away from them, “These four just robbed a merchant and from the amount of blood on them, I would say they probably killed him.”
The guards looked at each other and the commander nodded to two guards, “Take them back to the cells.”
I looked around as I pulled out two parchments. One I held out to the commander and the other I set on a nearby table. The commander grunted as he took the parchment and slowly began reading. I sat and pulled out a small bottle of ink and a metal stylist. I started writing and the commander finally looked at me, “This says you are a licensed thief taker.”
I nodded, “Licensed by the king’s court and the first year’s taxes paid.”
The commander looked at the parchment I was writing on, “What are you writing?”
I glanced at him, “The king’s law requires I give an accounting of each thief I catch.”
I gave the commander the address to the merchant’s manor and went back to writing on the parchment. When I finished the guard the commander had sent to the merchant’s manor was back. Not only was the merchant dead but everyone else in the manor. I set all the weapons I had taken from the four men on the table and moved to the pile of loot. I loaded everything up as they watched me and turned towards the commander, “I am staying at the White Lion tavern.”
I moved slowly because of the weight and a guard by the door opened it to let me out. When I checked with the guards a week later no one had come forwards to claim the merchant’s goods so they became mine. The first thing I did was buy a very old two story house on the edge of the city. It was built from cut stone and not brick. The bottom floor held a large kitchen, a dinning room, a parlor and a living room. The second floor had four bedrooms.
It wasn’t about the Spices
I began moving around the city, mostly at night. It was three days later that I caught the two men robbing a young noble. I slipped out of the shadows and crossed to them as they clubbed him and then kicked him on the ground. My first strike was to the back of one’s head and then I used my other club to back hand a blow across the forehead of the other.
I secured both and took the purse they had taken from the noble. I helped him up and then pulled the two thieves up. I pushed and pulled the two while helping the young man. When I entered the guard building the commander looked up and opened his mouth before closing it. The men were taken away while I wrote up the account. I held the purse out to the young noble but he waved it away.
I shrugged, the king’s court would pay me two silvers for each man anyway but extra money was always nice. Three days later I woke to banging on my front door. When I opened it, it was to see the young noble with another older man that was plainly a noble and a man that was plainly an officer of the guard. I looked at them and the young noble gestured into the house, “may we come in?”
I opened the door wider as I stepped back and they came in. I closed the door and then led them to the parlor. I gestured to the old cushioned chairs by the fireplace and waited before sitting. The young man cleared his throat, “This is Baron Trindal. Someone broke into his warehouse and stole several crates of spice.”
I looked at the guard officer and he didn’t look happy. I sat back and looked at the nobles, “And what did you want me to do?”
The baron leaned forward, “The thieves killed one of my men, I want them caught. If you find the spices you can keep them.”
I looked at the guard officer, “Do I have your permission?”
He looked at the old noble before nodding. I looked at the old noble, “Tell me everything about it. When, where, how, who… everything you know.”
He hesitated and then started talking. I listened closely and knew right away someone inside the warehouse had been part of the theft. When he stopped talking I sat back, “First, this is going to cost more than the king’s court is going to pay. Second, what I find may be something you didn’t want to know. Third, I doubt the spices were what they were really after so I need information.”
The old man looked at me as the officer and the young noble looked at each other, “What do you want to know?”
I smiled, “As valuable as the spices are, that was something they used as an excuse to make you think that was what they were after. What else do you have that would make killing a worker worth what they were doing?”
He shook his head and shrugged, “Nothing. I have bolts of silk and other valuable cloth as well as rare spices but that’s it.”
I looked at him and sat back to think. I finally stood, “I need to see where the worker was killed.”
As I walked through the warehouse several workers glared at me but remain quiet. As Baron Trindal gestured to the smeared blood stain I slowly started walking around the area. I knew what or I should say where the thieves had been from marks I saw. I ignored it and continued walking around the area.
When we walked back outside I nodded to the guard officer, “They’ll probably try again tonight. If you can have your guards continue their normal patrols I should be able to catch them.”
I looked at Baron Trindal, “They weren’t after anything in your warehouse my lord. They were in your office.”
He started and opened his mouth but I held my hand up, “I imagine you have a strong box. Don’t do anything like removing your money. Do business like normal and I will catch those responsible.”
I turned and walked away before they could say anything. I made a stop on the way home for some stout cordage. I relaxed when I got home and closed my eyes, it was going to be a long night. When I opened my eyes the light from the window was just starting to dim so I knew the sun was going down. I quickly bathed and dressed before leaving the house.
I made a stop at a tavern I had started using. At first everyone quieted and then they started talking again. After eating I left and headed towards the shipping area of the city. I came to the back of Baron Trindal’s warehouse and looked around. Once I was sure no one was around I moved to a corner and started climbing up the stone drain pipe.
I was careful when I reached the roof and slowly made my way to the sky light I wanted. It only took a moment to open it and then I slipped inside and closed the sky light behind me. I moved along the beam until I reached a large stack of crates. I used the crates to climb down and silently moved to the gap between two where I could watch the back wall of the office.
I settled down to wait, I knew the thieves would wait until they thought everyone was asleep in the city. It was past the mid watch bell when I heard them enter. I watched as three men quietly walked to the wall and looked around before beginning to pull boards off. What surprised me was the young well dressed man whispering orders.
They finally disappeared into the office and I moved to the wall beside the hole they had made. Several minutes later a man crawled out and I struck. One of my night sticks struck the back of his head and I quickly pulled him to the side. A second pushed a large metal lock box through the hole and hissed, “Take it damn you!”
I reached out to pull it out of the way and waited for him to come out. Like with the first man I hit him and pulled his body clear before turning to the hole. The last man to come through was the well dressed man and he held what looked like a ledger. After I laid him out I tied the three men up and tucked the ledger into my shirt. I slapped the men awake and the first one to speak was the young well dressed lad.
He started off with arrogance and threats of beatings. I cuffed him and yanked the two other men up. I forced them to carry the heavy lock box and pushed them towards the door. The young man went from threats to offering me half and then more than half, he even told me where the crates of spices were.
I ignored everything as I pushed and chivied them down the street until we reached the guard building. That was when the young man began yelling for help and accusing me. I slapped him, “Shut the hell up!”
I turned to look at a sleepy guard captain and the Baron that had hired me. They were just coming in a side door. I nodded and looked at the two men carrying the lockbox. The merchant Baron’s face was white as was the young man’s. The guard Captain actually looked grim as he gestured to his guards, “Put them in a cell.”
The guards hesitated at the young man but Baron Trindal snarled, “him too!”
I took the heavy lockbox and set it on the table and then pulled out the ledger. That was when the Baron’s face turned red in anger. I set the ledger on the box before turning to sit and reach for a piece of parchment, “The two men had the box but the young sir had the ledger.”
The Baron almost whispered, “Did you look in the ledger?”
I glanced at him, “No, I don’t need to know what they were stealing.”
I began writing the account of the theft and felt the baron looking over my shoulder. When I finished, I blew on it and handed it to the guard captain. He read it and smiled, “You did good.”
He looked at the merchant and sighed, “I’m sorry about your son sir.”
The baron snorted, “He isn’t my son.”
He pulled a purse from inside his shirt as I stood and tossed it to me, “Thank you thief taker.”
I bowed, “I only wish the culprits weren’t who they are.”
The baron nodded and I turned towards the door. Early the next day I arranged for a wagon and brought the crates of spices back to the baron’s warehouse. After I returned it, I headed home for a nice meal and a long nap.
Chapter three – A pouch of false gold
I looked up from the large bread bowl of hunter’s stew. The two men walking towards my table didn’t belong here. One was a young noble dandy and the other looked like a rich merchant. I ignored them to blow on the hot stew and take a bite. I chewed and watched as they finally stopped across from me. I sighed after swallowing and sat back, “Yes?”
The old merchant cleared his throat, “Are you the thief taker?”
I smiled and nodded, “How can I help you?”
He tossed a heavy pouch on the table. I reached out to open it and saw a lot of gold coins. Something wasn’t right though and I poured them onto the table. I used my finger to turn several over before looking at the merchant, “These are fake.”
He nodded, “That is how you can help me. Find the bastards that replaced the gold with these worthless pieces of lead.”
I took another bite of stew and chewed while thinking about it. The young noble leaned on the table pulling a fancy dagger. My other hand came over the table as he was reaching towards my face.
I grabbed his wrist, placing my thumb on the back of his hand as I twisted and yanked. He slammed into the table as my hand slipped the dagger out of his hand. I nodded to the merchant as I released the noble, “for ten percent of what I return.”
He puffed up, “that’s robbery!”
I smiled and flipped the dagger before throwing it across the room to slam into the door frame, “then find another thief taker.”
He glared and spun away, the noble snarled as he rubbed his wrist, “This isn’t over.”
I ignored him to return to my stew. The rest of the room laughed though and he stomped after the merchant. When I finished eating I slipped the serving girl a few extra coppers before leaving. I headed into the slums of the city and slipped into the shadows. When the man I was waiting for limped past, I reached out and yanked him into the narrow alley.
He opened his mouth to yell and froze as one of my clubs jabbed him in the stomach, “Quiet.”
He nodded and looked around as I held up two pieces of silver, “who is buying lead?”
He grinned and looked from my face to the silver, “I’ll tell for a gold piece.”
I shook my head, “You already owe me for not taking you in for stealing.”
He swallowed and finally nodded, “It be a noble lad. He tries to hide what he is but we have eyes.”
I shook the silver coins, “Name?”
He shook his head, “We don’t know his name. He is supposed to buy more lead tonight at the Black Owl.”
I put the silver coins away and he growled. I released him and flipped a single gold piece towards him as I walked away. The Black Owl was in a dark part of the city, they didn’t even bother to light the few street lamps on the streets and they sure didn’t bother filling them with oil. I slipped in the back door and smiled at the young lass that glanced my way.
I sat at a dark shadowed table and pushed a silver across the table. The serving girl swayed by and the silver vanished before she continued on her way. I had been here a few times and she knew me. Her next trip past my table a tall mug slid across. I knew I didn’t have to worry about being poisoned or drugged. I lifted the mug and sipped the cool cider with a sigh.
The ale here was a good way to kill yourself but the cider was pure nectar. I spotted the two lead mongers sitting at a lone table. I relaxed and sipped the cider as slowly time passed. I was almost ready to leave when the slim cloaked noble opened the door. His cloak hid his features but the richness told everyone what he was. I watched and waited as they spoke and he pushed a couple of gold pieces across the table.
He lifted the heavy bag they set on the table and his cloak opened to reveal a fancy dagger I recognized. I smiled and sipped the last of my cider before standing and quietly leaving through the back door. I was waiting across the dark street when the noble left the inn. I followed him easily as he walked through the dark streets not even looking back.
He went towards the part of the city that had stock pens and slaughter houses. He hesitated at the mouth of an alley and I slipped into a dark doorway. After looking back, he walked past the alley and opened the door to a tiny shop next to it. I waited and watched and a little later a short, thin man appeared.
He looked around carefully before going into the shop. I slipped out of the doorway and down the alley. From the back of the shop came the smell of smelting. I pulled my two clubs and kicked the back door open. As I walked in the noble spun from the small forge and the other man turned to run.
I threw one of the clubs to strike the running man in the back of the head before looking at the noble holding his fancy dagger as I moved closer. He lunged (which was stupid with a dagger) and I moved sideways before slamming my club into the side of his head. As he dropped to the floor like a stone, I went after the other man trying to get up.
A crack over the back of the head dropped him back to the floor and I bent to retrieve my thrown club. I quickly tied the two men and began looking around. I found the small gold bar they were going to coat the lead coins with as well as the mold for the coins. I also found a few fake coins. I slapped the short, thin man awake, “Where is the gold you stole?”
He sneered and I slammed a club into his ribs, “I will turn in your broken body if that is how you want it.”
His pale face gestured across the room, “half is under the floor next to the wall.”
I waited and poked him with the club when he didn’t say anything else. He gasped, “The kid took the rest!”
I nodded and moved to pry the floor up. I pulled a heavy chest out before going to slap the noble awake. He was white faced but the first thing he said was a threat, “My father will have your head…”
I slugged him in the face, breaking his nose and showering blood everywhere, “Where is the gold, thief?”
He sputtered and spit blood before glaring. I shrugged before leaning him forward and reaching behind him. He screamed as I broke one of his fingers and pushed him back to sob. I slapped him, “The gold boy?”
He shook his head and I leaned him forward again. This time he screamed, “Under the mattress in my room!”
I yanked him up and then the other man. I tied them together at the neck before lifting the heavy gold chest. I left the small gold bar and everything else and pushed them out the back door. When I shoved them into the guard building the young noble began screaming bloody murder until I knocked the wind out of him with a kick. I shoved him towards a guard and looked at the guard commander, “They were making false gold coins”
The noble youth tried to bluster and the guard slapped him and told him to shut the hell up. They were taken towards the cells as I sat to write out the report. I gave the commander the location of the shop and two guards were sent out on the double. The commander sat across from me as I wrote and waited patiently. I pushed the first sheet across and he turned it before starting to read. When he finished, he looked up, “Are you sure, he’s…”
I nodded, “I’m sure. You can send someone to look under his mattress to confirm he had some of the gold. He was the one working the forge when I caught them.”
I blew on the second page and folded it before pulling the candle near and removing a small solid brass seal from inside my tunic. I dribbled wax on the edge and sealed the paper before siding it across to the commander, “The law requires I send a report to the king as well as provide the court one.”
He swallowed and nodded, “He’ll see it first thing in the morning.”
I glanced at the cell door, “The king will want them available to answer questions.”
The commander stood, “They will bloody well answer.”
I nodded and stood before heading towards the door with the chest. The next morning a messenger arrived with an elegant thank you letter from the king and a small purse of gold coins. I never heard from the rich merchant but found out he was fined heavily by the king for not reporting the false gold coins.
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