After Jorik had thrown the letter back at me I was sure he needed some convincing. To my surprise, however, he did not. Instead, he asked me to accompany him to the pub and I agreed. Back at the pub it was still empty. The only people occupying a table were Jorik and me. I sat across from him with a cup of coffee clasped in my hands. It was not even close to noon but Jorik was already on his second ale. The first one was finished before his bowl of porridge was empty.
“So, how do you know Jasper?” I raised the cup to my lips looking at him.
“Oh, we’re old friends,” he answered promptly shoveling a spoonful of porridge into his mouth. His table manners left much to be desired.
I sipped my coffee in silence.
After some clanking with the cutlery and a loud burp Jorik had finished his meal. He leaned back in his chair and kicked up his feet on the corner of the table, picking his teeth with a wooden splinter.
“So, you want to be a rogue?”
“Why?” he tossed the splinter into the empty porridge bowl.
“It seems like fun,” I shrugged, taking another sip.
Across from me Jorik burst out in laughter. His loud, bellowing ‘ha-has’ seemingly shook the room. I took another sip.
“So, you want to join the SI:7?”
“No,” I set my cup down.
“Oh, good,” Jorik sighed relieved. “They’re a buttoned-up bunch.”
I could not help but chuckle. He had a point.
“Tell me,” He leaned forward towards me over the table. “What do you know about the profession?”
“Nothing,” I confessed. “I know how to sneak.”
“Nothing!” He echoed falling back into his chair. “But she knows how to sneak!”
“Ever wielded a weapon?”
I shook my head.
“Do you even have a weapon?”
I shook my head again.
“Picked a pocket?”
“Wonderful!” He threw his hands up in despair. “We have a lot of work to do!”
We left the pub – after I paid for his meal, of course – and headed to the outskirt of the village. A little off the limits stood a tiny shack, which definitely had seen better days. The paint had lost its vibrance and started to chip off in large patches from the wood. The door was barely holding on to its hinges and the singular window was missing half of its shutters. All in all, it did not radiate a feeling of stability.
With an uneasy feeling in my gut, I followed him inside. The inside was dark, which amazed me, considering the bright sunlight outside. The inside of the shack was just as disastrous as the outside. Although I had never been the cleanest or most organized person in my family, I had never seen a mess like this in my life.
Piles of various things were dispersed around the singular room and every possible surface, be it bed, table, or chair, was covered with clutter. Amazed by the mess but also a bit scared to set foot inside I made halt at the door. Jorik, however, without a care made a B-line for a dark corner of the room.
In the darkness I could only make out his scheme as he started rummaging. In between the crashes and clanks I could hear him curse under his breath. Eventually, he reemerged from the darkness of the shack, holding what looked like two long knives in his hands.
“These should do,” he said as he handed them to me.
In the bright sunlight outside I examined the objects closer. It was a matching pair of daggers. Their design was simple and clean, however, they appeared to be dirty, rusty, and dull.
“They need some sprucing up, of course,” with these words he signaled me to follow him. He led me back into the village to the square. It was almost abandoned except for the merchants standing vigilant at their carts. Among them was a weaponsmith called Janos Hammerknuckle. For two silver pieces, he agreed to restore the daggers. However, it would take some time and he told me to come back tomorrow.
Satisfied Jorik wandered off to – what I assumed – was the pub. I on the other hand explored the village, and returned back to the pub late in the evening, with my stomach growling and my feet tired. After a big meal I crawled into bed and slept like a stone.
The next morning, I woke early and went straight to the square. It was packed with villagers buying and trading goods for the day. In the crowd I could spy the innkeeper purchasing supplies for the pub. Since had I little need for anything else I headed straight over to the weaponsmith, who with a grin handed over the newly restored daggers.
They looked nothing like they did yesterday. The rust and dirt were gone. The hilt was newly bound in thin leather and the blades was sharp and glistened in the morning son.
“One of my best works, I must say,” he complimented himself on his good work.
I thanked him, paid the agreed price, and headed to the stables. I had a gut feeling that I would find Jorik there as I did the day before and I was right. Nestled into a pile of hay lay the man snoring. Again, I woke him rather harshly to his dismay. After breakfast, which I paid for both of us, the training began.
Behind the abbey, close to the stables was a small field, where straw dummies stood beneath apple trees. My first lesson was to learn how to wield my weapons. For hours he would show me techniques, or correct my grip, stance, or method, while I sat under a nearby tree, munching on apples.
Eventually when the sun started setting, he called it a day. Tired, sweaty, and dirty, I went home to the pub for a quick dinner, shower, and bed, while he went to the pub to drink. The next day I would find Jorik in the stables again, sleeping, and the whole procedure started all over again.
This went on for days, until Jorik decided it was time to move on to the next basic, but essential skill of a rogue, as he liked to call it. So, he instructed me on how to sneak and melt into the shadows, but also how to pick-pocket.
The task was to sneak up to him without his notice and pick his pockets. If he noticed me, I had failed, and he had a very particular way of letting me know. I would lean under an apple tree, snacking on apples, while I snuck up to him, or at least tried to. However, I never made it far before getting hit by an apple Jorik had chucked at me.
“Again,” he callously uttered, and the whole spiel would start from the beginning again.
After a few days of sneaking and pickpocketing, which I eventually managed to some degree, my training would alternate between stealth skills, as well as combat skills. Although my skills improved slow but steadily, I found myself getting impatient. This had not gone unnoticed by Jorik, who punished my impatience with increasing his demands, pushing me to my limits.
His strategy worked. Soon after the third day of increased difficulty I stumbled into bed and immediately fell unconscious. I was too exhausted to get impatient anymore. Although too exhausted to feel any sense of accomplishment or pride myself, I noticed a glimmer of pride twinkling in Jorik’s eyes.