No Honor Among Thieves
In honor of Kanrik, Ashalyia's favorite thief
A young blue Gelert rushed across the room full of thieves to the boss Grarrl.
The Grarrl was holding open the door to his room. “Come in.” He motioned and shut the door behind him. He settled on one side of a desk in the room. Kanrik sat on the other.
The Grarrl, whose name was Galem, studied him. “You just joined the Thieves Guild, correct?”
Galem leaned back. “You've been looking for a way to prove your worth to us, also correct?”
“Good.” Galem pulled out a map. “There's a treasure hidden in the Lost Desert from the looks of the map, but no one in the guild has been able to find it for three years. I want you to take on this mission.”
Kanrik tried not to squirm with excitement. A mission! He had been begging for one since he had joined. “Yes, sir.”
Galem spread out the map. “It's rather clear, but there's a piece missing with a crucial hint, it seems impossible to follow without it.” He pointed to a blank part of the map.
Kanrik leaned over the map. “I'll figure it out, sir.”
Galem rolled up the map and handed it to Kanrik. “You can pick three others to accompany you.”
Kanrik saluted as he backed out of the door. “I'll find it, on my honor.”
“Jesik!” Kanrik ran over to a shifty looking Techo. “I got a mission!”
The Techo put down the custom dagger he was sharpening. “Really.” Jesik was an old, veteran thief who had been teaching Kanrik the ins and outs of being a thief.
Kanrik excitedly told Jesik the details. “I need three thieves to come with me. Want in?”
The Techo held out a hand that was missing a finger. “Count me in. If we're going to the Lost Desert, you might want to take Tay and Uriz; they'll blend in better.”
Tay and Uriz were the only two Desert colored thieves in the guild.
“Sure!” Kanrik ran off to find them. “Thanks, Jesik!”
Jesik watched the young Gelert go. “Don't thank me yet.”
“So this is the Lost Desert.” Kanrik looked around. Sand filled his vision.
“Here.” Jesik handed him a pair of goggles. “You'll need these, unless you want to spend all day rubbing sand in your eyes.”
Kanrik strapped on the goggles. “Thanks.”
Jesik shouldered his pack. “Where to from here?”
Kanrik looked at the writing next to the map that was only a picture of an Oasis and a 'x'. “It says, 'look to the east of the cursed city, twenty miles out shall you find haven.”
Jesik started to walk. “Let's not wait around then.”
“Yep, this looks promising, alright,” Jesik said with a snort.
Kanrik looked around at the rolling dunes of sand. “I don't understand.”
He unrolled the map again. “The map says that the oasis that the treasure is buried in is twenty miles east of Qasala.”
Tay the Desert Ixi looked around. “There ain't no oasis around here.”
Kanrik checked his compass again. “Are we sure that we're twenty miles east of Qasala?”
Uriz, a Desert Pteri, took a short hop and flew into the air. He hovered as a speck above their heads for a minute then dove down. “As far as I can see, we are and I don't see an oasis anywhere.”
Kanrik sat and put his head in his hand as he stared at the map. “I have to find this treasure.”
Jesik sat down next to him and toyed with his prize dagger. “No one else found it; it's not a big deal if you don't. You'll just get another task like the rest.”
“But I promised I would find it on my honor.” Kanrik groaned.
Jesik gave a sharp bark of laugh. “Honor?” He ruffled Kanrik's dark hair. “You'll learn, kid.”
Kanrik brushed aside the comment and studied the map again. “Hey.” He looked at the top of the map. “What's this 'the sun lends its treasure' at the top mean?”
Tay shrugged. “We figured that was the name of the treasure, whatever it is.”
Kanrik read the title again. “Maybe.”
Uriz shuffled his wings. “We should head back to Qasala if we want to be there before dark.”
Kanrik sighed and shoved the map into his pack. “Sure.”
“It should be there.” Kanrik leaned over the map. “It says it clearly.”
Jesik, who was staying in the same room, rolled over. “Would you put that map away and get some rest? That lantern is keeping me up.”
Kanrik looked up at the lantern. “I guess.” He reached a paw up to turn the wick down when he paused. “Wait a minute.” He picked up the map and held it up the light.
“Jesik! I figured it out!” Kanrik jumped out of his chair and shook Jesik's shoulders. “Look, look!”
He dragged the half awake Techo over to the light. “Look!” He held the map above his head so the light shone through it. Writing that had not been visible before showed faintly through the blank part of the map.
Jesik was now fully awake. “How?”
“The sun lends its treasure was a clue! The sun's treasure was the rest of the map!”
Jesik squinted. “My eyesight isn't what it used to be.”
“It says, 'Haven is for fools with blind eyes, treasure is for those who see the light. Five miles north of the shrine of a king you will find what you seek.'”
Jesik began to pack his bag. “Let's get moving; we can be there in no time.”
Kanrik ran for the door. “I'll get Tay and Urik.”
Kanrik paused at Jesik's sharp command. “Why?”
“All the more for us to bring back. The more credit we get. This could get us high positions in the guild.”
Kanrik frowned. “It doesn't sound right. Won't they be mad?”
Jesik twirled his dagger in his hand before sheathing it at his waist. “Sure they will, but they'll understand why; they're thieves too.”
Kanrik shrugged. “If you say so.”
“Here it is!” Kanrik ran towards the oasis that appeared in the distance.
Guided by the light of the moon, they had crossed the distance quickly to their target.
Jesik grinned. “Well, paint me royal, you found it!”
Kanrik stopped at the edge of the water. “Now to find the treasure.” He pulled the map out. “It should be buried between a palm and a rock split in two.”
Jesik and Kanrik ran around the oasis looking for the landmarks. Kanrik found it with his foot when he tripped in the split of the rock. “Found it!”
Jesik stood back as Kanrik began to dig with his paws. “Go get it!”
Five minutes later, Kanrik pulled out a chest with a heave of his strained muscles. “I can't believe we found it! Now we can take it back to Galem!”
“No, we won't.”
Jesik's words were so soft that Kanrik almost missed them. He turned around. “What...?”
The strike was so fast and unexpected that Kanrik had no chance to protect himself. There was a hiss of metal and a grunt as Jesik with two swift movements slashed at Kanrik's head with his dagger and punched him in the stomach.
“I will!” Jesik hissed.
Kanrik gasped in pain. “But I promised on my honor!”
Jesik dealt him another blow on the head.
The last thing Kanrik heard before slipping into oblivion was, “There is no honor among thieves.”
“Jesik.” Kanrik groaned and opened one eye. It was midmorning by the looks of the sun. Kanrik groaned again as pain flashed around his vision. His cheek stung the most. He touched a paw to it. He felt dried blood along a long slash. He pulled a healing potion out of his bag slowly, he always had one on hand. He slowly drank the soothing liquid. Jesik had betrayed him, and left him for dead. Kanrik sat up slowly. His once eager eyes were now hardening. “Jesik.”
“Jesik! Well done!” Galem slapped the Techo on the back. “So, where's the others?”
“Tay and Uriz couldn't keep up, they only slowed me down. They should be here in a day or two. Kanrik...” Jesik pulled a sad face. “He died from a trap set in front of the treasure.”
Galem shook his head. “He was always too eager.”
Jesik nodded. “Sad but true.”
A harsh laugh came from someone in the crowd that had gathered to see the treasure. “No, that's not sad; you want to know what's sad?”
Jesik's mouth dropped open as Kanrik pushed his way out of the crowd. “That I actually thought you were a friend.”
The overnight transformation was frightening. Kanrik was no longer an eager, energetic looking, young Gelert; he was a hard, cunning, older thief. A long slash traced one of his cheeks.
Kanrik gestured to his cheek. “You didn't finish the job. So I'll finish you.”
He turned to Galem. “I request a trial of rights.” It was a battle between two disputing thieves in the guild to see who was right. The contestants used whatever weapons they had on them at the time.
Galem nodded. “Granted.”
Jesik grinned. “You're not carrying a weapon, Kanrik.”
Kanrik tossed his cloak to one side. “I don't need one.”
Jesik pulled out his dagger. “Then my job will be easy to finish.”
He lunged at Kanrik. Kanrik twisted around the dagger and lashed out with his leg. Jesik barely managed to jump over it. Kanrik wasn't the same Gelert; he was slyer, faster, and more dangerous. Jesik jabbed forward, then twisted at the last moment and went for Kanrik's right side. Kanrik was already there. He grabbed Jesik's hand and with a sharp twist made him drop the dagger. Jesik punched Kanrik on the jaw, dropping the Gelert to the ground. He was about to dive for the dagger when Kanrik threw a pawful of dirt in his eyes and slugged him in the stomach. Jesik gasped as he fell. Kanrik grabbed the dagger and held it at Jesik's throat.
“That was a dirty move,” Jesik growled.
“Well, as you said,” Kanrik said with a harsh laugh as he shoved Jesik's dagger in his own belt, “there's no honor among thieves.”