The small city of Melchior slept soundly as a small, hooded figure quietly crept through its alleyways towards the outskirts of town. The only light in town emanated from the last tavern that was still open, a place of refuge for merrymakers. Upon entering the building, Renae removed her cloak. The wooden tables were occupied by people from all walks of life, jovially clinking their tankards together and drunkenly singing songs as the chatty barmaids served food and drinks. Casually walking through the tavern, Renae scanned the tables in search of her companions. In a poorly lit corner all the way in the back, she spotted the two of them lively chatting together. Sera, a homely young woman, braided her long blonde hair as she engaged in conversation with Andyr, the strongest man Renae had ever met, who was downing another a tankard. As soon as he spotted Renae, he nudged Sera. She immediately perked up and eagerly scanned through the crowd to find her.
“Sorry,” Renae sat down beside the two on a wooden chair, “I might be a little late.”
“Renae, you’re over two hours late,” Sera scolded her, “and we were worried you weren’t going to show up at all!”
Andyr gazed at Renae as he placed his tankard down next to several empty others. “Where the hell have you been?” he asked, his voice gruff.
“Calm down, Andyr,” Renae gestured with her hands, “I’m here and I’m in one piece. Besides, I’m only late because I got lost… and a little sidetracked.”
“We’ve been living here for over a year now. What do you mean you ‘got lost’?” Andyr asked suspiciously, his brow furrowed.
Sera looked skeptical too, patiently waiting to hear Renae’s explanation.
“Look, I’ve never been to this part of town before, so it took me a while to find this place. Why’d you pick a tavern to meet anyways?”
Andyr nonchalantly took another swig of his drink, “I wanted to taste their Melchiorian beer. It’s only 10 Gil per tankard.”
“Ah, that explains the empty tankards.”
“I’m not sure if I believe you, Renae,” Sera placed a hand under her chin and leaned onto it, “but let’s get to business, we’ve dawdled about long enough.”
“Alright, alright, I’m sorry I was so late, okay?” she grabbed a small red silken pouch out of her pocket and slid it over the table to her friends, “I hope this’ll make up for it.”
Opening the pouch and curiously peeking inside, Sera and Andyr spotted a small number of valuable rubies. Sera’s jaw dropped as she felt up the bag, while Andyr looked at Renae incredulously.
“Right,” he said slowly as he nodded his head, “Let’s call it ‘lost.’”
Renae smiled, “I’m bringing it to that fence fellow tomorrow and we’ll split the money evenly as always.”
“Well that makes me feel much better about your tardiness.” Sera smiled as she returned the pouch back to Renae who placed it in her pocket, “Pray tell, Renae, what did you want to steal from the king so badly that you had us infiltrate the kitchen, the castle guards, map out the castle layout, and the guards’ patrolling routes?”
Renae looked around carefully, making sure none of the customers were eavesdropping on their conversation. She leaned forward and began whispering softly, “You see, I want to raid his treasury in seven days, on the night of the feast.”
“And how exactly do you plan to do that?” Andyr asked, unsurprised.
“What do you even want from his treasury?” Sera mused.
“Well, I want to steal King Myghell’s old crown jewels and—”
Renae’s tale was interrupted by Andyr’s bout of laughter. Even Sera was holding back a snort!
“What?” Renae pursed her lips as she tilted her head to the side, “What is it?”
“No, no, it’s nothing.” Andyr cleared his throat, “Go on, tell us all about how you want to steal the king’s jewels.”
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