by: Jack P-P



So, to our hero.. Henceforth he will be known as Dark Angel. Just Dark Angel. As yet he has no other name. His history may become apparent later, and then again it may not. Whatever his past, he is, at the moment, a Thief. A good one, although the fact that he is still around after several years in 'the trade' should be proof enough. This story is loosely based on the computer game Thief: the Dark Project, but Dark Angel most certainly is not Garret. He has probably met the legendary Master-thief, but he will probably have heard the legend.


I have plans...


CHAPTER 1: Introductions

I leapt out into the massive pitch-dark void, my bow drawn and a rope arrow knocked to the string. My trajectory curved down into the abyss, the mass of empty space seeming to drag me in like a vacuum. As soon as the wooden roof over the hole came into view, the arrow take flight, sinking deep into its surface with a reassuring thunk. The arm holding the bow slipped round the trailing rope, gripping as tightly as I could until my now free draw hand and my legs could get a stronger grip around it. As I begin to brake I thought, no felt, not for the first time, the presence of a supernatural entity. Myself.
I swung across the mouth of the abyss, releasing the rope just As I reached the zenith of my arc, twisting around and spreading my arms and legs like spider to slow my descent in case I had misjudged the gap and would hit the bare rock. As usual I had guessed perfectly and I land in a crouch which I was able to convert easily into a forward roll. This is my adopted home. Here, in the dark, in the damp, in a place I'm most certainly not meant to be, carrying about my person several pieces equipment not even the ingenious hammers could have dreamed up, some objects only certain fairly extreme religious cults or outlaw gangs used, and at least one item only me and a single fairly (read: very) disreputable alchemist knew existed. This is my life. This is why they call me the angel of death, the Dark Angel. My mark tonight was a certain lord by the name of hartfeld. This current project was nothing to do with tonight's job, just one more task I had to complete. Busy busy busy. The Abyss is a very deep hole, connecting to a massive underground lake which serves As fresh drinking water to much of the area and, thanks to that special kind of logic only humans could invent, sewage outflow As well. The sewers are one of the many secretive, quiet routes around the city for those who don't really want to attract the attention of the watch. If you're skilful enough there are shortcuts across the maze which is the city waste disposal system which can save you hours of walking on the surface. many's the time that some emergency has prompted a thief to take to these infragrant passages to make their escape. a system of locked grates has served only to slow down the traffic slightly.
I jogged down a slimy, stinking tunnel, a fire crystal held out in front of me for illumination. The nasty fumes which pervade these tunnels added a blue-green tinge to the light but didn't seem to have any immediate effect on the health of those who use them, apart from giving their nasal receptors a fair pummelling. I take a left turn, jumped a cross-flow and turn left again. Just ahead there should be a small waxcloth bag containing three small vials of a potion guaranteed to heal the deepest wounds and one item from Allain the Mage's 'Special' range. Sure enough there was the bag, tied to a pipe running along the wall to keep it above the water level. I took the vials and narrow, hidebound case and slipped them into a pocket, dropping the twelve hundred (six leather pouches) into the bag. Adjusting my nose plugs and turning away from most of last month's earnings, I swiftly vacated.

Lord dareen entered his bedchamber and scrabbled around for a candle and matches in the small alcove by the door. When he had finally found one and lit it with the other it illuminated a long-shafted arrow embedded in the plasterwork above his bed. The window was slightly open and... yes, there was a narrow hole in the thin lace curtains. a small amount of fine white dust covered the head of the bed. No doubt the guards would be completely unaware of the intrusion, adding to his impression that he was paying the wrong side. With some effort he dragged the missile out of the wall and unrolled the note tied around it. It simply read:

It is done.


Quite. Signed With a red cross. dareen grunted quietly at the meaning of the message and rung the small bell by his bed to summon his butler. When he arrived, he said 'Ah! graesun, would you be so kind As to procure the services of a plasterer in the morning? there's a good chap.' the butler glanced at the hole, then at the shaft lying in a circle of plaster dust, then back at the hole, gave both a nasty look then replied 'sir.' before shuffling arthritically out.

I headed down a side street, the long coat I wear When not 'at work' billowing out around me. It's black, of course, you never know When you might be put back 'at work' and any way, a little paranoia's never done me any harm. I had a hat, black, on my head, its wide, straight brim making me appear like some slightly odd, black-fixated artesian (which of course I am. Not the fixated bit though) going about my daily business. I paid a lot of money to have the costume made from the lightest, be of the material available, but It weighs a ton. There is enough gold, silver, steel and brass secreted about my person to sink a steam-galleon. Unfortunately, the only way to carry my crossbow without It producing too many suspicious bulges is in such a position that certain very delicate parts of my anatomy can become very sore from even short walks. I was heading for a shop I sometimes frequent. It was one of the few emporiums where a person of my disposition can buy certain tools of my trade in an atmosphere of discretion and privacy. It is necessary for such a shop to make infrequent changes of location in order to maintain this atmosphere and so As not to bother certain people, such As the Hammerites, the Watch, the Sheriff, customs office, etc. It doesn't really have a name. There's sometimes a old, grime encrusted nameboard above It, but that's only whatever the last owner left. The current owner was a short, balding man With a short goatee beard and an indeterminable accent. Nobody told him their names and in return he never told them his. When I got there, the window shutters where down and from the outside It looked empty, a Sure sign that It was open for business. I slipped through the unlocked door and closed It quietly behind me.
'And what would you be wanting?' the figure behind the counter asked,
'How about fifty Broadheads, three gas mines and a pair of the best boots you sell.' I said.
'Certainly. And how are you intending to pay?'
'on time.' I said. The small man grinned, showing off about a third of a set of teeth.
'The best way.' he replies.
I slap a bag containing well over 2000 gold pieces onto the counter and he carefully places my order next to it. His worn hands quickly count the coins into some hidden pocket even I can't see And says:
'Thank you If that's all, a profitable evening to you.'
I smile back at him And place the things in a slim rucksack which I gingerly sling back across my shoulder (few things can match the embarrassment of accidentally detonating a gas mine in the shop from which you have Just bought It And waking up six hours later).

So, I was making my way, not hurrying, towards the house of one Lord Phaegus, a not-so-smallholder With a plot of prime farmland on the riverbank about fifteen miles upstream. He had a decent-sized mansion on Bander Street, a fairly high-class area. I still wore my cloak And hat, but underneath I had my work-clothes on. Obviously, black was the order of the day. I wore a pair of skin-tight velvet trousers, a hooded shirt And my brand new boots which, given a liberal coating of black polish, where almost As dark As the rest of my kit. The wood of my crossbow had of course been stained black, And the metal parts coated With matt black paint. I had a silk bag - Black, of course - slung across my shoulders, packed With a host of unpleasant surprises for anyone foolish enough to notice me once inside: flashbulbs, gas mines, fire crystals, etc. The usual. I hunkered down across the street from the main gate.

I was hidden behind a water butt, but only As a precaution. The tiny quadrangle was illuminated by two torches on the same wall As the door. Almost impossible to douse from long range, but completely blinding the guards to the outside until they moved out onto the street. Anyway, there was three of them, Just As I expected. I wouldn't get in there I knew. There was however a small window, about half way up the main wall of the building from which the gate stuck out. I unslung my bow And aimed for the narrow, old but above all wooden sill (they never learn, thankfully). pleased that I got It first time, I stashed my extraneous gear in a bush at the corner of the street And climbed.
Up on the window ledge, I was happy. I could see down over the gatehouse wall at the three men, tired, cold And probably thirsty. I was high up, Just getting the cooling summer breeze. Fragments of conversation filtered up to me a s I worked on the window-lock, talking about their wives, the pub, their pay, the pub, the hours, the pub, usual guard talk. Finally the tiny, pointless little lock gives way And I slip inside.
I ducked into the shadows at the base of a pillar And slid a throwing knife from my sleeve. Such tools are not to some people's tastes, but definitely worth considering If you can get the knack. This one was a two pounder, a weapon of supreme craftsmanship. This weight had a good range And accuracy while still having the weight to bring a man down With one hit. It was also thick enough to make the blade unlikely to break. I've taken down four men With This knife in a single night before. The neck is the best target, but there's a spot Just below the breast bone If you're desperate. If the victim isn't wearing a helmet, the temple or eye socket can work, but you generally need a heavier knife for that. Penetration can be a problem on either location, And If you don't get It exactly right he'll probably Just get a deep cut And produce one extremely angry guard. I intended to blackjack the guard dumbly marching straight past me, but I drew the knife Anyway out of sheer paranoia. Its blackened blade And carved black horn handle where hardly likely to give me away, And Anyway As I've said, a little paranoia's good for a person.
In the last moments before the guard passed the knife disappeared back into my sleeve. My blackjack slid quickly out of Its narrow pocket And moved into the proper position, ready for the strike. The stupid man walked right past me without even noticing. I rose up, put one foot on the carpet which runs the length of the corridor And fetched him a blow across the back of the neck, grabbing the body And dragging It into the shadows before He even touched the ground. The job was going well. I'd scoured the whole place, taking just about everything not nailed down. Five guards would wake up with massive headaches, locked in the little cabby hole under the stairs. Eight was is a pitifully small number to guard such a large place, I guess the owner was too tight-fisted to hire more. This would show him! all I had to do was head for the gate and leave quietly. I was sure I could hear something behind me, never making themselves visible, just watching and waiting. Anyway, I headed for the gate and I'm in the antechamber not fifty feet from the door when whoever it was rose up behind me like a bad meal and smacked me on the back of the neck.

I woke up, in my bed at home, my loot bag empty but nothing else taken from myself or my room. Funny.

I walked down the bare wooden staircase. The passage was narrow and my shoulders brushed the walls on both sides. As I reached the landing a saw myself in the small mirror there., a ruddy cut across my forehead. It had stopped bleeding, thank goodness, but It still hurt with a sharp throb. Still slightly disorientated, I made my way into the cramped kitchen. garald was at the stove, cooking beans in his blackened little saucepan.

'Mornin'.' He said. 'Yuh can 'ave anything yu wants, so long As its beans.' 'How did I get here?'
'Doan'cha know?'
'I can't remember.'
'This woman brought ya back. pritty littl' thing she was too' he said with a knowing wink. 'Rappin' merry hell on tha door 'till I let 'er in. pitch black It was. She carried ya upstairs, bumped around yer room a bit then left. Not even As much As an exl'ination.'
'What was She wearing?'
'Black, 'same As you was. had byutiful 'air, ll shiny an' black... lovely girl.' He said, seeming to drift away for a second. 'fa'd I bin twenny yeers yunger...'
'I think I'll get some breakfast on the go, thanks.'
'What? with that head of yours?" the cut obviously looked worse than I had thought. "I'll be OK.'
''f you say so m'lud.'

I left though the back door, slipping quietly along the network of narrow alleyways which made up the undercity, the playground of thieves, murderers and villains of all types. Chances were, everyone you met here was a crook of some description, trained by the streets to defend themselves. Consequentially, there where few robberies and murders around here. Few reported Anyway I made by way onto the main street and did my 'respectable businessman' impression, surprising at at least one urchin pickpocket who tried to fleece me. The poor kid was so scared He didn't even try to run away. I handed the bemused child a silver piece, showed him the correct way to do It and told him to keep practising.

I slipped along the street. The curfew was almost an hour passed and my normal excuse of being lost was losing credibility. I was keeping to the shadows, Not making any trouble. I didn't want to be stopped, Not tonight. I had a meeting to make. I slid around the corner of Leeson Street, Heading for the establishment on the corner of Stuart Street and the Avenue. I reached the doorway, the recessed dark oak door yielding to my gentle but precise sequence of knocks. I dipped my head to the doorman and slipped inside. The entrance room was dark and smoky, incense smouldering in a number of brass pots lining the walls. a large, friendly woman greeted me.
' And What would sir be wanting?'
'I wish to meet someone'.
' As do most of our customers...'
'find the man they call graveleus and tell him the Dark Angel wishes to chat.'
'yes sir.' the woman drifted away. a Few minutes later a fat, balding man entered, making final adjustments to his clothes.
'I am graveleus.'
'and I am a man with a stone.'
'a precious stone?'
' Not to me.'
'and What would you want in return?'
'yes?' He said, a sneer in his voice. 'Of What, may I ask?'
'a fellow thief. He would probably have certain items which, until an incident last night, the possessions Of a certain lord Phaegus.'
'I have Not yet heard Of This woman.' (Gotcha you fat bastard!)
'I said He. Don't lie again or I will kill you.' a simple threat, when delivered in a purposeful manner with cold tones with a side order Of seriousness will usually outweigh the most complex Of promises. Having a shortsword slung across your back also helps.
'I Don't have them!'
'who does?'
'savis. West side.'
'Thank you.
I left quickly and quietly.


CHAPTER 2 : Too many Absent friends

Now Savis was a Thief's pawn, as the Hammers say. Not strictly accurate, seeing how most of the city's thieves are pawns to him. As has been said, he lives on the west bank, a small but luxurious abode overlooking the river in all its fouled glory. He employs a small but select team of guards, mostly ex-thieves themselves, to protect the house. As yet, no one has stolen anything of value from the house without being spotted, but it is considered bad form not to at least try. He usually made presents of what people did get, just to show willing.

'Okay sonny, come on out.'

I was spotted on the first floor landing, having judged it safe to make a grab for an antique vase. Whoever it was must have been sat in the shadows for ten minutes or so, because I was sure no one had been in the room. He escorted me down to the main room where Savis was sitting by a large log fire reading a thick hidebound book.
'Hello. Is this a business visit, or do you just wish to speak to me?'
'Both. I want to ask you about some things you bought.'
'I buy a lot of things.'
You bought these only last night.'
a hint of recognition flashed across his face, then was gone.
'Yes? What of it?'
'I want to talk about the person from whom you bought them.'
he chuckled.
'As I'm sure you know I do not divulge information about my sources. This is why I still have any.'
'Can you at least give her a message?'
He suddenly became alert at This Female thieves where rare, despite most having better natural talents than their male counterparts. Obviously, he had only one Female thief visit him last night. He looked down at his book, probably working out the best way to phrase his words to reveal as little as possible.
'If the... Person to whom you are referring does decide to contact me again, I shall make it known that you wish to contact... 'her'. You must of course realise that al contact with my sources is entirely at their discretion. If I simply need to contact someone, there are people I employ for that sort of thing.'
'Thank You for your help.'
'A pleasure.'
A servant who had been hovering behind Savis' chair for most of the conversation stepped forward and whispered something to his master.
'Oh, by the way, the silver plate? You can keep it. I like to nurture talent. Please visit again'
My smile didn't falter.
'Thank You for your generosity'


Come back later.

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