PDA

View Full Version : When a thief isn't a thief



Pelwrath
April 15th, 2013, 05:43 AM
I've rewritten the intro paragraph.

The city of Khandar, the chief and largest city on the Lyell river. Some would call her a jewel or a gem. Though those are valuable, like the city, they also imply a flawlessness or perfection. Others have used river pearl and again I disagree for pearls, though formed from a grain of sand. They are farmed, like gems are mined, harvested would be an appropriate term. Khandar, Harvester of Fortunes, yes that's good, a place where one could make a fortune just so somebody else can make theirs taking it from them, everybody does it. The prince with tax collectors, fines and entry fees. The priests in their temples do it with tithes and donations. The mercenaries accomplish with their charges for protection of home and business from people like me, thieves. Those are deemed legal. Who am I? I am Uxator, the best thief, cut purse, second story man, entrepreneur, and half bread in the city. Granted my features are subtle but they are there.
There are different names for him within the city. The constables called him thief and criminal, the mercenaries and guards called him dangerous, business owners called him a pestilence. The poor called him when they had a problem that needed solving.

It was a cool spring day when I saw the stranger entering via the Estavium gate. A mage for sure. Yet, I noticed other eyes also watching him and I watched as Philas ‘redeye’ begin to stalk the mage. Philus is a shit head for doing him. If he was as rich a mark as his clothing and accessories suggested hewas therefore smart, if smart then he’d be powerful and if powerful one not totry and steal from. Philus followed him for three sections before makinghis move, right as he entered a crowded intersection. This forced the mark to slow down and Philas made his move, a rather good one I thought and as he lifted the purse from the stranger’s waist, who whirled around and grabbed Philus’s by the arm. As Philus looked at him in surprise the stranger said something then let go leaving the purse with Philus. Yet, as th mage walked away, Philus let out a blood curdling scream as his arm began to change to wither to dust and Philus continued screaming as he ran away.

Now THAT was impressive. I’ll need to find him later and find out what was said. In the mean time I’ll follow our impressive stranger. The stranger continues his journey, stopping at a jewel smith, Ragock’s, then an alchemists shop, Sharina Loring’s place and then ending up at the inn of the Pryo Hydra.

witth the mage’s location known, I assigned two fellow thieves to watch and do nothing else but note were he goes and or who he talks to. I then went looking for Philus. The Wooden Copper tavern,that would be where he’d go. “Well Drack, how’s business?’ I asked of the half dwarf behind the bar. “Well if it ain’t Uxator, a man after my own purse.” Drack replied.

“Which just happens to be where you keep your heart, I’m looking for ‘One arm’ Philus, you wouldn’t happen to know where he is would you?”

“Probably enjoying his new found sex partner, be that as it may, I do know where he is. Check on him at Matthias’s shop. Now, what’ll ya have? A muddy water? Goblin ale?”

“He’ll be there for a while so I’ll have the goblin ale and some fried fingers as well.” those being the sliced red-purple root that wasgrown in the area, boiled in oil.

As the food was served Drack asked “What’s up Ux? You didn’thave anything to do with his arm did ya?’

“Nope, but I did see it happen and all I can say is that Philius was baited, so before I decide about getting payback, I want to talk withhim.” As he stated munching on the fried root slices.

“Baited?! Why would anyone bait a thief?” Drack said indisbelief

“Drack, come on now. You bait a trap so was that just a trap that other thieves would see and stay away? Messi’n with a mage is never easy so one should always have back up. He didn’t so I just need to find out why he did and what happened. Like any good fellow brother in skullduggerywould do. Can’t have anyone just doingstuff like that to a fellow thief and not get even.”

“But Ux, you never get even you always get better. So, is it smart to do that to a wizard?”

“Drack, smart isn’t what you do it’s how you do it. That being said, I’ve never really heard of a zzzzzzmage so what were the smart was in how he got even with Philus for tryingto steal his purse.”







It took me about a quarter of a candle to reach Matthias’s Apathacary, the half-elvan Rhylana Mattias’s was well known for her knowledge of herbs, molds and fungi. She was also one of the guilds best healers. Her husband didn’t like me, probably something to do with us being former lovers. For her he allowed the glares and a few quips to pass. He entered through the backdoor and Angus, her wolfhound guard pet, the emphasis being on on guard not pet, snarled as he came in then just watched as Rhylana came into the workshop.

“Okay, Uxator, for what do I owe the visit, Philus perhaps?”she querried.

“Yes Rhylana, I need to talk with him about what happened.”Ux responded

“Dear, his arm withered away, to dust. I’ve only seen one other instance of this and it was the result of a poor fool’s encounter with amummy. Now, I’ve not heard of any mummies arriving in town or that Philus ever liked grave robbing.”

“Well Rhylana, you’re correct on both counts, yet he did have an encounter with a stranger who came to town today and he was probably a mage and based on your opinion, which I highly value, he is a necromancer. Now, please take me to him.”

Rhylana led him down to the flag stone and brick walledcellar, pressed a button on a sconse and a section of wall lowered. They then entered a small room that had three beds, one with Philus in it. Ux went over, sat on a stool and said “Philus, Uxator here, sorry about what happened, now before I pay him an official visit,what did the mage tell you?”

Philus groaned and turned his head toward Uxator and said“Forgive me for not shaking your hand. As for what he said it was a message; ’Keep the purse for sending me the best thief in this city, I’ll take the arm for your ineptitude.’

“So he wants a thief and how would he know who the best thie fin the city is?" I said, more to myself than Philus

“Well yes he did. He said ‘ Is the hand quicker than the eye or the mind quicker than hand?’

“Friend Philus. I will indeed pay this mage a visit and thendetermine what to do. It sounds like hehas issued an invitation and that means he wants something.” As he stood up andwent to the opening in the wall. “I’ll keep you informed. Thanks for taking care of him Rhylana.”

As I returned to the Pro-Hydra and checked with those I leftbehind. “Well Grafton and Ikarus tell what you saw.”

“Master Uxator.” Grafton began “We did as you asked. I was in the common room and Ikarus watchedthe outside. He met with nobody who wasinside after he entered and the only one to go to his room was the serving girlwho brought him a meal, hunk of ham, some wine and corn.”

“Good, Ikarus?”

“Nobody entered or left from his room via a window, which wasnever opened.” Ikarus reported

“How did you know what room was his?” I asked

“Grafton sent word to me through a kid, room 305.”

“Good. Continue watching. I’ll go pay him a visit. Also send word for a few more eyes.”

Sharina Loring’s place was respectable. She allowed nothievery inside and she with her two brothers, Rhob and Vekes kept thepeace. Good food, honest entertainmentand companionship.

As I entered, Rhob looked at me then glanced to Sharina. That’s the trouble with notoriety, hard forany man to move faster than his reputation. I went up to Sharina. “Goodevening Sharina. What will you tell meabout the stranger in room 305?” I asked as I put a small purse on the counter.

She looked at the purse, opened it and counted out 20 coins,returning the purse to me, half empty.

“Uxator, asthieves go you’re on the honest side…no fair is a better description. His name is Pelwrath, means nothing to me.Not from here based on his accent he’s from south, near the city of Hyphia. That’s all I know. Take care with him though master of shadowsor that might all you’ll be, a shadow.”

I proceeded up the stairs to the room this Pelwrath wasin. His name was only vaguely familiar,it was known as a mage, an evil one and again this was just the reputationassociated with the name. I knocked onthe door. “Master Pelwrath, I am Uxatormay I enter?”

“Yes.” Was the reply

As I entered I saw him sitting at a desk, writing on somepaper. “Master Uxator, not what I expected,a half breed, nothing wrong with that just, unexpected. I am the Necromancer Pelwrath, how may I beof service?”

“It was you who sent the invitation; send you the best thiefin the city. I’m here. What did youwant?’

“The best thief! Bywhose account?”

“Mine and that I’m the first to come see you, everyone elseis too scared.”

“Valid point, okay I’ll accept that you’re the best. I have a job for you. I want you to get into the Tower of theCentaur for me. Interested?”

“No way, everyone knows that the tower is enchanted against thieves,nobody breaks in to it and lives. Besides even if it was done, the Lord Commander Galiel would have themilitia tear the city apart looking for what was taken and who did it. So, sorry but no amount of coin or gems willget me to do that.” And I started towalk out.

“That’s the problem and blessing of magic, it does exactlywhat the caster made it for…to stop anyone from stealing from the tower. You my fine thief will not be stealing,you’ll be taking something inside for me.” Pelwrath said

“Uhhh? I won’t bestealing. Yet you need me to break into it?”

“That is correct my umbrea specialist. You see magic is great but for all its powerit is still limited by the minds of us mortals. The guards are a different matter, they still patrol the tower and itsgrounds, yet even they have come to rely on the towers magical protections andhave become a bit less attentive. So,you will still need to be unseen and that is why I need you. What would you charge for such masterUxator? I can give you much.” He said ashe stood.

“For me to come into too much wealth would be suspicious asthe constables would not have word of any major thefts, so here is what I wantto consider your request. RestorePhilus’s arm that he lost it was his fault but if I survive he’ll owe me. Next 500 high silver stags and if I do thejob another 1000 and lastly, a map or the location of an item, the tomb ofKadget the orc king.”

“What, you don’t want to know what you’ll be placing in thetower?” Pelwrath asked

“Nope, better that I don’t.” I replied

“Okay then I agree, return tomorrow and I’ll have the coin,have fixed Philus and provide you with the object and were it’ll be placed aswell as a map of the tower.” Pelwrath told me

“A map! How’d you get a map of the tower? There are none.” Isaid

“Oh you are correct but there are such things as architect’splans and the make an excellent source for maps. Besides I do have access to other sources ofinformation.” The necromancer told me.



As I spent the nextseveral hours thinking on what he said and offered. What was known aboutPelwrath? Is what he said true? Is itpossible? Okay, I’ll take his word as true, for now. Why break into the tower? Anything I place would be noticed. Oh a commonitem wouldn’t but why pay such for a common item? No negotiation. Yet if I do things job, the satisfaction ofknowing I did what couldn’t be done. Okay I return and accept his job.





I’d checked on Philus and his arm had grownback, then returned to Pelwrath. As I entered his room, he looked at me and Icouldn’t escape the feeling that his weren’t the only eyes watching me. “Well master Uxator have we an agreement?” heasked

“I’ll do this necromancer but not for you, I do it for me, sothat I know how good I am and you also. The payment is for my skill not the job. When would you like it done by?” I asked

“The end of this ten day will be fine. Here is a crude mapwith the location. It’s a room on thethird floor. Guards are one man a fewdoubles at intersections and some dogs at night. Here are the 500 high silver stags, I’verestore the man’s arm. The map to thetomb I’ll have within three ten days, after your completion of the task.”Pelwrath said and gestured to a table with a small chest, satchel bag and ascroll tube. I grabbed them and left.

A voice was heard “Master, why?”

“Why what my visually challenged friend?” Pelwrath replied

“Why such a risk you take? If or actually when it is discovered it will be known what happened,that you live and represent a danger to them. Lord high and mighty will nottake kindly to this.” Said the voice as a bat came to rest on Pelwrath’sshoulder.

“You are wrong little one. Though I am a danger, to none inthe tower am I such. As for them findingout, so what, they’ll be vexed and confused. More concerned about how it was done and who got by their preciouswards. They will want that information contained as fast as possible and thatmeans they’ll be distracted and I’ll be able to move on to the next stage of myplan. They won’t think of me as a source just the poor thief who did it. ComePapa, time to head home.” Pelwrathchanted a few phrases and tapped his staff on the floor twice and he waswrapped in a black cloud the just floated out the window.







I spent the next day checking the streets forinformation about Lord Galiel and the Centaur Tower. Much was as I already knew, yet someinteresting information was gathered, that the countess of the tower liked arose-persimmon perfume. I bought two vials; never know when it’ll take morethan coin to impress a lady. I hadplanned on doing it in three days, no moon and the feel of rain was said to becoming, that from the sailors in port. When the night arrived, I was well rested and it was a cloudy night, sono moon to worry about and it started to rain about sunset. Many would not like this as the rain makesclimbing harder, you leave tracks an open window is an invitation to breezethat could alert guards. The rain didn’tbother me, the cloak I wore was oil coated and I had also mixed in the towersladies perfume, to not attract the dog’s suspicion. I took few weapons for fight if discoveredwasn’t in my plans, my throwing daggers “Pain and Suffering” along with mysword “Hawkwing”.

Getting to the towerwasn’t any problem, staying in the shadows it was child’s play to avoide theeyes of all whom I passed. Let none see me going this way and it makes findingout information later should this job be discovered after the fact. I reachedthe tower base and new that I had ten minutes before the patrol returned on itscircuit. The climb would be as difficultas I thought. Vines were growing on the tower and some might hold my weight,should I need it but they would also serve as a guide as they were trimmed bythe windows and also provided camouflage any noise that I might make would bemuffled by the sound of the rain and attributed to any wind making it. The target of my climb was a window on thethird floor. That room was but two doorsdown from my destination, though a straight line didn’t always mean theshortest trip, at least in my business.

I started my climb andabout 6 feet up encountered my first defense. The vines covered small pieces of metal hidden behind small bricks andstones that would serve as logical hand holds. Though not deadly, the blood they could draw could make grabbing a bitslippery. The rust on them could bread disease and the possible concern aboutwhat waits further up could be considerable. The rain would negate any slipperydoubt as it was already such and it would remove any blood that the dogs mightsmell.

So the ivy wasn’t just decorative it was also camouflage forother tower defenses. I’ll give creditto the designer or who ever came up with that idea. As I continued my climb I placed my foot onthe edge of a small stone ledge, just to have it crumble and my footslipped. Fortuna smiled on me as Ihadn’t let go of my hand hold yet. Idecided to drop down and inspect what I had thought was a safe location. It took me a minute but as I looked I sawthat the ledge was a cleverly made hollow shell of clay pottery. It had becomeweak over time but was well placed to cause a thief to fall and or make a noisethat could well be heard. As I wasapproaching my targeted window, I felt the rock under my hand tremble and thena gust of wind past by my whole body and I swear I heard voices sayingsomething but it was faint and I couldn’t make out the language.

I pulled myself ontothe narrow ledge and began checking the closed window. Closed shutters it took but a few seconds todeal with that then the window itself. Nicely made stained glass, besides theart work they represented, breaking them was not an option as there was no rugon the other side and broken glass makes a lot of noise. It was locked of course but a rather smartmethod, one on each side of the window requiring that both be unlocked at thesame time or the one which is unlocked becomes locked when the second isunlocked. Being ambidextrous was anoticeable advantage here and it took but a couple of minutes to unlockthem. I stepped inside and felt a wavepass over me. I closed the shitters andwindow and took out a small scallop shell with a wick and some oil it wouldburn for a quarter of an hour. Myheritage gives me the ability to see rather well in the dark but sight doesn’tdetect drafts or the presence of clear or odorless gasses, which a flame canreveal. After that I sprayed a vial of the countesses’ perfume on the inside ofmy cloak and proceeded slowly and in the shadows down the hallway.

Like most castlesthere were suits of armor, several with weapons along both sides of thehallway, that I saw two sets of crossed swords behind a shield. Trophies as one of the shield’s bore thesigil of the former gnoll king Grandichzykle. I then saw one of the guard dogs. Northern bread it was though its name escaped me. I remembered it because they are part wolfhound and wolf.



Animals havea better sense of smell than humans and I extinguished the light as it wassleeping or at least laying down. Iwatched for a minute and no response from it. I continued onward and as I hadjust past it, he raised his head, sniffing the air. Smelling the perfume it looked around for alittle then laid its head back down between its large paws. A little farther past was the room I wasseeking. Two suits of armor both withthose two handed pig stickers knight like to use and I then froze as theyturned their helmets toward me yet didn’t move. Now, I don’t usually sweat yet I did now and I waited for severalminutes to see if another response would come from the suits of armor. None did so I entered through the archway ithad some writing above it: Afamilialocumlegere etproomnibusfamiliauti I recognized it asone of the mage languages and it basically identified the room as a familylibrary. I looked around and saw books, shelves of books. There were also tables with lamps, unlit forpeople to read. I took off the satcheland opened it and inside was a book an old one but in good shape. It was titled‘Orc kingdoms of the Realms’ whywould a necromancer want to have a book, this book, placed in thislibrary? Oh well I was paid for my skillto do a job so just be done with it. Ibegan looking for a logical place for it and found a rather well used section,the book not being neatly lined up, implying repeated use. I placed the bookthere and I saw another book and its title ‘The Family history of the LordCommander Galiel Salevon’ in my line of work the information in here couldbe priceless. I took it off the shelf and placed it in the satchel and began myretreat. Again as I passed by those two suits they again turned their helmetstoward me and this time followed me as I walked away. Getting down was much easier than getting up,much like a maze is easier when starting from the exit. Now, time for me to do some reading and waitfor a mage to provide the payment he agreed to.


Okay, he who giveth must also be able to takeith. This is a fantasy story that I'm not sure what to do with. It seems to be almost a bit 'list' like yet it was enjoyable to write and edit a few times.

Jeko
April 15th, 2013, 01:14 PM
Hi Pelwrah,

I'll do what I usually do by examining the first few lines.

'The city of Zykhandar, a place where one could make a fortunejust so somebody else can make theirs taking it from them, everybody didit. The prince did it with taxcollectors, fines, entry fees. Thepriests in their temples did it with tithes and donations. The mercenaries did it with their charges toprotect your home and business from thieves. There’s was considered legal.'

First and foremost, the grammar is in disarray. This is usually solved with a editing, however I can't fully understand the introduction in the state it is in, so it will need some attention if you want me to comment on the subject matter in any critical depth.

I do understand the gist of the paragraph, and it is great to see a paragraph which does what a paragraph is meant to do; stay on topic! On the other hand, the gist I get is not one that excites me, though that may be due to a lack of strong or memorable tone. It also lacks character, and characters, and the generalization needs to be supported beyond the opening, which I feel it is not, rather than left as it is and expected to seep through the story, which it does not do either.

My failure to connect with your world immediately, as you should be looking for me to do, is chiefly down to the following issues:



'Zykhandar' is an example of the cardinal (ish) sin of complicated names. As it is left unsupported by any similarly complex lexis, it sticks out like a sore thumb and feels out of place, like a sore thumb that is poking out of your forehead - it should not be there.
The issue of grammar, as mentioned before.
Simple nits like 'there's' and the occasional missed space.
The abundance of threes, a simple technique which used well can make a story stronger, a tone richer etc., but used too frequently and it gives the piece an overemphasized quality.



Though, to quote Strunk, 'brevity is a bi-product of vigor', the opening paragraph is too brief and not vigorous enough. There is little said, little that comes unexpected, and the seed of your city has yet to germinate into anything that I would consider a setting for a story. You should not, however, fully introduce your setting before you introduce your characters (introduce it with your characters, as you do later on). Merely make the first impression of your city a great one, or at least one that excites me enough to continue reading for sure.

Take Orwell's 1984, for example. It opens: 'It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.' This marks his world as immediately unique with his clever, deep and exciting use of a paraprosdokian. Explore how you can make me want to dive into your world.

Also, the use of 'your' is jarring and incorrect. I do not live in this city. I do not have mercenaries to protect my home.

Overall, your opening paragraph has all the framework of a great opening, but it lacks any of the filling it requires. I would suggest working on your style - pick apart others' work to find what makes good writing tick - and develop your ideas more. Picking up a copy of Strunk and White's 'The Elements of Style' would help a lot too (if you do not already own one).

The final line, barring its technical faults, is a great idea, and if it had greater support from the ideas before it, it would make a very effective hook in my opinion.

Thanks for the read,

Cadence

Pelwrath
April 15th, 2013, 04:01 PM
Cadence; My thanks for the commentary. It appears I should have uploaded instead of copy past. Grammar has and will always be a very hard subject for me. I don't have a copy of Strunk and White's book but will look at getting one. As for names, should I therefore use common names like Boston, Bismarck, Buffalo? If an alien setting shouldn't the names be unfamiliar or alien as well? Somehow Tolkien and others used complicated names. Granted I'm a very long way from Tolkien but did he also violate the rule? Still several items for me to consider and work on. Thanks!

Jeko
April 15th, 2013, 04:15 PM
As for names, should I therefore use common names like Boston, Bismarck, Buffalo?

Oh, no no no. Your names should reflect and hold hands with your setting, story and style. Critical names, in general, should be easy enough to say that they aren't a 'mouthful' for the reader or a stumbling block, and if a writer invents new and strange names for anything, the new names they invent should come together to form some kind of culture or reasoning for the names. Else they are just weird names.

Tolkien has a whole self-contained, self aware world where his names make sense. Indeed, he even has his own language for them. As a general rule for myself, I avoid using the lesser used letters in names for the sake of using them because they are lesser used, as it is tempting. Zs and Xs appear less frequently in the English language for a reason.

If you are familiar with your names, write with them. Ctrl-F can help once the piece is done.

Basically, be tap into what your reader would want as they read your story, and make it easy for them to love your work.

Pelwrath
April 19th, 2013, 05:20 AM
Here is a new intro paragraph fro my story.

The city of Khandar, the chief and largest city on the Khell river. Some would call her a jewel or a gem. Though those are valuable, like the city, they also imply a flawlessness or perfection. Others have used river pearl and again I disagree for pearls, though formed from a grain of sand. They are farmed, like gems are mined, harvted would be an appropriate term. Khandar, Harvester of Fortunes, yes that's good, a place where one could make a fortune just so somebody else can make theirs taking it from them, everybody did it. The prince did it with tax collectors, fines, entry fees. The priests in their temples did it with tithes and donations. The mercenaries did it with their charges to protect home and business from people like me, thieves. There’s was considered legal. Who am I? I am Uxator, thief, no make that entrepreneur, also half bread. My mother was an orc, that a problem? Granted my features are subtle but they are there.


Thoughts and comments are welcome.

Folcro
April 29th, 2013, 06:42 AM
I see pure potential for this one. A thief is the perfect starting point for a main character--- so long as you take advantage of it. Get into Uxatore's mind more, especially as he goes from place to place in tracking Pelwrath.

Beware of words like:

"Then"--- Then this happened, then this happened, then that... It is assumed already that you are telling the story (especially when it comes to a single scene) by the order in which things happen. Words like "then" become obsolete in many cases.

"Just"--- This word is overused very often to try and set a tone for the reader. "Just floated out the window." The reader doesn't need a tone set for them, and can at times take it as condescending when we try. Let the reader decide how to feel about a cloud flying out the window. (But if you must, you might be able to get away with saying something like "'nonchalantly' flew out the window," though I would still avoid it).

"As"--- When several things are happening at once, it is often best simply to break it up into sentences, especially during an action scene. "Followed me as I walked away." Here, the "As" is necessary. The two instances are dependent on one another. "As I entered, Rhob looked at me then glanced to Sharina" I would change to "I entered [her place]. Rhob looked at me. I glanced at Sharina.

Try to switch to a more active voice. (This is more in the line of personal taste on my part, but I truly believe makes writing in most genres flow much better).

"When night arrived, I was well-rested"===> "I was well-rested when night arrived."

"The room I was seeking"===> "The room I sought."

"I'd checked on Philus and his arm had grown back, then returned to Pelwrath."===> "Philus's arm had grown back by the time I checked on him again. I returned to Pelwrath."

Now on to less-technical matters...

"I'll do this, necromancer, but not for you..."

Why would this great thief disclose his motivation to a man he doesn't know?

Also, I have to say I did not like when the "visually-challenged friend" of Pelwrath came to speak to him. It was all expository dialogue, and turned me off to who was up until then an interesting villain. Why are these two men, a master thief and an accomplished sorcerer, playing catch with their ulterior motives (unless Pelwrath was lying, in which case you fooled me).

Finally, you go very deeply into Uxatore's profession: that is, explaining why he does the things he does in those brief moments when he is climbing, lockpicking, observing. Limit yourself when it comes to such exposition. Insight into his emotions, motivations and frustrations as a thief and citizen of Khandahar? I'll take that in droves. But talking about his job can get tedious--- especially regarding Uxatore's merely going from point A to point B. Mention one thing to get the reader's mind turning and move on. Let the reader's imagination take care of the rest. Let them naturally conform to Uxatore's thought process. (The reader should be doing most of the walking--- you as a writer are simply pointing them in the direction you want).

Overall, You have created a world and that means everything. People are free to move around and live and plot and misbehave in this place. Give them more things to play with. That is, tell me more about this Khandahar. Weave information through your story in small doses, small details; children playing, a priest or priestess carrying a basket through the streets, followed by starving children put on display to advertise the church's "dire need for money." Give us visuals. The smallest things can say so much.

Don't stop. Make Uxatore the most dashing, daring, conflicted thief ever written. Make Pelwrath a monstrous bastard so ahead-of-the-game he seems unstoppable. Throw things in Uxatore's way. Make him work for surviving in this world, and surviving Pelwrath.

Edit it and repost it. I would love to see what more you have in mind.

Pelwrath
April 29th, 2013, 02:18 PM
No Pelwrath wasn't lying bu he didn't tell everything. His visually challenged friend is a bat. Perhaps I'll give the bat a name. On thinking you are right he wouldn't reveal his motivation. My thanks Sir Folcro.

lowprofile300
April 30th, 2013, 02:20 AM
I've rewritten the intro paragraph.

The city of Khandar, the chief and largest city on the Lyell river. Some would call her a jewel or a gem. Though those are valuable, like the city, they also imply a flawlessness or perfection. Others have used river pearl and again I disagree for pearls, though formed from a grain of sand. They are farmed, like gems are mined, harvested would be an appropriate term. Khandar, Harvester of Fortunes, yes that's good, a place where one could make a fortune just so somebody else can make theirs taking it from them, everybody does it. The prince with tax collectors, fines and entry fees. The priests in their temples do it with tithes and donations. The mercenaries accomplish with their charges for protection of home and business from people like me, thieves. Those are deemed legal. Who am I? I am Uxator, the best thief, cut purse, second story man, entrepreneur, and half bread in the city. Granted my features are subtle but they are there.
There are different names for him within the city. The constables called him thief and criminal, the mercenaries and guards called him dangerous, business owners called him a pestilence. The poor called him when they had a problem that needed solving.



@Pelwrah, now that's good writing. One hell of an intro for the first paragraph. It is said that the first few lines of any story makes or breaks it. You sir, are spot on! Nice flow and eloquent descriptions. It sure pays to edit:) Cheers

Pelwrath
May 5th, 2013, 04:30 PM
Here I a revised version of my story, hope it also improved.



The city of Khandar, the chief and largest city on the Lyell river. Some would call her a jewel or a gem. Though those are valuable, like the city, they also imply a flawlessness or perfection. Others have used river pearl and again I disagree for pearls, though formed from a grain of sand. They are farmed, like gems are mined, harvested would be an appropriate term. Khandar, Harvester of Fortunes, yes that's good, a place where one could make a fortune just so somebody else can make theirs taking it from them, everybody does it. The prince with tax collectors, fines and entry fees, the priests in their temples do it with tithes and donations and the mercenaries accomplish with their charges for protection of home and business from people like me, thieves. Those are deemed legal. Who am I? I am Uxator, the best thief, cut purse, second story man, entrepreneur, and half bread in the city. Granted my features are subtle but they are there.
There are different names for him within the city. The constables called him thief and criminal, the mercenaries and guards called him dangerous, business owners called him a pestilence. The poor called him when they had a problem that needed solving.
It was a cool spring day when he saw the stranger entering via the Estavium gate. A mage for sure he thought. Yet other eyes also saw him and Uxator watched as he saw Philas ‘redeye’ begin to stalk the mage. Philus is a shit head for doing him. If he was as rich a mark as his clothing and accessories suggested he was therefore smart, if smart then he’d be powerful and if powerful one not to try and steal from. Philus followed him for three sections before making his move, right as he entered a crowded intersection. This forced the mark to slow down and Philas made his move, a rather good one he thought and as Philus lifted the purse from the stranger’s waist, who then whirled around and grabbed Philus by the arm. As Philus looked at him in surprise the stranger said something then let go leaving the purse with Philus. Yet, as he walked away, Philus let out a blood curdling scream as his arm began to change to wither to dust. Philus just continued screaming as he ran away.
Now THAT was impressive. I’ll need to find him later and find out what was said. In the mean time I’ll follow our impressive stranger. The stranger continues his journey, through the Craftman’s Bazzar, the crowds of people he basically ignored. Be they priest, merchant, warrior or noble. No, I take that back, the nobles he looked at, briefly but he did look. He stopped at a jewel smith’s stall, Ragock’s, where he purchased a ring.
His travel’s continued pausing to put some coins in the bowl of a priestess of Shadzar, she of the poor and suffering, his next stop was an alchemists shop, Sharina Loring’s place. I watched for a quarter of a candle, before he emerged. I began wondering what he was doing. I mean that he had just withered to dust the arm of a thief and it looked like he was taking a leisurely stroll about town as if nothing had happened and he left the erstwhile thief with the object of his desire, the purse of coin and then ended at the inn of the Pryo Hydra. I waited a half candle to see if he would come out, he didn’t so I entered, the place being one frequented by warriors and mercenaries. Food served fast and hot, just like the women. I asked about the stranger who had come in about an hour ago. It took more silver than I expected but he’d come right in and paid for a room, for two weeks, food brought to the room. As I left I saw two lower thieves, both less than half a year out of training, Grafton and Ikarus and told them to watch the place and take note of any who come to visit.
I then began doubling back on his path. At Sharina Loring’s shop, he’d purchased some supplies, mandrake root and aqua vitae. I went to the priestess of Shadzar and asked what coins he had placed in the bowl. “Well master Uxator, he placed two and half- silver and a half- platinum.” She told me
“Those are very unusual coins; I didn’t know we still minted them. Who would and why use them?”
“Oh, yes. Our temple uses them and they have significance. The half-silver is the cost for the Death Falcon to carry the soul across the Fields of Whren, to the Land of the Dead, what we call Jyhalar. The half-platinum is the cost for a either a living to go there or a soul to be brought out.”
“My thanks priestess.” As I left for Ragock’s
“Well if it isn’t Uxator and I really wish it wasn’t. Since I see you, you didn’t steal anything so to what do I owe the honor? Wait I know, the mage who was here and you want to know what he bought.”
“Careful Rag, sarcastic knowledge can lead to a shortened life. It so happens that that is the information I’m looking for and yes, I’ll pay.”
“The ring he bought cost 125 high silver pieces.”
“Okay, now give” as I took out my purse and placed 25 platinum on his counter.
“He bought a ring, a gold dragon eating its tail. This is sometimes called an ouroboros, but he wanted an inscription, in elvish and orcish. The elvish part was ‘All is one’ the orcish part was ‘One is all’ “
“Well thanks Rag.” Great he’s been mage stuff all over town but why? Oh well time to find Philus.
“Well Papa, how many followed us?” the mage asked
“Of the guard, but one and only till you put coins in the bowl. Of thieves, three at various times but easily spotted, then there was one who followed from the place of the disarmament. I almost lost him twice.”
“Good, now go amuse yourself for a few hours. Eat some insects, fly into some ladies hair or bite some people on the neck to scare them about vampires.”

The Wooden Copper tavern would be where Philus would go. I saw Drack as he saw me. “Well Drack, how’s business?” I inquired of the half dwarf behind the bar. “Well if it ain’t Uxator, a man after my own purse.” Drack replied.
“Which just happens to be where you keep your heart, I’m looking for ‘One arm’ Philus, you wouldn’t happen to know where he is would you?”
“Probably enjoying his new found sex life, be that as it may I do know where he is. Check on him at Matthias’s shop. Now, what’ll ya have? A muddy water or a Goblin ale?”
“He’ll be there for a while so I’ll have the goblin ale and some fried fingers as well.” those being the sliced red-purple root that was grown in the area, boiled in oil.
As the food was served Drack asked “What’s up Ux? You didn’t have anything to do with his arm did ya?’
“Nope, but I did see it happen and all I can say is that Philius was baited, so before I decide about getting payback, I want to talk with him.” I said while munching on the fried root slices.
“Baited?! Why would anyone bait a thief?” Drack said in disbelief
“Drack, come on now. You bait a trap and a trap has two purposes, to capture or to kill so was that just a trap to stop thieves or capture thieves? Messing with a mage is never easy so one should always have back up. He didn’t, so I just need to find out why he did and what happened. Like any good fellow brother in skullduggery would do. Can’t have anyone just doing stuff like that to a thief and not get even.”
“But Ux, you never get even you always get better. So, is it smart to do that to a wizard?”
“Drack, smart isn’t what you do it’s how you do it. That being said, I’ve never really heard of a dumb mage so what were the smart was in how he got even with Philus for trying to steal his purse.”
It took me about a quarter of a candle to reach Matthias’s Apathacary, the rain had turned the streets into a poor semblance of chocolate pudding. The half-elf, Rhylana Mattias’s was well known for her knowledge of herbs, molds and fungi. She was also one of the guilds best healers. Her husband didn’t like me, probably something to do with us being former lovers. I entered her place via the back door, to be greeted by his icy stares. Her pet guard Angus, a wolfhound, the emphasis being on guard not pet, was lying on the floor next to her husband snarled as I came in. Rhylana came into the workshop.
“Dear, please take Angus for a walk, I’ve business to conduct.” Her husband just nodded, looked at Angus and said “Follow” and thye both left through the back door.
“Okay, Uxator, for what do I owe the visit, Philus perhaps?” she querried.
“Yes Rhylana, I need to talk with him about what happened.” Ux responded
“Dear, his arm withered away, to dust I’ve only seen one other instance of this and it was the result of a poor fool’s encounter with a mummy. Now, I’ve not heard of any mummies arriving in town or that Philus ever liked grave robbing.”
“Well Rhylana, you’re correct on both counts, yet he did have an encounter with a stranger who came to town today and he was probably a mage and based on your opinion, which I highly value, he is a necromancer. Now, please take me to him.”
Rhylana led him down to the flag stone and brick walled cellar, pressed a button on a sconce and a section of wall lowered. They then entered a small room that had three beds, one with Philus in it. I went over, sat on a stool and said “Philus, Uxator here, sorry about what happened, now before I pay him an official visit, what did the mage tell you?”
Philus groaned and turned his head toward Uxator and said “Forgive me for not shaking your hand. As for what he said it was a message; Keep the purse for sending me the best thief in this city, I’ll take the arm for your ineptitude.
“So he wants a thief and how would he know who the best thief in the city is? Wonder if he said anything else? Uxator said, more to himself than Philus
“Well yes he did. He said ‘ Is the hand quicker than the eye or the mind quicker than hand?’
Well, I’ll add philosopher to his title. He asks is it better to be a quick thief or a smart thief.
“Friend Philus. I will indeed pay this mage a visit and then determine what to do. It sounds like he has issued an invitation and that means he wants something.” As he stood up and went to the opening in the wall. “I’ll keep you informed. Thanks for taking care of him Rhylana.”
As I returned to the Pro-Hydra and checked with those I left behind. “Well Grafton and Ikarus tell what you saw.”
“Master Uxator.” Grafton began “We did as you asked. I was in the common room and Ikarus watched the outside. He met with nobody who was inside after he entered and the only one to go to his room was the serving girl who brought him a meal, hunk of ham, some wine and corn.”
“Good, Ikarus?”
“Nobody entered or left from his room via a window, which was never opened.” Ikarus reported
“How did you know what room was his?” I asked
“Grafton sent word to me through a kid, room 305.”
“Good. Continue watching. I’ll go pay him a visit. Also send word for a few more eyes.”
Sharina Loring’s place was respectable. She allowed no thievery inside and she with her two brothers, Rhob and Vekes kept the peace. Good food, honest entertainment and companionship.
As I entered, Rhob looked at me then glanced to Sharina. That’s the trouble with notoriety, hard for any man to move faster than his reputation. I went up to Sharina. “Good evening Sharina. What will you tell me about the stranger in room 305?” I asked as I put a small purse on the counter.
She looked at the purse, opened it and counted out 20 coins, returning the purse to me, half empty.
“Uxator, as thieves go you’re on the honest side…no fair is a better description. His name is Pelwrath, means nothing to me. Not from here based on his accent, he’s from south, near the city of Hyphia. That’s all I know. Take care with him though master of shadows or that might all you’ll be, a shadow.”
I proceeded up the stairs to the room this Pelwrath was in. His name was only vaguely familiar, it was known as a mage, an evil one and again this was just the reputation associated with the name. I knocked on the door. “Master Pelwrath, I am Uxator may I enter?”
“Yes.” Was the reply
As I entered I saw him sitting at a desk, writing on some paper. “Master Uxator, not what I expected, a half breed, nothing wrong with that just, unexpected. I am the Necromancer Pelwrath, how may I be of service?”
“It was you who sent the invitation; send you the best thief in the city. I’m here. What did you want?’
“The best thief! By whose account?”
“Mine and that I’m the first to come see you, everyone else is too scared.”
“Valid point, okay I’ll accept that you’re the best or at least the best with courage. I have a job for you. I want you to get into the Tower of the Centaur for me. Interested?”
“No way, everyone knows that the tower is enchanted against thieves, nobody breaks in to it and lives. Besides even if it was done, the Lord Commander Galiel would have the militia tear the city apart looking for what was taken and who did it. So, sorry but no amount of coin or gems will get me to do that.” And I started to walk out.
“That’s the problem and blessing of magic, it does exactly what the caster made it for…to stop anyone from stealing from the tower. You my fine thief will not be stealing, you’ll be taking something inside for me. However, you are still by practice a thief and such thoughts would be in your mind. I’ve crafted a ring that will shield your thoughts from the magic guardians” Pelwrath said
“Uhhh? I won’t be stealing. Yet you need me to break into it? Doesn’t that by itself mean I’ll be stealing?”
“That is correct my umbrea specialist. You see magic is great but for all its power it is still limited by the minds of us mortals. Think of magic as a lock and my ring as a magic key, which will unlock the wards. A primitive description at best but one you can grasp. The guards are a different matter, they still patrol the tower and its grounds, yet even they have come to rely on the towers magical protections and have become a bit less attentive. So, you will still need to be unseen and that is why I need you. What would you charge for such master Uxator? I can give you much.” He said as he stood.
“For me to come into too much wealth would be suspicious as the constables would not have word of any major thefts, so here is what I want to consider your request. Restore Philus’s arm; that he lost it was his fault but if I survive he’ll owe me. Next 500 high silver stags and if I do the job another 1000 and lastly, a map or the location of an item, the tomb of Kadget the orc king.”
“What, you don’t want to know what you’ll be placing in the tower?” Pelwrath asked
“Why not.” I replied
“Okay then I agree. Return tomorrow and I’ll have the coin, have fixed Philus’s arm and provide you with the book and were it’ll be placed as well as a map of the tower.” Pelwrath told me
“A book! You want me to break into the Lord Commanders tower just to place a book on a shelf? Oh, and you just happen to have a map! How’d you get a map of the tower? There are none.” I said
“Oh you are correct, no written copy exists but there are such things as architect’s plans and they make an excellent source for maps. Besides I do have access to other sources of information.” The necromancer told me.



As I spent the next several hours thinking on what he said and offered. What was known about Pelwrath? Is what he said true? Is it possible? Okay, I’ll take his word as true, for now. Why break into the tower? To place a book that will easily be noticed without any negotiation. Yet if I do things job, the satisfaction of knowing I did what couldn’t be done and that could never be undone or taken away.
Later I checked on Philus and his arm had grown back. Upon my return, Pelwrath, he looked at me and I couldn’t escape the feeling that his weren’t the only eyes watching me. “Well master Uxator have we an agreement?” he asked
“I’ll do this job for you necromancer. When would you like it done by?” I asked
“The end of this ten day will be fine. Here is a crude map with the location. It’s a room on the third floor. Guards are one man sentries, a few doubles at important intersections and some dogs at night. Here are the 500 high silver stags, I’ve restored the man’s arm. The map to the tomb I’ll have within three ten days, after your completion of the task.” Pelwrath said and gestured to a table with a small chest, satchel bag a scroll tube and a ring. I checked the ring; a dragon eating its tail, the dragon was gold and had the same inscription Rag had told me about.
“My thanks, necromancer and a pleasure doing business with you.” And I left.
“Master, why?”
“Why what my good friend?” Pelwrath replied
“Why such a risk you take? If or actually when it is discovered it will be known what happened, that you live and represent a danger to them. Lord high and mighty will not take kindly to this.” Said the voice as Papa came to rest on Pelwrath’s shoulder.
“You are wrong little one. Though I am a danger, to none in the tower am I such. As for them finding out, so what, they’ll be vexed and confused. More concerned about how it was done and who got by their precious wards. They will want that information contained as fast as possible and that means they’ll be distracted and I’ll be able to move on to the next stage of my plan. They won’t think of me as a source just the poor thief who did it.
Come Papa, time to head home.” Pelwrath chanted a few phrases and tapped his staff on the floor twice and he was wrapped in a black cloud the just floated out the window.



I spent the next day checking the streets for information about Lord Galiel and the Centaur Tower. Much was as I already knew, yet some interesting information was gathered, that the countess of the tower liked a rose-persimmon perfume. I bought two vials; never know when it’ll take more than coin to impress a lady. I had planned on doing it in three days, no moon and the feel of rain was said to be coming, that from the sailors in port. When the night arrived, I was well rested and it was a cloudy night, so no moon to worry about and it started to rain about sunset. Many would not like this as the rain makes climbing harder, you leave tracks an open window is an invitation to breeze that could alert guards. The rain didn’t bother me, the cloak I wore was oil coated and I had also mixed in the towers ladies perfume, to not attract the dog’s suspicion. I took few weapons, for fight if discovered wasn’t in my plans, my throwing daggers “Pain and Suffering” along with my sword “Hawk Wing”.
Getting to the tower wasn’t any problem, by staying in the shadows it was child’s play to avoid the eyes of all whom I passed. Let none see me going this way and it makes finding out information much harder should the job be discovered after the fact. I reached the tower base and new that I had ten minutes before the patrol returned on its circuit. The climb would be as difficult as I thought. Vines were growing on the tower and none would hold my weight, should I need it, but they would also serve as a guide as they were trimmed by the windows and also provided camouflage any noise that I might make would be muffled by the sound of the rain and attributed to any wind making it. The target of my climb was a window on the third floor. The room was or should be but two doors down from my destination, though a straight line didn’t always mean the shortest trip, at least in my business.
I started my climb and about 6 feet up encountered my first obstacle. The vines covered small pieces of metal hidden behind or on top of small bricks and stones that would serve as logical hand holds. Though not deadly, the blood they could draw could make grabbing a bit slippery and the possible concern about what waits further up comes to mind. The rain would negate any slippery doubt as it was already such and it would remove any blood that the dogs might smell.
So the ivy wasn’t just decorative it was also camouflage for other tower defenses. I’ll give credit to the designer or who ever came up with that idea. As I continued my climb I placed my foot on the edge of a small stone ledge, just to have it crumble and my foot slipped. Fortune smiled on me as I hadn’t let go of my hand hold yet. I decided to lower myself down and inspect what I had thought was a safe location. It took me a minute but as I looked I saw that the ledge was a cleverly made hollow shell of clay pottery. It had become weak over time but was well placed to cause a thief to fall and or make a noise that could well be heard. As I was approaching my targeted window, I felt the rock under my hand tremble and then a gust of wind swept past me, slightly shaking my whole body and I swear I heard voices saying something but it was faint and I couldn’t make out the language.
I pulled myself onto the narrow ledge and began checking the closed window. Closed shutters it took but a few seconds to deal with that then the window itself. Nicely made stained glass, besides the art work they represented, breaking them was not an option as I couldn’t tell if there was a rug on the other side and broken glass makes a lot of noise. It was locked of course buy a rather smart method, one on each side of the window requiring that both be unlocked at the same time or the one which is unlocked becomes locked when the second is unlocked. Being ambidextrous was a noticeable advantage here and it took but a couple of minutes to unlock them. I stepped inside and felt a wave pass over me. I closed the shitters and window and took out a small scallop shell with a wick and some oil it would burn for a quarter of a candle. My half bred heritage gives me the ability to see rather well in the dark but sight doesn’t detect drafts or the presence of clear or odorless gasses, which a flame can reveal. After that I sprayed a vial of the countesses’ perfume on the inside of my cloak and proceeded slowly and in the shadows down the hallway. Like most castles there were suits of armor, all with weapons along both sides of the hallway, then I saw two sets of crossed swords behind a shield. Trophies as one of the shield’s bore the sigil of the former gnoll king Grandichzykle. I then saw one of the guard dogs. Northern bread it was though its name escaped me. I remembered it because they are part wolf hound and wolf.
Animals have a better sense of smell than humans and I extinguished the light as it was sleeping or at least laying down. I watched for a minute and no response from it. I continued onward and as I had just past it, he raised his head, sniffing the air. Smelling the perfume it looked around for a little then a slight growl came from its throat as it looked in my direction. It was confused as it smelled the mistress of the towers perfume but yet didn’t see her nor was this a regular time for the mistress to be here. I had a little time so I hurled ‘suffering’ at the dog and it struck well a yelp coming from it yet the poison did its job the dog slumped to the floor, paralyzed. Yet that yelp meant would be heard so I moved faster and a little farther past was the room I was seeking. Two suits of armor both with those two handed pig stickers knights like to use and I then froze as they turned their helmets toward me yet didn’t move. Now, I don’t usually sweat yet I did now and I waited for several minutes to see if another response would come from the suits of armor. None did so I entered through the archway it had some writing above it: A familia locum legere et pro omnibus familia uti I recognized it as one of the mage languages and it basically identified the room as a family library. I looked around and saw books, shelves of books. There were also tables with lamps, unlit for people to read. I took off the satchel and opened it and inside was a book an old one but in good shape. It was titled ‘Orc kingdoms of the Realms’ why would a necromancer want to have a book, this book, placed in this library? Oh well I was paid for my skill to do a job so just be done with it. I began looking for a logical place for it and found a rather well used section, the book not being neatly lined up, implying repeated use. I placed the book there and I saw another book and its title ‘The Family history of the Lord Commander Galiel Salevon’ in my line of work the information in here could be priceless. I took it off the shelf and placed it in the satchel and began my retreat. Again as I passed by those two suits they again turned their helmets toward me and this time followed me as I walked away. Getting down was much easier than getting up, much like a maze is easier when starting from the exit. Now, time for me to do some reading and wait for a mage to provide the payment he agreed to.