Luck of the Draw
:::::::::: PART ONE ::::::::::::::
"Easy does it. There's a pretty thing..."
A small figure worked diligently in the shadowy corner of the store's hidden vault. The shop belonged to a Bernard Hardbottom, a renown jeweller known for his exquisite rings and pendants as well as more exclusive artifacts from all over Faerun. Outside the busy, noisy streets of Neverwinter's merchant quarter were alive with the late afternoon trade of it's citizens, while inside this closed shop a halfling thief worked slowly but purposefully. For several minutes the halfling had examined the lock before even touching it, making sure he had correctly identified it's internal workings.
"Definitely a double sloping pin mechanism..." the halfling had mumbled to himself before he unrolled his leather kit, filled with a wide assortment of tools, picks, and other thieving essentials.
"Either that or an articulated ratchet pin, but who in their ruddy mind would pay for such a highly overpriced piece of garbage like that?"
The halfling had commenced his work and deftly inserted two of his best picks into the lock mechanism. After a few moments, he heard a satisfying click, assuring him that the first stage of the lock had been accomplished.
"A few more clicks and twists, and we'll get to see what pretty lovelies ol' Bernie keeps in this here vault!"
The halfing smiled a greedy grin, a slender piece of ash root clenched between his teeth. Normally he would have his pipe filled with dried pipe weed, but he didn't want to risk leaving ashes or the tobacco smell at the scene of the crime.
Another few moments past and the thief was rewarded with another internal click from the lock.
"Aha! By Tymora I should have this open in a few mo-"
The lock suddenly started to spew smoke out of the mechanism and the halfling could hear a rumbling from within. He stared at the lock in shock and disbelief.
"By Moradin's hairy mother! This wasn't even a pin lock..... it's a ruddy vial mechanism!"
The halfing dropped back into a roll just as the lock exploded in a spray of caustic acid. Narrowly missing the thief, the acid sprayed all over his prized tools and burned holes through the wooden floors and counter. A loud wail erupted from the vault and the thief held his hands to his eyes and groaned.
"You paid to have a wizard's ward placed on the lock?! Bernie ol' pal, didn't take you for the paranoid type!!"
The halting grabbed what was remaining of his things and made a dash for the back service door of the shop. He gave it a good hard push but the door didn't budge a single inch. From what he could detect, a large wooden beam had fallen in place to bar the door from the outside. Obviously triggered by the alarm inside.
"Blimey Bernie!! What have you got to hide with all this security? You've got the place locked up tighter than a dwarven horde!"
The halfling glanced around for some means of escape. The front door would be just as likely barred just like the service entrance. The only escape the thief could see was through the front window.
Picking up a chair from behind the counter, the halfling hurled it at the window. The glass shattered into hundreds of pieces, the thief dove through and landed outside tucked into a roll to avoid getting cut by the glass shards. As he landed and regained his footing, the halfling came nose to tip with the end of a very large and sharp-looking long sword.
To be continued...
Results 1 to 4 of 4
Thread: Luck of the Draw (WIP)
02-19-2013, 12:47 AM #1
Luck of the Draw (WIP)
02-21-2013, 12:28 PM #2
Love the art - thieves get in the strangest places.
02-28-2013, 12:09 AM #3
(( Thanks Braxzana, although I can't take credit for the art. It's actually a WotC art by Ben Wooten. He's a fantastic artist with a fair amount of great D&D art! ))
:::::::::: PART TWO ::::::::::::
"Rackham Dane..." the patrol captain exclaimed, holding the tip of his long sword steady, "how did I know it would be your scrawny little hide we would find breaking into Merchant Hardbottom's establishment?"
"Luck of the draw?" the halfling thief exclaimed.
"Well your luck has certainly run out today, Rackham. Can't say I wasn't happy this day would come thief! Guards, chain him up."
A surrounding contingent of guards slapped cuffed chains on the halfling, which looked somewhat ridiculous on such a small figure as Rackham. They ushered him down the street towards the Halls of Justice, stashing him into one of the interrogation rooms for questioning. A guard stayed with Rackham inside the barred room while a pair stood outside until the patrol guard would commence the investigation. It only took the better part of an hour before the patrol captain, a tall human named Gantry, showed up and waved the interior guard away.
"So to begin, you will answer my questions with the utmost truth otherwise I'll will ensure your stay here is extremely uncomfortable. We are clear on this,yes?"
"If you say so, Gantie." the halfling replied.
The patrol captain cringed at the childish nickname, but let it pass unpunished as he had a duty to get through as quickly as possible.
"Your full name is Rackham Dane, correct?"
"So my mother told me, although I swear I don't look a thing like my father... I had always thought I looked more like the Evenfellow clan from over the -"
"Enough!" Gantry barked. "Please keep your answers as truthful, but BRIEF as possible! Understood?"
Rackham smiled and nodded. Gantry, seemingly ruffled by the small halfling, continued.
"You were captured outside of Merchant Hardbottom's shop. I presume then you were attempting to steal something inside, yes?"
Rackham thought about giving his usual excuse, such as he was hired to catch rats within the store, but he figured that Gantry was smart enough to have corroborated with Merchant Hardbottom beforehand. It would only prolong this already tedious interview. Instead Rackham merely nodded in response.
"I will also assume you were attempting to break into his vault. I recall Merchant Hardbottom mentioning he had a wailing ward installed on it just last week. What was it you were trying to steal?"
"I had no idea what was in 'ol Bernie's vault."
"You had no idea? Oh come now Rackham, you expect me to believe that?" Gantry scoffed, "Why were you in Merchant Hardbottom's shop?"
Rackham gave his wide grin, the ash root still clutched between his teeth.
"Why, simple curiosity of course!"
The patrol captain couldn't help but give a scowl in return.
"So you have been a thief for some time then? During your time back in Luskan as well?"
Rackham was shocked Gantry had already determined he was from Luskan. The halfling had only arrived in Neverwinter a few months ago so he was surprised news of his origin had already reached the local law officials.
"In Luskan I was a rat catcher. Made my living clearing vermin off of ships and out of dock wharehouses."
"As well as made your living pilfering some of their cargo too I suppose" Gantry surmised, scratching his beard absently.
"However you have not become a member of the local thieves guild here in Neverwinter." Gantry stated, "Why is that?"
"Maybe I don't like the competition?" Rackham replied with a grin, "To me, stealing has never been a team effort."
Rackham couldn't tell whether Gantry's smirk was of derision or of actual amusement. In any case, he knew the patrol captain's nerves were wearing thin.
"Listen here, thief..." Gantry barked, "I'm going to lock you up for so long, you'll forget just exactly what it was that put you there in the first place! You'll be getting used to your damp, dark, dingy cell, you -"
A knock at the door interrupted the captain's rant. His eyes bulged out so large that Rackham almost felt like ducking under the table. He banged his fists on the table and screamed at the door.
"I AM NOT TO BE INTERRUPTED WHILE INTERROGATING A PRISONER!!"
A guard open the door and popped an incredibly nervous face into the room.
"I...I..I'm terribly sorry sir, but there's a gentleman here."
"I DON'T REALLY CARE! TELL HIM HE NEEDS TO WAIT JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!"
"But sir," the sweating guard stammered, "it's Merchant Hardbottom, sir. He says he does not wish to press charges."
Gantry gave a look like he had just swallowed a cactus.
"HE WHAT?!? Why would he NOT press charges??"
"He didn't say sir!" the guard stammered back obviously as shocked as Gantry, "Just that he would drop the charges on one condition."
"WHAT in blazes does he want?!"
The guard swallowed hard, the resulting answer he knew would not be received well.
"The halfling sir," the guard whispered, "he wishes to speak with the halfling."
To be continued..
04-23-2013, 11:21 AM #4
::::::::: PART THREE :::::::::::
Rackham sat in the interrogation room wondering to himself how odd of a day he was having.
First off he had botched his attempt at breaking into a store vault by misjudging the type of lock mechanism, setting off a rather surprising alarm and acid trap.
Next he found himself captured by Gantry, a laughable excuse for the city guard of Neverwinter, and confined in chains in one of the interrogation rooms in the famed Halls of Justice.
Lastly, Rackham was shocked to discover the owner of the shop he attempted to steal from did not wish to press charges. This last detail of the halfling thief's day worried him the most. It usually meant the storeowner, a large man named Hardbottom, wanted something from Rackham.
Roughly an hour passed by with the impatient halfling fighting his urge to pick the lock on his shackles and flee from the confines of this room. The lock wouldn't present much of a challenge, fifteen or twenty seconds at most, but Rackham knew there would be guards stationed outside the door. It wasn't worth the trouble and the halfling's curiousity about what the merchant wanted was too great.
So instead, Rackham just sat and waited.
Eventually the locks and chains on the door did rattle and Rackham was greeted by the red, flush face of Gantry. The observant halfling could see the obvious fluster of the patrol captain, which meant most of the past hour was spent yelling protests and arguments, most likely with Hardbottom's refusal to press former charges against Rackham.
Gantry stepped aside in a curt manner to reveal the large, pudgy form of merchant Hardbottom. Dressed in rich fineries and lavish jewels, Merchant Hardbottom despite his girth, presented a powerful man with a great deal of influence. Many residents of Neverwinter suspected Hardbottom held some shady dealings as his visible wealth far exceeded his business, no matter how exotic his wares were.
Merchant Hardbottom moved to the chair opposite Rackham at the table and promptly plopped himself down. A few moments of silence passed and Merchant Hardbottom cast a glare towards Gantry still standing at the door.
"That will be all, Captain." Hardbottom said to a shocked Gantry.
"Merchant Hardbottom, I must protest, I..."
"If you must protest then please do so outside, for your commanding officer has given me the rights to speak with this fellow here PRIVATELY. Do you wish me to speak to Commander Hastings again on this matter?"
That last warning seemed to strip Gantry of all muster he had against Hardbottom, for he simply snorted and left the interrogation room. The door closed with an indignant thud.
Hardbottom waited a few moments, as if listening to just outside the door, before commencing his discussion.
"Now...Mister Rackham Dane is it? I must express to you how upset and dissapointed I am at your attempt this early morning to break into my store."
Merchant Hardbottom spoke his words louder than normal, almost as if he suspected the guards outside to be listening.
"As a pillar in this community, I can only utter how much acts of thievery like this bring down the growth and prosperity we all wish to gain with the rebuilding of our fair city..."
Rackham rolled the eyes into the back of his head slightly as Merchant Hardbottom groaned on, describing his apparent passion and vigor for the economy of Neverwinter. The slightly louder volume Merchant Hardbottom spoke with started to grate on the halfling's sensitve ears.
"Where is it?!" hissed Merchant Hardbottom in a low whisper, so snake-like that Rackham jumped a bit in his seat.
"As a member of this society," Hardbottom continued in his loud ramble, "it is all of our responsibility to ensure the safety - and prosperity - of Neverwinter's peoples."
"I said where is it?!?" Hardbottom hissed again in a quiet whisper.
"What??" Rackham uttered in complete confusion.
"The amulet! Where is it?!?"
"I... I don't know what you're talking ab-"
Once again in the loud booming voice.
"Speaking as a member of the chamber of economy and commercial merchant guild, I can only express how disheartening it is when acts like this occur."
"Tell me where you stashed it you little sewer rat scum!!" Hardbottom glared sharply at the halfling.
"I mean it! I don't know what you're talking about!" Rackham replied.
"Don't play this routine with me, Rackham Dane, or you'll find yourself unable to sneak around the shadows without your legs and arms!"
The halfling stared at the large man sitting across from him in shock. What was this crazy git going on about?
"I...I mean it" Rackham retorted, "I really have no clue what you're talking about. I didn't even get into your vault as the acid trap you had installed ruined all my tools before I could finish the job!"
Merchant Hardbottom glared at the halfling for some time, seeming to gauge his response.
"You did not steal an amulet with a set of intricate runes carved into it?"
"If I had, don't you think the guards here would have recovered it when they searched my packs and belongings?"
"You could have stashed it before they captured you!"
"I didn't have time to do anything thanks to your alarm, except to make a complete mess of your front store window!"
Merchant Hardbottom's face seemed to flush with frustration. He banged his fists on the table, prompting the guards to bark out questions through the door.
"And in response.." Hardbottom continued in the loud voice again, obviously for the guards' benefit, "you must serve twenty hours of community service. Maybe charitable work will cure you of your miscreant ways."
"If you didn't steal the amulet," Hardbottom whispered again, "then I'm holding YOU responsible for finding out who did!"
"Ah, listen Merchant Hardb-"
"If you don't find it" Hardbottom interrupted, "I will hire every single mercenary in Neverwinter to seek you out and return to me with your tiny little head on a platter!"
Knowing full well his wealthy stature, Rackham understood this wasn't a boast. Merchant Hardbottom could probably hire his whole own personal army.
"Umm, what's so important about this amulet? A family heirloom perhaps?"
"Let's just say I find it valuable and wish it back in my possession with no questions asked."
Hardbottom glared sharply at the halfling thief.
"Am I being clear enough for you, sewer rat?"
Rackham only nodded.
"Then find this amulet. I will provide you with a drawing of it's design later, but understand that your miserable hide counts on you finding it and returning it to me."
"What if I can't find it?" Rackham dared to question.
"Then I suggest you seek leaving the city. That's IF the guards will let you out!"
Merchant Hardbottom stood up from his chair and thumped on the door with his meaty fist.
"GUARDS! I'm ready to go."
The door swung open and Gantry stuck his head into the room, a puzzled look on his face.
"You can let this little fellow go. I think he's learned his lesson and heard what I had to say."
"But Merchant Hardbottom, you can't be serious?"
"Perfectly serious Patrol Captain. Rackham Dane is free to go."
After a few grumbles and grunts, Gantry ordered his guards to unshackle the halfling thief and escorted him to the outer entrance of the Halls of Justice.
"Remember thief," Gantry warned as Rackham was sent on his way, "I will be keeping a very tight eye on you. Mess up again and you'll find even Merchant Hardbottom can forgive your crimes!"
Gantry turned and retreated back into the Halls of Justice with his accompanying guards, leaving Rackham alone on the street.
Alone and wondering exactly what a peculiar day he was having.
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