"The Work of a Thief"
by James Lodge

Chapter 1

Garret stepped out of the tavern into the cold night air. The streets were empty of people. In the sky, clouds floated past the bright moon casting the occasional darkness upon the street. No wind was about to drown out the sounds of a thief's mistake. Garret heard the sound of an armed guard approaching the tavern, the guard nodded towards Garret in recognition and walked by. The hooded thief noticed that this guard was carrying a leather bag, which could only be a direct parcel for Lord Calan at his manor. Cloud covered the moon and the thief followed the unaware guard. Garret waited until the street opened out, then glided across the cobbles till he was level with the guard. A large house hid the cunning thief in the shadows, he picked up a small stone and threw it over the guards head making a distraction.

" Hello, is anybody there, said the unsuspecting guard. Garret crept up behind the guard, lifted his arm with the blackjack in hand, and smashed it down in the gap between the Guards armour and helmet. A quiet "crack" confirmed the broken neck. Garret was relieved, as he thought he was going to feel his black bat bounce back off the armour of the guard. He dragged the body into a near by pitch-black alley and searched the guard for loot. 10 gold coins in the guard's purse and a ring off his finger. Garret sighed sadly...another widow made. The bag contained a bronze key, and a papyrus letter that read:

Dear Robert,

Tonight I am receiving a large quantity of gold cutlery for a banquet with Lord Sheldin and many of my other acquaintances. I am asking all my guards to work an extra night tonight, as we need maximum security. You will be working around the back of the manor as you have worked well for me in the past. When you arrive go straight to your position, I believe you know the routine. Two other guards will be on the same wall, the wall leads to the south upper corridor as you know, so keep an eye out for intruders. I am leaving the key with you, as you are the most experienced watchmen on the wall. I trust ten coin of gold will suffice your payment. Thank you for helping me.

- Lord Calan

Ha, thought Garret, he had taken out one of the guards even before he got to the manor. Because of the weaker guarding at the back of the manor, Garret decided to make his living, on an unplanned job simply for loose loot. Garret only carried his trusty blackjack so he decided to take the fallen guards sword and pay a visit to Gowther. KNOCK!! KNOCK!!

"Who goes there?" said the voice of Garret's trusty arms dealer.

"Garret," he replied. A fumbling sound and a bolt sliding was heard before the door opened, revealing a small quite fat man. "Garret! What can I do for you?" said Gowther, letting Garret into his humble dwelling and shutting the door behind him.

"Gowther, I need a bow, a couple of water cells, a couple of broad head arrows, and a good length of rope."

"Come with me then", replied Gowther.

Gowther lead Garret through a door and then up a flight of stairs Garret had scaled many times for his ever-needed weapons and tools. Gowther opened another door into a storeroom full of odd bits and bobs, rope and buckets. At the back of this candle lit room was a large cupboard. Gowther walked between the musty smelling things and opened it with a key he took from his belt. The cupboard had several shelves full of items like arrows, daggers, and explosives made from simple forms of black powder. Gowther took two broad head arrows passed them to Garret, he reached up to the top and had to stretch for he was only short. He held a thick wad of cloth in each hand, inside were the glass water cells, Gowther unravelled the cloth revealing the cells. He picked up a short bow along with some thin rope from the bottom shelf and handed it to Garret.

"So that's two gold pieces for the arrows, one for the water cells, and say one for the rope and bow." Said Gowther. " So where's the job tonight Garret?" said Gowther.

"Don't offend me Gowther, you have known me all these years yet you still ask a stupid question like that," said Garret annoyed.

"I don't understand you thieves sometimes," moaned Gowther.

Garret paid the four gold coins and made off but Gowther said, "If you sell to me what you get, then I'll see what I can do about a map of the city sewer systems." explained Gowther.

"Ay, said Garret, as always". And with that Garret grabbed the potion and left the room, went down the stairs and off into the night.

Chapter 2

Garret watched the Patrol of guards on top of the wall from behind a thick tree. He could hear them talking "I thought Robert was working this shift tonight."

"Yeah, we need three round this wall," said another.

"Old Calan won't be pleased about this," The first man said.

The guards split and carried on with their patrols. Garret waited until the guards stopped, primed his bow, and took aim. The arrow darted through the air and stuck in the guard's eye. A Gurgle sounds came from the guard, he fell over the wall and silently onto the grass. Garret found ten gold coins on this guard as well. He decided to make a point of taking out these guards, it paid well. Garret took the rope from his bag and made a lasso, then threw it over a castellation on the wall. He pulled it tight and began to scale the twenty foot grey stonewall. Often stopping to listen for an approaching guard. He reached the top and pulled up the rope, then untied the lasso knot and put it back in his bag. The other guard was approaching now whistling to himself. Garret hid behind a castellation and was totally invisible in the dark. The guard began to grow suspicious when he saw his friend had gone. Garret slowed his breathing and covered his mouth with his cloak to make no sound. Carefully, he removed his blackjack, waiting till the guard was just in front of him then he silently stepped out. Garret decided to use a distraction again, so he dropped a stone off the wall making sure it hit the wall on the way down to make a noise. The guard turned round and walked to the edge of the wall, he was almost looking at Garret, but not suspecting anyone was right under his nose. The blackjack hit the guard on the fore head knocking him unconscious. This guard only had the four gold coins, but still, Garret had quite a bulge in his purse. He rolled the unconscious guard over the wall and withdrew the key he obtained from Robert, the guard in the street. He peered through the keyhole, a single glass cover lamp lit the corridor. Garret removed his hood and put his ear to the hole, no guards jingle of keys or a Lords loud laugh. Then he put the keys in the lock as silently as he could, turned it and a definite 'click' confirmed it was opened. After turning the handle and opening the door, Garret stepped on the carpet and looked round. It was dark apart from the lamp. He removed his bag and placed it over the light, then he punched it, smashing the glass and dousing the flame. Luckily none of the glass fell to the floor. The corridor was now only lit by the light from the moon. Like the rest of the mansion, this corridor was grey stone, a carpet was down the middle and three rooms on each side. Garret ran to the end of the corridor to check for guards, none there and none to be heard.

"Mmm, Calan must think he's got the best guards in the country if he can afford to put them all outside. Garret tracked back to the first door on the left, he knocked on the door pretending to be a servant. No answer so he turned the handle and slithered in. A bed, cupboard and fireplace. Garret swiped a candlestick holder and a gold goblet. There was also another leather bag on the door which he took. The other doors were locked and since he had no lock picks, had to move on. It seemed there were four corridors leading onto a balcony that looked down on the dining hall. Garret looked over the balcony and spotted a guard. If he turned he would certainly spot Garret. So Garret jumped back down the corridor and with drew his sword holding it by his side. The guard approached and Garret jumped back out onto the balcony swinging his sword at the guard's neck. The sword went half way into the guard's neck killing him instantly. Garret caught the heavy man and dragged him back to the wall, which wasn't easy. He found ten gold coins.

"My purse is beginning to get heavy," thought Garret.

The next corridor was the same and Garret decided not to take out the light. For there is no point in creating an extra disturbance. All the doors were locked on this corridor. And so was the same on the next corridor. Garret's spirits were low and he thought he would have to go home but the last corridor was different, it had the same three doors on each side but at the end it had a door. All the others had doors but they were metal, this was wood, and it had decorations. Garret checked the doors they were all locked but one. It was next to the end room on the right. There was nobody in it and inside Garret took all he could find which consisted of: a pouch of twenty gold coins, a pair of gold candlestick holders, and a gold goblet. Garret put most of them in his bag. It was full know so he went back to the wall and lowered the bag down between the three bodies. On his way back to the room he heard something down stairs. It was Lord Calan.

"The batch of cutlery is here Dalwin, get down to the front gate and bring it up here. I'm off to bed soon". Lord Calan explained.

"That wooden door must lead to the old fools bedroom," thought Garret to himself. The other man walked off threw another door. Lord Calan sat down on one of the chairs and opened a large book.

"Damn, I'll have to be extra quiet," thought Garret. Garret crept away into the room on the right and swiped the rest of the loot. There was a big black velvet curtain opposite the door. Time to be off thought Garret moving back the curtain and looking out into the night.

"Ahhh... a balcony," Garret nearly said out loud. Garret closed the door and opened the window onto the balcony. He stuck his head out looking around for guards but saw none.

"Well I thought this was maximum security," Garret said thinking. From this balcony Garret could quite easily jump across to Lord Calan's balcony, and if he got into Calan's room that would certainly pay off well. Garret hopped across to the big wooden balcony. The door was a jar and Garret slipped silently into the room. It was a thief's heaven. Gold plates, goblets, candlesticks, vases and jewellery. Garret opened a draw full of gold chains and rings. Garret put them in his bag, then froze, but only for a split second. He could hear footsteps down the corridor. Quickly taking a water cell from his pocket Garret threw it at an open torch dousing the flame, then took the other and threw it at the second, the room was almost pitch black apart from the door, which still was a jar. The lock made a noise and the opened spilling light into the room. Garret had hid under the bed. Lord Calan entered the room looking around but saw no disturbance.

"Is anybody here, oh I thought I heard a smashing sound, it must have been round the back. Oh well the guards will deal with it." Lord Calan didn't notice the two piles of glass underneath the torches. He then locked the door onto the balcony and the one behind him.

"I'm sure those torches were lit when I left. Oh well, I'll just sack the maid in the morning, " said Calan. Soon enough the Calan was asleep and snoring. Garret crept out and spotted a pouch on the belt of Lord Calans trousers. He quickly took it and headed for the balcony. He remembered it was locked and realized he was going to have to make a more obvious exit than he would have liked. Garret withdrew his sword, took the biggest swing he could, and smashed it into the wooden door. Lord Calan awoke immediately and rang a bell next to him shouting "GUARDS!!!" Garret had almost cut the door in half, and it only needed a kick to make a big enough gap to get out. Garret took a big kick at it, breaking the door from its hinges. He jumped back over to the other balcony and into the room. Then out of there and down the corridor, he ran round the balcony over looking the dining hall. Garret was onto the corridor he first came into the builing by. But he wasn't leaving that way, Guards appeared, three of them shouting and swinging their swords towards Garret, but only hit the air. Garret quickly turned round, already knowing his plan of escape. The rope was still in his hand and as he ran back towards Calans room. He turned right into the open bedroom next to Calans and then onto the balcony. He made a loop over the balcony and hopped over, sliding down and burning his hands on the rope. He was on the ground, but still inside the mansion walls. A guard was running towards him, Garret, not wanting to waste precious time with confrontation, ran in the opposite direction, he was at the front gate, to his amazement it was open. They hadn't shut it yet since the batch of cutlery. Anyway, two archers were on op of the gate. Two arrows hit the cobbles but bounced off, cries and shouts could be heard "Stop that thief, get him."

"After him" Garret heard the bouncing of armour as the guards followed, but they had no chance with all their heavy armour on and the speed of the thief. Garret was always thinking about the bag full of loot he lowered off the wall. He ran round the wall and was already out of site when he picked up the second bag and slung it on his shoulder. The shouts could be heard still as Garret dissolved into the darkness. He slowed to a jog and headed for Gowthers.

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