Flash Friday 04/01/2013: Wile of a Reptile
This flash friday will be a little different, given that this is set in Autyre, the world which I am building for my humour fantasy works (Baldwin lives in it, as well as The Rogues in an upcoming novel). Exciting stuff!
The stall was seeing slow business today, but it was to be expected when setting up shop with the Thieves Guild. Located in a cavern deep below the earth, only those initiated with the ways of the rogue were allowed to receive the knowledge of its existence let alone entrance. Funnily enough, given the Thieves Guild’s rules and regulations about fellow thieves and allied merchants, the Thieves Guild market had the lowest crime rate in Autyre. It’s what kept Gavin coming back with his enchanted trinkets; no need to keep an eye out for snatching hands.
The slow business was interrupted — thankfully — by a man approaching the stall. Gavin could see from his tall frame and black hair that Leon — a well-respected thief with many years of experience behind him — was paying him a visit. Alongside him, approximately four foot tall and looking minute compared to Leon, was a figure robed in brown.
“Hail, Gavin,” Leon said, waving a leather-gloved hand. “I trust nobody is giving you trouble?”
“Huh? Oh, nay. Everyone’s too frightened of you comin’ out under their beds if they so much try to haggle with me. Put the fear of somethin’ within them, you did.”
“It’s what has to be done for such fine folk as you to sell to us. If all the merchants were stripped clean by the mere presence of the guild, we’d have nobody to turn to.”
“Too right. What’ll it be?”
“Oh. Yes, how rude of me. I haven’t introduced my friend here. Snork, you can show your face now. Let the nice man see it.”
Gavin turned to see the reveal. The first warning sign was that the hand that came up to pull back the hood was green, scaly, and somewhat twitchy. After the hood came off, all suspicions had been confirmed. Gavin knew that weird and wonderful things happened in the Thieves Guild, but not to this extend.
“Uh, hate to question your judgement, sire,” Gavin said, eyeing Snork. “But…that’s a chameleon.”
“Good, isn’t he? Blends in with his surroundings. Very agile. Has a tongue that can snatch a gem from meters away. Still a bit feral though, I admit, but I’m making progress with him. Isn’t that right?” Gavin had never heard Leon speak like a father cooing over a baby before, but he quickly decided it didn’t suit. “Yes, you’re coming along very nicely, aren’t you? Anyway,” Leon said, speaking as if nothing happened. “I’m here to pick up a nice trinket for him. He did very well in combat and assassination training, so I think he deserves it. Don’t you?”
“Sure thing, sire,” Gavin said, his focus still not shifting from the bipedal chameleon standing in front of him. “I have this, if you’d like. Gem of Coin Hunting.” He put the blue, round crystal in front of the pair. “Give it a shake until it glows. When it does, it’ll vibrate if gold or silver is nearby. Good for pickpocketing, finding hidden stashes in burglary, the lot. Fine piece of kit, I hope you agree.”
“Very impressive, Gavin.” Leon gave the warm smile that all footpads wished they saw aimed at them once in their lives. “You constantly surprise me with your exotic wares. What about it, Snork? Does Snorky want the shiny blue gem?”
Something had clicked within Snork. Both of his eyes were locked fiercely on Gavin, with every twitch and breath monitored closely. Every second or so, at an unbelievable speed, both of the eyes would dart down to look at the gem before locking back onto Gavin. Another dart. A third. Showing off his chameleon abilities, he moved to rotating one of his eyes to the gem proper, while keeping the other on Gavin. The second eye followed to the gem. Both came back up to Gavin. Then, with the sound of material whipping in the air, a green hand shot out and snaffled the gem into the cloak.
“Snorky, bad.” Snork recoiled from the gentle slap on the head from Leon. “Bad, naughty Snork. No stealing from friends. See? See the nice man?” Leon had knelt to Snorks level and put an arm around his shoulder, his other arm pointing to Gavin. “Nice man is friend. Do you remember what we said about friends? Do we steal from them, Snork?”
Snork shook his head so rapidly, Gavin was sure it would snap off.
“Now put the gem back on the table and give the nice man the gold I gave you. There’s a good Snork.”
Snork didn’t seem too happy with the trade, with clear intention of wanting both the gem and the shiny gold coins that he had dug out from a bag on his side. After Snork had slapped a handful of coins on the table, Gavin leant forward and started counting the payment.
“One, two, two-half, two-quarters, three quarters…seems you paid me a little too much, mate. Four-quarters for a three-quarters item, one over.” Gavin didn’t have much time to push the gold coin back to Snork before a thin, pink tongue shot out and attached itself to the coin, zipping it from under Gavin’s finger. He only just managed to catch a flash of gold disappearing into Snorks mouth, accompanied with a smile.
“Don’t worry,” Leon said. “He already knows what happens when he swallows. Come on Snork, let’s try a spot of pick-pocketing now. I’m sure with that tongue of yours, you’d make a fine thief.” With a guiding hand on Snork’s back, Leon left Gavin’s stall and walked towards the training grounds of aspiring burglars and cutpurses.
“Suppose I should bring a jar of flies next time,” Gavin said to nobody in particular.