Rivalries Among Thieves

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Saren, Jun 14, 2013.

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  1. Maps... he didn't know why he even bothered. Maps weren't provided for the clandestine mage's tower in the west. There wasn't even any evidence that anything existed inside the tower. The granite walls were covered in vines crawling up from the browning grass on all sides, and the spires swirling along the top were snapped and broken. The base of the tower was fringing along a myriad of sweeping hills, and the building was placed in the small valley so the hills hid vision from almost all around.

    He wasn't even sure if the tower would hold his weight as he sat there inspecting it. Least he would die trying to get some ridiculous artifact.

    After all, he was Tace Alveron, a highly noteworthy thief, rogue, and occasional assassin. It depended on what he was paid to do or what he felt like doing in the moment. He did so enjoy his job, especially when it included shiny jewels, like the one he was about to steal. Least he hoped he was about to steal one.

    The mage's tower, most often called Gemspire, was named so for a reason. Rumors told of gems and artifacts filled to the brim with the magics of old. They were extremely valuable and dangerous, and so far, it was the only place the thief knew of that handled such things. It was why he'd decided to take one... or all of them.

    Tace hopped up from his sitting position, looking back into the sparse treeline to where his small pack horse was pulling up weeds. He didn't care much for stealing horses, but the one he'd procured was older and made for a nice, if temporary, traveling companion. Besides, something needed to carry his bounty for him. The horse also held a spare set of clothes for him, identical to the ones he wore now.

    The thief pulled his attention back to the tower where it sat, foreboding and mysterious. He could handle that.

    A quick jog brought him to the bottom, standing in the shade of the massive tower. It was growing darker by the minute, but the sun still cast small, yet brilliant rays along the ground. To his disappointment, it didn't reflect on anything shiny that might have been worthwhile to steal, but he wasn't even inside yet.

    A fleeting thought crossed his brain; he had no rope. Flipping a hand at himself, Tace jumped and snagged his fingers into a hole where the wall was missing a granite brick. There were various spots where the tower was simply falling apart, but to the thief, they were hand and footholds, perfect for climbing when he had no outside materials.

    It didn't take him long to reach a window, as there were a few placed along the length of the tower. He attempted to pry one open with one hand, and when that didn't work, he simply smashed the old wood and glass, creating a broken entrance. There were no torches inside, and Tace was immediately pitched into black. He fumbled for a minute until he gained his bearings and his eyes adjusted to the minimal light.

    Nothing shined and nothing sparkled, which was an instant downer. He had to remind himself that he was only up the tower about halfway, and there was still plenty of ground to cover below and above.

    He found a set of spiraling stairs, but they were only ascending. Running his gloved hand along the wall, he made his way up the flight, around and around until he came to a door. It creaked as he pushed it open, causing him to stop and peer inside, just in case an ancient mage was prowling around, waiting to spring a trap. When nothing happened, Tace slipped inside, searching around for anything. He only succeeded in finding an unlit torch, but a quick strike with his knife tip against the stone was enough to send sparks fluttering onto the wood, creating a small fire.

    With his light in hand, Tace continued to wander up the tower, but he got the distinct feeling that he wasn't alone. He liked being alone, but the strange feeling kept creeping along his senses until he made sure that he was alert enough to watch and listen for anything that would betray another presence.
    #1 Saren, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  2. Roana shifted her weight, careful not to disturb the fragile stone she crouched upon. The top of the tower was just as dilapidated as the rest of the tower, of course, but the slim, small woman was light enough and careful enough with her footing to walk up there with no issues.
    The woman had been planning on going into the highest room, the one that supposedly contained all of the treasure, from above. Her plan had been interrupted by the arrival of the second thief, the man. She'd observed him arrive, but she doubted he'd seen her from her hiding place. Hopefully. Quickly revising her plans, she decided to wait up here, allow him to make his way up the tower, and swoop in just when thought he'd obtained the treasure. If there was treasure, of course. If not, then this chance encounter would be much more interesting.
    Overall, she didn't look much like a thief. She was short, with a light build and tightly braided brown hair. Plain brown eyes assessed whatever they looked at. Her features were average, not particularly attractive but not noticeably unattractive. Her clothes were the same way, completely average. She seemed to be normal, and that's what made her deadly.
    With a smirk, she dropped off the roof and climbed down to the highest window. There was no way to peer into the rumored treasure room-more the reason that there was something there-so she looked in and watched Tace as he climbed the stairs.
  3. Tace had decided a long time ago that he didn't like mages or magic. This did not explain why he'd chosen to raid Gemspire. Maybe it was out of spite. He couldn't really say. The 'not-so-alone' feeling was putting him on edge, and he didn't like it.

    He had reached the top of the tower, but there was still no light outside of his measly torch. Still, there was no feeling of safety. It wasn't an easy job.

    He looked like a shadow with a torch, what with the way his black clothing melded with the darkness. There was no evidence of a face under his hood, as a mask covered most of it. It was a staple ensemble for him, as it ensured hiding spots when he was moving through a place where he wasn't wanted.

    The top room of the tower had much more than he had anticipated, but he didn't care. The fire from the torch bounced off the facets of the many jewels scattered around the dusty room. Even though the room was dirty, all of the gems were polished and gleaming. Someone had been here recently.

    He hooked the torch into the metal bracket on the wall, letting the fire illuminate a minor part of the room. He didn't want the small jewels. He wanted the big one sitting in the middle of the room on a gold, tasseled pillow. It was a lovely and deep shade of blue with a sparking purple flourish bouncing on the inside. Upon closer inspection, he found that someone had taken the meticulous time to carve it into a smooth rose. It was intricate and amazing. Even though he spent his life stealing these kinds of things, he still had an appreciation for craftsmanship.

    He wasn't sure if he could touch it, but as his fingers brushed one side of it and nothing exploded, Tace picked it up. The work truly was impressive. He set it back down for a moment, not really wanting to ruin the image it set. The feeling of someone hanging around was still there, but it was too dark to explore every side of the room. He settled for inspecting the other jewels lying about, whether they were on a table, parts of a broken chair, or on a desk. There were so many, each a different color and, like the rose jewel, all of them holding a spark on the inside. Tace, one not so skilled in magic, didn't know what it meant, but it looked dangerous if the wrong person had it.
  4. The window was open, much to her delight. Not so much open as the locking mechanism was rotted, but she could gain entrance either way. Roana pushed the window open and crept up the stairs, following the steps of the thief who had passed up them mere minutes before. The door to the treasure room was open, and she peeked inside.
    Well, well, well, she thought. The mage was hiding something here after all.
    Her eyes immediately fixed onto the gem sitting on the pillow. It was large, blue, and carefully, lovingly carved into an elegant rose. She'd done a bit of magical study and could feel the power in the room and in the gems, but she couldn't tell what the powers might actually be. Another thing to be curious about.
    Tace turned his back. She saw her chance.
    Quickly, she stepped to the pillow and firmly grasped the stone.
    "Ooh, just too slow," she told him, unable to resist rubbing her victory in his face. Smiling widely, she left the room, closing the door behind her and running down the steps.
  5. He whipped around at the sound of an unfamiliar voice, but all he saw was a brown braid flying through the closing door. He slammed the door open, not even bothering to hide his presence now. He could hear her footsteps pattering down the bleak stairway, but he didn't let the darkness stop him. He took off after her.

    She had the advantage of a head start, but he had longer legs, least from what he'd seen of her stature. He took the steps down by three, but he could only hope that he was catching up to her.

    They had to be getting close to the bottom, and there, he would lose her. It was catch up now or forever lose the only thing that was worth taking from Gemspire. His feet went from touching stone to touching dirt as he and his quarry reached the first floor of the tower. He was slightly annoyed to find the grandiose door hanging ajar with a broken hinge, but it meant that there was dwindling light. He could see her in front of him, and the distance wasn't so great anymore.

    Taking a risky chance, Tace leaped and outstretched his arm. He felt his hand connect with the back of her foot, but his grip was weak. He willed his fingers to continue grasping her ankle, but he hit the floor with a grunt of pain. He was unsure if he felt her simply break away from his measly grip or if she'd fallen as well.

    If he was going to hurt himself catching her, then so be it. He wanted that jewel; it was his to steal, not hers.
  6. She thought she'd made it. Roana was on the ground floor, almost to the door, and she thought she'd gotten away with the gem.
    Then she felt the hand on her ankle.
    His grip was weak, but it was more than enough to throw her off-balance. Most would have spread their arms, tried to save the damage to their face. Instead, she pulled the gem closer to her body, trying to protect it. It was an attempt to avoid damaging her prize, yes, but if the gem was magical, breaking it open would likely release the magic inside.
    Roana groaned in pain, knowing that she'd be sore the day after. Kicking dirt back at Tace, she forced herself to her feet and ran out the door. She remembered the small pack horse that Tace had arrived on, then set off in that direction. The fall had definitely slowed her down, but she was determined to get away.
  7. His mask saved him from the brunt of the dirt, but some particles stuck in the black hair covering his eyes, making him shake his head rapidly to clear it. He was standing at nearly the same time she was, but now they were on equal footing. She wasn't getting the drop on him any longer.

    His chest protested the movements of his run, and he knew he would be bruised by the next day. The fall had not been kind, but he'd closed the gap between himself and this other female thief.

    They ran at the same speed, but Tace was slowly gaining on her with his long stride. He noticed her running route and realized she was going after his small horse. He could see the beast from his position, quietly munching and making no motion to move. However, the two thieves made the horse pop his head up and nicker. Horses weren't bothered by such things as humans chasing one another.

    Due to her position ahead of him, she would reach the horse first. Just like before, if he allowed her to do so, he'd lose the gem and his means of transportation.

    Tace had to take yet another risky chance. Her braid flipped through the air in front of him, and his hand reached out, snatching the tip before he snapped his hand back. It was a dirty trick, but what thief played nice? He wanted his gem and he would have it.
  8. Roana felt the tug on her braid, and then she knew that she couldn't get away. Flight had failed, so she switched to fight.
    Spinning towards him quickly, fast enough that he had to relinquish his hold on her braid, brandishing a blade in her free hand. The other was occupied with pressing the gem against her breast. Despite the pain, the woman stared up at him levelly.
    "Back down. The gem is mine, and I will not hesitate to maim you."
    She could do that. Harming someone wasn't her issue. If they were harmed, they could still survive, still continue living. It was when it came to killing other beings that she hesitated. She was deadly, yeah, but that skill was one she avoided using.
  9. Tace released her braid just in time to skid to a halt. Her blade pressed against his chest, but underneath the mask, there was only a smirk. She wanted to fight, but her words did not go unheard. She wanted to hurt, not kill him. There was a difference.

    "Ain't yours. I found it first." Even if he'd made the mistake of turning his back, he had been in the room before she did. "S'pose that makes it mine." It didn't even belong to either of them, but the mage had chose to leave it there for a reason. Maybe he didn't think not one, but two thieves would try to steal his treasure.

    "So, why don't'cha just hand it back, and we'll forget that this all happened?" he asked, taking one step forward. He wasn't afraid of her, or he tried not to be. Blades weren't exactly the nicest things to be around, but he wanted his gem. He wasn't unarmed, but he didn't like confrontation. He would have preferred to just snatch the jewel and run, but she had a death grip on it.

    Just to show that he wasn't going to back down, he pulled two of his small knives from his belt. She would get a fight if she was looking for one.
  10. "Why should I?" Roana asked, eyes flicking to the knives he pulled from his belt. Her nerve did not diminish, however. "You weren't good enough keep it, so the way I see it, the gem's mine. Fair and square."
    She pressed her dagger just a bit harder against his chest. Not enough to draw blood, but enough to show that she was serious.
    This...She'd never been in an encounter with another thief before. Not like this, not with the stand-off. She was usually too fast for that, gone before they even noticed anything missing. For that, she'd admit, she respected this man. But she'd still kill him, if pushed to it.
    Her gaze didn't lower, but she tried another tactic. "What about the rest of the gems in the tower? You could take those, if you wished."
  11. Tace glanced down as the dagger pressed harder on his chest. Hm, so maybe she was serious. It was time to test just how much she was.

    However, she did bring up a good point. "I s'pose you're right... if all of 'em looked like that one," he said, motioning to the rose jewel in her hand. "But they don't."

    In the dwindling light, he tried to see who she was, but he'd never paid attention to other thieves. He considered himself one of the best, and anyone lower than himself wasn't important. Still, if she was good enough to make her way to Gemspire, in its secret and dark location, then he had to at least respect that.

    "That's why I want that one. 'Sides, you don't even know what that one does." Neither did he, but that wasn't really his point. The only thing he did know was that the rose jewel would fetch a pretty price on the black market.
  12. His last comment caused her to get defensive.
    "It's not like you know either," she responded, brows furrowing angrily. If he did, wouldn't he have used it against her by now?
    So her distraction hadn't worked. Maybe it was worth another try. "The value of this little thing, compared to a room full of treasure. Who's-who's really getting the better deal?" Roana asked, eyebrows going back up. She tried to smooth over her stuttering, her hesitation due to the fear of resorting to killing him. Of course, it could very well end up the opposite way, with her ending up dead.
  13. Well, she'd called out his weakness, but she was right there along with him. However, she continued to prod him with tempting ideas about diving back into the tower to retrieve the other gems. They would be worth a lot, but compared to the beautiful and rare rose jewel, they couldn't possibly fetch the same price.

    Still, her hesitant stutters caught his ears. She didn't sound all that invested in her notions of harming him. But he didn't know how much it would take to provoke her. She could lash out at any minute. So he decided to pitch an idea of his own.

    "Well, I found it first. But ya got to it faster than I did. I'd say we both found it fair. So... we take it and split whatever it gets us." He despised sharing, but he didn't want their feud to end with spilling blood, and it was traveling down that road quickly. It was hard enough to trust anyone, particularly someone with a very special jewel in their possession, but as a master thief, he had to risk it.
  14. Is this man seriously offering an alliance?
    Well, no. More like an agreement to travel together until they sell this thing and split the profits. It was far from the best arrangement, and she doubted she'd be able to truly sleep the entire time, but it was better than killing him.
    "Alright," Roana said, straightening up and sliding the blade back into its hidden sheath. She didn't relinquish her hold on the gem. "But if you betray me, I will hunt you down."
  15. Well, she wasn't going to kill him, as long as he didn't betray her. That was easy enough, he supposed. He wasn't interested in her; he was interested in what she had, considering it was rightfully his to steal.

    He waited until her blade was put away before he slid his knives back into his belt. "I don't think the damn thing's worth dyin' over, but if ya say so." His words came with a shrug before he walked past her and untied the horse. He didn't hop up into the small, leather saddle though. He kept a tight grip on the reins, tugging the animal forward so that he was beside her again.

    "I'm thinkin' ya might not, but ya can put the thing in here," he said, pointing to a small saddle bag strapped to the side. "That way, he has it." Meaning the horse, of course. She wouldn't give it up to Tace himself, but maybe she had a soft spot for an old animal like his horse.

    ((I love your picture. Nathan Drake. @-@ so bootiful. Makes me wish I had Uncharted just so I could enjoy him. xD))
  16. (( He is one damn sexy game character, that's for sure. c: Plus, he has great lines. ))

    Roana watched him carefully as Tace walked over to the horse.
    When he opened the saddle bag, she realized that he was probably right. Keeping it with the horse would likely reduce tension. So, she put the gem in the saddle-bag, then closed it.
    "So, we either walk, or we both ride it."
    It would be far too easy for one of them to be on the horse and just take the gem. She made the suggestion so that maybe, just maybe, she'd be able to sleep while they traveled to the next town. Just for a couple of hours.
  17. "Well then, looks like we're walkin'." The poor horse wouldn't support the weight of both of them; he had a hard enough time just supporting Tace.

    With a light tug, Tace pulled the horse onto the road, knowing the other thief would follow. She hadn't been keen on letting go of it, and he felt as though she would hardly leave it from her sight.

    The closest town was a small farming community called Capsin, but it would serve their purposes. He was used to sleeping outside when scouting his locations, but for now, an inn would serve his purpose. He made no conversation as they walked, only because he wasn't used to it. Having a traveling companion was not his idea of fun, but he was willing to do it for half of the profits on the rose jewel.

    They all blended with their surroundings due to the intense lack of light on the road. Only the moon shone down on them, but it wasn't nearly enough to illuminate anything. Finally, a few torches came into view from the people standing watch outside the measly wooden gates surrounding the community. They weren't people fit to be guards, but the big kingdoms ignored the little towns and didn't provide them with ample protection. They seemed to make do without their help, and the welfare of tiny towns wasn't any of Tace's concern.

    Coming upon the inn, Tace steered the horse in the direction of the small set of horse stalls on the backside of the building. "We can just leave it in the pack. Ain't no one goin' to know it's there, and it can stay there. That work for ya?" How easy it would have been to sneak out and run with it, but Tace hated having bounties or death threats on his head. He already had seven different ones, why add more?

    ((I love too many video game characters, though Ezio Auditore is my ultimate love. xD plus he also has the sexypants look, so it's even better.))
  18. (( I made a list of game character crushes for a friend recently. Thirty five guys. That's not even including my favorite characters in general.
    Have to say...Ezio is one sexy-ass assassin. My favorite out of the guys in the AC series. ))

    The silence was good. She didn't really want to know more about him, and he clearly felt the same about her. Especially in their kind of work, relationships or attachments of any kind could be dangerous. Besides, she still was pretty on edge from the fight.
    Also in pain, but she managed to ignore that for the most part.
    When he stopped the horse outside of the inn and proposed leaving the gem there, Roana hesitated.
    "If you take off with it, I will hunt you down," she reminded him, then nodded. "Let's go purchase a couple of rooms, then."
  19. The horse wouldn't have made it very far at a fast run, but Tace neglected to include that part. If she thought he was capable of leaving with it, then let her think so. Better to keep her on her toes than to have her complacent. If the original owner of the jewel came looking for them, he could be in need of her assistance.

    However, it bothered him that she wanted two different rooms. He didn't trust her enough to leave her out of his sight. For all he knew, she would just dart outside, take the gem (and maybe his horse) and then leave. It conflicted with his thoughts about not really wanting to be around her at all. He didn't care for other people, and she was no exception, even with the jewel in mostly her possession.

    The predicament was settled as he walked inside and requested rooms. The innkeeper gave him a meek shrug as he relayed the news: there was one room available. Apparently there had been a wedding of some sort in the only church for miles around, and people had flocked to see it. Capsin wasn't very big, but the next town had no religious buildings or beliefs, and they wanted to see it for themselves. Of course they did.

    The innkeeper could see the disdain written on Tace's covered body as he slammed a few coins down on the counter and snatched the key from his shaking palm. The room was in the back on the left, and that's where Tace went in silence. He ignored the yelling drunks, even though it was the middle of the night. Getting drunk never seemed like a good idea to the thief, even though he'd done it plenty of times.

    He jammed the key into the lock rather angrily, popping the door open with a click. He wasn't happy about their room situation, but there had been no room to argue, and this was the only inn in Capsin. Of course it was.

    ((Ezio puts the 'ass' in assassin. ;D and thirty five? Jeez, I don't even think I have that much. xD I do have a few though. Like almost every male character from the Fire Emblem series.))
  20. (( Understandable. And yus, thirty five. I fall for game characters extremely easily. Not anywhere near as easy for book, tv show or movie characters. Just games. I'm weird like that.
    Just looked up a bunch of Ezio fanart. Thank you. c: Made my day. ))
    Only one room? Crap. She'd at least hoped for some privacy from the other thief. The way he might have taken the request never even crossed her mind.
    Apparently, lady luck was a fickle bitch, and she'd turned her back on them both today.
    Still, she wasn't as irritated as Tace was about the fact that they would share a room. She could see it in his posture, in the way he walked. Roana considered saying something, just telling him to relax or something, but she didn't do so until they got to their room.
    He jammed the key into the lock harshly, and she automatically responded with sarcasm. "Go ahead, break the only key."
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