The day was cloudy. The sun veiled under a layer of gray and black storm clouds, though it was not raining yet. The river flowed calmly through the middle of the city. The two bridges connected the two cantons of the city together. Below the city were the two storied artificial sewers where few ventured. To the north and south the city was hugged by the mountains and walls protecting it from the east and west. The market was busy as it normally was at midday. The commoners were scurrying back and forth between market stalls and the wood and mud brick buildings like usual. The citizens of Angle were buying all they could from the traveling caravans that stopped in the city before moving on up north.
The impending threat across the mountains and the Gibis also discouraged many traders from going to Angle. Most caravans were accompanied by several hired guards. Though the chances of coming across a roaming band of the orcs was low, the traders believed they were better off paying the fee to mercenaries than getting attacked by the beasts.
Only just over a month ago, a band of orcs moved dangerously close to the river crossing but were luckily shot down by the garrison stationed nearby.
On this day, however, something was stirring. For some reason the air had a slight scent of burning wood. Many of the commoners simply dismissed it as the smell of a campsite somewhere down road or perhaps the usual smells that drifted into the city from the nearby swamps. There was no cause for concern since the horns would blow from one of the garrisons stationed at the old crossing had an attack been made.
A traveler entered the city the yesterday, shrouded in a brown cloak and robes. Some people said he was an assassin of some sort, while others insisted he was merely just a traveler. Once the man entered town he immediately went to the local smith and purchased a sturdy iron dagger. After that he was not normally seen aside from moving from alleyway to alleyway.
At last, the man found what he was looking for, a pair of young men sitting in an old alley.
This is where our story begins…
They were so hungry. Scavenging in the garbage wasn't exactly the most brilliant lifestyle for Aron or his friend Roshin. The twenty-seven year old Aron Bastil and the thirty-one year old Roshin Burrow were thieves by trade.
Usually they stuck by the shadows at night and the crowds by day while in the market district. Crowds were the easiest to pickpocket from but Roshin preferred night ruses for the pure thrill. Pickpocketing was the easiest but also least rewarding crime. With a break-in they could usually get enough money to buy food for a week! Now with more people leaving the city and the addition of more guards it was becoming increasingly difficult to pull off a ruse or even pickpocket for that matter. They were slowly starving now and the clothes on backs were beginning to get more worn as well.
It was in this desperate time when he came. While sleeping in the shadows of an alley Roshin awoke from his sleep and peered over to see a figure clad in a brown cloak. Immediately he woke up Aron at the presence of the stranger.
“What is it Roshin?” lashed Aron, shrugging Roshin’s hand from his shoulder. “Can't you see I'm sleeping?”
“Uhh we have company…” slowly replied Roshin.
Upon looking over, Aron too gazed at the mysterious brown figure nearly fifteen feet away. The figure had his head down but Aron and Roshin both knew he was watching them. He couldn’t be another local thief thought Aron. He knew this because all other competition in the city was known to him. No, this man is not from Angle.
Looking over in an irritated manner, Roshin asked, “What do you want?”
“Ahh just the people I was looking for.” replied the man. “Would you be interested in earning a little gold? I have uses for your particular… skills…”
“How much are we talking? What kind of job is this?” asked Aron, scratching his rough goatee.
“Well,” the man held out a small cloth bag and opened it to reveal a great amount of gold coins. “Would this suffice for a heist?”
Aron and Roshin couldn’t believe their eyes. They were too desperate to pass this up. This kind of gold could easily buy them a small residence in the more poor districts. Roshin was always weary of being cheated. After the sudden shock wore off he simply remarked, “Don’t take us for stupid. Half now and half after we get your item.”
Immediately after hearing that the man threw the bag to Roshin. “There, now I must ask you to have extra care in this job. You will be required to sneak into the Mage’s Guild here in Angle and retrieve for me an arcane stone.”
At that Aron interrupted, “What’s that? What are we going to be tampering with?” A look of wonder burst into his eyes at the mention of arcane.
“It’s of none of your concern what it is. The only description I can give you is that they are assorted in different sizes and they are generally a transparent or white stone. You should find them somewhere in the lower levels of the guild. Also, take this as well” the man held out a fine iron dagger. Aron hesitantly took the dagger and slipped between his belt and waist. “You may need it on this one. Use it wisely.”
At that the man turned and began striding away from the two thieves.
“Wait!” shouted Aron. “Who are you?”
“You may call me Rashmish. I will find you when the job is complete. Again I ask you to be exceedingly careful. Good luck tonight.” With that Rashmish swiftly walked down the alley and took a sharp turn. He was gone.
“Damn,” cursed Roshin. “We didn’t even get to see that bastard’s face.” He turned to look at Aron. “Don’t just sit there and daydream over that gold! Get some rest! We’ve got a job tonight.”