Second Chronicle of the Criminal Masterminds
The Ravenclaw Order
Garrett fell back against the wall. The sword was inside, and to his relief; would be his soon. He quickly returned to Lucas and Natalie and explained what he saw. They all agreed on what to do and do it as quickly as possible.
“How should be proceed?” asked Lucas.
“From what I could tell, the door is right there. We walk in, and get the sword. After that, we will stop at the stations that you told us about and get what you need along with those documents and treasury that you spoke of!” came Garrett’s harsh reply. The wind roared above their heads, luckily they were protected by the large stone walls of the Cathedral.
Natalie led the way as the three moved around the corner, and into a dead open separate courtyard. Garrett quickly tried the knob of the door. Locked. Garrett put his shoulder to it, and pushed. The wooden door gave way and fell right off its hinges. He stepped inside very quietly, and scouted out with his Mechanical Eye. He heard nothing, it was dead in St. Jerak. Very dead. He whistled and the two quickly followed in and vanished in the shadows.
John Quinn shifted his black cloak around him in the guild. The darkness and a few candles illuminated the area around him. Around him, were his deputies along with the guild master, Fenny. His had come to Kirtish for the reason of finding her, the one that was needed to coordinate and head the Bureau of External Affairs for Ravenclaw. Even though this was his first year as the Governor of the Order, he was never less certain that the Independent Natalie would be a vital addition to the organization, and help them ward away any type of real threat. He took a sip of some fine wine, and heard the squawking of his raven, Ali. All members of the order were given a magical raven to send messages and help them in troubles. Ali squawked and flew over to Quinn’s shoulder, landing easily and nibbled at his ear, very affectionately.
“Where is the Independent now?” asked Quinn. His dark hood cast shadows above his face. The Ravenclaw Order was the wealthiest, and most secretive order in the City. The extensions and branches outside of the City including villages; allowed them to control vast amounts of smuggling, thieving, assassinations and secrets. Quinn was the head of the City, and his job was worth the amount of money controlled by a group of men and woman known as the Council, with which he himself was a part of. The head of them was the mysterious Executive. Quinn had not even met him, and so only the Speaker, who was also his good friend Kraeger Langholm came in contact with the Head of the order; who by rumor was reputed to be a genius of criminal ideas.
Although, the Order had shrunk over the years due to Gorman Truart and the Hammerites, the order had become smaller, although controlling most of the criminal world in the City, with guilds in the villages within a four hour travel from the City, the Ravenclaw though very wealthy was also the center of a web of terror that was not known to Truart and the City Watch. Now that Mosley was in the criminals pocket, they were running things in the criminal world, although small.
“We believe” said Herban Nubal; Operations Division Head through a pipe: “That the candidate will be with us any time now, we just need to offer her a sizable sum. The master thief is a partner of hers and most likely will persuade her away from such an act!” came his cheerful words.
“Would money help?” asked Quinn.
Helena Fair-Weather, Head of the Currency Affairs; looked up at Quinn, and consulted a parchment over some spectacles. She took them off: “From what are money standings say, yes. We can pay her a sizable sum….allowing her time to gain comfort with us!”
Quinn was about to respond, when a nearby door opened, and an Assistant dressed in black robes and hood walked in with a small piece of paper, and placed it on the table. He stood aside, ready to be given his orders. Quinn observed the paper. It had the Raven, surrounded by a sphere, marked in blue. The blue meant urgent. He opened up the wax sealed paper and read the contents:
From the amount of information that the Intelligence Affairs has observed, and what we can tell with the following of the candidate, Natalie. We have made the observation that she, and two accomplices have entered the Kirtish Hammerite Cathedral of St. Belen. Operations Affairs suggests that we act immediately, and I do, along with my deputies agree.
Suggestion and Action: Rescue and Medical Affairs Deputy, Wilvian Vogel suggests a rescue attempt to retrieve the candidate, and if possible her assistants. But Natalie is of the highest importance, her services are needed. Governor; I await your reply. Please, reply immediately, as time is limited.
Quinn glanced quickly around to his deputies until finally writing wrote down his reply.
Authorization confirmed. Prepare Medical and Operations Division in Kirtish for immediate departure. Prepare Medical and Operation Division’s to accompany the Rescue Division in the attempt. Try to rescue her, before anything else happens.
Garrett silently moved through the dead, and quite halls that was once was St. Jerak. Natalie and Lucas were close behind, and already the sent of nothing was beginning to get on his nerves. As he was training himself to become a Keeper back when he was about 16, they taught him how to rely on his five senses. But with no scent, light or premonitions of anything; he was having trouble concentrating on the task at hand.
Finally, they came to a metal door. Rust covered it, and large dents signified that something had tried to get in once. Garrett put his ear to the door. He heard noises of something moving around on the inside, like chains.
“Damn” cursed Garrett. Lucas and Natalie were standing on either side of him. Natalie had her hand on the hilt of her sword. Lucas hand in his hand, an explosive mine. Garrett glanced over to him, and shook his head. Lucas put the mine away. The mine’s noise and detonation would bring the entire cathedral’s undead into St. Jerak. No, they needed something else. They needed an alternative route that would not draw attention towards them. He didn’t feel like dying in this place, and letting zombies eat his heart out. Garrett glanced around the rotted hall, until he spotted at the end of the wall, a rusty, vent. It had collapsed from years of decay. Turning over several different scenarios in his head in a couple seconds led them to the vent. He got up from his position and walked pass his accomplices and observed the old vent was big enough for one person, enough in a standard crawl.
“We can’t all go through at the same time. Someone needs to stay behind while two of us, go through the shaft and grab that sword. We don’t know what’s on the other side of that wall” declared Garrett as he pointed a gloved finger to the metal door leading into the next room.
“So who is going to stay?” asked Lucas. He looked from Natalie to Garrett. They were both starring at him.
“Damn, Alright, I’ll stay behind” he finally gave in and said.
Natalie patted him on the shoulder sympathetically, and handed him a flash bomb and some holy water; just in case some undead creature walked in on them. Lucas passes some fine woven rope to Garrett.
“Hammerite Rope, the very best. Won’t strain under pressure, just be careful with it. It’s old and can be wrecked pretty easily!” Garrett patted his old friend on the back, and gestured for Natalie to go through first.
“Hide in an alcove over near the entrance so that you won’t be seen if something walks in!” said Garrett. He gave him a nod and quickly crawled through the cramped hatch.
With Natalie crawling first, she made her way through the dilapidated vent. It was rusty and cramped but it was the best way to get to the sword. She heard Garrett huffing and puffing behind her as she made her way through the dark tunnel while carrying a flare. Then they came to the end. Where did it lead? She noticed metal grating and a small hatch opening on the right bottom of her legs. She put her ear to it, and heard groans and the sound of the undead. She looked over at Garrett, who was peering through the grated metal bellow trying to see where everything was, and where they could hit. No matter how dumb the undead were, they acted like the living and would attack and no give up until they were destroyed. Natalie saw that this was going to be not only difficult but also incredibly scary, as she really had never dealt with the undead before. Garrett though had an idea, and put an arm around her shoulder and held her close.
“Listen, your going to have to get the sword, ‘cause it is the only way to get it. I’m too heavy for you to hold the rope. I’ll hold the rope steady while you grab the sword. Once this happens, ill pull you back up. You have to do it fast, alright?! ‘Cause apparitions can cast spells at you, and you’ll be killed because we have no armor on. You’ll do fine, just concentrate!” he calmly yet gruffly told her.
Natalie held on to his hand, as he tied the rope around her waist. Once he had finished making the knot, then he opened up the hatch, that was big enough for just one person. He looked up at her. She looked scared, but he, patted her on the shoulder; and she kissed him gently on the lips. He pushed her slightly back, gave a slight smile, and she carefully slipped through the hatch, with Garrett holding the rope.
Natalie felt the jerk of the rope against her stomach the minuet she left the protection of the hatch. She gasped, then covered her mouth not to let a noise. Garrett was holding the rope tightly so that she wouldn’t wobble in any way. As she was very carefully began to descend to the room. The room was an average square room, with many over-turned tables, chairs. A large stain-glass window was blown out, its chard remains lying on the stone floor. At the end of the hall, on a small pedestal lying on crimson velvet was the sword. It seemed to glow with brightness. The undead, never ventured near it. Those who did, instantly screamed and returned to the darkness. If she could just get to that area then she would be alright. The light of the moon cast bright light through the windows. But then she heard something. It was a creak, a groan of metal. She looked up, and through her hood off. The metal of the ventilator was giving way. She and Garrett would both be killed if something didn’t happen.
Garrett lowered Natalie down carefully. He himself, had always followed a motto that a friend once gave him:
For there to be complete trust between two thieves, there must be nothing personal. A job was a job, they do they’re part, you do yours. If one of them stutters in the middle, then they can either end up caught, or end up dead” he could hear the voice of his old friend, Quinn echo in his head.
He didn’t want to think of it, right now. He was in love with Natalie, pure and simple. He was doing a job, and even though he was a loner in a sense, he wasn’t going to let this girl get away from him. No matter what. Then he heard it. It was a groan of metal. He looked around him in the cramped, yet small vent. He noticed a small family of rats scurry away and out of sight through the entrance. He knew that if something had disturbed a family of rats, then something was definitely wrong. He heard the sound grow louder and then a crack, as the old metal split.
The noise was noticeable, and then a crash as a part of the ventilator shaft gave way and fell into the room. Natalie yelled something in-audible, and then the sounds of the alerted creatures of the damned came to be. A crash was heard as an apparitions projectile hit the side of the vent that he was still concealed and protected in.
“Garrett!” yelled Natalie.
“The vent’s coming down; Natalie. Get ready for me to let go and then start running. Get the hell out of there!” he yelled. Another crash and groan as the metal finally gave way. He let the rope slip, and he grabbed his pack as he slid down the now steep shaft, and fell into the room. It was filled with un-dead. Natalie was staggering towards the far end of the room, trying to get away from a lumbering zombie. Garrett drew his sword and slashed at the nearest creature. It was a zombie, he hit it with it’s rotten, vial arm up in protection. He sliced through the rotten arm, and through the creatures neck. He severed it, and the creature began to stumble around without any idea what was going on. He then took his sword, and sliced at its mid-section, it crumpled in to. He then turned slightly to see to his horror, all the undead in the room starring at him. A Hammerite Haunt, looked at him with its dark, skeletal eyes. It cried something and raised its Hammer.
“Oh crap” muttered Garrett. He broke over the fallen zombie and sheathed his sword, and did a flip on the table. It creaked but was sturdy as he ran on it away from the creatures of hell.
“Oh my god, Garrett, hurry” screamed Natalie. She was at the end of the room now. Up on the steps, clutching her ankle.
Garrett was sprinting on the table now, and as he neared the end, he dropped something. It was a flash-mine, he saw Natalie cover her eyes, and he saw the flash reflect off the walls. Garrett heard screams of pain as he jumped off the table and sprinted up the steps. He saw the sword of light, lying on a small wooden table. Natalie was clutching her ankle, while Garrett helped her up the steps. The creatures flew towards them, but were suddenly thrown back with wails, as they clawed at them through what looked like an invisible barrier. Garrett helped her down, and offered her a Healing Potion. She took it quickly and drank it. She winced as the pain receded.
Garrett un-sheathed his sword of darkness and laid it on the crimson velvet. He touched the blade, it felt cold to the touch even through his gloves. It was as cold as that of a morning frost. He picked up the sword of light and his sword and turned them around to the hilt. He then connected the stones.
He let go, as he felt a static shock from the hilts of each. The swords were suspended in air, then a flash of bright light that was similar to that of a flash bomb, but no blindness. He heard a roar of thunder, the another flash. Once his eyes had recovered from the flash of light, he saw to his astonishment. The Sword of the First Apprentice. It was beautiful. With a diamond at its hilt, with fine gold and silver encrusted for the grip and hilt. It’s blade was glowing blue, to symbolize the closeness of undead. The blade seemed to emit the cold, light and darkness but it also was warm. In his soul. Garrett grabbed the sword and felt it mold to him. He felt bound it now. He didn’t know what to do with it. But instead he pointed it at the creatures, and ordered the sword in his mind to destroy the creatures. He pointed the sword in a blocking position and then a flash of white life, engulfed the group of undead. There was a scream from the creatures in front, as several zombies were torn apart, and then several haunts were destroyed. But Garrett and Natalie were also not under the protection of the barrier that existed before, for now the barrier was gone, and the undead charges at them once more. Natalie grabbed the crimson velvet, grabbed Garrett by the arm and pulled him toward the end. She was about to shoot a rope arrow up into the beam when a Haunt began to bound its way towards Garrett. It jumped him, with a roar of fury and landed against the young thief. It jumped against him, Garrett who was not prepared let out a grunt as the Haunt grabbed him and slammed against him. The two of them fell against the wall, and to Natalie’s surprise the stone wall gave way, the mortar crumbled and the wall gave way as Garrett and the creature from hell fell to the ground. The sword dropped from his hand, and clattered to the ground against the stone. Natalie grabbed it and then twirled around and pointed it at the undead who began crawling toward them. A series of flashing white lights enveloped the room, then when all the undead were dead, she turned to Garrett, and his attacker.
Haunts are generally strong, but Garrett was strong enough. He pushed the creature off of him before the Haunt could rake his face with it’s claws. The Haunt got up and was about to jump again against the defenseless thief. But Natalie was there, she brought the sword above her head and brought it down. It sliced like piano wire through butter through the Haunt. Steam and Mist enveloped the damned creature and then she brought the sword sideways, and cut off its head. The creature’s head fell to the ground of dead grass. It fell to the floor and wriggling with confusion. She came above it, and then brought the sword down on it’s back. The haunt cried in pain as she sliced into it. Then, it evaporated in a cloud if mist.
“Good work, Natalie!” declare Garrett as he got up. He looked around them, as she passed him the sword and sheathed it.
“What about Lucas?” asked Natalie as she clambered over the ruble to the entrance. The room was dead except for two zombies with no arms, heads and legs trying to make their way around the room. The ventilator shaft was all but destroyed. A pillar had fallen over the shafts primary entrance. Plus, sharp metal pieces covered it. There was no way of getting to Lucas that way.
“We can’t do anything right now. I don’t think we should go get him, as it will delay time from the mission. Don’t worry, Lucas can take care of himself. He’ll be alright. He’s not afraid of ghosts or the dark. I’d trust that guy with my life….”came Garrett’s hushed reply.
Natalie sighed and nodded. She held Garrett’s hand, and they turned down the path, between two smaller buildings.
Lucas heard the crash of the metal, and the screams of something on the other side. He couldn’t tell if they were Garrett’s or not, but all he could h ear was the scraping of stone and metal.
“Hey!!” yelled Lucas as a final crash sounded. Then there was silence. A touch of fear and loneliness suddenly hit Lucas. If Natalie and Garrett were dead, then the sword and all they’re information and supplies were lost. He had only a limited amount of holy water, and arrows. But the fact was that, he would have to move on. There was no turning back now. He still didn’t even know how to get out of there. He would have to find the Amulet and equip it with the holy water in order to re-activate it. He sighed, and leaned back against a small alcove. He was on his own now. He got up, grabbed his pack, and left the building.
You have to realize, what a tough situation this would be for the ‘Society Burglar.’ First of all, he wasn’t any master thief. He was someone that made thieving an art like Garrett, only he made it less appealing. But Lucas was a jewelry thief, blackmailer and con-artist. That was his specialty. He couldn’t do anything as much as Garrett who was an all account type of thief who could do anything put out in front of him. Natalie was just an assassin, intelligence gatherer and thief. They all where, but the fact was, was that he was alone now. He did not know if the two of his comrades were dead or alive. He especially did not like the idea of having to kill Garrett or Natalie if he ran into them, and they were….dead, but undead as well.
The cool air nipped at his face, and he pulled his hood and robes closer around him. He was all but devastated, but he would not give up hope on anything. He sneaked around the corner, and looked around. The courtyard was dead. Nothing was stirring, and so he stepped out. He took a few cautious steps, all the time holding onto a flash bomb. It was his only means of defense against the damn creatures. He looked around him, and observed his map. He was in the eastern part of the Cathedral’s grounds. The amulet was somewhere in the place, he just had to figure it out. He quickly darted across the yard, and took out his crossbow. He launched the vine arrow into a piece of metal grillwork, and latched the crossbow to his belt. It began to pull him up. One of his own inventions. His bow could deal with enough weight, that it could pull him by a mechanical re-tractable roller. Lucas was at the mid center of a large stone building in no time.
He tested the stone in front of him. It was firm, surprising as it was that the wind was threatening to blow him off. The Society Burglar then put both feet on the stone, and clung on to a stone hammer. He detached himself from the vine and balanced himself on the slick stone. He held on to the hammer, then detached himself and clung to the wall. He quickly, yet carefully made his way toward a small window. He tried the window, it was locked. He took his sword out and stuck the blade in the frame. He pried it open and the frame and the glass fell through, it soured towards the ground far below and shattered.
“Damn” he muttered, and stepped inside. The room appeared to be a study. A small desk was in the corner, a chest and the Hammerite flag, which was covered with dust. A skeleton was seated in the chair, and a rosary and small golden hammer was nestled in his hands. Lucas took the both items. And then headed for the door. It was sealed shut. He picked the lock with a little trouble, and opened the metal door. He stepped out into a long corridor. Lined with doors and windows. The windows were releasing amounts of pale moonlight into the hall. But he heard and saw nothing, only the fog of his breath. It was very cold, but he managed. He pulled his robes closer to him for warmth and carefully slipped down the corridor.
Finally when he came to way, he tried the wooden door. It was unlocked, and he slipped through. It was a large rectangle room, like a meeting hall. A rose window was at one end, and a long table was in the center. The room was filled with the undead. The balcony circled around the room, and walking around were zombies, haunts and apparitions. Several zombies though were on the ground, in a dormant state. He knew that the amulet was in there, he just didn’t know where. He scanned around the room with his eyes until finally he noticed a Zombie. In better condition then any of the others, with still its red clothing attached to it, and half a face. Around its neck was the Amulet. It was a single blue gem, shaped as a Hammer. It was encrusted with gold. A silver chain caused it to dangle around the zombies neck.
“Oh crap, how the hell am I going to pull this one off!” he muttered to himself. He checked himself, and was ready to do something daring, but then he heard the door open close to him. He had only five seconds to react.
Garrett and Natalie moved quickly through the outside passages until finally arriving at a smaller building. Its ceiling was gone, but it was intact.
“This is the records hall” declared Natalie, as she moved quickly through door, which was also gone and into the darkness. Garrett sighed and followed her. It was pitch-black inside, and so a flare was activated by Garrett. The room was dark with death. A skeleton was fused to the wall. Body parts were strewn everywhere. Natalie felt her stomach turn.
“Garrett, I really hope you prayed to the Watchmen before coming here!” declared Natalie as she stepped over a forearm.
“Oh, believe me, I pray daily. I even confess” came Garrett’s sarcastic reply.
Natalie looked around, until finally seeing a small door at the end of the hall. She tried it, but it was locked. She tried her lock-picks, nothing. Garrett brought out his sword, that was emitting no blue and hit the hilt against the door. The door came fell to the floor.
“Next time look at the hinges of the door, to make sure that the door is on. Saves time and patience” came his staunch reply.
Natalie rolled her eyes, and walked through. The room was filled with shelves of books and scrolls. Natalie glanced around the room. She needed a few private correspondence, and a book of Hammer rituals. She looked on a nearby shelf and then took a red book. She glanced through it. And put it in her pack. Then she grabbed a few scrolls and another book on the Order of the Vine, the Trickster and Pagan Lore. It would be a great recourse to her in up-coming jobs. She left everything else, even though many people would die to get they’re hands on some of this information.
Garrett grabbed a few books and two scrolls. Anything in this room was worth something, so he took what he could afford. His job was finished. Now they just had to find Lucas, if he was still alive, of course. The Lady of the Shadows and the Master Thief made they’re way, out of the fallen building.
“I really hope we find Lucas” said Natalie in a concerned voice.
“We will. He’s fast and smart, and knows how to get out of a tight bind” said Garrett. He looked around the courtyard, and pulled her into a nearby ally as a Zombie walked by. Proceeding down the cramped alleyway was difficult but they eventually came to the end. Garrett looked around and spotted a large white building, seeming to be in fair condition. They would start they’re search there.
Garrett fired a rope arrow into a wooden beam and they made they’re way to the top, in a slow climb. Natalie behind him was clearly getting tired. This was a hard job, he had to admit, but not terribly hard. Garrett got the top and took out his sword and brought it down on the glass. The glass shattered, and Garrett launched forward into……
A room full of gold.
Garrett looked around him with barely suppressed joy. He walked slowly through the room. Gold, Silver and precious jewels littered pedestals and shelves. It was clearly a treasury.
“Holy crap!” cried Natalie, as she came in.
“Start filling your pockets, Natalie” said Garrett.
Garrett began to fill his pockets with golden hammers, a tiara and a large bag of gold coins. He stuffed it in his pack, which was jingling. Natalie who loved diamonds, grabbed a large felt bag off the table and took out of a golden cup, crystal clear diamonds, more beautiful then ever. She observed them, and as an expert jewel thief, she knew that these diamonds were real. She filled the felt with to cups of diamonds, and then tied it with string and put into her pack. She then grabbed a silver hammer off the pedestal, it was surprisingly light, but she took it. Garrett had come to his home. He was packing his robes with gold and silver, as well as Hammer artifacts. Then when he was filled to the brim, Garrett was ready to leave, even though they had barely made a dent in the valuables. Luckily, they would be able to grab a little more later, but it was highly thoughtful.
Garrett helped Natalie grab a bag of silver and put it in her pack for her. Then with her hood over her, they made their way to the door. It was locked, naturally. The Hammerites were not fools when it came to security, even though Garrett had robbed them countless times. Even as he picked the lock, of the door and heard the satisfying click, he knew that they were not home free yet. And so did whatever was on the other side of the door.
As the door opened, Lucas brought down his sword, narrowly missing the head of whatever was coming through. There was a thud as the sword struck a piece of rotten wood on the ground. Whatever else there was it came through, an elbow coming straight for his head. It impacted right in his face. Stars frazzled for a moment, until he came to his senses when he looking up and two people with they’re swords drawn were pointing at his throat. One of the swords was glowing very faintly blue, he could barely see it.
“Lucas” cursed Natalie. Garrett was looking down at him with disgust as the two of them helped him up. Garrett gruffly gave him a healing potion.
“What the hell were you thinking?” exclaimed Garrett as he adjusted his glove. He looked at him, his mechanical eye working.
“I thought you were a Haunt! Or a Zombie or maybe even an Apparition. This is a Haunted Cathedral, you know!” whispered Lucas.
Garrett shook his head and turned to look over the balcony. He muttered something and then turned back to the others.
“Amulet’s down there, I take it” said Garrett.
“Yes, it is. I was about to go get it. But the amulet is not activated, but its hanging around the neck of some Haunt. I was going to throw a couple flash bombs down there to weaken them, then go get it once I killed them off. But I only have two flash bombs. That wouldn’t kill a lot.”
“What about your sword?” asked Natalie to Garrett.
“I could, but it wouldn’t make a lot of difference. Once I use the first flash, Haunts will start coming in from all corners of this floor. No we need to do something quick and un-noticeable” said Garrett. He looked around the room noticing the metal grillwork, and then noticing Lucas’s Tow-mechanism belt. He thought of something for a moment.
“We’ll use your tow-cable. We’ll fire a vine arrow into the grillwork over on the opposite side of the room. Latch it on to your belt, and then tie the other end of the vine to this metal beam. Then we’ll go shimmy over , someone will be lowered down near the Haunt, and take the amulet and get the hell out of here without attracting any more attention” declared Garrett finally.
“What a dumb idea” said Natalie. “Why not just use the sword!”
Garrett was about to yell at her again, then she finally gave in. “Alright, Damn it. We go with your plan” she said.
Garrett nodded, then took out a Vine Arrow and took careful aim and fired. It soured cleanly across the large room and hit the grillwork. The Vine grew and Garrett grabbed it, and tied it to a nearby beam. He then got up on the vine, tested it, and shimmy across with his legs entwined in the vine. Lucas followed next and then Natalie. Finally, after ten minuets of careful working across the vine, they came above the area that Lucas had specified. The Haunt was below, standing there doing nothing. Garrett was about to signal Lucas to descend below and get the Amulet, when they heard something. It was the sound of metal creaking and giving way. Garrett looked behind him. The metal was tearing with the weight of the trio of thieves. He whispered to the others:
“The metal is giving way” he said.
“Garrett, what are we going to do?” asked Natalie.
“No idea” and in the first time it was true.
The grill work gave way, and they swung downwards and then sideways towards the Haunts and undead below. Garrett had an idea though, with only seconds to spare, he un-sheathed his sword and held it sideways, as they came behind the Haunt. The sword sliced through the Haunt’s flesh like butter and there was a scream. The amulet was about to fall when Garrett used the blade to jab forward and grab the Amulet. It was beautiful. He tossed it up, and Lucas grabbed it.
Now, the room was filled with commotion as the undead were alerted to the living in the room. A few Apparition skull projectiles were flung towards them, but all they was shatter stone.
“Garrett, look!” yelled Lucas. Garrett looked and saw a large stain-glass window. He knew that they were going straight for it.
“Brace yourselves” he cried and shielded his face. They crashed into the glass, and shards of it went everywhere. The cold hair blasted them, as they erupted from the window. Natalie saw the moon, and a large stone walkway above the steep ground. Then the vine snapped from the weight and they fell.
Lucas and Garrett landed with a grunt on the cold stone. Garrett felt a rib break as he hit the stone. Natalie landed on top of them. They were all coughing and grunting. Natalie stood up and observed where they were. They were at the Western tower. Looking out to the desolate and foreboding moors. Lucas got up and observed the situation. Garrett was helped up by Natalie, and he struggled over to a nearby stone arch, were he leaned against, trying to regain his breath that had been knocked out of them.
“Do we have any slow-fall potions?” asked Lucas.
Natalie looked around. Then she remembered, she left them in the inn. They could of ended the job here and now, but because of her foolish mistake, they were trapped. There was no turning back.
“No” mumbled Natalie.
“Damnit” cursed Lucas.
“Any Healing potions, I could use one right now. I broke a rib or two” said Garrett in a quite voice.
Natalie and Lucas looked in their pockets, nothing.
“Damnit” cursed Garrett. He leaned over in pain, but then he stopped short and all pain in his chest cleared, for he saw something in the distance. It was a wagon train. Two of them in fact. One from the East and one from the North, both converging on the cathedral’s main and cloister entrances.
“Mechanist?” asked Natalie.
“No, not just them. Hammer’s too” said Garrett. He placed a finger to his temple so that he could zoom in to the Mechanist group. It was large, about the same size as the Hammerites, and it could possibly mean that some blood would be shed today. Garrett looked at the water in the distance. The sky was turning a purple, sunrise was approaching, and it was time to escape.
“We need to get out of here before the Hammers and the Mechanist get here” said Lucas as he stood next to Garrett.
“What the hell are we going to do?” asked Natalie as she squatted down on the rocks, and taped it with her blackjack.
“I don’t know” said Garrett. “For the first time in my life, I really don’t know.”
Then with a roar there came a group of Undead. So many of them, that it was un-noticeable. All Garrett did was run, he grabbed his two compatriots, by the cloaks, turned them and yelled: “RUN!”
Natalie broke into a heavy sweat as she, Garrett and Lucas broke into a run on the stone walkway. The foul breath of Haunts could be smelled by now, and she knew that it would only take another push of they’re powerful energy to jump them, and tare them to shreds with they’re claws and crush them with they’re hammers. Natalie came around a bend in a full sprint and saw a dead end:
“Crap” yelled Lucas.
Garrett slunk to the floor, as did the others. The pain in his side, completely taking over now. He was having trouble breathing. He drew his sword though and pointed the blade at the creatures. Light flashed, again and again. He heard screams of pain from the creatures. But he still commanded the sword to unleash its holy power. But then he let his sword down, it was still emitting its blue radiance.
“Garrett” yelled Natalie. Garrett has passed out. Lucas who was on the other side of the Master Thief was about to grab the sword when suddenly there was a hiss and dozens of arrows came down from the top of the wall that they were pressed against. Water splashed against the zombies and Haunts that were approaching, but the water burned through them. Mist began to appear from the amount that was destroying the undead. Lucas felt strong hands grab him and pull him up, along with Garrett and Natalie. He quickly concealed the sword, as she came over the top of the wall. He was laying down still, but he saw people dressed in black, with black robes shooting Holy Water Arrows from they’re crossbows and bows. He passed out, before he knew what had hit him.
Natalie awoke with the warmth of something pressed against her face. The last thing she remembered was that they were pulled up from the wall, and she saw people shooting the undead with holy water arrows. She sighed and turned over…in a bed. She was in her room. Garrett was next to her, undressed with a bandage around his waist, and medical tools on the near bedside table. A cot was folded out in the corner, and Lucas was similar to the two of them. All three of them were safe. She looked through the window. The day was clouding and clammy. Rain drizzled outside the window. She got up, and looked around.
“How the hell did we get here?” she said out-loud.
“We brought you here” came a voice from the corner. It was the voice of a man, with a gray beard and gray hair. He smiled at her. He was dressed in a black jump-suit similar to Garrett’s only larger. The main had piercing blue eyes.
“Who the hell are you?” asked Natalie as she looked at him.
“Are you hungry? Something to drink?” he asked.
Natalie got up and pulled on a pair of Garrett’s pants and a shirt. She slipped on a pair of her boots and walked over to him, and sat down from him in a comfortable couch in front of the window.
“Answer my question!” she growled. He shook his head with amusement.
“You are a stubborn one, that’s why we chose you” said the man.
“Choose me for what? I don’t even know who you are?”
“Natalie…May I call you Natalie?” he asked. Natalie nodded slightly and he relaxed in the wing back chair.
“Natalie, I am Governor Jonathon Quinn of the Ravenclaw Order. We rescued you a couple hours ago from St. Belen Cathedral here in Kirtish. You are at the Fox and the Hammer” he said. He poured himself a glass of wine from a crystal pitcher. He offered some to Natalie, and she accepted and gulped down the glass.
“We rescued you and your partners for one reason. We have been observing your activities for some time now. Your life as an Independent, and as a living candidate for the Red Claw, our rivals. You see Natalie, you are a thief with a specific talent. You can blend into shadows as if you were never there. Both you and your partners can do this. You all are gifted. We have the ‘Society Burglar’ in one corner and ‘Master Thief’ in the other. But you are the ‘Lady of the Shadows’ and you have made a name for yourself as an accomplished jewel thief and assassin. You see Natalie, We want you in with us. We want you to Head the Bureau of External Affairs within the Order…”he finished.
Natalie looked at him for a moment, until swallowing her drink. She turned it over in her mind.
“What does the External Affairs department do?” she asked.
“They monitor all threats, execute orders directly from the governor, have control over all guilds, in the City and villages around the City, and combating the City Watch, and our rival guilds. You will be a member of the High Table, if you wish to except the job” said Quinn.
“ I don’t know. I like my life as a thief…It’s been my life for many years right now, and I like what I do..” she said.
“Aren’t you tired of forging a life for yourself though? For having to eat crumby food and knowing bad people. We are professional criminals, we do everything that you do, only together. But are Independent, Secretive and Criminal.
We really need you, Natalie. And we would be glad to have you” said Quinn.
Natalie rolled over the idea in her head. Her entry into this order would give her the protection she needed from the Red Claw. Ravenclaw seemed like real criminals, that do everything in the shadows. She had heard much of a secretive order of criminals, that influenced the wheels of thinking within the City. But as she saw this, she also saw her slipping away from Garrett. She had fallen in love with Garrett, when they stole from the Valavictor Estate. And her friendship with Lucas Wells.
“I really don’t know about all this. I mean, you swung this in my face like a hammer. And I really need to think this over. I have enough loot from the Cathedral that I really don’t need any admissions in to an Order of any kind. And I like my life as an Independent, and I think I should stay that way” she said finally.
Quinn sighed, and reached under his the table and brought up a metal box, and opened it. Inside where two enormous bag of gold coins. Over-flowing with the amount of currency inside. Natalie starred at the treasure before her.
“So are you going to bribe me to enter your order?” she asked.
“This is just a bonus. You get to keep this, even if you decide not to join our Order. We would not prosecute you or try any assassinations like our Red Claw brothers tried. We have a personal vendetta with those of the Brotherhood of the Red Claw. I just want to clarify that you will be given large sums of money for your position, and we will not take a cut in your profits if you plan to go out on your own while with us. If you do, you may occasionally be sent on ultra-secretive missions that are too sensitive for the regular channels” said Quinn.
Natalie glanced over at Garrett. He was taking deep breaths and was apparently fast asleep. His brown hair was mangled and covered with sweat. He was breathing heavy.
“You should know how Garrett will feel about this, Quinn” she declared while still looking at him.
“We already confronted Garrett with the idea of you joining the Order before the three of you embarked on this mission. He told us that he would think about supporting you in this idea. But he didn’t feel great about the idea. We already asked him two years ago if he wished to join us. He said that if he left the Keepers, it would just be like him returning again. That is why we approached you” said Quinn. He sipped a glass of brandy.
“What about Lucas Wells?” asked Natalie.
“He has no interest in our order. And also, he never requested admissions. We only make special exceptions for those who have a gift. He ask him once every two years by the post. He has always denied admissions” said Quinn.
“I need to think about this, but if you can provide me security, protection and a good income that I will consider it more. It could be a good break from the things that surround me today. Plus, the City Watch are on my tail again. I need to lie low, and get off the streets…” said Natalie before a dagger flew across the room and impacted into the wooden beam directly behind Quinn. Quinn was perfectly calm as he finished his drink. He then stood up and smiled:
“My god Garrett, you have not changed one bit!” came Quinn’s voice. Natalie turned around to see Garrett up with another dagger ready. She knew that he was an excellent knife-thrower, and Quinn who didn’t seem afraid about Garrett holding a very sharp knife in his hand.
“What the hell are you doing here?” growled Garrett. He stood with a pair of black shorts on. His muscular chest flexing with fury.
“We rescued you from the Cathedral. And I’m just talking to Natalie about a few things, no need to be alarmed” came his calm yet cautious voice. Garrett had pulled Natalie behind him, and held on to her shoulder protectively.
“How many are there of you?” asked Garrett.
“That doesn’t matter, Garrett” said Quinn.
“Answer the damn question!” yelled Garrett.
“Just me” came Quinn’s reply. Natalie was shocked to see Quinn very composed.
“You told her, didn’t you?” said Garrett through total anger.
“We need her, Garrett. We believe that she could be an asset to the order and that is why we asked her to join us !” said Quinn.
Natalie let go of Garrett’s hand and put a hand on his chest. He looked at her and she stood in the middle of them.
“Garrett…He is offering a chance of a lifetime. And I aim to take it…” she looked at Garrett. His dark eyes glanced over her, and he through the dagger behind him and it imbedded in the white-washed wall.
Garrett dressed quickly and left the room through the window. Natalie saw him fall and then dart towards the cliffs that looked over to the sea. She sighed. She had to find him and explain the situation to him, before she lost him entirely.
She dressed in her own clothes. “You have to excuse me, I’m needed. When my partner wakes up, tell him where we are” said Natalie.
“Of course, my dear. Take your time. I’ve known Garrett for a while, and I know when he acts like this, it will take time to mend the damage that has been made” said Quinn, he patted her on the shoulder.
Natalie slipped out the window, dropped down and started the small hike to the cliffs. She saw Garrett standing there, the small amount of sun that was coming through the clouds could be seen. In the distance she saw a lighthouse, and she could feel it grow colder. Garrett heard her come up behind him, and turned slightly.
“Back up” he said.
“Why?” she asked. Suddenly, a spray of sea water rocked the chalk-white cliffs and was about to drench the young thief when Garrett casually pulled her away to the edge and held her close as the water hit where she was standing. He held her close, and she embraced him.
“Garrett, you know that this was not the way I wanted things. But I need the money and the security. And I really think that these people can help me master my talent” she said in a hushed voice.
“They also will take you for granted and use you like hell..” he said.
“Yes, well, I may need that. And I believe that this place will give me the protection I need from Red Claw” she said.
“Did he tell you that he came to me and told me about the whole thing, about recruiting you for they’re pathetic group” said Garrett.
“It may be pathetic…but….I just don’t want to see you get hurt by a bunch of secretive, money hungry buggers…” said Garrett.
“Listen, if you don’t want me to do this, then I won’t. I’ll do what you think is right” she said. She looked up at him with her beautiful green eyes. Garrett looked at her and thought it over.
“If you think it would be best for your welfare, then do it. It seems that it will make you happy, Nat. Do it, and be happy” he said. Natalie embraced him.
“I love you, Garrett” said Natalie.
“I love you too” said Garrett. He kissed her on the lips lightly.
“AM I INTERUPTING ANYTHING” yelled Lucas. The young man came up from the Inn and walked on the green grass, up to them.
“Did you hear what happened?” said Lucas. As he walked up and slapped Garrett on the back: “When we left, the Hammerites and Mechanist attacked the Cathedral. All these Undead were killed. Sunlight must of killed them. But the Hammerites took the Cathedral, and despite the idea of getting all that stuff, the Town Councilor said that if they wanted to work out an agreement, then there would be no one residing in St. Belen. Hammerites and Mechanist split the loot in the Treasury down the middle, along with the records archive. Hammerites get the Cathedral though. Luckily, we got out of there” said Lucas.
Garrett, Natalie and Lucas boarded the small ship that the Ravenclaw had used for their trip to Kirtish. Several Ravenclaw Smugglers and Pirates saluted the three as they boarded. Garrett noticed how more lively and quite the cathedral had become, and how the grass had again begun to grow. They were given a comfortable apartment in the back of the boat. With a good view of the stern and the ocean. Lucas saw the Hammerite flag being raised on the highest tower of St. Belen. He smiled. He would have rather had the Hammer’s in the St. Belen Cathedral then the Mechanist. Apparently, the Hammerites gave the Mechanist the Temple that they used when Garrett stole the Talisman of Air from them. With no further hostilities, they were able to have a truce among them. Natalie was propped up in a comfortable chair with Garrett in another reading a book of Ravenclaw history and sipping some fine wine. Garrett was going over some of the documents that they had stolen and Lucas was sitting across from them, observing the Amulet. Pity, that the Hammer’s nor the Mechanist would be able to gain it.
“Speaking of loot” said Natalie while she was reading. She brushed some brown hair out of her eyes. “What happened to your sword Garrett?” she said.
Garrett looked up and swore. Had he left it in the Cathedral. The Sword of the First Apprentice was truly a worthy prize. Lucas smiled and brought out the sword, the blade was wrapped in the dark crimson material.
“I grabbed it when the Ravenclaw’s saved us, I thought that if they were saving us, then they had to have sticky fingers” he said. He passed the weapon to Garrett who took it and observed the blade more carefully. The blade was bright now, like bright metal. He knew that at night, the blade would become dark again. He smiled and sheathed it.
“What do you make of that pretty gem?” asked Garrett.
“It will truly go well in my private collection. I’m installing some new security systems in my Gallery before I put this in” said Lucas. He looked over at Natalie.
“When do you start your new job” asked Lucas.
“In a few months, they’re moving my things from Wayside into Eastport. They gave me any place I wanted, so I thought of a nice neighborhood in Eastport near you two, and I got it. It’s right near a park. I thought I’d get a dog and settle down there for a while, sell my loot and say low. Once the bulls get off my scent, then I’ll be all set to join” said Natalie as she sipped a glass of wine.
“I hope you will be happy there. At least you get a pay weekly” said Garrett.
“It will be good. I get a good size income, and I can steal whenever I want. Take what I want from the Armory. All I have to do is do my job. I still don’t even understand it” she smiled and laid her head on Garrett’s shoulder.
“Well, we’ll always be there for you Natalie” said Lucas.
Garrett nodded too, and the heard the sound of the anchor rising, and the sails setting. Lucas looked out the large back window and watched as they left the Kirtish Seaport.
“Yea, I know” said Natalie.
Garrett smiled, he knew that this was never the end. He would continue to be an Independent and work his way through life. Lucas would continue his role as the ‘Society Burglar’ and work at his gallery. And Natalie would work within Ravenclaw, and hopefully working with them again on new and exciting jobs.
“I hope this works out for me. I’m sacrificing a lot” said Natalie.
“It will, I guarantee it” said Garrett and he smiled.
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