No one plans on being a Thief, but the ones I have known, the ones who enjoy it, they never turn back” —Anonymous
In each of us two natures are at war—the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose—what we want most to be we are.” — Jekyll and Hyde
Stealing. That’s what I live for. But, it’s not what you think. I wasn’t orphaned at an early age and I never lived out on the streets stealing to survive. I was born to land-owning nobles and raised to follow the proper etiquette and social protocols of such a station. I was instructed in the art of conversation, wealth management, performance and presentation, and of course, politics. The tools of the aristocracy came quickly and easily to me. Early in life, I realized I possessed a natural charm and a strong sense of self-confidence that increased the effectiveness of these tools.
But I got bored.
By the time I reached adolescence I had mastered all the aristocratic pursuits. It was these abilities that led me to the con games, because what are street cons but politics in its raw form. At first they were for fun and entertainment, mere tricks and trademarks of street performers. But my association with street performers eventually led me to more serious tricks for more serious rewards. Lord knows I had no need for the monetary compensation, at least not at first. No, instead I was more interested in helping my new associates and practicing my new art in the field. And most importantly there was the rush. A rush so absolutely intoxicating, I knew after the first time there would be no going back!
Before long I was involved in all aspects of street thievery. Conning, pick pocketing, burglary, lock picking, and a whole host of new arts and skills were mine for the mastering. Stealing was slowly becoming my sole pursuit in life. It was the stealing that lead to murder.
Children all steal at some point in their lives, often innocently pilfering objects within their own home. Usually these objects come from the long list of things their parents prohibit them from having. Noble’s children are no different; in fact they may be worse. I was. But by the time adolescence comes along the scolding they receive tends to make most give it up. If the scolding they received upon being caught the first time wasn’t enough to scare it out of them, then the fact that they were slowly becoming an adult would.
You see, each and every child that has ever been caught with the goods has been warned, “When you are an adult, they cut your hand off for stealing.” And though that may only be true in some parts of the world, it sticks with you, and as you get closer and closer to adulthood the fear of being caught and punished grows and grows.
You will eventually get caught, there is no doubt, but being punished is up to you.
I was too addicted to the thrill to stop, but the fear did grow in me. And when it happened, losing my hand was all I could think about. “Thief!” he screamed and grabbed my wrist, his purse in my hand. “Thief!” he screamed again. My mind raced, my eyes glued to my hand that he held up in the air as he screamed, “Guard! Thief!”
Those were his last words.
Before I knew what I was doing, my free hand was drawing my dagger from his fallen body. It was not a clean kill, nor very professional, but effective nevertheless.
He died on a cold dark street in the middle of the night.
I got to keep my hand.
The purse, at this point, seemed like a superfluous bonus.
The guards responded and I was forced to take to rooftops to evade them. It wasn’t until I escaped the city and headed down the wooded trails to my family’s manor that I dared examine the contents of the purse still clutched in my hand.
What a prize! What a rush! I was ecstatic!
I saved the purse as a memento of that night. I never brandished it in town again, but I was mistaken in leaving it lying around the manor. I felt safe there. I was full of self confidence. I never suspected that my father might know the poor gentleman. Again, I was lucky to get out alive. I didn’t look back.
I thrust myself into my new career, for now it was about the money. If I was going to provide myself with the lavishness that my former family provided, I was going to have to work hard. If I had to kill someone now and then, I could do that too. Whenever it was a situation of him or me, the choice would be easy. I hadn’t yet learned to really enjoy killing—that came later.
Eventually, a thief of any real skill gains notoriety. I was exceptional! I had to find a place with less law if I was going to continue to thrive. The Southern Wastes was the obvious choice. The Wastes taught me to fight. It was in The Wastes that I learned to kill efficiently. It was in The Wastes that I really learned to enjoy killing. And it was The Wastes that taught me to be an assassin. But though I have many skills and abilities, I am first and foremost, a thief, and nothing will ever best that rush.