"The Builder's Guide"
by Zantie

Part II

Rubbing my face I walked into my closet and threw on the some clothes. Smacking my lips I tasted morning mouth.

You need a drink, Dirk.

I threw on my cloak. With my hood up I locked the door behind me. Outside a rather large, smelly man walked up the steps.

“Hey Dirk!” my landlord Cessiterick greeted me. “Rent’s due today. An’ don’t go an’ given me that bull-shit excuse of, ‘It hasn’t been a good week.'” Cessiterick did his imitation of me in a high pitched girlie voice. I looked at him and coolly said,

“I’ll have it for you tomorrow morning.” I passed him and walked down the steps from my second story apartment, out onto the streets. Cessiterick puffed out his chest and mumbled an “OK.” Before he walked down to his apartment, slamming the door behind him.

Out on the streets I could see the guard who was chasing the kid.

“Your head is mine,” The guard gasped “taffer!” He stopped, out of breath. “Get back here!” He leaned against a wall as the kid disappeared around a corner. “You can’t-” The guard’s eyes bulged and he grabbed his chest. Making a croaking sound the guard fell over, sprawled on the ground. A near by commoner saw the guard and ran over to him. The commoner took out a small vile of green liquid, consisting of a healing potion. The man slowly poured the healing potion down the guard’s throat, bringing him back to satisfactory health.

I thought to myself, “Stupid guard."

Compulsively I pulled the hood tighter over my head and walked in the direction of the Grieving Burrick Inn.


An uneventful half-hour later I opened the tavern’s wooden door. Choking a bit at the heavy smoke I spotted a rarely open booth and quickly sat down.

A moment later my favorite barmaid cheerfully walked over to take my order. “Hey, Dirk. What'll it be?”

“Oh hey, Pen. Just mead today.”

“You always order that,” She jotted down ‘mead, table 6’ on her pad of paper. “I’ll get that to you in a jiffy.” Penelope smiled and walked over to the bar tender, weaving in and out of tables, people, and turned over chairs.

I looked at her golden red hair and quietly sighed. I only met Penelope a year ago when she first started working at the Grieving Burrick Inn. Beautiful in every way I quickly grew attracted to her. Having a soft spot for thieves she would often chat with me freely. Once she even invited me to lunch at her house, but that was about as far as it went. Sometimes I would ask her out in a friendly manner. Penelope always said no, but she would say it like a joke, as to not hurt my feelings.

Penelope had soft, shoulder length hair and glittering deep green eyes. She had a few freckles and was in perfect shape. Cheerful and pretty, she was my ideal woman.

Penelope walked behind a large man and I could no longer see her. Snapping out of my gaze I looked around the tavern and its people. There were the city drunks, signing and dancing lazily. Another man at the bar was telling the age-old tale of a rich hermit living in the woods. I wondered to myself which version of the story the man was telling this time.

Today’s crowed was the same as any other day, except I saw a few new faces. One man was very short and ratty looking; his chin and shirt wet with mead. He had gray, short curly hair with sideburns. When he laughed you could see his yellow and brown teeth, many of which were missing. Around him a couple of clean cut men stood, looking around the tavern for something.


I noticed one of the clean men looking straight at me. We made eye contact. I watched the man bend over and whisper something into the mousy man’s ear, still keeping eye contact with me. The little man then too looked at me and spoke to the man, shaking his head. The ratty man went back to drinking and the official looking man stood straight and resumed his watchful gaze around the inn.

Are they looking for someone?

“Must be.” I continued to glance at the people drinking. A few people playing darts, a couple dancing. I then spotted Penelope walking towards my booth with a mug of mead. I couldn’t help myself, I smiled.

“Here ya’ go.” Pen sat down the glass on the table.

“Thank you.”

“Sure. It’s my job to bring you drinks, remember?”

“Oh, right.” I fumbled, “By the way,” I looked at the men on the far end of the room. “Do you know who those people are?”

Penelope looked at the uptight men in clean, pressed cloths, then looked back at me. “Well, they certainly aren’t Blue Coats.” She winked.

Some fat guy interrupted us from a table a few feet away. “Hey purdy! *hick* I wanna drink.”

She sighed, “Sorry, Dirk, we’ll have to chat another time.” Rolling her pretty eyes Penelope walked over to the drunken fat man to take his order.

Draining my mug I put down several coins as payment and tip. Walking past the City Watch Blue Coats and the ratty man I stepped outside into the night.

You have to be careful around those Blue Coats. They’re supposed to arrest thieves, whores, and pagans. Lately though, rather than putting them in jail, they seem to have been killing them off.


Outside the cold air welcomed me. I closed my eyes and breathed in deep. Opening them again I saw someone walking up the street. Quickly I ran forward and hid in a dark doorway. A few seconds later I saw a familiar hooded figure.


Like I, Garrett’s a thief, except he is undoubtedly the best. Thin and quiet he’s the all time master. Last year he even killed a god with the help of the Hammerites. Around ten years ago was when I first heard about Garrett the Thief. A couple years later when I was in my teens, my friends constantly talked about Garrett, and how Garrett raided so-and-so’s mansion. The attraction of living the life of a thief appealed to me. That’s when I became one. Silly really, but I used some of his techniques and became pretty good. Soon I moved into a more lucrative part of the City and teemed up with my buddy Rakool, who became my fence.

The one thing I didn’t like about Garrett was that he’s too cynical. He is angry, quiet, and often stays away from any social activities. I, on the other hand, thought that it couldn’t hurt to chat now and then or go to a bar for a drink.

Garrett glanced in my direction as he walked, but I didn’t think he saw me. From my dark hiding place I watched the master thief step into the tavern.

Let’s see… Garrett’s wearing a tunic and walking into a tavern. Could it be that he finally going to have a drink and relax?

I whispered to myself, “That could be the case. But it doesn’t sound right.”

Not a moment after the door closed behind him there was shouting inside. I listened quietly and heard someone yell.

“Put your arms over your head!”

The Blue Coats were waiting for Garrett.

There was a burst of light from a flashbomb. I heard a body hit the ground. The wooden tavern door flew open and Garrett ran outside, sprinting down one of the side streets. As he ran I could see him put away his blackjack.

What the hell was that all about?

I stood there thinking in the dark doorway for a moment. It was quiet now. I shrugged and walked home.

When my apartment came into view I stopped in mid step.

“God-damn-it!” I suddenly remembered that the rent was due in the morning. Cursing I walked over to the manager’s apartment on the first floor. Around the side of the building Cessiterick’s window was wide open, most likely because of the warm air. Inside his room I could see him sleeping in bed. With the occasional snore Cessiterick didn’t make a sound. Quietly I mantled myself so I was resting on the window ledge. Jumping inside my feet landed on carpet. Not needing to tiptoe I walked into the other room, his office. Searching the desk I found a few gold pieces and a key. Looking under the desk I found a button. Pushing it a panel in the opposite wall opened. It reveled a chest. With the key I unlocked the chest, and grabbed two of the five money purses like I've done many times before.

I exited the way I came.


I lit a lamp, dumped my newly acquired gold on the table and sat down. Sorting through the coins I counted out the rent. The remainder coins profited me 650 gold.

I yawned and stood up. Stretching my arms I walked into the kitchen. I grabbed an apple and went back into the living room. Sitting on the couch I munched on my snack.


“Hey! Open up!” Cessiterick banged on my door. Startled and half-awake I yelled back, “Just a minute!” I jumped off the couch and scooped the rent into a different purse. I opened the front door. Shoving the rent in my landlord’s dirty hands I told him to be off. Smiling a toothy grin Cessiterick said, “Atta boy.” Before he walked back down stairs to his piggy apartment.

Part 1 / Part 3

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