Raven, Chapter 7-b

Gracefully, the lady settled herself into the seat and settled her gloved hands in her lap. She was every inch a lady. Regal and poised, she looked only slightly uncomfortable to be sitting before one of the infamous Thief Lords. But if she wanted something illegal done, this was what she had to do.

“I was very pleased with your work last time,” the lady began, her eyes shifting from Raven to Aven as she spoke. “I have need of your services again.”

“Of course, Lady Almi,” Raven said smoothly, professionally. “What can we do for you?”

“Lord Sarlik has stolen my husband’s seed of magic. I seek revenge. I want his daughter’s jewel setting. It is quite beautiful. It’s a shame the girl never uses magic. So, I want it. The girl clearly has no use for it.”

“And what does this jewel setting look like? I need to know what it looks like if I am to make sure I steal the right one.”

Lady Almi hesitated. “I’ve only seen the thing once. I believe it’s a necklace. A golden chain. It has a ruby droplet hanging from it and a space in the drop for the seed. There’s gold filigree all around the drop and its base is set in a bed of emerald leaves spotted with diamonds.”

Raven nodded, making no comment on the lady’s detailed description of something she reportedly only saw once. “It does sound beautiful. I suppose it’s in the girl’s bedroom?”

“Most likely,” Lady Almi replied, appearing a little more at ease as she settled into the chair.

“All right, then, Lady Almi, I will take the job. You know my price?”

The woman hesitated again, a shoulder twitching slightly. Raven inwardly sighed. For a lady who strode in so confidently, she didn’t seem so sure of herself now.

“A thousand in gold coins to the City Guard,” Raven gently reminded her. “That will provide protection for my following and me for the next three weeks. In addition, I request five gold coins now and five when the job is done.”

Lady Almi pursed her lips, but apparently was prepared. She reached into an interior pocket in her cloak and pulled out a handful of coins. Counting them out, she placed them one by one on Raven’s desk. Satisfied, Raven nodded and swept them up, dumping them into a drawer.

“I’ll have the jewel setting ready for you in two days’ time. You may see me then, along with the rest of my pay. And make sure the City Guard is paid before you come to me.”

Lady Almi nodded, her lips still pursed. “Thank you, Raven. Good night.”

Raven only nodded to her as she rose and swept out of the cavern. Aven looked down at her and shook his head. She shrugged. Some of the nobility were more comfortable with her than others. She didn’t blame them.

“Well, then,” Raven said, opening up another drawer. She pulled out the maps of the Sapphire District and spread them out over her desk. “I guess it’s back to Sarlik Manor.”

“Guess so,” Aven murmured. “I hope this doesn’t get too messy, with you working for both families.”

Raven looked up at him with a raised eyebrow. “It was bound to happen, Aven. There are only four Thief Lords and numerous feuds. The odds that we’ll end up working with both families are quite high.”

He shrugged. “I suppose. So, should I send the burglars in to survey the manor?”

“May as well,” Raven said. “I have old floor plans, but people have a habit of changing things every so often. I don’t want to take the risk that my maps are out of date.”

Aven nodded. “I’ll get them sent off, then.”

Absently, Raven nodded to give her consent, her eyes focused on her maps. Aven quietly left the cavern on his silent feet, leaving the Thief Lord deep in contemplation of the maps. Her mind, though, was very far from the Sapphire District.

The Thief Lord council meeting was tomorrow night. It was a midnight meeting and would likely last well into the early hours. They always did. Raven knew she could send someone else to do this job, but she wanted to do it herself. Last night’s job had been such a rush. She wasn’t willing to relinquish those feelings yet. The job would have to wait until the following night. There was no helping it. She may be a thief, but she was a busy girl, too.



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