Copyright © by Michael (LoneCoyote) Springfield


The most dysfunctional acolyte left us (good riddance),
Not for the lesser folly of indecision,
But the greater folly of megalomania.
His mind was foggy.
His intentions were good,
But his incompetence was unmatched.
Even then, we knew to watch him most carefully
(lest by his bungling he bring ruin to us all).

- Keeper Anal Retentives

Slashy lit a candle as night descended on The City. He had been working at his desk for what seemed like hours, trying to sort out the inventory of all the stolen valuables in his black market shop.

A sudden commotion just outside the front door made Slashy jolt upright in his chair. What was that? he thought. He drew his knife (just in case) and crept to the front window. He cracked the shutters ever so slightly to try to get a peek at whoever (or whatever) was making all that noise.

By the dim light from a lamp across the street, Slashy could see a man on his hands and knees picking up what looked like a bunch of arrows scattered all over the porch. "Oh no," Slashy muttered. "Not him again."

Slashy put away his knife and sighed. He went to the door, opened it, and stood there watching as the man continued picking up arrows and putting them back into a quiver. He was apparently oblivious to Slashy's presence.

When the man had finished picking up the arrows, he stood and faced the door, then suddenly yelped with fright as he noticed Slashy standing there.

"Slashy! Man, you startled me," he said. "You shouldn't go around sneaking up on people like that."

"What are you doing here, Garrotte?" asked Slashy impatiently.

"What do you mean what am I doing here?" replied Garrotte. "I've come to see if you've got a job for me. See? I've got my thief outfit, my equipment, and everything. I'm ready to steal something."

Slashy rubbed his face wearily. In all his years as a fence, he had never encountered such a clumsy, absent-minded criminal wannabe. Garrotte fancied himself a master thief, but the only thing he really excelled at was incompetence. Yet Garrotte was very persistent - much too persistent for Slashy's liking. Over the past few weeks, Garrotte had become as pesky as a Hammerite missionary.

"Garrotte, I don't know if this is such a good idea."

"Ah, come on," Garrotte insisted. "You said you'd help me get accepted into the Thieves Guild. I've got to steal something big to earn their approval. And I'm up to the challenge, being the master thief that I am."

"Garrotte," moaned Slashy in exasperation.

"Come on," Garrotte pleaded. "Give me something good. Hey! What about that Waffle guy you mentioned?"

"You mean Lord Baffle?" asked Slashy.

"Yeah, that's the guy. Baffle. You said he had a septum or something."

"A scepter," said Slashy. "Yes. It's silver and encrusted with jewels and the usual adornments. It would fetch a very high price."

"Oh, I don't care about the money," responded Garrotte. "I just want to steal something. It's what I live for."

Slashy sighed and thought for a moment. It was obvious that he wasn't going to get rid of this taffer, so he might as well give him the job. Most likely the man would foul up and get himself caught by the house guards, and that would put an end to his annoying visits. Slashy smiled in grim satisfaction at this thought.

"Alright, Garrotte," said Slashy. "You've got the job."

"Great!" exclaimed Garrotte. "Okay ... umm ... where does this Waffle guy live?"

"Baffle," corrected Slashy.

"Waffle, Baffle, whatever. Where do I find that septum thing?"

Slashy sighed yet again. "Come in," he said in resignation. "I'll show you."

Garrotte followed Slashy to a desk littered with papers. Slashy rummaged through the papers until he found a map, which he spread out on the desk.

"Okay," began Slashy. "This Lord Baffle is currently out of town - gone to some political convention, I think - and he's taken the captain of his house guard with him. Now, the front gate is heavily guarded, so don't try to go in that way. Go around to the side where there's a well house ..."

"Wait," interrupted Garrotte. "Do you have a spare piece of parchment? I want to write this down."

"Ah ... okay ... here, use this," said Slashy as he handed Garrotte a scrap of paper.

"Can I borrow a quill, too?" asked Garrotte.

"Yes. Use this one," replied Slashy. "Now, where was I? Ah, yes. Rumor has it that you can find a way into the cellar of the manor through the underground cistern that ..."

"Wait," interrupted Garrotte again. "What did you say at the beginning? Try the front gate first?"

"No, no," said Slashy impatiently. "Don't try the front gate - it's too heavily guarded."

"Have you got another quill?" asked Garrotte. "This one doesn't write too well."

"Here, try this one."

"Okay then," said Garrotte. "I go around to the warehouse and find a sister?"

Slashy smacked his forehead with his hand. "No," he said as calmly as he could. "You go around to the well house and drop down into the cistern."

"What's a cistern?" asked Garrotte. "I thought I was going after a septum."

"No, you're going after a scepter," explained Slashy. "You have to go through the cistern ... oh, nevermind. Look, just get in the well house, jump in the well, and start swimming."

"Ah ... how do you spell septum?" asked Garrotte.

"It doesn't matter!" yelled Slashy, finally losing his patience. "Look, just get in the house, go to the top floor, and find a long silvery-looking object."

"Okay," replied Garrotte. "I gotcha. Now, what does this septum thing look like?"

Slashy closed his eyes and muttered, "Oh Builder, help me."

When he had regained his composure, Slashy decided on a different tactic. "Look," he said. "Just go in through the front gate, and you'll do fine."

"Thanks," said Garrotte. "Why didn't you just say so in the first place?"

Later that night, Garrotte found himself standing just outside the front gate of Lord Baffle's manor. He had spent hours wandering the streets of The City just trying to find the place. He finally had to wake up an innkeeper to ask for directions.

But now, here he was. He strode boldly toward the archway leading to the front entrance, but then stopped at the sudden sound of voices on the other side of the stone wall.

"Hey! I'm going to the cow pits tomorrow. You wanna come with?" inquired one man.

"Tah! You couldn't pay me enough," retorted another.

"Ah, you softbelly. Da cows 'ave got these teats with metal dispensers attached to 'em. Da last time I was there, there was a real milk fest," said the first man.

"Nah, nah. I'm lactose intolerant. It makes me sick!"

"Huh! I'm surprised your bones are strong enough ta hold you up," said the first man, who then went into a mocking voice: "Oh the milk, it turns my poor tummy."

"Shut up, you taffer!" replied the second man. "You want milk? You shoulda been there years ago. I tell ya, da cows back then, dey were something ta see. Doze cows - dey didn't need no metal dispensers, and teat collars, and all dat gadgetry you straps to 'em now."

"No metal dispensers? What'd dey do? Suck it right out of the cow?"

"Huh! Nah, da cows back then, dey had teats as long as your finger!"

"Cows? You're taffing me. Dey looks pretty small as long as they're not wearing a teat collar."

"Dats why I can't stand da pits now. You don't know what you missed. Dey just don't make cows like they used to."

"Woah! Finger-long teats! Woulda like ta seen that."

Garrotte stood enthralled by the conversation. When it was obvious that they weren't going to say anything more, he turned his attention back to getting into the manor.

Well, I'm not going to get in that way, he thought. Why didn't Slashy tell me there were guards at the front door? Oh well, I guess I'll go around the house and see if there's an open window or something.

So off he went, carefully examining the walls for some kind of opening he could squeeze into. He was so intent on his examination that he didn't notice the guard patrolling the street ahead of him, and the both of them ended up colliding head-on with each other as they rounded a corner. The impact knocked Garrotte's quiver sideways, spilling his arrows all over the cobblestones.

"Hey! Watch where you're going!" yelled the guard.

"I'm terribly sorry," said Garrotte as he kneeled to pick up his arrows.

"Hey! What's this?" demanded the guard, noticing the arrows and all the equipment Garrotte was carrying. "You're a thief, aren't you?!"

The guard's hand went to the hilt of his sword.

"No! No!" stammered Garrotte. "I'm not a thief! I'm a ... I'm a ... an arrow salesman! Yes, that's it! I sell arrows! See?"

Garrotte gestured at the scattered arrows, but the guard continued to eye him suspiciously.

"An arrow salesman?" repeated the guard.

"Yes," replied Garrotte. "Could I interest you in a few arrows?"

"I have no use for arrows," growled the guard. "I'd rather have a good sword any day."

"Well then," Garrotte said nervously. "I guess I'll be on my way. Sorry to have bothered you."

Garrotte finished collecting his arrows and turned to scurry away.

"Wait!" commanded the guard.

Garrotte froze. He muttered under his breath: "Uh oh."

"If you truly be an arrow salesman," declared the guard, "then I may have a few customers for you. Remmy and Mangus - who are Lord Baffle's archers - are in need of some new arrows. Follow me, and I'll take you to them."

The guard began walking toward the front of the manor. Garrotte stood there flabbergasted for a moment.

The guard noticed that Garrotte wasn't following, turned, and said, "Well, come on, then."

Reluctantly, Garrotte followed.

Garrotte followed the guard around to the front gate of the manor. The three guards posted there saw them approaching, and eyed Garrotte with much curiosity.

One of the guards called out to Garrotte's escort: "Caught you a thief, eh Cogsdale?"

"No," replied Cogsdale. "He's an arrow salesman."

"A what?" asked another guard incredulously.

"An arrow salesman," repeated Cogsdale.

"An arrow salesman?" echoed the guard.

"Yes," said Cogsdale. "I'm taking him to see Remmy and Mangus."

Cogsdale opened the gate, and motioned for Garrotte to enter. The guards watched the two disappear into the manor.

"An arrow salesman," a guard mused. "What will they think of next?"

Cogsdale lead Garrotte into a two story-high front room. Garrotte noticed two balconies at the two far corners of the room - each with an archer standing watch over the entrance.

Inside at last! thought Garrotte. But how am I going to ditch these guards?

Cogsdale called for the archers to come down, which they did with some complaining.

When the archers arrived in the front room, Cogsdale said, "If you still need some new arrows, this man claims to be an arrow salesman."

"An arrow salesman, eh?" replied Remmy.

The three of them looked expectantly at Garrotte, who suddenly realized that they were expecting him to show some arrows.

"Oh," said Garrotte sheepishly. "Ah ... yes ... arrows. I guess you'd like to see some."

"Are they good arrows?" asked Mangus.

"Well, yes" said Garrotte reluctantly, and he began removing his quiver to show them the arrows, but he got the strap tangled in his arm and ended up spilling the arrows all over the floor.

"Sorry," Garrotte said. The archers knelt to examine the arrows.

"Hmm," said Remmy. "These broadheads look pretty good. How much are you selling them for?"

"Ah ... well ... I ... ah," stammered Garrotte.

"Hey, what kind of arrow is this? It's got a funny blue head on it," said Mangus.

"Well ... ah ... that's a water arrow," replied Garrotte.

"A water arrow?" inquired Remmy. "Never heard of such. What's it for?"

Well," replied Garrotte, "it's ... ah ... for putting out fires."

"Fires?" prompted Mangus.

"Yeah, you know," said Garrotte. "Fires. Like if you were ... ah ... walking down a hallway and you happened to see a fire. You could ... like ... put it out. From a distance."

"I've never seen a fire when I was patrolling," commented Remmy.

"I have," said Mangus. "One time I passed by this room and saw that a spark from the fireplace had jumped out onto the rug and set it afire. Luckily, stone don't burn, else the whole room would've gone up in smoke. Probably the whole house too."

Suddenly, Garrotte's face took on a pained expression, and he cringed while holding his stomach.

"What's wrong?" asked Remmy.

"I've got to go," said Garrotte a little panicky.

"Go where?" asked Cogsdale.

"To the lavatory," replied Garrotte.

"Oh, alright," said Cogsdale. "Follow me."

While the archers continued examining the arrows and exchanging stories of near disasters they'd seen while on patrol, Cogsdale lead a limping Garrotte to one of the servant's lavatories at the back of the house. Garrotte went inside and shut the door while Cogsdale stood guard outside. By this time, Garrotte could hardly retain himself, so he decided to forgo his usual inspection of the wooden surface of the lavatory seat for potential splinters.

A little while later, Garrotte had finished his business, and he began to look around for some sheets of vellum tissue. There was none to be seen. So, feeling a bit embarrassed, Garrotte went to the door and opened it slightly.

"Excuse me," said Garrotte.

"What?" said Cogsdale.

"Ah ... this is a little embarrassing, but ... there's no ... ah ... paper for ... well, you know."

"Oh, for Builder's sakes," complained Cogsdale. "Alright. Just stay there. I'll go find one of the servants and get you some paper."

"Thanks," said Garrotte.

Cogsdale walked away, and Garrotte shut the door to wait. Suddenly, it occurred to Garrotte that now was his chance. The guard had left, so he could sneak out and start exploring the house. However, he didn't relish the thought of sneaking around the house having to put up with that awful greasy feeling the whole time. He pondered what to do.

Then it came to him. He tore off a piece of his undershirt and used it to ... finish the transaction, so to speak. Then he slipped out of the lavatory and quickly down the hallway.

Garrotte strode down a dark hallway made of cold stone. Abruptly, the hallway came to an end, but he could see the outline of a door in front of him. He opened it and peered into a brightly lit, carpeted passageway.

There was a guard here, but his back was turned to the door. Instead of guarding the passageway, he was more intent on imbibing the bottles of wine scattered on the floor and pathetically humming something that was hardly recognizable as a tune. He was obviously stone drunk.

This will be easy, Garrotte thought as he reached for his blackjack. He crept into the room and got behind the guard. He raised the blackjack above his head to deliver a powerful blow.

Just then the guard passed out from having drunk too much, and toppled forward onto the floor. Garrotte stood there with his blackjack still raised over his head, staring in disbelief.

He put his blackjack away and continued his exploration. At the end of the carpeted passageway, he emerged into a long room with three square columns lining the center. It was the same room that Cogsdale had brought him through earlier on the way to the lavatory. The near wall contained a few archways leading off to parts unknown. The opposite wall contained only one opening, and beyond that he could see what appeared to be a large pool of water.

He began walking the length of the room, heading toward the front of the house. Suddenly a door off to his left banged open and a guard entered the room.

"Hey, you!" yelled the guard.

Garrotte turned and ran through a darkened archway. The guard drew his sword and began pursuing him.

"You asked for it!," the guard yelled.

Garrotte ran up some steps and into an octagonal room. To his right he saw some more steps, so he ran up them and emerged into another octagonal room. To his right he saw a passageway, so he ran through that and collided head-on with a patrolling guard as he emerged into a second floor passageway. The impact sent Garrotte and the guard sprawling onto the floor.

The pursuing guard emerged into the hallway, saw Garrotte picking himself up off the ground, and said, "Ah ha! I've got you now!"

"Leave him alone!" commanded the other guard as he got up and drew his sword. "He's mine!"

"I saw him first!" protested the first guard. "He's mine!"

"But he's on my hallway!" countered the second guard. "He belongs to me now!"

"Go find your own thief!" yelled the first guard. "I'm taking credit for this one."

Garrotte took off running while the guards argued.

"Look!" cried the second guard. "He's getting away!"

"I'll get him!" proclaimed the first guard as he turned to run after Garrotte.

"No, I'll get him!" yelled the second guard as he pushed the first guard out of his way.

The first guard stuck out his foot, tripped the second guard, then continued his pursuit of Garrotte with the second guard not far behind.

"Curse you!" yelled the second guard. "That wasn't fair!"

Meanwhile, Garrotte had escaped into what looked like a rooftop garden. There were grass and trees all around. To his right, Garrotte saw a stairway leading up to an upper ledge.

The guards saw Garrotte through the entryway to the garden and took up the pursuit. Garrotte ran up the stairs and along the ledge. He saw a darkened entryway off to his right and dashed through it only to find himself on a balcony over looking the swimming pool three stories below.

The guards came up behind Garrotte and saw that they had cornered him.

"Heh heh," chuckled the first guard. "It's all over for you now!"

"That's right," agreed the second guard. "You asked for it!"

Garrotte hopped up on the stone railing of the balcony as the guards slowly moved toward him, relishing the moment. He didn't want to try diving into the swimming pool, but it looked as if he had no other choice.

"Hey!" said the first guard to the second. "Move aside. He's mine!"

"No he's not!" argued the second. "He's on my floor. That makes him mine!"

"There's no such rule," protested the first guard.

"Oh yes there is," countered the second. "Just check Lothelia's Etiquette for Guards. It's in there."

"Oh yeah?" said the first. "Tell you what. I'll play you rock-sword-hammer for him. Best two out of three."

"Agreed," said the second.

"Okay. Ready?" said the first guard. "One - two - three. Hah! My hammer smashes your rock! Ready? One - two - three."

"Hah!" exclaimed the second guard. "My sword cleaves the handle of your hammer."

"Alright," said the first guard. "One - two - three. Ah hah! My rock chips your sword! I win!"

Suddenly, the first guard raised his sword high above his head and - with a battle cry - began charging toward Garrotte.

Frantic for some kind of escape (other than plunging three stories into a pool of water) Garrotte desperately looked around and spied a ledge off to his left. At the last moment, Garrotte leaped for the ledge.

The charging guard brought his sword down to deliver a powerful blow, but Garrotte was no longer there. The guard's momentum hurled him over the edge of the balcony and into the swimming pool far below.

Garrotte barely managed to catch onto the ledge. He struggled to mantle himself onto the ledge, and, in the process, both his sword and blackjack came loose and fell three stories to hit the guard who was just climbing out of the swimming pool. The guard staggered and fell over.

Garrotte mantled onto the ledge. He saw an entryway leading to a darkened room and made his way into it. As he did, he heard the second guard running toward him. So Garrotte ran in the opposite direction - out of the room and onto another ledge.

He ran along the ledge with the guard in hot pursuit. Suddenly he reached the end - nothing but a wall with a blue banner bearing the letter "B" in front of him. He turned his back to the wall to face the guard.

"Hah! You won't escape this time!" yelled the guard as he slowly moved toward Garrotte.

Seeing no escape, Garrotte slowly moved backward toward the wall. He stumbled on an uneven place in the stone floor of the ledge, and fell backward into the banner, which ripped from the wall and came down over his head - covering the entire upper portion of his body. He frantically tried to remove the banner - swinging and gyrating his arms and body wildly.

The guard laughed and moved into to deliver the final blow.

At that moment, Garrotte's frantic gyrating loosened a flashbomb from his belt, and it fell to the ground - blinding the guard. Garrotte continued swinging his arms wildly, and accidentally knocked the stunned guard backwards. The guard tripped over the same uneven place that tripped Garrotte, and he went down - hitting his head on the floor.

Garrotte finally managed to free himself from the banner, and was pleasantly surprised to see the guard lying unconscious before him.

He turned to look at the place where the banner had hung, and saw that there was a secret passageway in the wall.

Garrotte followed the dark, secret passageway as it twisted and turned and finally emerged near the ceiling of a large room that was nearly two stories high. Four wide wooden beams crisscrossed the air above the room. One of the beams was close enough to the opening of the secret passage that Garrotte could crawl out onto it. He did so to get a better view of the room.

The room was bare except for four torches, and a strange-looking golden circular thing hanging from a stand on the far side. A few mats littered the black and white tile floor below. But what really caught Garrotte's attention was a lone guard standing watch in front of the entrance to another room into which Garrotte couldn't quite see.

Just then a door opened somewhere, and someone came into the room.

"Who goes there?" asked the guard.

"It's me, Cogsdale."

"Oh," replied the guard. "How's it going?"

"Not too good," said Cogsdale. "Have you noticed anything strange?"

"No," replied the guard.

"Well, keep your eyes peeled," said Cogsdale. "There's a man claiming to be an arrow salesman in the house somewhere. I took him to the lavatory, left to get some paper, and when I returned he had disappeared. He might be a thief after all."

"Well, if I see him I'll give him a piece of my sword," proclaimed the guard.

"To make matters worse, some of the guards have been goofing off tonight," said Cogsdale. "I found one guard passed out from drinking on duty. And Johan found another guard passed out next to the swimming pool. Apparently, he'd been high diving off the balcony. I've told those guys to stop doing that, but no one ever listens to me."

"Well, you can count on me, Cogsdale," said the guard.

"Very well," replied Cogsdale. "See that you keep the doors to this room locked. And stay alert."

With that, Cogsdale turned and left the room.

Hmmm, thought Garrotte. This guard presents a problem. Maybe if I could extinguish the torches, I could sneak down and knock him out. But wait! I don't have a blackjack. Well, maybe I could use one of the torches to knock him out. But I don't have my water arrows either! Great Builder, why do things always have to be so complicated?

There was a torch just below the spot where Garrotte was kneeling on the wooden beam. He tried to think of a way to put it out. He tried blowing on it to no avail. He tried spitting on it, but the flame only flickered a little.

Garrotte thought a little more, and suddenly another method occurred to him. He didn't know if he was up to it - having gone to the lavatory only a little while ago - but it was worth a try. So he pulled down his pants and positioned himself as well as he could.

This will require precise aiming, he thought. Luckily, I've had plenty of practice with aiming.

Garrotte's aim was a little off at first, but, after some quick adjustments, he hit the target right on, and the flame went out.

The guard noticed that the torch went out and said, "Is anyone there?"

The guard started walking toward the extinguished torch. Garrotte, fearing that he might be seen, began frantically pulling up his pants. He felt himself slipping off the beam. He desperately grabbed onto the beam with his hands and arms as his lower body hung in mid-air - directly over the guard who was trying to re-light the torch.

"What's that smell?" the guard inquired of no one in particular.

Garrotte was now hanging on for dear life, and, to make things worse, he felt his pants sliding down his legs.

"Curse those rats! They're always putting out the torches." the guard complained.

Garrotte could hold on no longer. He plunged downward and landed on top of the guard. Both of them went sprawling to the floor.

When Garrotte picked himself up off the ground, he saw the guard lying on the floor - unconscious.

Well, he thought with satisfaction. That takes care of that problem.

He pulled up and fastened his pants, then began to look around. He found himself drawn toward the room that the guard had been guarding, so he went to investigate and found a throne sitting atop a dais.

"It's a throne room!" he exclaimed. "What a great idea! I wish I could put something like this in my apartment."

He went up to the throne and sat down in it. He began fantasizing that he was the king of thieves - holding court in his palace and being attended by really stealthy servants.

Garrotte's reverie was broken when he noticed a long silvery object sitting on a wall-mounted stand to his right. He went over to examine it and saw that the object was encrusted with jewels.

Wow! he thought. This is the fanciest blackjack I've ever seen! I think I'll take it to replace the blackjack I lost.

He took the object and placed it in his blackjack holster.

Now, he thought. Where could this septum thing be?

He wandered back into the other room and looked around. He saw that there were two gold circular objects hanging from stands and positioned across the room from each other. He went over to one of them and examined it.

I wonder what this is? he thought. What ever it is, it looks valuable. It's rather big, but I might be able to carry it under my shirt. I can use the guard's sword to cut it free from the stand.

So he fetched the guard's sword and began cutting one of the two strings holding up the object. The string broke and the object swung into the stand -producing a loud gong. Garrotte desperately tried to grab the object to silence it, but only ended up hitting it with the sword - producing another loud gong.

Suddenly, Garrotte could hear muffled voices nearby.

"It's the alarm!" one of them cried. "Get to the throne room!"

Uh oh, thought Garrotte. I'd better hide.

He ran into the throne room. There were three torches in this room, so he decided to put them all out. He managed to put out the two corner torches by taking them off their stands and beating them out. The third torch was a problem - it was above the entryway to the throne room and out of reach.

The voices sounded much closer.

"Hurry up will you! Unlock the door!"

"I'm trying! My key won't work!"

"Move aside! Let me try!"

It was only a matter of seconds before the guards got the door unlocked. Garrotte took the guard's sword and used it to knock the last torch out of its stand. The torch landed on the carpet - setting it afire. In panic, Garrotte tried to stomp the fire out, but it grew quickly, and soon a large portion of the carpet was ablaze.

Forced to flee the throne room, Garrotte ran back into the other room. He tripped on one of the mats and fell flat on his stomach.

Just then the guards unlocked the door, entered the room, and took in the scene: Garrotte and a fellow guard lying motionless on the floor, and a fire spreading rapidly in the throne room.

"It's a fire!" cried one of the guards. "Go get help! I'll get these two out of here!"

One of the guards left to get help, while the other picked up the unconscious guard, slung him over his shoulder, and quickly left the room. Garrotte got to his feet and looked toward the throne room. By now some of the vertical wooden beams had caught fire.

Garrotte left the room through the unlocked door and emerged into a long hallway. He saw the guard carrying his burden down one end of the hall, and decided to head in the opposite direction.

He had neared the end of the hallway and was about to open a door when he heard voices approaching from the other side. He quickly moved into the shadows at the end of the hallway as a line of guards came pouring through the door carrying buckets.

"We'll form a water bucket line from the bathing room to the throne room!" yelled one of the guards.

"Hey, Mangus!" called another guard. "Those water arrows would come in handy right now!"

As soon as the guards had moved down the hallway, Garrotte darted into the room from which they had come and shut the door. A multitude of books lined the walls of the room.

It's a library, Garrotte thought. How pretentious can you get?

Garrotte thought of continuing his search for the septum, but things had gotten crazy now. The house was on fire, and who knew if the guards could get the fire put out. If they did, they would likely start combing the place for him. He decided to get out while the getting was good.

He went through the library and out the door on the other side. Down the hall he found some spiral steps that emerged into the front room. All the guards had left to fight the fire, so he passed through the front gate without incident.

What a night! he thought as he walked the streets back to his apartment. He wondered what he would say to Slashy about failing to find and steal the septum.

Well, he concluded, at least I stole a really nice blackjack.

Please send any feedback regarding this story to LoneCoyote.

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