t was one rather soggy day when
we ventured into the port city of merchants, Cavthan. The sun had been concealed
by the dark storm clouds that hung overhead. Rain poured down on those that were
unlucky enough to be out this day. Fortunately is was just the rain that
assaulted the traveller, thunder and lightening being held at bay by some
unknown force. We sat atop our Koríoch fey Mologh horses, Rust and Thor, moving
forward slowly through the press of people retreating to the indoors. Through
the Northern Gate and into the Inner City the road led us. Soon after reaching
the inner city we saw an inn. We dismounted near the stables and my brother,
Todd, tossed me the reins to Rust. As he went into the inn I was left to see to
It was easy enough to deposit them with an eager stable boy that wished to earn
a few coins. With the promise from the boy that our mounts would be well taken
care of to get some money in return I headed toward the inn. Upon reaching the
door I noticed the sign that hung overhead, the name of the inn engraved in a
slab of worn wood, "The Twilight's Hearth". I pulled open the heavy wooden door
and entered the inn. The common room was packed to the max; one only had to draw
a breath to bump someone. I pushed my way through the crowed room, toward a
table in the back where I found my brother. Todd was already surrounded by
people of all shapes and sizes, sharing one of his tallest tales. I grabbed a
seat nearby and watched quietly, taking in everything about the inn I could. I
didn't get far before my eyes fell on one man in particular.
This man stood out amongst the others. While most of the patrons in the inn were
under two peds, he looked to be about two peds and at least a fore in height. He
was also very slim; the loose black clothing he wore was drapped over what
appeared to be only skin and bones. Long, dark brown hair fell to the middle of
his back, and pulled back into a ponytail. Amber eyes surveyed the room from
beneath thick brows. He held a mug of ale in one large hand, and stood in a
corner, talking to some man. I noticed that he had an arrogant sneer upon his
face and apparently thought of those around him as lesser beings.
As the night wore on the crowds began to fade. All the men around the tall man
had left, though he stayed, taking one of the seats the others had vacated. When
there were only a handful of people in the room I stood and strolled over to the
man. He was odd and something about him had drawn me too him even though his
attitude seemed to want to push people away.
"Mind if I have a seat?" I asked him.
He nodded slightly, watching me with intense amber eyes.
"I'm Danner," I said, trying to make conversation, "Nice to meet you... uh... -
Say, what's your name?"
"Leon," the man replied in an icy tone. And with that brief introduction he
stood and headed upstairs, obviously quite reluctant to talk to stranger asking
names. Leon... The name played over in my mind, his tone, and his movements;
obviously he didn't want me around him. That wouldn't stop me though, there was
something strange about him and I was determined to find out what it was.
That night is stayed up in the common room. The bartender didn't like it but he
let it slide since I was sitting harmlessly at a table in the corner recording
the day's events. After he left I changed tables, positioning myself so I would
be hidden in the shadows come morning. My brother had already made plans to work
for one of the guys he had met for the next few days. And as I couldn't say that
I had work to tend to in Cavthan, my only plan became to learn more about Leon.
8th Day of Awakening Earth
I had dozed a little that night but not much. I had no clue when Leon would come
down to the common room or what he would do after that but I didn't want to miss
him. I wanted to learn about this strange man, my natural curiosity coming into
play. I knew if he left the inn without me I wouldn't be able to find him again
in this city, even with his large size. So I waited. Leon emerged from his room
at the beginning of Lighthrive. He sauntered down the steps lazily, and yawned
as he seated himself at a table near the hearth. Leon seemed to have timed it
perfectly because only moments after that the bartender appeared from the
kitchen. Leon stood and stretched, then slowly walked over to the man to talk. I
couldnít make out what they said but it wasn't long before the bartender walked
back into the kitchen. With a self-important grin on his face he reached over
the bar and filled a mug of dwarven ale and downed it quickly. He returned the
mug and resumed his original position as the man came rushing back into the
common room with a tray of food in hand. Leon dropped a few sans on the bar
before going back to his seat and leisurely eating his breakfast. Apparently
unaware that he had been spotted swiping a mug. There was his first mistake.
He finished breakfast as the patrons that had rented room had begun to wake and
stood leaving the tray on the table. He headed over to the door and stepped out
into the street. I waited a few moments before following him out. As I left the
inn I could see his tall form moving around the small crowds of people heading
toward the market. I followed a good distance behind and watched as he casually
lifted quite a few people's coin pouches. I was shocked that none had seen this
but it seemed that Leon had become a master of his trade, or maybe something
else was his secret.
We soon reached an open market and I watched as Leon greeted many people by
name, heading in one direction for a moment before 'accidentally' bumping in to
them moments later. Sometimes I couldn't even notice him pilfering someone's
coin pouch until moments later when he slipped the pouch into the folds of his
large shirt. It seemed that after a while he had filled all his hiding spots
within his shirt and just wandered around snatching sweets or little oddities
from carts and passing them off to ragged children. I grinned at this. I had
been in too many big cities to think this man kind. He was just passing items
off to the younger generation of thieves to profit his organization. I had to
admit that his man was good. I admired the mastery of thieving he possessed but
still hated the man deep inside for the wrong he was doing to all those people
that had greeted him kindly.
This went on all day and as the sky began to darken Leon headed back to the
"Twilight's Hearth" inn. I wandered about the street for about a half hour,
looking into the windows of some of the rather interesting shops before
returning to the inn. The "Twilight's Hearth" was packed again and my brother was
once more surrounded by people. I found an empty chair next to a group of men
and asked if I could have a seat. They seemed glad to have another person to
talk to and I sat down and listened. They talked long about the things going on
in the city and I listened, adding my opinion when it was asked. My eyes
remained on Leon the whole time though.
"What do you guys know about the tall guy in the corner?" I finally asked.
Their faces grew grim and the conversation died abruptly. I watched each of
them, trying to read something from their expressions but I couldn't, and I
didnít have to. One of the men spoke up after a moment.
"That's Lonely Leon. He grew up here. His parents died when he was five, then his
uncle took him in. When he was ten his uncle died and poor Leon was turned out
onto the streets. And on top of all that a couple years back his wife and
newborn son passed away. Most here know his story and have known the man since
he was little but none really know him that well. He's a nice guy, but he pushes
people away," the man said.
He fell silent once more, and they waited for another question but I was silent
so they went back to their conversation. I began to feel sorry for the man but
nothing in that arrogant sneer came across as a man consumed by sorrow from so
much loss. I slowly began to figure out his trick. The history, kind nature, and
born in the city attitude. I was all meant to throw others off, to have him
looking at his right hand while his left went for your purse. I grinned, knowing
I'd figured this man out. Lonely Leon was a ploy. Maybe he had lost his parents,
uncle, wife, and son. Maybe that had an affect on the man on the inside. But on
the outside it was just a ploy to gain sympathy while he played his little magic
act. Another name for the man would be Left-handed Leon, soon.
Now I had a plan.
I thought deeply about what I was going to do. It wouldn't really be ratting the
man out, just drawing away the protective shield of sympathy that followed him.
9th Day of Awakening Earth
Again I had stayed in the shadows that night, and as Lighthrive was almost upon
the land I let out a great yawn, knowing that I would need to get some sleep in
the days to come. I put that thought aside as Leon came down the stairs. Once
more the bartender came in right after he did and I grinned. As the bartender
ran off and Leon leaned over the counter I stood. The chair I had been sitting
in fell over as I stood up. That hadn't been my plan but it worked a heck of a
lot better than mine would have. Leon jumped, dropping his full mug of ale to
the floor behind the bar. He nearly flew over the bar trying to grab the mug
before it fell to the floor with a loud thud.
The bartender rushed back into the room at the sound of the chair falling and
the thud of the mug as it hit the ground. He lumbered into Leon, both falling to
the floor in a loud crash. The noise from the recent happenings had brought a
large crowd of angry patrons who had just woken. My brother was one of them and he
looked at me with one of his "I'm gonna kill you" looks. I just turned away from
him and watched.
"Thief," the bartender cried.
The crowd seemed to wake up immediately at that declaration. Murmurs of "Leon
the Long a thief?" and "Lean Leon goes bad?" ran through the gathered patrons.
The bartender confirmed it and all saw the pouches of coins littering the floor.
It seemed the blindfold had been removed and all saw what they knew to be true
all along. The city guards came and hauled "Lax Leon" away. And that day Leon
the master thief learned his greatest lesson: Don't get caught.
And I learned not to wake my brother before noon.