Thursday, February 15, 2018

Flash Fiction 290: Honor Among Thieves/3

Kimlin knew where I'd head since I had been poisoned. He waited there for me.  I hoped he wasn't trying to be discreet because he was a disgrace to the Thieves Guild.

Not that I intended for him to stay a member for much longer.

I hadn't taken in much of the poison, and I wondered if I would survive without help.  That wasn't the kind of gamble I liked to practice.  I headed in the opposite direction of Lady Yeti's place.  My head pounded worse, and I could no longer use my right arm -- so yeah, time to get help.

The alley I wanted held an odor so rank that most people avoided it.  The smell was one of Yeti's potions and once a couple yards into the area, it disappeared.  At what looked like the end of the alley I had to push aside a part of a wooden wall and slide between two buildings.  Tight fit.  I suspected Kimlin couldn't have made it.

I pulled the wood back -- and then rested.  Not my idea, but suddenly everything went black, and in one heartbeat I thought I would die.  Just die.
I came back awake with a start.  A hand rested on my shoulder, long fingers curling so tight I thought they were claws digging into my skin.  I reached awkwardly for my knife --

"I sensed someone coming through here and waited," Lady Yeti whispered in my ear.  I stopped reaching for the weapon.  "And with Kimlin prowling outside my home, I suspected it would be one of the Guild.  Not you, though, Sinton."

"Poison," I whispered.

"I gathered that.  Lean on me."

Lady Yeti might intend to help me or to kill me.  I couldn't know, but she was still the only help I could reach.  I leaned on her.

I tried to keep track of what she did; that was just habit for me, though.  I didn't try too hard....

I awoke in a bed in Lady Yeti's house.  I had been here before, though not in such a dangerous situation. Light streamed through the cracks between heavy curtains; I had survived the night.

I couldn't breathe very well.  I tried to sit up and failed to even lift my head.  Panic swept through me, and my body twitched.  I fought for control and tried to sit up again.

I ended up rolling off the bed and hitting the floor.  Hard.

Lady Yeti came into the room, knelt beside me and bowed so that she almost rested her head on the floor to look him in the face.

"Happy now, are you?"  she asked.

"I -- I can't say that I am," I admitted.  "But I did move."


I didn't argue.  I was able to help when she got me back up into bed which made me feel much better.  Lady Yeti looked pleased.

"Since I wasn't certain you'd wake at all, I'm not going to lecture you on moving too soon," she said as she twitched back a corner of the curtain, letting in more light.  "Don't worry.  Kimlin and his people stopped watching my place yesterday."

"Yesterday?" I said, startled.  "How long?"

"Three days," she replied.  I saw her frown as she pushed back strands of her wild, golden hair.

"Well damn," I said.  "That's going to be a problem at the guild.  But thank you."

"And that, Sinton,  is why I take the time to bother with you," she replied. "You do your best not to be rude.  That really does mean a lot, Sinton."

"All rude does is create more enemies," I said.  "I save it for those I really don't want to deal with again.  I'm afraid, Lady, that I didn't think about payment when I left the guild house.  After this long, I'm not sure I'll be able to go back to my old life.  I will pay you as soon as I can, though."

She nodded and didn't look at all bothered, even though three days of magical care and potions must have run up quite a bill.

"You want to pay me back?" she said and leaned closer until I stared into her light gray eyes.  I felt a chill because I could see the magic there that I tried my best to ignore at other times.  "You get better, Sinton. Then you get that stupid bastard Kimlin out of control of the guild.  He is going to ruin things for everyone on the underside of the law if he isn't stopped."

"Kimlin is in charge?" I said, startled.  "Already?"

"I don't know all the facts," she said as she helped me sit up.  I was surprised she knew any -- but it pointed to the guild not being as discreet as it should be.  Not a surprise if Kimlin had taken over.  "I heard that he took the leadership in the evening after you disappeared.  Rumor says that he did so with the help of outsiders."

"Ah.  Well.  That maybe makes sense.  Otherwise, I'd have to believe that everyone went stupid and we try to weed that out before it's a problem.  Has Kimlin said anything about what happened to me?  Do you know?"

"Yes," she said.  I could tell from her frown this was not going to be good.  "Kimlin says he caught you making a deal with a Captain of the Guard to turn in certain guild members for the rewards.  He says he killed you both and the bodies fell into the river.  The body of the captain has been recovered, along with a partial list of names and locations.  I suspect your 'body' will turn up later.  Or, if you show up, he'll point out the wound and say you somehow survived."

"Yeah, someone is helping Kimlin," I said and shook my head in disbelief.  "He isn't bright enough to pull together something this complex.  I'm going to have a hard time getting back into power.  I need Darkin."

I hoped he had survived.

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