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Thread: Kleptomaniac - Chapter Seven

  1. #1
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: SC, USA

    Kleptomaniac - Chapter Seven

    Chapter Seven -- The City's Lost And So Are We

    After an hour or so of scrambling through first the Old Quarter and then the more civilized parts of The City, Garrotte and his two captors reached a small back alley littered with crates and old broken down carts and useless bits of machinery. They moved swifly around the piles of junk until they came to a set of stone steps going down to a basement door below street level. Quince opened the door and shoved Garrotte into a dark room. A candle was lit and the door was closed and locked.

    Garrotte looked at his surroundings as the men busied themselves lighting candles to illuminate the windowless room. The room was full of junk except for one small area that had been cleared away. This area looked as if it had been converted into makeshift living quarters. It contained a table and some chairs and a couple of cots.

    "Where are we?" asked Garrotte sheepishly.

    "Shut up," ordered Quince. "You don't need to know where we are. Sit down over there."

    "What are you gonna do with me?" asked Garrotte.

    "I said sit down!" yelled Quince as he shoved Garrotte toward the chair. Garrotte sat down. Quince found some rope and began tying Garrotte to the chair with it.

    "Hey!" exclaimed Garrotte. "What are you doing?!"

    "This is so you don't escape," said Quince.

    "You can't do this to me!" exclaimed Garrotte. "I'm a master thief!"

    Quince found a piece of cloth and used it to gag Garrotte, who continued making muffled protests.

    "Shut up I say!" ordered Quince as he slapped Garrotte upside the head. Garrotte fell silent and stared at the men with fearful eyes.

    "I don't see why we needed to bring him here in the first place," complained Jacow. "Why don't we just kill him like we were hired to do?"

    "I told you, Jacow," snapped Quince. "We need him in case that Keeper or more of his kind come looking for us. He's our bargaining chip. The Keepers will do anything to keep this guy alive."

    "Why?" asked Jacow.

    "Because he's supposed to fulfill some prophecy of theirs," answered Quince.

    "But why would the Keepers come looking for us?" asked Jacow. "Didn't you say that Rimaldo guy was trapped inside that building?"

    "The Keepers are very resourceful," replied Quince. "Rimaldo escaped that sliding wall trap once. He probably did it again. The main reason I had him trigger that trap was to buy us time to escape the Old Quarter."

    "Yeah, but we closed up that buidling," said Jacow. "How's he gonna get out? He can't open the door from the inside."

    "I wouldn't be too sure of that," said Quince. "The Keepers built that place. Who knows what kind of secret passages or exits they built into that place. And I wouldn't doubt he knows a way to open that door."

    "So you're saying Rimaldo escaped and is looking for us," said Jacow in irritation. "Well, that's just great."

    "I'm saying he may have escaped," said Quince. "We don't know for sure. Besides, even if he did die in that building, his Keeper friends will notice his disappearance and start investigating. If they know he hired us to kill this guy, they'll start looking for us to get some answers."

    "I don't like this," complained Jacow. "I don't like it one bit. We don't need to make enemies of the Keepers. You should've just done what we were hired to do and left it at that."

    "I saw an opportunity and I took it!" exclaimed Quince. "In case you haven't noticed, trying to make a decent living as independent assassins isn't working. I mean look at this dump! This is no way to live! I want something better for my life, and this secret Keeper treasure is the ticket! If we can get our hands on it we'll be richer than all the wardens in this city put together. We'll never have to work again!"

    "And what makes you think the Keepers will let us keep the treasure?" argued Jacow.

    Quince smiled, pointed at Garrotte, and said, "If they want him alive, they'll do anything we tell 'em. Once we have the treasure, we can leave this stinkin' city - make a new life for ourselves overseas somewhere where the Keepers won't find us."

    "How do you know there's treasure in this ... this ... what is this place we're going to anyway?" asked Jacow.

    "It looks like some kind of underground complex," said Quince as he spread some maps and documents on a table. "There's some weird markings on this map - looks like some kind of ancient writing. This place must be far older than The City itself."

    "And you say this place is under The City?" asked Jacow. "How are we gonna find it?"

    "This keystone," said Quince as he pulled the keystone from his cloak and placed it on the table, then grabbed another map. "Look at this map. There's a mark here where the canal is. There must be a secret door or something that this keystone opens."

    Jacow picked up one of the documents labeled M7MAPHAK.STR and began reading: "Soon this will be a cool-looking map. Stay tuned!"

    Jacow looked at Quince and said, "What does that mean?"

    "I guess somebody was gonna make a better map of the place," answered Quince.

    "So, when are we going after this treasure?" asked Jacow.

    "Tomorrow night," said Quince. "We'll hole up in here and get some rest before then. And when we go we'll take the thief with us just in case we run into any Keepers down in that underground place."

  2. #2
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: UK

  3. #3
    Registered: Jan 2000
    Location: near Godzilla's playground
    *snicker* yay, new chapter! I wonder how they manage to get Garotte underwater to the Lost City though. *pictures them riding down the river and waterfall on innertubes*
    Quote Originally Posted by Gingerbread Man View Post
    What we've got is a pretty erudite membership with a very low tolerance for bullshit and a razor-sharp way of making displeasure abundantly apparent.

  4. #4
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Brossard, Québec, Canada
    Thanks man, thanks.

    Do you like my new AtTiTuDe? It's called POSITIVE thinking!!! I had so much bottled rage, I'd snap if you looked at me the wrong way!

  5. #5
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: Thunder Bay, On., Canada

  6. #6
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: SC, USA
    Rimaldo peeked out the window of the second-floor room he had taken over soon after arriving in this bustling little neighborhood in the Downtowne Quarter. The afternoon sun was hovering over the rooftops across the street. He could see two men below - dressed in merchant's clothes - milling about on a platform built over a dead-end section of the canal. The men were Keepers, but that was evident only to a fellow Keeper like himself. They were looking into the canal - looking to see if the secret door leading to the Lost City had been opened.

    Rimaldo had checked the secret door earlier. It was the first thing he'd done after he had escaped from the Keeper's Grotto in the Old Quarter. Once he saw that the secret door was closed, he knew that the assassins hadn't yet entered the Lost City. They would try to do so sooner or later, so he found a vacant room overlooking the secret door and waited.

    During his wait, he composed a coded message and paid one of the street urchins to deliver it to a certain man who lived nearby. The man was in fact a confidant of Keeper Bracheus - the leader of the faction who believed Garrotte to be the prophesied one. Rimaldo knew that his message would very soon find its way into Bracheus' hands.

    In his message, Rimaldo had explained about the assassins, the kidnapping of Garrotte, the stolen keystone, the magic sword ... The message had the desired effect, as Rimaldo began seeing evidence of a small force of pro-Garrotte Keepers covertly taking positions on the street below - waiting for anyone attempting to enter the Lost City.

    "So, you've come over to our side, have you?" asked a voice behind him. Rimaldo whirled around to see Keeper Bracheus himself standing near the door.

    "I didn't hear you come in," said Rimaldo.

    Bracheus smiled and said, "You weren't meant to."

    "I see that some of your colleagues are here as well," said Rimaldo as he nodded toward the street.

    "We're setting up an ambush for the assassins," said Bracheus. "I expect they'll try to enter the Lost City tonight. They'll probably have Garrotte with them."

    "I agree," said Rimaldo. "With your men in place we can take out the assassins without any harm coming to Garrotte. They won't know what hit them until it's too late."

    "Yes," said Bracheus. "And we'll try not to make too much of a mess in the process."

    Rimaldo laughed at that and said, "You're always a stickler for cleanliness."

    "Aren't we all," said Bracheus. "By the way, where's that magic sword?"

    Rimaldo looked at Bracheus a moment, then said, "I know what you're thinking. You suspect that this might be all a ruse - that I might be only pretending to be on your side."

    "The thought had crossed my mind," said Bracheus.

    Rimaldo smiled, then brought out the sword from beneath his cloak.

    "And this sword has ... changed you? Made you see the truth about Garrotte's role in the prophecy?" asked Bracheus.


    "Then you must know that Garrotte will need that sword in order to fulfill the prophecy."

    Rimaldo stared at Bracheus as the ramifications of that statement flashed through his mind, then asked, "What do you intend to do with me, then?"

    "We need you for the time being," said Bracheus. "If I or any of my faction were to touch that sword, it might turn the one who touched it into an enemy of Garrotte, just as it turned you into a friend of Garrotte. You are the only one who can be entrusted with the sword for now. However, you must eventually surrender the sword to Garrotte, and when you do ... you will become an enemy."

    Rimaldo rubbed his brow as he considered this conundrum, then said, "It's always something, isn't it? Are you sure there is no other way? Perhaps Garrotte will fulfill the prophecy without the sword."

    "Do you honestly believe that Garrotte could go up against the Trixta and his minions without that sword?" asked Bracheus. "No, that sword is the only thing that will transform Garrotte into a true master thief - a man of unsurpassed skill in both stealth tactics and cleanliness. Only such a man can go up against the Trixta."

    "Well then, how about if we break the sword in two and give half to me and half to Garrotte?" asked Rimaldo.

    "Breaking the sword might also break its power," answered Bracheus. "We cannot take that chance."

    "There must be another way," insisted Rimaldo. "Maybe if I tried really hard to hate Garrotte now, I will like Garrotte once I let go of the sword."

    "Do you think you can do that?" asked Bracheus.

    "It's worth a try," said Rimaldo. He then gathered up all his concentration, clinched his fist tightly, and began repeating to himself: "I hate Garrotte. I hate Garrotte. I hate Garrotte. I HATE GARROTTE! I HATE GARROTTE! I HATE GARROTTE!"

    "Is it working?" asked Bracheus.

    Rimaldo sighed and answered, "Not really. Garrotte's such a likeable guy despite his clumsiness."

    "Yeah, I know what you mean," said Bracheus. "Hey! I've got an idea! Why don't I try to hypnotize you to hate Garrotte."

    "Can you do that?" asked Rimaldo hopefully.

    "Sure I can!" said Bracheus. "Besides being an expert on stealth and detergents, I happen to be a pretty good hypnotist. Just the other day I hypnotized Keeper Kragus and had him rolling around in the mud. It was a riot!"

    "Well then, let's do it!" exclaimed Rimaldo, who took a seat in a nearby chair. "I'm ready."

    Bracheus took out a gold watch from his pocket and held it up by its chain. He began swinging the watch back and forth as Rimaldo concentrated intently on its motion.

    "Listen to my voice, Keeper Rimaldo," began Bracheus. "Concentrate on my voice. You are beginning to feel a deep resentment toward Garrotte. A burning hatred. A deep and unremitting contempt for Garrotte. You can't stand the guy. You hate his guts. You no longer believe he is the prophesied one. You hate him so much you want to see him dead. You hate Garrotte. You hate Garrotte. When I count to three and snap my fingers, you will allow yourself to feel your deep hatred for Garrotte. One ... two ... three."

    Bracheus snapped his fingers. Rimaldo blinked as if he had just emerged from a trance.

    "Well?" asked Bracheus.

    Rimaldo looked up at Bracheus as a smile began to spread across his face. Then his sword arm darted out at lightning speed. Startled, Bracheus looked down to see the magic sword impaling his abdomen. Rimaldo withdrew the sword, and Bracheus clutched his wound with both hands.

    "I ... forgot ... to ... tell ... you ... to ... let ... go ... of ... the ... sword ... before ... snapping ... my ..."

    Bracheus fell over dead.

    Rimaldo wiped off the blade of the magic sword, then said, "I hate Garrotte, and I shall kill him."

  7. #7
    Registered: Feb 1999
    Woohoo! You're back, LC!

  8. #8
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: SC, USA
    The evening daylight was fading as Quince returned to the basement hideout carrying a bundle of clothes with him. Jacow was busy preparing their gear for the expedition into the Lost City. Garrotte was sleeping fitfully - still tied to his chair. Quince shut the door, walked over to the table, and dumped the clothes on it.

    "About time you got back," commented Jacow.

    "I had some business to attend to," said Quince.

    "What business?" asked Jacow. "And what's with all those clothes?"

    "I've been thinking," answered Quince. "If Rimaldo did escape that grotto, chances are he's staked out the entrance to that underground complex - waiting in ambush for us."

    Jacow sighed and said, "Well, that's just great. We should've entered that complex last night while we had a head start. Maybe I oughta go down there and scope the place out - see if anybody's lying in wait."

    "No," said Quince. "You're not going to be able to spot a Keeper if he's down there waiting for us. They're masters at being unseen."

    "So what are we gonna do? I tell you, Quince, I don't like this. I think we should just forget the whole thing. It's too risky. Let's just kill the thief and get out of this city."

    "And what would we do then?" countered Quince. "I'm telling you, Jacow, this is the chance of a lifetime. When we pull this off we'll be rich beyond belief. We'll be set for life."

    "How are we gonna pull this off if we're ambushed by a Keeper we can't even see?" argued Jacow.

    "We're gonna draw him out into the open - if he is indeed waiting for us," said Quince. "You might say that we're going to arrange a counter-ambush."

    "What do you mean?" asked Jacow.

    "You remember Benny, Tommel, and Vos?"

    "Yeah, they used to work for Webster," answered Jacow. "I never liked those guys much."

    "Me neither," said Quince, "but I ran into them today at the pub, and they've agreed to help us out."

    "How? You didn't tell them about the Keeper's treasure did you?" asked Jacow.

    "Oh no," replied Quince. "We're not sharing that treasure with anybody. I just told them that we're arranging a little double-cross and needed their help."

    "What are you talking about?" asked Jacow.

    "I told them that we were hired to assassinate this guy, but the guy we were going to kill offered us triple the amount we were getting paid if we assassinated the guy who hired us to assassinate him."

    Jacow scratched his head, then said, "I don't understand."

    "So, I told them we'd arranged a meeting with the guy that hired us tonight at the canal, but that we're really intending to kill him. I told them we needed them to pretend to be us so that we could hide in the shadows and pick off the client when he showed up for the meeting. I told them we'd give them a cut of the payment if they'd help us."

    "I don't get it," said Jacow.

    "See, I needed to make up some kind of story to explain to Benny, Tommel, and Vos why they'd be hanging around the canal tonight pretending to be us."

    "I still don't get it," said Jacow.

    "Don't you see? We get Benny, Tommel, and Vos to show up at the canal tonight pretending to be you, me, and the thief. If the Keeper is waiting in ambush, he'll attack them instead of us."

    "Ahhhh," said Jacow, but then on second thought said, "I still don't get it."

    "When the Keeper sees them, he'll attack the two pretending to be us and attempt to rescue the one pretending to be the thief. When that happens, he'll expose himself as a target. I'll be waiting on a rooftop to pick him off with an arrow."

    "And where will I be?" asked Jacow.

    "Waiting with the thief a couple of blocks away," replied Quince. "Once I shoot the Keeper, I'll give you the all-clear signal, and we can enter that underground complex after we dump the bodies in the canal."

    "This seems awfully complicated to me," said Jacow. "You sure it will work?"

    "Hey, it's better than being ambushed by that Keeper ourselves, isn't it?"

    "I guess so," said Jacow. "But how did you explain the thief to Benny and the others?"

    "I told 'em that we recently acquired a new partner," replied Quince.

    "And what if the Keeper never escaped the grotto and no one's waiting to ambush us?" asked Jacow.

    "Then I'll tell 'em that our client didn't show and send them on their merry way," answered Quince. "Then we'll enter the complex after they've left."

    "I don't know about this," said Jacow.

    "Have you got a better plan?" asked Quince.

    "I still think we should forget the whole thing," said Jacow.

    "You're not getting all scared on me, are you?" taunted Quince. "That's not the Jacow I know."

    "Alright, I'm with you," said Jacow. "This had better work is all I'm saying."

    "Good," said Quince as he began to undress. "Now get out of your clothes, and get that thief out of his clothes. We'll need to give our clothes to Benny and the others if they're to pretend to be us."

    "What are we gonna wear, then?" asked Jacow.

    Quince pointed to the pile of clothes he had dumped on the table, then said, "Hurry, Benny and the others will be here soon, and I want you and the thief outta here by then."

  9. #9
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: SC, USA
    A little while later there was a knock at the door. Quince opened it and saw Vos and Tommel standing on the landing outside.

    "Where's Benny?" asked Quince.

    "Benny went and got himself drunk," said Vos. "Blasted fool's always getting himself drunk. We told him to stay sober for the job tonight, but he never listens to us."

    "This is no good," said Quince in irritation. "We need three people for this to work."

    "Relax," said Vos. "We brought along Lambert to replace Benny. You remember Lambert?"

    Quince peeked out the doorway toward the top of the stairs where Lambert was standing. Lambert waved at him in greeting.

    "Alright," sighed Quince. "Come inside."

    The three entered the basement room and looked around. Quince closed the door, then directed them to a pile of clothes on a table.

    "Those are the clothes you need to wear," said Quince.

    "Where's Jacow and your new partner?" asked Vos as the men began changing clothes.

    "They're down at the canal setting up the ambush," replied Quince.

    "This guy that's coming to meet us - he doesn't suspect anything?" asked Lambert.

    "No," answered Quince. "He thinks he's coming to pay us for what he hired us to do."

    "Poor sucker," said Vos. "You guys really are devious - killing the guy that hired you to kill somebody else. I hope you don't decide to kill us too."

    "Don't be ridiculous," said Quince. "We're killing this guy because his enemy's paying us good money to do it."

    The men finished changing. Quince looked them over and said, "Good. The three of you look like me, Jacow, and our new partner. Just remember - keep your hoods on at all times. As long as you wear your hoods, the target won't be able to tell that you all are not who you appear to be. Got it?"

    "Got it," replied Vos. "And we expect to get paid after this little masquerade is all over."

    "Don't worry," said Quince. "You'll get what's coming to you."

  10. #10
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Germany

    Wow, a new chapter. Great work, as always

  11. #11
    New Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Phoenix, AZ

    Definitely worth the wait, LC. Good job!
    Guinness, it's not just for breakfast anymore!

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Registered: Dec 2000
    Location: Hell on Earth

    You rock, my friend!

  14. #14
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Finland

    The Man is Back! Finally!

  15. #15
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: College!! Baton Rouge, LA
    Great work as always, Lone Coyote. Thanks!

  16. #16
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Toronto
    I wonder what would happen if the Trixta got his hands on the sword... he'd probably start reciting Hammer scripture.

    Only LC can create so many 'what if' situations. Thanks for the excellent work!

  17. #17
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: The East Coast, Canada

  18. #18
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Wow.. I am new here and this Kleptomania story totally blew my mind off.. Good work Lone Coyote!!!

  19. #19
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: yo mama


    I just finished reading the chapters, and now I have a craving for chocolate.

  20. #20
    Registered: Jul 2003
    Great stories!

  21. #21
    Registered: Jul 2003
    Location: Australia


    Funny stuff LC!

    Great work!

    BTW: What does 'Bump' mean?

  22. #22
    Registered: Jan 2003
    AFAIK, bump means to bring this thread up to the top...

    as in "bump it up"

  23. #23
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: SC, USA
    Quince - dressed in the clothes of a commoner - made his way down darkened streets until he found himself in a deserted alley about two blocks away from the canal. He looked around to make sure no one was watching, then he took a small crossbow from the weathered leather pouch at his side. He also took out a small rope arrow and readied it in the crossbow. He aimed for a wooden beam high above.

    A few moments later he was creeping across the rooftops. He carefully made his way to a place overlooking the canal - keeping low to avoid being spotted.

    If that Keeper's here, he's probably hiding somewhere at street level, thought Quince. I'll keep my head down until I hear a commotion below.

    It wasn't long until he heard footsteps coming down the street. He took a peek and saw Vos, Tommel, and Lambert walking toward the canal. The three men came to a stop near a wooden platform built over the canal and waited - looking at each other a little nervously.

    Suddenly, Tommel stiffened as if struck by something. A half-second later, Vos stiffened as well. Both men fell dead into the canal with a loud splash.

    So, the Keeper is here, thought Quince as he readied his crossbow. Now, just step into the light, little Keeper, so I can shoot you.

    Lambert looked around in panic, then froze as he saw several black shapes emerge from the shadows. One of them called out, "Garrotte? Don't be afraid."

    Quince noticed the men approaching Lambert and thought, This isn't gonna work. I didn't count on a whole posse of Keepers.

    "Who are you?" asked Lambert fearfully.

    "It's okay, Garrotte," said the man as the shapes drew closer. "We are your friends from the Keepers. We came to rescue you from the assassins."

    "What are you talking about?" asked Lambert.

    The lead Keeper walked up to Lambert, saying, "It's okay, Garrotte, you're safe now."

    "Garrotte?" asked Lambert. "Why do you keep calling me Garrotte?"

    A look of puzzlement spread on the Keeper's face. He quickly pulled aside the hood to get a look at Lambert's face, then drew back in surprise.

    "You're not Garrotte!" exclaimed the Keeper.

    Suddenly, a crossbow bolt slammed into Lambert and he fell over dead.

    "What's going on here!" exclaimed the Keeper.

    Two other Keepers fell over - shot by arrows.

    "To arms!" shouted the lead Keeper. "It's an ambush!"

    The Keepers lept into action as Quince watched dumbstruck from a nearby rooftop. Pandemonium was breaking out on the streets below as two groups of men - all of them dressed in black garb of the Keepers - began fighting one another.

    Keepers fighting Keepers? Quince thought. It made no sense, but he decided not to stick around to figure it out. He scrambled back across the rooftop the way he came. Maybe there was some way to take advantage of this situation.

  24. #24
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: SC, USA
    "What happened?" asked Jacow anxiously.

    Quince had just entered the little shed where Jacow and Garrotte were hiding. He shut the door and leaned against it while trying to catch his breath.

    "Did you get that Keeper?" asked Jacow.

    "There wasn't just one Keeper," answered Quince. "There were a whole bunch of them, and they started fighting amongst themselves."

    "What?" asked Jacow in surprise.

    "I don't know what happened," continued Quince, "but by the time I climbed down from the roof the battle was over. They all killed each other. I went and checked. There's nothing at the canal but a bunch of dead Keepers."

    "What about Vos and the others?" asked Jacow.

    "They're dead," replied Quince. "The Keepers killed 'em."

    "What do we do now?" asked Jacow.

    "I say we go find that secret door before someone discovers all those dead bodies lying around," said Quince. "Get the thief and follow me."

    Jacow grabbed Garrotte - who had been lying face down on the floor with his hands tied behind him - and pulled him to his feet. "Let's go, thief."

  25. #25
    Muwahah, Kleptomaniac - Chapter Seven <=> Last post by LoneCoyote
    We know what that means! Moreh!

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