The room was quiet except for the soft breathing of the young girl passed out drunk on the merchant’s luxurious silk sheets. Where the accompanying blankets or the girl clothes had vanished to was a mystery Ly’a didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to. She had already confirmed that both the girl, and the merchant sprawled out on the plush carpet of the attached sitting room, would not be waking up for a while. Just about the only good thing she could say about Tirral was that he didn’t skimp on supplies. If she asked for dream powder or special lockpicks, he never denied them.
Then again, he’s almost never willing to risk one of his actual mercenaries on these absurd heists. And I bet replacing a talented slave would cost more than a few jars of dream powder, she complained in head. Subconsciously, she ran her finger along the warm metal of the bronze collar around her neck as she prowled around the room.
Her bright silver eyes darted along shelves, display cases, and table tops before settling on the long chest at the foot of the bed. After checking for any traps on the chest, she pulled out a roll of black leather, which when unrolled revealed a number of long thin picks of different shapes and sizes. If it wasn’t for Tirral’s demand that no one known the room was disturbed until they found the letters missing, she would have just taken the box apart. It was the sort that look fine and heavy, but was little more than polished veneer over plywood. The merchant spent money where money counted though. It took her four picks and five precious minutes of the guard’s round to open it, revealing three pairs of lovely beaded slippers that she suspected belonged to neither of the girls the merchant had spent this night with.
Paying careful attention to exactly where they had been placed in the chest, Ly’s gently the shoes aside and began prodding around the bottom of the chest until one of the corners pitched down, lifting the opposite corner up. Her lips curled up in a sly smile, and she slowly freed the false bottom and placed it to the side. Beneath it were two rolls of paper and an old gold bangle with a moonstone opal as it’s only decoration. She snatched the papers and tucked them into satchel. She picked up the false bottom, but as she was lowering it down over the bangle, light danced across her vision, making her blink and rock back on her heels. She glanced around, expecting one of the girls had woken up. Three drunk naked bodies lay exactly where she’d left them, and all the curtains were tightly drawn, with no moonlight escaping through.
Holding her breath, she leaned back over the open chest. The moonstone was glittering with bright blue and purple flashes across its pale surface. Ly’a froze, staring at it.
Soul stone, she thought, it’s has to be. How else would it glimmer with no light source?
Her hand hovered above the bangle. Just about everyone had heard of soul stones in fairy tales. Her own mother had told her stories about foolish mages who tried to live forever by binding their soul with a stone, or of a great mage trapping the soul of an evil dragon or demon in a stone, since such beings couldn’t be easily killed. Whatever was in this stone would be extremely powerful.
But did she really what to risk letting whatever was in there out? Slowly, she withdrew her hand and began putting the false bottom and shoes perfectly back in place before darting out of the room and over the garden wall, soundlessly disappearing into the night.
Ly’a lounged in a rough wooden chair, her feet propped on a crate as she leaned back, her long fingers crossed in her lap. The other five people in the room, all gruff and armed to the teeth, ignored her. They were all proper members of the Black Sea mercenary group.
When Tirral had bought two pretty slaves five years ago, most of them just assumed him saying they’d make obedient spiders was just an excuse, and had constantly harassed them. After a while, people started to notice that men who got handsy with the cold beauty Ly’a would be found in some alley with a broken jaw and foggy memory, and those that tried to smack the small and quiet Ly’on around would wind up caught with items they didn’t remember stealing, and losing fingers for it. Neither twin was ever caught, and Tirral showed no interest in stopping them, so smarter guild members just stopped interacting with them all together. Thus, Ly’a was free to ignore them right back.
On the other side of the crude wooden table, a curvy red head with arms like a black smith smacked a giant of a man heartily on the back.
“You owe me four silver, Gor,” She drawled in a husky voice, “you said there wasn’t any way a lone spider could weasel their way into Jarwik’s manor, and here she is! The documents wrapped in the yellow ribbon are the shipping records we needed to find out which boat Lord Frumpy-Pants is on.”
The man begrudgingly counted out the coins, smacking them into her palm with enough force to make her completely rock forward and brace herself on the table.
“Whatever.” His voice was a low rumble as his eyes flicked from Ly’a, to the rolled documents, then back to the red head. “At least if she did, we can move onto the next job. Where’s the other one at?”
“D’know. Guess he’s gonna be with Tirral when he comes in? He was supposed to shank the night watch while Tirral put out the light house signal, so they should be finishing around the same time.”
“Wish they’d get on with it – woah!” Gor sputtered back as the large office door slammed open, cracking a few pieces of plaster free from the wall as a lean man stormed in. His green eyes were blood shot, and his handsome face distorted into an angry sneer as he kicked the table out of his way with a crash. The three leaning against it on the other side scuttled up against the wall and out of the line of fire. Ly’a rose delicate brow at Tirral as he towered over her. She calmly lowered her feet to the floor, sat up, and looked around him through the doorway, then frowned.
“Where’s my brother?”