Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Cerulean Blossom of Death, Pt. II

Fewer than a handful of Traelwyn's most adept Guild thieves knew anything about the Cerulean Blossom of Death. Pudge was unequivocally NOT numbered amongst those Master Thieves. To put a fine point on it, Pudge was not even a member of the Traelwyn Thieves Guild. This was not so much from a lack of trying but, more specifically, from a lack of succeeding.

On eight separate occasions, once yearly as allowed, Pudge had undertaken the Guild's Rites of Admission. In Pudge's defense, it was a very demanding challenge. The Guild had maintained impressively high standards for nearly a millennium with no variation. Three out of every five supplicants failed to gain their Thieves' Ring on the first try.

Pudge held a rather dubious honor amongst the ranks of Guild hopefuls. He was the only individual to have failed at every single skill tested on each of his eight embarassingly dismal attempts. Pudge suspected the only reason the Masters continued allowing him to try was for his demonstrated ability to provide guaranteed comedic entertainment.

Though this was a bitter pill to swallow, Pudge was, inconceivably, undaunted in his commitment to become a Guild thief. He currently made his living, albeit a rather squalid and unprofitable one, as a freelance thief. To do such a thing was, normally, unheard of.

To work in ANY Guild town, let alone in the very shadow of the Guild's home tower, without credentials was to establish a true barrier to a long and happy life. It could only result in a slow, messy and painful death of nearly legendary gruesomeness. Guild Enforcers were not known for their kind or gentle nature.

Pudge owed his continued existence to the careful choice of which jobs he undertook. You see, Pudge only accepted contracts that absolutely NO Guild thief could or would take under any circumstances....EVER. He was, quite simply, the Thief of Last Resort in Traelwyn.

The Guild leaders saw no need to task an Enforcer to neutralize Pudge. If he were more skilled or more often successful, then he might constitue a threat to them. As was, his activities were more likely to see him in the hands of the City Guard or killed by a disgruntled client. Either eventuality was acceptable to the Masters.

Crouched in the bushes and shivering, Pudge suspected things were about to go very badly for him. The Cerulean Blossom of Death?!? He had NO idea what such a thing could be used for but it certainly didn't sound benign. I mean, he wasn't being asked to steal the Cerulean Blossom of Sunshine and Lollypops was he?

He was realistic enough to know that he was far too commited to this job to just quit. The mage had made it abundantly clear that failure was NOT an option. Pudge was not convinced that the consequences of success were likely much better.

It was, on nights just such as this, that Pudge seriously considered moving back home to his parents. Suddenly, the life of an apprentice confectioner didn't sounds so bad. Truth be told, he seemed to be physically predisposed to such a career. After all, It wasn't as if he was known as "Pudge" for his trim and muscular physique.

For now, his exit strategy and his career planning were in Limbo. There was still the matter of a certain Cerulean Blossom of Death to be dealt with.

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