By Ryder Van Dyke
“HURRY! GET THAT MAN!”
Let me pause there. If I told you how many times I have heard that in my life, you wouldn’t trust me. Because it’s a lot. Well, to be fair I haven’t always been referred to as a man. I’ve heard: “SOMEBODY GRAB THAT BOY”, “STOP THAT TEENAGE HOOLIGAN”, “GET THAT SMALL THIEVING CHILD.” There has been more that I feel simply would not be appropriate to list. Safe to say, choice language has been applied to my being before.
I haven’t always been like this, you know… a dashing thief of the night. I haven’t always been an expert burgling scoundrel. I actually used to be quite bad at it.
I am constantly asked, “Why do you steal from the rich?” and well it’s quite obvious, isn’t it?
I need the money.
How else will I buy lock picks? Do you know how much it costs to bribe a guard? And don’t even get me started on the going rates for a good quality hood and cloak. The modern thief economy is in the gutter! I do what I can to get by doing what I love in an extremely lavish manner. Really, I’m a hero. You’re welcome.
The real reason you’re asking all of this is to learn how I got where I am today. Let me tell you my story. A legend of great intrigue, humor, and most of all: adventure!
But no good story begins from the beginning, that would be absurd. I’ll continue about 12/27th of the way through the tale…
The rooftops were my safe zone. If I could get on top of a building, I could get away. I could sink into the darkness of the night sky, up and out of sight of the common citizen. I could disappear in almost any circumstance.
Unfortunately, it was a bright sunny morning in the city of Markon and the guards were breathing down my neck.
But I was on the rooftops! My safe zone. Nobody could touch me up here! I was a king of the roofs. An emperor of the shingles. Not one guard could run faster than me while I was in my element. Nobody was so daring, so brave.
They grabbed me.
I know, I am as shocked as you.
We wrestled for a few seconds until I was able to pull out from under their firm hold. Skillfully, I tumbled down one side and fell on top of the wooden stall of a nearby vendor in the merchant square.
The stall crumbled underneath my might, breaking my fall. Apples and pears rolled off into the crowd as I stood up. For some reason, the merchant was furious.
First of all, it was his fault for picking a cover made of tan-colored canvas, it blended into the street! What kind of idiot would…wait, my lawyer told me not to talk about that until court. Never mind, back to the story.
I jumped up from the carnage of splintered wood and fruit, and dashed into the gathered crowd. Nobody was brave enough to even attempt to catch me! They feared what would happen, of course. Actually, most smiled and some even giggled out of glee!
They clearly recognized who I was, they know my work. They respected, as they should, the freedom that I represent. They were glad to see me escape the guards in a cunning act of bravery. They were probably even glad to see me crush the business of a capitalist fruit farmer. Truly, I was a hero of the people!
As I made my way through the crowd, I looked behind me to see the two guards that were chasing me jump down into the market. Fools. They must have forgotten that the crowds were my element.
I have a lot of elements.
Lowering my head, I hastily made my way towards the nearest alleyway. To the edge of the crowd, I noticed a small chubby child looking up at me with a half-eaten cookie in his hand and chocolate stains all over his face. Before slipping into the alley, I rustled his curly blonde hair and snatched the cookie from him. One day, he will tell his grandchildren of the day The Master thief of Markon stole his baked good. Really, it was a service to him.
Munching on the cookie, I crouched behind a barrel in the alleyway and looked into the chaos of the market. I could see the scarlet plumes of the guard’s helmets look around in confusion. They would never find me in that chaos. Once again, I had successfully evaded capture. Even better, I had acquired my treasure.
The Blackshire Family was an ancient house of silver-tongued housing entrepreneurs. They established a monopoly on inn’s within the city and are responsible for putting many smaller family businesses out of work. Their Matron was Sandra Blackshire, a cold hearted woman that would steal candy from a baby.
What a terrible woman.
Anyway, It was rumored that they had a rare magical stone capable of transforming pebbles into solid gold. My palate wet when I overheard this, I knew I had to have it.
I smirked and reached down for my satchel. But it wasn’t there. A cold shiver went over my whole body as I looked fervently around, helplessly.
In fact, I wasn’t only missing my satchel. I was STILL wearing the pink satin dress. All covered in dirt and apple mush, I was still pulling it off. Fabulous.
I looked around the alleyway for the satchel, where could I have lost it? This was supposed to be my retirement, an end to a life of petty stealing. I needed to change. With the money I would get from this rock, I could buy a ship and a crew. We could roam the ocean! We could see the world! I didn’t want to be the Master Thief of Markon anymore. I needed to change from those thieving ways.
I wanted to be the Master Pirate of the Argurian Seas! A life outside of crime.
I had to find this rock.
I hoped it wasn’t in the crowd, the rock could have fallen out, or worse… stolen. Peeking over the barrels, I peered into the ordered chaos that is the market square. The excitement had died down and vendors began calling out their goods again.
Scanning the road, I saw it. Ten feet from the destroyed fruit stall where the pot-bellied merchant was waving his fist at a couple of kids that were stealing the fallen apples.
I stood, fixed the strap on my dress, and made my way back into the crowd. Back into my element. I kept my eye out for guards as I made a beeline towards the satchel. People walked in front of me occasionally making me lose sight of it, but nothing could stop me in my element. Nothing. I was always confident while in my element.
I lost sight of it for a second and freaked out, questioning my life choices.
There it was! Kicked by a passerby but not much further away. Speeding up, I gained distance and pushed one or two people in my way.
I am the Master Thief of Markon, I do what I please.
Coming up to it, I bent down and grabbed it quickly before it was kicked again. Slinging the strap over my shoulder, I checked inside to make sure the stone was there. Underneath a pile of lock picks, two fake mustaches, and a twig, I saw it. The emerald stone, not much larger than an egg, glinted up at me. As if it was smiling back at me. I’ll never forget that magical wink.
“Mommy? Why is that man wearing a dress?”
I looked up, and suddenly became very conscious of the fact that I was standing alone with a circle of onlookers watching me. The question came from the curly haired child from only moments ago. He was holding a woman’s hand with his finger pointed at me.
Before I could say anything, I heard the pot-bellied merchant yell out, “Wait, a man in a dress? That’s him! GUARDS!!”
Through the crowd of onlookers, two guards emerged and grabbed me roughly.
“Are you serious? How did that kid see me? I have such a high Stealth skill!”- Tyler
“You rolled a natural one Tyler, On a twenty-side die, that’s literally the worst number you could have rolled.” – Dungeon Master
“He’s right Tyler, you rolled terribly. Also you’re a man wearing a dress in the middle of a market, how did you not expect to be noticed.”- Mario
“I thought Markon was diverse and open to that sort of thing. Besides, I’m the Master Thief of Markon!”- Tyler
“You’re level two.”- Dungeon Master
*If you’d like to make stories like this one with your friends, join the Dungeons & Dragons club here at Montreat College! There are many more whacky tales to be told.*