Pass The Parcel

Entry by: Alobear

23rd December 2015
Pass the Parcel

Moonlight illuminated the casement window, dispensing with the need for artificial light. Stax was grateful for that; the soft, natural light enabled her to see what she was doing without making her any more obvious to anyone who might be passing below. She made sure she was balanced securely on the sill, and retrieved a piece of heavy wire from her pocket. Inserting it in the slender gap between the window and its frame, she gave the wire a quick twist, and the latch sprang up. The window opened outwards, making it a tricky manoeuvre to swing around it. Stax managed it skilfully, however, and dropped noiselessly into the room on the other side. Her night vision unimpaired by the light from a lamp, she could make out the shapes of furniture around her. The sound of soft breathing from the bed in the corner alerted her to the presence of the room’s occupant. She froze, waiting a few moments to check that he hadn’t been disturbed. Then, cautiously, she crept across the room, avoiding obstacles and keeping her footfalls as quiet as possible. The soft leather boots her brother had given her were proving extremely useful. She would have to remember to thank him later, assuming there was a later.

The mantelpiece over the fireplace was cluttered with objects – candlesticks, ornaments, small portraits in gilt frames. Stax considered them for a moment, then noticed a nondescript parcel, tied with common string. It had the address written on it in a neat hand – useful proof of where it had been purloined from. She reached out to take it, careful not to let the paper rustle. It was small enough to be concealed in one hand, and Stax slipped it into her belt pouch, securing the strap over it. Then, it was back across the room, out the window and away over the rooftops. With a prize from this property, her entry into the Thieves’ Guild was practically guaranteed.


Antonio watched the shadow slipping across the roof of the building opposite where he huddled in a doorway. His sources in the Guild had informed him that this particular candidate would be attempting an initiation task this night, and he knew who she would be targeting. It was too good an opportunity to pass up – a chance for him to shine at the Guild for a change - especially when she would be doing all the hard work for him.

As he had predicted, she lowered herself over the edge of the roof and climbed down the drainpipe to the street. Antonio staggered out of his doorway nearly into her path, and she flinched, instantly on alert. He let out a loud belch and reached out to support himself against the wall. Taking his act at face value, his mark relaxed and started to make her way in the direction of the Guild Hall. As she passed him, he fell against her heavily. She shoved him roughly away from her, letting out a snort of disgust at the smell of his carefully soiled clothing. She didn’t detect the tiny knife cutting through her belt pouch strap and, when they parted and went their separate ways, the small parcel found its way into Antonio’s waistcoat pocket.


Down a side alley further along the street, two brothers lounged, inspecting passers-by. They spotted a man, staggering towards them in what looked like a state of extreme inebriation. One brother nudged the other in the ribs and pointed.

“Looks like easy pickings, eh, Lem?” he said.

Lem sneered. “Probably not worth the effort, Kem,” he replied.

Kem shrugged. “You never know. His boots are nice.”

“Fair enough – let’s ‘ave ‘im,” Lem relented.

They stepped out of their hiding place and blocked the man’s path.

“Late to be out alone, friend,” Kem said, his voice low and menacing.

“Yes,” Lem chipped in. “You never know who you might run into.”

The man immediately straightened, throwing off his apparent drunkenness like a cloak. That took the brothers by surprise, but it was still two against one, so they only lost their stride for a moment. With a quick exchange of glances, they drew short blades and moved to surround their victim. The man produced a knife of his own and, for a moment, it looked as though they might have made an error, but they were experienced at working together, and quickly subdued him.

Kem stripped him of his boots, while Lem roughly searched his pockets, relieving him of a disappointingly light money purse, and a small parcel that was concealed in his waistcoat.

Lem kicked the man in the head to make sure he wouldn’t follow them, and they left him lying in the street, while they made off with his erstwhile possessions.


Flister was just opening up his bric-a-brac shop for the day, when he spotted Lem and Kem sauntering down the road. They had an air of studied nonchalance that told him they probably had stolen goods to sell. He couldn’t spot anyone else on the street, so he hustled them inside and left the Closed sign on the door for the time being.

“Got something for me, have you?” he asked, without preamble. He wanted to get rid of them before any respectable customers might turn up wanting to make an honest purchase.

Lem shrugged. “Maybe.”

Kem dug into one of his pockets and brought out a small object. He held it up between thumb and forefinger for Flister to inspect. It was some kind of rock, not much to look at from first impressions, but there was something about it that made Flister look closer. As the rock caught the light, an inner glow of brilliant green and blue shone out, transforming the rock into a very pretty ornament.

Flister had an idea of someone who would very much like this item, but he kept his face carefully neutral.

“Dunno,” he said. “Could catch someone’s eye, I suppose, but no guarantee I’ll make money from it. I’ll give you two copper bits.”

Lem huffed in disgust. “Eight or we’ll take it elsewhere.”

“Nobody else on this street will buy from you two,” Flister sneered. “Five. Final offer.”

Lem and Kem looked at each other. Kem nodded.

“Okay, you got a deal,” Lem said.

The exchange was made, and the brothers left the shop. Flister scribbled out a note and grabbed an urchin off the street to deliver it to a house up the hill. Five copper bits was an excellent deal – the customer he had in mind would pay silver. He was not disappointed, as the urchin returned quickly with a reply asking Flister to come up to the house with his wares that afternoon.


Count Allandran was waiting in his study when his butler showed Mr Flister in. The butler’s face made his disapproval of this guest very clear, but the Count paid him no heed.

“Ah, Mr Flister!” he said, brightly. “I must thank you for making the trip. I hope I won’t detain you from your business for long.”

Flister bowed obsequiously and replied, all charm. “My Lord, no amount of trouble is too much to secure your illustrious custom.”

Inwardly, the Count recoiled from such obvious flattery, but he smiled his thanks.

“I understand you have an item of some interest for me to look at,” he said.

“Yes,” Flister confirmed. He produced a small rock from a concealed pocket and presented it with a flourish. “The moment I saw it, I knew you would like it. You have such a discerning eye.”

“Indeed,” the Count said. Then he turned and addressed himself to the long curtains that hung at the side of the window. “Captain?”

A tall, upright man in the uniform of the City Guard stepped out from where he had been hidden behind the curtains. “Yes, My Lord?” he said, smartly.

The Count gestured at Flister. “You may take this person into custody, on the charge of selling stolen goods. This item was taken from my bedchamber by a thief in the night, and yet here it now is, in Mr Flister’s possession.”

He took one step forwards and plucked the rock from Flister’s fingers, while the Guard Captain secured Flister’s hands behind his back and marched him from the room.

The Count went upstairs to his bedchamber, where a workman was even now reinforcing the windows. He stepped over to the mantelpiece and set the rock down in a small stand, which had been prepared for it. The stone was a present from his niece, who was travelling abroad. He hadn’t even had time to open the parcel from her before it was stolen. It was only a trinket, not worth much in monetary terms, but it had sentimental value, and he was pleased to see it back in place, after its travels.