I didn’t start out life intending to become a criminal.
It just goes to show that these things can happen to anyone: a toss of the coin, a turn of the cards – one bad bit of luck can take you places you never wanted to go.
But never mind all that. The fact is that by the time I was twenty, I had closed off every other option in life, and I was, in fact, one of the best burglars in all of Fendrais. Not for me the risky life of a pickpocket or the violence of highway robbery: I specialized in knocking off snatch-and-grabs from the most showily elegant townhouses of the newly-wealthy.
Oh, but what about the servants?
Don’t make me laugh. The moment the master and mistress are out the door, their butlers and footmen are into the left-over port, and the parlour-maids are on the back steps, flirting with the grooms.
If you’re agile and have a head for heights, you can be in and out before anyone even shuts the front door.
I’m never greedy, and I’m always cautious. I spend days watching my chosen target, and I never take anything that might be too precious or too unusual not to be instantly missed. A china figurine from a grouping on the mantel, or a silver fork or five from a drawer crammed with a hundred more just like them – and with a little deft rearrangement, the theft might not be discovered for weeks.
Every so often, though, there’s something a little more…lucrative. Old Pol, the fence in Gauderaude, well, sometimes a client might want something in particular, and since I’m the only one he knows who has never been caught, it’s only sense that I would get the call.
The Tremaurian Rubies? Yes, that was me. Right after the summer fete, too, for all they weren’t discovered to be missing until Midwinter.
The Rainewell Chalice? I took that, too. It was a bit of work, that one. I spent a full month figuring out how to hide inside the Town Hall overnight, and how to get back out again in the morning without being noticed, and I did two test runs before I actually lifted the dashed thing, and no – it wasn’t magically alarmed, whatever the mayor claimed afterwards.
I try, really, not to get overconfident. You know how all my former teachers and mentors had gotten caught? Five good heists, and you think you’re uncatchable.
Of course, that’s when the sixth one goes wrong and you fetch up at the gallows.
I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.