Hello and once again another edition towards the series, “A Thief’s Folly”. From the past two editions we’ve been following the stories of two thief who are undeniably from a lower class. To give contrast, I wanted to make one of a higher class thief, though just having a Robin Hood character would be too easy, and so I also expanded the world. Though, to be fair, the themes do parallel what you would see from a Robin Hood type story, the rich steals from the rich and gives to the poor. A kindly tale of redemption as the one who steals feels the duty of all those who have done the proletariat wrong. Here you go, “A Thief’s Folly-Charlotte-“.
My dreams are filled with castles and cotton candy, and somewhere in the meadows, a raging and war-torn state. I awake from my bed in a state of insidious buzzing. My ears pop and I notice something strange with my ability to keep balance. I try to recall what had happened yesterday, and I reach under my bed to grab a glass bottle. I take it out and laugh at its contents. Empty.
My ceiling is lined with glittering glass and checkered tiles remind me of my heritage. My bed sheets are made of silk that is beyond my vocabulary, and the double doors that guard my bedroom are much more sturdier than the materials of the lower district. I make my way to the door and grab onto the metal handles. I pull with all my strength and peer out into the hallways of the marble building. My butler is nowhere in sight, and I attribute this as my time to act.
I take a step forward, and another, and I am reminded of the sensation of doing. It’s a sensation that not many people of my lineage have the graces of learning. And so I have made it my duty to act for all those that are blind sighted by the riches of the entrenched black liquid. I move my way down the hall and slide down a step of stairs. I try my best to step lightly as to not echo throughout the building. As I reach the bottom of the stairs, I take a quick sigh and jolt for the door. I am stopped aptly by a bewitching stare, and I know all too well who it is that produced the stare. I clear my throat and say without turning, “Just a little air.”
“To get it out of your system?” I hear the clink of glass, and I turn to see my butler holding the glass bottle in his hands with a stone smile. My hands begin to tremble and I feel sweat drip down my face. My butler walks down the stairs with solid steps and a back straighter than I could ever hold for. His face is unchanging and as he reaches within a few meters of me, I step back towards the front door.
“If you are leaving, then I implore you to make a formal request.”
“You can tell my dad where to stick that formal request up.” I reach for the door handle, and am suddenly locked into place by an icy stare from my butler. He hasn’t moved an inch, but his stare pierces me like an icy dagger. I try to wiggle my way out, but he locks me in place and I turn to face him. His smile is devoid of any trace of humanity, and I can see that even a single step towards the door would mean grand stakes. I know I have no impunity, that much I understand. My eyes turn towards the marble floor, and I see a reflection of myself. Golden bright hair, rosy cheeks, red lips, and dark bags. I’m a doll among ruble. A diamond in coal. Going out now would make me stick out like an Official in the slums. I see now why my butler is in much distress, and skitter my way towards the dress room, where I put on a heavy coat and wrap my hair inside with a hood. I come out and see that my butler awaits me at the door. I cough as I arrive, and press my hand against the knob.
“If my father inquires, then do tell him that I am out at the Court’s Teahouse.” My butler gives me another icy stare, but I ignore it this time and open the door and step onto the porch. Now that I am in incognito, he should have no qualms about my absence. And among my father, I am the more trusted, that much I have in my sleeves.
I feel my butler’s distress as I walk towards the outer district, towards the market sector, and I begin jogging to dispel his opprobrium. I give my silent condolences and pray for his safety in tedium. I know that my actions have far gone my generation, and for that I pray for those of Official descent. My actions are mine and mine alone, and I perform them for the sanctity of the upper district. These two prayers are my mantra, and I repeat them whenever I go out.
I arrive at the market district to see a sea of people bumping into each other. They are all within shoulder length, breathing and smelling one another as if a zoo. I notice from the distance that one particularly precarious child with dirty blond hair and burnt chapped skin is digging within the pockets of those unknowing. I chuckle at this, and give her prayer and my cordial smile, though she does not notice me. I tread slightly towards the base of the market sector, and make sure that I stay close to the vendors. I carry with me no money, but in my pockets I hold my wits. I push past the market sector until I see a break within the buildings and slip my way in. I take a quick sigh as I find myself in the crevice between two stores. I walk towards a door to the right and look up to read the metal sign. It’s in a lower dialect than my own, but I do not struggle to read it as one would suggest. I place my hand on the door, and feel the rot of the wood as I pull down. I take time to breath in the alleyway, to take in the scents of all the fresh bread and fermented tea. I feel the gravel beneath my feet, and then I turn the knob. I walk forward, and onto solid wood planks. I close the door behind me, and take another breath. The seeds of the giants.
I am quite fervently greeted by a man in a well worn suit, slicked back hair, and sunglasses, who extends a hand to me before I can make much distance, “If it isn’t milady.”
“Drop the act Charles.” I pull down my hood and allow my hair to strut out. Charles smiles and retracts his hand. However, I know very well that Charles isn’t the only eccentric that muddies this bar. This place is quite quaint in its own regards. I step up to the counter, and watch as the bartender, who is very well suited for the position, react to my sitting and pulls out a glass towards me. I don’t nod, and say, “Thanks.” He then pulls out a bottle of orange juice from under the counter, as if he has it in routine, and pours me a pint. I laugh and drink it loudly to his satisfaction.
“Does my majesty seek more employment?” I hear Charles’ stuck up voice creep up behind me. I don’t give him an answer and simply scan the other patrons. I almost recognize each one, albeit some are new comers.
“We grow every day,” Charles says, his voice dropping almost to a whisper, and his eyes a serene blue.
“You think that the more stringent Officials will snuff us out one day?” I ask. Charles takes a seat beside me and takes a glass from the bartender, who pours him a brandy.
“Who knows. But if they do, the likes of us will probably be exiled. They’ll yell at us, and then unable to execute us, send us to the slums. It’s already happened. First is always the yelling though.” I hear a man take a seat beside me, and I turn to see Christopher. Like me, he has bright blond hair, and carries himself with a sand colored coat. He receives a glass from the bartender, but turns the glass upside down. The bartender leaves, and attends to customers sitting across from the bar. Christopher clears his throat, and with his scratched tone says, “Good to see you Charlotte. Make any trouble at the estate?”
“As troubling as it is to Sebastian, yes.”
“Do give the old chap my kindest regards… From all of us.” I laugh at his sentiment, and so does he.
“No reason to ask, but you’re here for another gig?” I nod. He sighs, and takes a slip of paper from the innards of his coat and hands it to me. I open it, and see the image of a beautifully blued diamond.
“That thing’s worth a pretty penny to those who don’t know.”
“As fake as we get.”
“Location?” Christopher takes another slip of paper from his coat and hands it to me. I open it and try to grasp my head around it’s relative location to the bar.
“When you find it, make sure to go to a proper broker. That stuff can catch fire, or get you killed.”
“The less they know, the better?” Christopher nods his head and winks at me, “Stay in the cave.” I take the papers and proceed my way to the exit of the bar, with only Charles giving me his last regards, “Come a time where you can’t make a decision. Do you stay with us, or go with them?” I know very well that Charles is a man of many intelligences. He’s a scholar after all. A scholar that has decided to aid those of our cause. A strange man. But a smart man.
“Come a time when that happens, and I’ll let you know.” With that, I take my leave and proceed to the paper’s location. It leads me down the market district, near where I smell alluring cooked meat and tropical fruits being turned into rough liquid. I ignore my senses, and proceed past them, towards where an odd jeweler broker sits. He lays his wares in a rope mat while he sits in complete reverence. I walk up to him, which does not break his concentration, and browse his collection. I spot it quickly, a beautifully blue diamond. The price is akin to a month’s rent in the slums, that of a living of bread. Making a sleight of hand might be my best option, though I do like distractions, and occasionally the odd setups. However, with a man of his stature, I must make conversation.
“I see you sell an assortment of ornaments,” I begin.
“That I do. Some are of the finest quality of all the lands.”
“And some not quite so?”
“You do have me there.” He smiles, but does not break his silent stare and posture. I reach over, and grab a well studded necklace beside the diamond. My hand slips, and knocks a few gems out of place, though not extravagantly. I apologize profusely, and place the necklace back. His eyes do not trace my hands like the others do, but I know he is watching.
“Quite a well variety of ornaments. You must tell me how you acquire them.”
“The secret’s in the trade. You buy more you sell more.”
“I must assume so.” I reach over to an emerald beside the diamond, once again, though not as subtly, I knock over a few objects in the way, one of a topaz, that rolls to the diamond. I excuse myself and reach over to readjust the topaz, subsequently pulling the diamond into my sleeve, and just as the topaz lands on its original position, just a few slots above it, I get up and say, “I must still be dizzy from drinking. You must excuse me.”
“Though your breath is fine.” I feel his stare down my spine, and without further words, I make a break for it, with him calling the guards on me no sooner. I rush as fast as I can up the market district with two of them slowly catching up. I know now that my antiques have caught on, and doing my usual facade will be much tougher without further instruction from those of the cause. I must learn more I tell myself as I run past the bar and head into the financial sector. I make a sharp turn to the left, into an alleyway between buildings. I climb onto a dumpster, and then project myself onto a balcony as I leap off the dumpster. The guards watch me and attempt the same, though I already make my way through several balconies and onto the roof. I then aspire my way towards an underhanded broker of the sector, a well known but scruffy man.
Upon arrival, I see Sebastian, my butler. He is in full suit, and watches as I climb down the roof of a building to see him.
“They say that those of servitude are one of the same soul of their benefactor.” Sebastian does not smile, and simply lets out his hand. I take out the diamond and place it in his.
“Laughably fake,” he whispers into my ears, “I’ll pay no more than a cup of tea for this.” He laughs, which to my surprise, causes me to laugh as well.
“Do with it what you will. But do hurry, the guards are coming.” Sebastian’s mastery of the situation is of no doubt considering his position. I grab the diamond and before entering the broker’s store, I ask, “Come a time where you can’t make a decision. Do you stay with me, or go with them?”
“One of the same soul.” I smile, and then enter the broker’s store. I leave aptly after receiving funds, though I do not accept Official money, I take filthy coins, those in a magnitude of ten pouches. Sebastian takes my hand and guides me hurriedly away as the guards scatter the roof, looking for me. I smile.
“One pouch for the family in need of medicinal funds.”
“One pouch for the family in need of bread.”
“One pouch for the family that only has two.”
“One pouch for the family with single limbs.” Sebastian and I list off all the recipients, and I applaud him for his matching of my beat. He simply responds, “Any less would do you a miss service.” I smile at this. Somewhere along the meadows, I can smell the burning of buildings, and even further I can smell the baking of bread and the alluring aroma of tea.