Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teuta - Honor Among Thieves

   As Teuta stood above the body, she felt the air stir in the chamber.  Quickly drawing her dagger she spun to the side, crouching. 

  "Very nimbly done" said a familiar mocking voice from the shadows near the entrance."Move away, reduce their target. Wasn't that one of his lessons? Did you remember to stay out of the blood too?"

  "Admaatos, his killer is still near!  I saw Klephtis alive entering this room not ten minutes ago." Teuta exclaimed as she straightened, sheathing her dagger and surreptitiously moving he feet to answer his last question to herself.

   Admaatos moved out from the shadows, stowing something under his cloak, saying "The Phrygian, I'm sure, I saw a man in a cap leave the door just as I came up the street.  I didn't see you in the street, so how did you enter?  Over the fence and through the kitchen?"
  "Over the fence, up the wall and through the roof trap.  I tested the kitchen and he has - had - something leaning against the door that would have fallen over with a clatter."

  "Well, " he said, rubbing his nose "I suppose I might as well go tell Troadinus that he can pay the Phrygian."

  Instantly, she crouched again with her dagger back in her hand, staring at him.  "You betrayed him" she accused.  "The Toad sent you here to ensure Klephtis was dead."

  "Now it's not very respectful to call your new master 'The Toad', is it?"  he laughed, shaking his head.  "With Klephtis dead, Troadinus is the undisputed Master Thief of Apollonia.  -  And we now work for him."

  "How could you work for that loathsome slug?  Does nothing Klephtis did for you mean anything?"

  "Loyalty is of no use to a dead man.  That was another one of Klephtis' little lessons  But, no, I did not betray him, I didn't know Troadinus was going to have him killed.  But now that he has, we are expected to call on him for our new assignments."

  "The only thing the Toad wants women to do is go whoring for information he can use against their customers."  Teuta said, as Admaatos squatted down over the body  "If that was all I wanted to do, I would have agreed to having my father arrange a marriage."

  "You have a point about his view of women in the guilds, one that's a sharp as this little bolt that pierced old Klephtis' neck.  Hmm, that wasn't fired from any belly bow." Admaatos said half to himself as he gave the body an expert frisking and stood.  "Maybe our friends the Miraditorum have a new toy?" 

  "So Teuta, if you don't work for Troadinus, what will you do?  Your only real options would appear to be a hasty marriage into one of the families or leaving town."

  Teuta paused in the act of sheathing her dagger, suddenly numb with the realization that her life couldn't follow her chosen path any longer.  She gasped in a deep breath and fought to control the emotions in her face, as the adrenaline suddenly drained away.

  "I would advise you not to panic, but I don't think that's actually necessary" Admaatos said as he proffered her a small cloth wrapped bundle.

  "What is it?" she didn't reach out for it.

  "Klephtis' lockpicks.  I know there is something special about them, but I don't know what it is.  Troadinus will send someone to look for them as soon as he hears from the Phrygian.  Take them, you can present them to Troadinus if you decide your throat is more important than your pride.  You may be able to convince him to use you as more than an informant if you can figure out how to use them.  Other wise you'll probably want them at some point.  Of course, " he said with a wry smile "you can always give them back to me at the wedding, if that's the course you take."

  He placed the tools in her unresisting hand, turned and left as silently as he had arrived.


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