© 2001 Rachel Ford
Chapter One: A Chance
Garrette donned her cloak; tonight was going to be a big night, and she had to hurry. Some time ago, an old friend of her's (name of Rasso - good lock pick, TERRIBLE sneak) needed help with rescuing his sweetheart; instead of asking her, he asked some Taffer who had rescued him from a Hammerite prison. She didn't like that, but it was always the same. No one ever trusted her with an important mission - instead she always got the lame, simple jobs a ten year old could do; but now this would change!
"This is my chance; I better not goof it up," she thought, as she packed several arrows, and a few flash bombs up. She didn't have a very good array of equipment - a sword, a blackjack, some arrows, and a few flash bombs; that, too, would change after this mission was over!!
After grabbing a map of the City, and the note Rasso had hastily jotted down for her, she was ready. "Rasso said to meet him at twelve," Garrette thought. "That's five minutes from now - better hurry!" As she wove her way through the city (she was familiar with this part, but always took a map, just in case), she wondered what the "vital mission" was that Rasso needed her to perform. "I'll find out soon," she thought, as she neared the appointed meeting place. Slipping into some shadows behind a nearby building, she waited; within half a minute, she spotted Rasso, looking around, in hopes of seeing her. "Rasso!" she whispered.
"Garrette?" Rasso replied.
Garrette came out of the shadows, and asked, "What's wrong, Rasso?"
"I need help, Garrette - good, quick help!" Rasso responded
"Well, look no further - but what do you need help with?" Garrette questioned.
"You remember when that Taffer rescued Guenivere?"
"Yes," Garrette said, her face clouding with the memory of how her skills were over looked once again.
"Well, Guenivere's been captured by her former 'owners' - marriage was supposed to void her indenture, but Sheriff Drout ruled that, since her marriage to me was not authorized by her 'owner', it is not recognizable!"
"And you need me to get her out?" Garrette asked.
"Yes," Rasso replied.
"Why didn't you ask the Taffer who got her out in the first place?" Garrette asked, with a touch of resentment in her voice.
"He's out of town," Rasso replied.
"So, you asked me only because the 'better' Taffer was out of town?"
"Well, kinda - but, Garrette, I REALLY need your help. Please?" Rasso pleaded.
"I guess I should be glad Rasso thought of me, even if it was as a last resort," Garrette thought; aloud she said "All right, Rasso - I'll do it for you. And I'll prove to you that I'm just as good as the best!!"
"Thank you, Garrette!! I'll never forget you, as long as I live! Here's the map of Castle Grande, where Guenivere is being held; and, here's 500 to buy some supplies with. All you've got to do is get Guenivere out, and make sure she's ok."
"That sounds simple enough...and what the heck; from what I've heard, Castle Grande is supposed to be crawling with loot - may as well pocket some of it!" she thought. To Rasso, she said, "I'll start now!"
"Thank you, Garrette!!" Rasso said, handing her the money and the map.
After taking her leave of Rasso, Garrette visited a local weapons shop; she couldn't buy much with 500, but she got a healingpotion and a running potion, and swiped three fire arrows while the shopkeeper's back was turned. "Not bad," Garrette thought as she left the weapons shop. "Better get out of here, though, before the shopkeeper realizes anything is missing." Running through the shadows, and pausing to make sure no one was following her, Garrette approached Castle Grande.
"This is it," she said, gazing first at Castle Grande, and then at the map Rasso had given her. "Now, how to get in..." she wondered. The castle was surrounded by a moat, and there were two gates, a front and a rear, which were locked, and heavily guarded. In front of the gates were the raised drawbridges; there was one possible way in, however - one of the windows in the ballroom was ajar. This window was about five feet above the moat, but most likely there would be a few places to hold on, on the castle walls; it would be a risky entry, but there was no choice.
Garrette quietly slipped into the moat, and, making as little noise as possible, approached the window. Reaching for small spaces, between the stones of the castle wall, Garrette pulled herself up. When she reached the window, she peered over the ledge; the ballroom was empty.
She slipped over the window ledge, and ran to the cover of some nearby shadows, where she plotted her next move. According to Rasso's map, the dining room was to the west of the ballroom, and the sitting room was to the east. "I'll visit the sitting room first, and then the dining room; I should find some valuables there," she thought. Pocketing the gold candlesticks, and jeweled trinkets that were lying around, Garrette headed for the sitting room; listening at the door, she heard voices.
"I still say we should let that slave, Guenivere, taste the lash!!" one voice complained.
"If she's whipped," another replied, "she won't be able to work for several days! And with Father Carrass paying us a visit, we need all the help we can get!"
"I suppose your right..." the first speaker consented.
"Of course, after Father Carrass has arrived, then..." the second speaker said, letting her voice trail off.
"Very good thinking, my dear!" said the first, laughing at this suggestion.
Muttering curses under her breath, Garrette headed to the dining room; after listening at the dining room door, and hearing nothing, she slowly opened the door. As she had thought, the dining room was vacated - looting as she went, Garrette passed through the dining room, and into the hall. Entering the empty rooms which she suspected contained loot, Garrette made her way to the staircase.
After looting all the bedrooms upstairs, and avoiding the guards, Garrette headed to the basement.
This area was more heavily guarded, so Garrette got her blackjack ready.
"This job is so dull," one guard complained.
"The only things that ever comes down here are the servants and rats!" another whined.
"Yeah...so why do we have to guard it??"
"I've heard rumors," one began, "that there's something hidden down here...I don't know, but I have seen the master sneaking down here late at night, several times, carrying gold, heading for the kitchen."
"Ahh! Dost thou think there be a safe of some sort, brother?" asked one guard, who's garb was of a purple/bluish tinge, with silver trimmings.
"Must you crazed mechanists always talk like that??" one guard, dressed in red, grumbled, looking disdainfully at the mechanist.
"I wilt teach thee a lesson, by thunder, thou foul heathen!" screamed the mechanist, infuriated by the other guard's speech; raising his mace, he lunged for the guard dressed in red. The other guards grabbed the mechanist, and restrained him and the other guard from fighting.
During the commotion, Garrette slipped by. "May as well check that secret out," she thought, heading for the kitchen. On her way, she came across several guards, with their backs turned. After blackjacking them, and entering the kitchen, Garrette put the torches and the fire in the fireplace out with water arrows, figuring that, if the servants came in, she needed a place to hide. Shortly after she had begun searching, the door opened; diving for cover, Garrette watched as a noblemen (she didn't know who it was, as his back was turned) headed for the west corner. Reaching under the table, the nobleman pushed a switch; a part of the wall opened. The noblemen put a sack of gold in the opening, and flipped the switch again. When he had departed, Garrette ran to the table, and flipped the switch - the compartment opened again, and this time she noticed it was full of jewels, bags of gold, and other valuables. Filling her loot bag, Garrette decided she had enough, as her bag was full. Time to get Guenivere out!
Creeping down the hall, towards the servant's quarters, Garrette listened for any noise. Hearing nothing, she quietly opened a door; inside was the sleeping under butler. Silently closing this door, Garrette tried the next door; it would not budge. "This must be it," she thought, pulling her lock picks out. After several minutes of tedious lock picking, the door finally opened. Garrette saw another servant; this time it was Guenivere! "Guenivere!" she whispered.
"Huh?!" Guenivere started.
"Shh! Rasso sent me. I'm here to get you out," Garrette told her.
"Who are you?" Guenivere asked.
"My name is Garrette; we can talk later, though - let's go!" Garrette replied.
Grabbing her shawl, Guenivere followed Garrette out of the room, and down the hall. "The map says there's a way into the drainage pipes..." Garrette thought aloud, "but I'll be darned if I can find it."
Guenivere, who had heard her pondering, whispered, "It's down the hall a little ways, near the entrance to the basement - next to the guards' post"
"Great," Garrette thought. Aloud, she said, "Wait here - hide in your room, if anyone comes (unless it's me)." Readying her blackjack, Garrette crept toward the guards' post.
"Ahh...when is Jack gonna be taking over?" one guard asked another, while yawning.
"I donno...he's already half an hour late," the other replied.
"Most likely drunk again!" the first mumbled.
"Sleepy guards! Excellent!" Garrette thought. Putting her blackjack away, and taking her water arrows out instead, Garrette put out the torches around the guard station.
"What was that??" the first guard asked.
"Must have been the wind - I've complained about a hundred times about how drafty it is down here, but do they care? No! They never work down here, so why should they care??" the second guard grumbled.
"'Twas most likely just the rats, brothers," said another voice, which Garrette recognized as the mechanist.
While they conversed, Garrette searched for and found a small, red button, which she pushed; this opened a small passageway, leading to the sewer.
After returning for Guenivere, the two of them made their way through the passage. "UGH!!" Gunivere exclaimed, as they approached the sewer. "I'm not going to swim through that!!"
Muttering under her breath, Garrette readied the rope arrow she had found in one of the castle's rooms, and aimed for a beam on the ceiling. THWACK!! The arrow stuck firmly in the beam, and Garrette told Guenivere to climb it. Although hesitant, Guenivere agreed, as she preferred climbing to swimming in sewerage. Once Guenivere had climbed up the rope and onto the beam above, Garrette followed.
After removing her rope arrow from the beam, Garrette showed Guenivere what she would have to do - leap from beam to beam. Although she was successful on her first two attempts, Guenivere missed the third beam, and fell into the sewerage below. Rolling her eyes, Garrette dived in after her. She found Guenivere, who was unconscious, near the bottom of the sewer; pulling her up, Garrette swam, with Guenivere on her back, out of the sewer, and into the canal where the sewer led. Dragging her out of the water, Garrette carried Guenivere to the place where Rasso had last met her - sure enough, he was still there, waiting.
"Guenivere!!" Rasso exclaimed. Then, turning to Garrette, he demanded, "What did you do?? I asked you to save her, not kill her!!"
"What?" Garrette started, "I didn't..."
"Rasso...?" Guenivere (who was still bordering on unconsciousness) asked.
"Guenivere!!!" Rasso exclaimed, running to her. "Oh, Guenivere, forgive me - I'm so sorry I ever asked this...this...second rate thief to save you!!"
"Wha...?" Garrette asked, shocked.
"No wonder no one trusts you for important missions - you'd get everyone killed!!" Rasso told her.
"It wasn't my fault," Garrette began. "If she'd just swam through the sewer - "
"Sewer?? Only rats and thieves swim through sewerage!!" Rasso exclaimed, infuriated.
"So much for gratitude," Garrette muttered, turning, and leaving.
A few minutes later, Garrette heard Rasso running up to her. "I'm sorry, Garrette...I guess I got carried away back there..."
"Say that again," Garrette said, still walking.
"Listen, Garrette - I didn't mean what I said - I really didn't. I just thought you had hurt Guenivere...but she explained everything, and now..."
"Go away," Garrette said, without turning.
"No, I mean it, Garrette - I really am sorry," Rasso said, apologetically.
"All right," Garrette said, turning to face Rasso. "Apology accepted. Under one condition - you tell your friends, who need big jobs done, about me!"
"Deal!" Rasso exclaimed.
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