The Obsidian Dagger
It is in the nature of people to make laws. Laws keep order.
They prevent society from collapsing in on itself. They allow free trade, safety,
and private ownership. To insure that the laws were followed, punishments were
established. However, people who are desperate enough still break the law. And
a law broken is not readily mended.
Shadows embraced the city, shrouding it in the
cover of night. In the murky gloom, only two things dared break the uniformity
of the monochromatic realm, both of which belonged to Calth Merbeck, better
known as the Obsidian Dagger. The easiest to spot was a dark red band wrapped
around the brow of a skinny brown Zafara, who, in turn, was wrapped in a very
dark grey cloak. The second could only be noticed if you looked at it directly,
but then it snared your attention like some kind of vile trap. It was a black
pentagram, which marked all those who consorted with the dark faeries. But it
was not merely black. It was a void, a rift of absolute darkness, devoid of
any glimmer, a cold nothingness.
The latter of the two was hastily hidden from
view as a three-fingered thick glove was pulled over it. Calth didn't want some
things known. Most thieves don't. He slipped down from his perch on a rooftop,
and edged down a small alley. He moved from shadow to shadow, slipping into
them like water on cloth. His cloak swirled gently, brushing along his spiny
tail. It didn't swirl much, because it had lead weights sewn into the hem. All
of a sudden, the targeted house loomed out of the somber street, as if it were
trying to ward away all such larcenists with sheer, imposing size. But this
particular larcenist would not be put off by anything, especially sheer size.
The larger something is, the harder it is to seal off, and he saw the perfect
Taking his padded grappling hook, he swung it
around a few times, and flung it up towards the feebly glowing stars in a graceful
arc, where it caught on a rooftop ledge. He tested his weight on it, and began
his cautious ascent up the monolithic residence. Upon reaching the top, he wrapped
his line pack around his waist, and pressed his ear to the roof. He listened
carefully, and caught movement below, but only on the fifth floor and below,
not in the attic. It was a simple fact of life, nobody looked up. Calth carefully
selected one of his trademark onyx hilted obsidian daggers from his belt, and
carved a hole in the roof. Nimbly dropping down through it, he replaced the
piece he had removed. It didn't help if some one noticed a draft and came to
investigate. Oh, there would be plenty of commotion, but only after he had what
he was after. He took the red cloth and stuffed it in between the hole and the
cover, lodging it weakly in place.
Creeping along in the murk, he slid towards
a pale sliver of illumination that marked the hatch leading down. He inserted
his knife into the crack, prying it up, and waited, crouched in the dust. He
measured the time it took for the guards to pass by, and slunk down the little
wooden ladder. He worked his way towards the center of the floor. No matter
how much money they gained, the rich always stored their treasure in the same
place, and thought themselves near brilliant for putting it there. The windows
on this floor were barred, preventing a thief from climbing in, and the ground
floor was heavily guarded along with the entrances. But no attention was paid
to the attic, it was merely left to rot in peace.
As he padded his way down the maze-like corridors,
he mentally noted the turns. But upon rounding the corner, he came face to face
with a bulky, though apparently slow-witted, Tonu guard. The guard looked startled,
but Calth had no time for explaining his current situation. He grabbed a dagger,
and hit the sentry, who was slowly coming to grips with the fact that he was
facing a cloaked intruder on the fifth floor, on the head with the hilt. The
victim sagged onto the ground, and Calth continued. He passed several blind
alleys until he reached what appeared to be yet another dead-end. But upon receiving
a small push on the left side, it swung open to reveal a pile of gold and jewels.
But that was not what he cared about. At the moment, he was only concerned with
three things. One was finding a small object he had set out to get, and the
other two things were advancing on him with two very sharp looking pikes. Both
sentinels were a good deal larger than the previous one, being muscular Skeiths,
and they certainly weren't very confused. But that made little difference. Calth
quickly stooped, picking up a golden scepter and flinging it at one of his foes.
It flew at the startled watch's head, despite all attempts to stop it from contacting,
and a second later there was another unconscious addition to the pile of gems.
Calth turned to the remaining guard, who lunged
at him with an enraged yell. The berserk assailant, however, had not reckoned
on the crook's reflexes, and found himself charging at a solid oak wall. Despite
the strength of the fire-hardened shaft, the spear gave way to the stronger
barrier. Whirling about, he seized a single coin from the pile, and flung it
out the door. "Foolish brigand, did you think such a treasure would be guarded
so feebly?? Now every person in the building knows you are here!" He made a
mad dash for the exit, but soon lay sprawled comatose on the flooring, quarry
to the swinging cloak that was weighted with lead sewn into the hem.
"Just how I like it," he quipped at the immobile
form. He sifted through the pile, seizing a small ring with wings flanking a
green jewel and leaping down the passageway. He whispered to the talisman, "Let's
see what you can really do." He slipped it on his finger. He felt nothing. Literally.
His cloak, his entire collection of tools, his body itself weighed nothing.
He gave a demonic grin. "This should be rather interesting, to say the least."
He paused, taking out a small note scrawled on
a piece of parchment that read, "Greetings, from the Obsidian Dagger, to whom
it should concern.
I regret to inform you that I have just stolen
one of your most prized possessions. I also regret to inform you that I care
not in the least bit.
(As aforementioned) The Obsidian Dagger."
He also withdrew a small dagger, and pinned the
note to the wall.
As he did so, several enforcers rounded the
final corner of the warren, waving their various armaments. But he only laughed.
"It's been a pleasure meeting you, but I really must fly. So long!" And so saying,
he propelled himself off a wall with his powerful hind legs, and down the small
labyrinth, hovering a few feet above the surface, lit dimly by the guttering
torches. All the way to his secret exit, he chuckled maliciously at his newfound
gift. He quickly exited the dwelling, flinging himself from rooftop to rooftop,
back into the night from whence he came.
This is but one chronicle in the many exploits
of Calth Merbeck, bane of the rich and scourge of the wealthy. The fullness
of his activities would take far too long to record, for with his ill-gotten
prize, he went on to many other deeds, few of which stayed in the legal realm.
But, as the saying goes, crime does not pay. He dwelt too long in things unnatural,
and after a time, he became less and less, until one occasion, he did not merely
weigh nothing, but was nothing. A law broken is not readily mended, and one
often cuts oneself on it.
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