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Out and about, doing a little scouting in Zento, I stumble upon a familiar face as he runs around the city.
Back at the gate, he finds what he was looking for.
Enter Winfred of CWS (and the White Council Alliance).
I don't know what gift Altholus was talking about (Winfred already had a coupon), but I already spotted what I liked.
Now this is an interesting moment.
Let's take a minute to ponder this thought.
There are two main categories when it comes to proper townie stealing techniques: Naked Townie Stealing and Over-Burdened Townie Stealing.
There are pros and cons when it comes to each, but when it comes time to steal, you have to pick one or the other. With the bank a short jog away and a 10 stone runic hammer in front of me, naked stealing was tempting... but it's the incorrect answer. If my instincts were right (and they usually are), with the healer's hut just around the corner and no one else around, I'd have at least two chances to steal the very heavy hammer instead of one.
In this situation, the Over-Burdened Townie Thief has 2 times the chance of success.
Fully geared and with my backpack filled with random junk off the floor (in addition to a fully prepped trapped crate), the two-minute criminal flag was feeling shorter and shorter.
I make my move.
Winfred loots first and... Altholus joins in. (Oh, really.)
I take the verbal beating in stride.
(I wasn't through with them yet.)
Altholus dodges a bullet.
Next, it was Winfred.
(Also, still standing.)
Winfred is equally dazzled as they take more care (and take more time) sifting through the rest.
(Thanks for noticing.)
My criminal flag wanes, the two victorious thief looters laugh it up, and I go back for more.
Completely naked, with no health or mana, I stealth over as fast as humanly possible. With the Runic Hammer still in my sights, I don't bother snooping a second time.
If Winfred were smart, the hammer would either be in her hand (out of my reach) or it would have a Siege blessing already tagged on it (out of my domain).
If she were smart.
(Not this time.)
Surprisingly, Altholus (the thief) offers up my loot (a thief's loot) to Winfred (the non-thief).
I go to bank my loot and it looks like they were going to do the same.
I take my bracelet back.
Altholus: I got a ring.
Altholus: There are only regs in the bag.
Altholus: I'd give them to you, but you can't carry it.
*eyeballs copy of "Thieve's Guild Code"*
(You're unfit to carry this around, ye fraud.)
Winfred heads north and I have her on tracking. After changing into wolf form, half-way out of the Zento city limits I lose my quarry.
I circle around back and it looked like Altholus had been talking to thin air attempting to make a deal.
Maybe it was all an act after all. For all I knew, he was in the middle of a long con and he couldn't break his cover (no matter what) as long as his victim/friend was around. With the non-thief long gone, perhaps the code-breaking man in front of me was ready to put away the facade and talk to me straight.
I hear what he has to say.
"I wouldn't just sit and watch a fellow thief get looted."
(Says the man who offered my crate and bag to his non-thief friend -- not once, but twice -- in the past 5 minutes.)
(That explains a lot.)
Everything he says is a lie. What I see before me is just an act. He wanted something and he's playing me. He didn't care about The Code, he was just playing me for the hammer in return.
I hand back his stolen book in "good faith."
(I had another copy at home, picked up from Luna's floor 2 days ago.)
Altholus: The Barter Town guards aren't doing their jobs.
(Ah, small talk about my town. Go straight for the heart. Soften me up. Well played... sort of. Actually, the Barter Town guards are doing just fine. They were just sitting back and observing you during your last visit.)
(He continues to butter me up.)
(I get this conversation back on track and to the point.)
The ultimate test.
I'm a thief and you're a thief. Loot was lost during a steal and you're here to return it to me -- no questions asked.
Altholus: Here is your crate and bag.
Altholus: It's all I got off your corpse.
(Says the man who has my nice ring in his back pocket.)
(The same ring I looted off a dead man a few days earlier.)
I gladly gobble up my belongings.
(Says the non-thief.)
(That and the fact that his pants are on fire.)
(His bullshit is overwhelming.)
I excuse myself from his presence and go home. I had all the information I needed.
Altholus, a man who carrys a watered down version of The Code with him at all times, but in reality, it's just a prop -- it's for RP purposes only. If there's something he wants from another thief, he'll take it -- he only follows The Code when it's convenient. He's unfamiliar with many stealing tactics, he fraternizes with non-thieves (the enemy), and he still has a conscience when it comes to "stealing from the poor."
(I beat mine to death years ago.)
It sounds to me that he's just a filthy crate thief... but I sense promise in the air. I get an odd feeling that he wants to break out of his shell. Unfortunately for him, he's got to choose between The Real Code and his non-thief friends. Whether he wants to admit it or not, they're mutually exclusive and you can't have it both ways. Anyone who tells you otherwise is being their true self with one group and putting on an act with the other group -- whether they know they're doing it or not.
His act had cracks and after 11 days of reconnoissance, it had become blatantly apparent.
*opens a copy of The Real Code, which was written over a decade ago*
The "Thieve's Guide Code" he carried with him was just a prop. The "Foot Licking Coupon" was his true self. He was "playing a thief" instead of actually being a thief. He may have been on the fence but he was going to have to choose. Until then, henceforth, he is to be Killed on Sight (KOS) and Stolen on Sight (SOS) by every thief in the land.
(And so the good book says.)
'Til next time!
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