A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

Almost as if to answer Xara's internal calculations regarding their intent, the group closed in on the two girls by two or three steps, tightening the loosely organized ring around them enough for the pair to notice. They only stopped when the bunnygirl mentioned 'company', at which one of the members up top, along with the one trapping them in at the alley's opening, paused for but a second to look and check the verity of her claim. It would have been a window, albeit a small one, for escape, but doing so for Xara would mean missing out on the opportunity to deliver her pitch for a business proposal. After all, the group was sizeable, boasting a total of seven members, from the looks of it.

Still, their apparent hesitance was a good sign. It meant that they were listening.

Xara would find that the rest of her proposal would go on uninterrupted. By the time she finished explaining the last bit of the devious cycle, she would find the other thieves' body language to be slightly less tense. Were they at least considering it? Several glances were exchanged, but they hadn't moved in to apprehend the two girls just yet. Safiya, on the other hand, looked about ready to spring into action upon seeing any sudden movements. But none were made.

Instead, the bunnygirl would get a reply.
"Huh... you chased us all the way here just to tell us that?" asked a voice, which came from the figure just left of the original snatcher.

Then another.
"Then we get to keep this, right?" The maroon-clad thief, who had first stolen the item from Xara's first customer, finally caught their breath in time to share their thoughts in turn. "Or are you sayin' you wanna buy it off of us now for HALF the price?"


The rightmost of the trio, similarly fully shrouded in a dark green garment, assumed a most thoughtful pose. He, from the sound of his deeper voice, was one of the taller members, second only to the largest one who blocked Xara and Safiya's only escape path. Still, none of these individuals were taller than Safiya, making the petite bunnygirl seem almost normal height in comparison to the bunch.

"It's still far more than we'd manage to sell it for--she has a point. And feeding the lot of you isn't cheap by far. Still, I can't help but wonder..."

He continued. "A month, hm? That's a pretty slow cycle, unless you've got a sizable stash hiding somewhere. Are you sure that no one will catch on? I can't guarantee that we'd help you if you were found out and busted by the guard. And furthermore, you don't even know who you're dealing with, do you? People don't just come to us with these kinds of proposals. What we need is a guarantee of trust. No guardsman sting operations, no tracking or anything of the sort."
 

Hafnium

Tentacle God
Moderator
Jan 5, 2011
2,067
83
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

A hood was a wonderful tool for keeping facial tics hidden but it did nothing for eyes, and so Xara had to fight to keep hers from darting person to person as each spoke and shifted and otherwise fidgeted in the alleyway. What she needed right then was an air of complete confidence, to act as if she had no doubts at all about the outcome of their alleyway meeting. The void rabbit still didn't believe it was a mugging, if it was she reasoned that their weapons would be out, and she sincerely believed that Ilias, overprotective and completely lacking subtlety as he was, and Nadim, probably more overall useful in a situation like this, would be after her 'big sis' and her shortly. Still, she had enough doubts about what a large group of people might be able to accomplish before their cavalry arrived that there was a bit of acting left in the display she put up.

But she was an actor and a liar through and through, and so her gaze was set squarely on the last man to speak, with the assumption that he was their leader. She didn't stare disrespectfully, but she didn't avert her eyes either, instead watching him patiently with an occasional blink as he spoke. She wouldn't let her body language portray her as some sort of prey but rather as his equal. And as his equal she didn't skip a beat in her reply.

"I think the only thing to put trust in right now is the gold," she suggested nonchalantly. "We're both strangers, after all, and this is just a business proposition. It might be best if we both know as little about each other as possible and just give this a trial run to start. If either of our groups feels like the money's not worth it, we break off. If it feels like it's getting too dangerous or it's going to bring the guards down on us, we break off. And if the guards get their hands on either of our groups, the remaining one breaks ties and stays out of it. Let trust build naturally from success and good earnings between the two of us. Otherwise we end up in an endless tug of war trying to get a bit more leverage on each other so that we can feel safe in our dealings, right? And if anything I'd say you've already got a leg up on me anyway, since I'll be the one operating in the open."

She paused briefly, just to catch her breath for the lengthier version of her proposal that follows. "My suggestion is that, if we do work together, we set predesignated drop spots that both groups agree on, ones out of the way enough to make sure nobody follows either of our people without being spotted and with enough vantage points to make sure that it can be scanned for guards before sending anyone in. We can use those to leave notes on which part of the city the cart will be selling that day and to trade merchandise for coin. We set separate predesignated meeting spots for anything that needs to happen in private with the same criteria as the drop spots, but we only use those when absolutely necessary and do as little face to face talking as we can to keep each other more insulated from the threat of getting taken down as collateral in a guard bust."

At that, the thief finally allowed her eyes to wander to the other robed figures in the alleyway, if only to get some measure of how they felt about her proposal up to that point. "I'm not asking you to try to steal every single thing we sell, for obvious reasons. I'm just asking you to practice your craft as you normally would, picking targets that you feel comfortable going after, and offering an immediate payout for your skills. Your acquisition gets turned into useful gold within the day and my stock is kept nicely padded. Plus, we'll offer information. we've got the people to signal not only where their new acquisition is and how much they paid for it, but where their coinpurse is and what kind of jingle it has if your people end up preferring that target. I won't even ask anything on the purses, though maybe if we end up as business partners for long enough you'll see it in your heart to give us a little finder's fee for those," she suggested with a playful wink.
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

While her momentarily hidden features might have been considered by anyone learned to be the secondary characteristics of a prey animal, Xara did her best to show that she was anything but. She shrugged off her natural instinct to run--after all, her opportunity to do so without sizable risk had closed once the larger members of the rogues' group settled into a spot behind her and Safiya. His unnerving breaths were heavy and rapid enough that she could hear exactly where he stood behind her. Was he already winded, or just excited? It was a 'he', no doubt... that much, she could smell. The same was probably true from this entire group, but that much she would figure mainly from the depth of their tones.

As for Xara herself, not only would she seek to maintain relative confidence in her posture, but also in her tone. And then she explained things. A lot, which did well to capture the trio's interest.

"Hmpf..." started the green-clad thief, whom Xara had thought to address first. "Trust in gold? Can't argue with that. At least not in this city. Fair enough. Then we can start this little deal by having you hand us the cash, first--how much was it again? If you were even listening," The cloaked figure tilted his head, ever so slightly, towards the one in maroon, who had originally stolen the armlet.

"Six hundred," said the other rogue. "So she owes us 300 for this," he added, sliding the silvery armband halfway into view from his shroud.

The figure on the snatcher's left perked up a little, his hood rising just slightly as two rounded points revealed themselves at its peak. "A merchant AND a thief? Wow, heh... you're a twisted bitch, you know that? But I like it."

Safiya still looked upon the group with suspicion, her hands sneakily having moved to tuck themselves into her robes. The well-built girl was panting a little, but her eyes did flicker between each of them, as if pondering which target to prioritize. For a moment, her brow furrowed, and she turned her gaze sideways to Xara. "So you're gonna pay them to get your merchandise back?"

Further thoughts would be interrupted by the sound of rapid footsteps approaching from the main street. It was most likely Nadim or Ilias. Once the source of the telltale noise reached the opening of the alleyway, if Xara would glance back, she would find that it was the latter.

"Xara!!" cried the carpenter, giving her name for all in the group to hear. Seeing that she and Safiya were surrounded, his next apparent instinct was to lunge at the man blocking her escape route, with his fist cocked back in a position for a wild swing.
 

Hafnium

Tentacle God
Moderator
Jan 5, 2011
2,067
83
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

"It works for all the other merchants," Xara replied cheerfully to the one who informed her that she was a twisted bitch. But when she continued it would be a little more seriously and aimed at the group's apparent leader. "For reasons that I'm sure you'll understand, I didn't bring any coins with me when I came chasing after you. If you're okay with it, my big sis here will go and get the payment. I'll wait here with you as a guarantee." She didn't necessarily like the idea, but she had more faith in her ability to talk and run her way out of trouble while isolated with a strange group than she did in Safiya's way to stab her way out of so many potential assailants.

"It makes sense to me," she would continue by replying to Safiya's question at the same volume as the other woman. "It's mutually beneficial. They get to fence goods they were probably going to aim for anyway on the same day and we get our stock returned so that we can resell it a second time for pure profit. Win-win."

To be honest, which she rarely ever was, she actually felt pretty smug about the whole thing. She got to sell something that they'd more or less stolen by proxy anyway, which meant she sold it for pure profit, and then if her new partners in crime happened to target it she could buy it back for half of her profit and resell it again later for more profit. It was made all the sweeter because she'd already been considering doing so anyway, only with Nadim running the pickpocketing or smash and grab, and she felt that paying half of her sale to have an outside group do it was well worth it given that she could probably pin it on them make them take the fall if something went awry. And for the ones they didn't manage to steal, she could simply hold back half of each sale and put it in a growing fund intended for investing into a legitimate source of stock. Oh yes, she was feeling pretty good about her plot to climb the economic ladder right then.

Which was perhaps why, as much as she liked Ilias and maybe even loved him, she was so terribly cross with him when he came rushing in and risked blowing her plan. The sound of him crying out her name for all to hear and rushing forward to deliver a punch to one of her new business partners was almost like watching a bag full of gold coins tip over and pour its contents directly into a filled chamberpot. "Wait!" She called out to the carpenter without hesitation. "It's fine! It's fine! "
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

"Wait here with us? As a 'guarantee'? Heh. You're a brave one," remarked the leftmost of the trio. "If only you knew exactly who you'd be keeping company with." If this group had indeed possessed a degree of notoriety, however, Safiya wasn't aware of it--at least, not while the hooded figures' names remained unspoken.

Meanwhile, the blonde gave a hesitant nod. She wasn't as sure of the plan as its founder apparently was, but she had come to trust the bunnygirl in the relatively short time they knew each other. After all, Xara had managed to resolve most of the problems they had encountered thus far with a few well-chosen words, and fit into the role she was given perfectly; there was little reason to doubt her. "At least I know it'll be going towards a good cause."

Then came Ilias, rushing in at an alarming speed. Xara cried out to him just in the nick of time, it seemed. While the carpenter wasn't necessarily as graceful in his usual movements than someone like Nadim, he at least managed to keep his fist from launching forward quite as fast, which gave the widest member of this new group just enough time to move out of the way. Shifting aside, the bulky thief growled, while Ilias returned with a suspicious look, softening his overall demeanor only slightly in order to address Xara. "What's going on here?"

"Just a business deal. Looks like your girl is of the same mind we are," said the green-clad figure. "So, now all we need is the cash." He turned his gaze expectantly towards Safiya.

The boyish woman frowned a little, looking to Ilias and uttering a few words first. "Watch them, alright?" With that, she gave the group one last look before taking off in an expected hurry.

"Don't need to tell me twice," replied Ilias under his breath. The craftsman stepped up right next to the Void Rabbit, between her and the one he nearly decked.

"Xara, is it? I'll be sure to remember the name," commented the green-clad thief, who appeared to be the leader of the crew given his stern and firm tone and educated style of speaking.

The one in maroon, who had originally taken the trinket, tilted his head curiously, and Xara could make out some features of his young, tanned face. While some of the others were probably older, he was about her age, maybe slightly younger at best. He directed a curious look towards her tall cohort. "So... are you like her boyfriend or something?"

"I am," said Ilias firmly. "And why should it matter to you?"

"You don't look so tough to me," grunted the short, stout one, only but a few paces from where Ilias stood.

"Yeah, well if I hadn't stopped, you'd be laid out on the floor right about now."

"Don't kid yourself--it'd be a different story if you weren't runnin' up on me from behind. You don't want none a' this."

Ilias' retort came in little time at all. "Even if I did, I'd have to look around just to find it." He gave a condescending look downwards towards the hooded stranger. This man was taller than Xara, perhaps only an inch shorter than Safiya--but the carpenter towered over him easily, despite having less in the way of girth.

The tension in the air only grew thicker with each passing moment, and would continue to unless Xara cared to thin it out somehow.

Soon enough, a familiar voice could be heard from behind her. "Heey... is it a bad time?" It was Nadim--at least he didn't come in with a flying kick or punch.
 

Hafnium

Tentacle God
Moderator
Jan 5, 2011
2,067
83
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

The voidic thief only barely suppressed a sigh of relief as Ilias caught himself just in time to avoid bringing disaster to her business plans. She might have needed to have some words with him if he'd deprived her of such a perfectly serviceable opportunity to make gold. For now though, things were back on track and she just needed to keep the remainder of their meeting civil while her big sis went off to fetch the gold necessary to seal the deal.

"Yep! Xara's the name," she suggested flippantly in response to the apparent leader of the other group, after taking a few seconds to regain her usual cheerful demeanor. She was actually a little frustrated that they'd managed to learn her name without her getting anything else in return, but it was silly to worry about it after the fact. "Nimble-fingered, quick-footed, desert beauty, at your service! And I'm humble, too! I guess you can count knowing my name as a bonus toward that guarantee of trust, for whatever good it'll do around here."

Shortly after that the conversation devolved into the back-and-forth between Ilias and the bulky man who'd been responsible for flanking Safiya and her earlier. Xara was all for men of all shapes and sizes stroking their egos and flexing their muscles over her, of course, but only on her personal time or when it would benefit her in some way. This meeting fell strictly into the void rabbit's business time, however, and as such she had to roll her eyes as the two had an argument about which one could beat the other up in a fight. The conversation seemed about as productive as attempting to paint each grain of sand outside of the city, one at a time.

Xara couldn't think of a way to smoothly clear the tension in the air. The only lines she could think of ran the risk of wounding Ilias's ego or testing the other group's defensiveness when it came to their own members. Nadim's sudden arrival would end up giving her the perfect chance to lighten things up a bit. "Oh, glad you could join us! I worked out a little business venture with our new friends here and big sis is off to get the first payment. These two," she gestured to Ilias and the big man, "decided to start a penis measuring contest while we're waiting for her. Want to whip yours out too? I'll judge!"
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

"Quick-footed is obvious, if you could keep up with Fayiz," commented the one in green. "My name is Thamir."

"Nimble-fingered, huh..." continued the thief in the middle of the trio, whom the bunnygirl could guess to be this 'Fayiz', given that he was the one she had given chase to. Indeed, he was no slouch. "I bet. So you think you're better than me at it?"

"A beauty, that's for sure. But, humble...? Hah! I like you already. I'm Khabib. If you ever feel like hanging out with a real man, you should run with us sometime. No better way to gain someone's trust than with a uh, test run," said the other one next to Fayiz, already impressed with the petite girl's oratory abilities.

When Nadim arrived, just in time to hear Xara's mock offer, he looked around at the strangers with a raised brow, but the confident smirk that his face was so accustomed to carrying never left. "Business, something something, wait... penis contest? I'd have been more interested if you didn't have all these strangers around. But you already have the verdict on mine, don't you?"


Thamir tilted his head slightly. "Polyamorous, now? We're learning more about you faster than we thought we would."

Ilias' eyebrow twitched. "No, she isn't! That was... it's none of your business!"

"You'd both lose that contest anyway," said the stout thief in a gruff voice.

Fayiz sighed. "You'll have to forgive Ihsan. He takes things a bit... literally."

Nadim chuckled after seeing that his attempt to get either side going was working rather well. "Oh man, this is great. But the real question is, whose dad would win in a fight?"

Luckily, before things could escalate to a more physical level, Safiya arrived with a sack full of coins, panting. She tossed it to Fayiz, who swiftly caught the bag and returned with a casual toss of the armband towards Xara.

"So, are we set? Things seem a little tense here," commented the blonde. "It smells like... testosterone. I hope you boys aren't getting any funny ideas. Just keep your end of the bargain in the future and we'll keep ours."

"Of course," replied Thamir, who then looked to the bunnygirl. "Anything else, before we leave you to it?"
 

Hafnium

Tentacle God
Moderator
Jan 5, 2011
2,067
83
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

"Hey now, I sought this partnership out specifically so that I wouldn't have to compete with you," Xara half-waved off and half-complimented Fayiz in response. She would've followed up by flirting in response to Khabib's comment, but Ilias was present and she imagined his ego was on shaky ground as it was so she didn't want to push the poor carpenter any further. A shame though, it was a missed opportunity to build rapport with the other group.

She decided to allow the quips following Nadim's arrival to go without her comment, up until her suave comrade's final remark. "I've definitely got you all beat there," she remarked, grinning from behind her face wrap. It was probably the most honest thing she'd said all meeting. She'd always idolized her father. It was only a few years prior that she'd managed to stop thinking her missing dad every spare second of the day. Sometimes she wondered if the conflicting pangs of hope and mourning that plagued her thoughts about him would disappear one day too.

The conclusion of the deal would shake Xara from her contemplation. She would catch the armband and stash it in her clothes and then make a mental note to transfer it to Nadim as soon as they were out of sight of the pickpockets. "I think we're all settled up! Meet me at the cart tomorrow once you've had a chance to find some drop points that meet your approval, or if you're uncomfortable with the crowd we can meet up here after closing to discuss the technical details. I look forward to doing business with all of you." Feeling that her words were farewell enough, she would motion for their assembled group to get moving back to their cart and proceed to do just that herself as long as the other group said nothing that required her further attention. Hopefully Yasmin hadn't stolen more than half the merchandise in their absence.
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

"Good," snapped Fayiz. "Cause I'd take you on again anytime."

The one known as 'Ihsan', the short but husky member of the group, grunted. "Never knew my father, but he'd beat yours up easy."

"It wasn't a serious question, hon, but ah, good to know, about your old man that is. He isn't... anywhere nearby, is he? Eheheh..." Nadim trailed off in a slightly nervous tone, placing a hand behind his head. If such a man was so formidable, hopefully he wouldn't be particularly vexed to know that the suave thief had been somewhat responsible for his daughter's loss of virginity in the most spectacular of ways...

"We'll meet you here," responded Thamir sharply. "A bit foolish for us to be seen in public with someone who we shouldn't be associated with, don't you think? Your credibility as a merchant would plummet if anyone was to recognize our cloaks and put the pieces together."

"Catch you around, beautiful," quipped Khabib before nimbly hopping up against the wall and grabbing the outstretched hand of one of his companions up top. The others followed suit in a similar fashion, with Ihsan requiring help from multiple fellows, and within seconds they were gone.

As Xara, Safiya, Nadim and Ilias walked back towards the location of their stall, the last of the four seemed oddly quiet. The carpenter's jaw was set, and his eyes wandered towards mundane things that normally wouldn't catch anyone's attention.

"So... random back alley deals, huh? I'd say that I wouldn't have taken you for the type, but ah, heh... you're more clever than I thought," remarked Nadim somewhat cheerfully. "A weird bunch, though."

"Well, if it's just *these* kinds of people who don't need all that wealth, then maybe some redistributton is in good order..." mused Safiya aloud, making sideways glances towards some of the finely-dressed citizens that passed by as they entered the richer district once again.

The word was 'redistribution', but Ilias hadn't yet bothered to correct her as he usually did.

His quiet agitation only grew, minute after minute, until he blurted out his frustration as they were paces away from the stand where Yasmin and Rabi waited. "Nobody here finds anything wrong with what we're doing?" cried the carpenter in a voice louder than would be comfortable for a bunch of thieves. He turned to Xara with fire in his eyes. "I thought this was your way of going legit! One slip-up and we're done! Don't you know what will happen to us... to you, if we get arrested here?!"

"Hey, quiet your ass down," growled Nadim, looking around them so as to make sure that no constables had overheard their conversation.

Safiya's brow furrowed. "Hey, it's not as if what we do is exactly legal anyway... but it's necessary for us, and it helps out the people who need it. These are people buying luxuries."


"Yeah, except that these aren't some water merchants braving the slums. These are REAL important people, with real connections! Any one of them finds out, we're all fucked!" exclaimed the craftsman, motioning with his hand to the crowd of people passing by. Some glanced at him, curiously, though most continued about their business. Yet the tension in the air was palpable.

He looked back towards Xara once more. "And I don't know why you chose to deal with THOSE unprofessional assholes, of all people."

Yasmin and Rabi were less than a dozen paces from the group when Ilias stopped, and the two put forth a concerned look. The lavender-haired one was the first to speak in an attempt to diffuse the obvious tension.

"I was gonna ask how it went, but... maybe we should discuss this elsewhere?"
 

Hafnium

Tentacle God
Moderator
Jan 5, 2011
2,067
83
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

Xara didn't offer anything else during the meeting. The void rabbit had, of course, known that Nadim's question was rhetorical. She was also glad that Thamir chose the alleyway for their next meeting for the very reasons he specified, and had only recommended meeting at the stall to be accommodating to any meeting place the other group might like. She felt no need to make further comment on either of those points though.

Following the other group's departure, the void rabbit would exit the alleyway with a spring in her step. She'd found a group with no association to her own capable of pulling off all the more illegal ideas she had surrounding her stall, why wouldn't she be happy? The profit margins would be a little less impressive than she had hoped for but the risk of guards nabbing any of her comrades would be much reduced, which was a good enough trade-off by her own accounting. Nothing could ruin her mood... at least until Ilias finally spoke up.

To be truthful, Xara had expected him to disapprove. She had even expected that he might disapprove loudly, given how he had reacted to her disappearing with Safiya. What she had never expected was just how much his disapproval would irritate her. The void rabbit was willing to accept him being overprotective, but being lectured about her choices was another thing entirely. She really didn't like being lectured, and she liked it even less in the middle of public.

She was, as always, a charmer though. A manipulator. Even anger didn't change that too much. Yet, for the first part of the exchange all that meant was that she didn't allow herself to get so angry that she retorted with things that might damage her ability to sway Ilias later. She initially held everything in just enough to remain silent and allow the other three to do all the arguing. At Ilias's second outburst though, her facade briefly cracked.

"Yes! I am aware!" The void rabbit whispered harshly to the taller man. "I'm aware of what we risk each day to ensure our survival! Just as I'm aware that no jewelry supplier is going to want to work with us after we run out! Not without a strong background! And I'm aware of what might happen to me if I'm ever once seen without my hood in this city!"

It took Xara several seconds in the aftermath of her own outburst to recover her calmness and her charm. "I spent most of a year traveling to get to this city. I sometimes went days without eating a thing or drinking more a handful of water, and each night when I closed my eyes to drift to sleep I was sure I'd never open them again. But things got better for me when I made it here and met Safiya and you and Nadim and even Yasmin, even though it was still a struggle to survive. Things have gotten better again since we found that treasure, but the treasure will disappear eventually and we'll be back to struggling the old way. I'm just trying to prevent that for as long as possible. I don't have to like it to believe that it's important for now." Once more, her words were half-woven with lies. It wasn't a stopgap plan and she didn't feel bad about it in the least. Xara had decided several days prior that she was going to take whatever she could get from Jadiram and its people until she earned her own spot in the lap of luxury. She wasn't going to let anybody stop her, Ilias included.

Xara wasn't exactly certain when Yasmin arrived in comparison to when she had let out her own outburst, but she was more grateful for the woman's presence than she'd been since she met the former noble. "I think so," she agreed. "Although maybe the discussion should just wait for a little while. Have the guards come by yet? I can't believe our very first sale ended in a pickpocketing."
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

Ilias set his jaw and remained silent as Xara explained her circumstances in detail, briefly retracing her steps and experiences from her place of origin to Jadiram. If it was a guilt trip, it didn't appear to be working... but the bunnygirl's argument proved far more multifaceted than just that. Her emphasis shifted to survival, a means to an end, as many did with their trades in such a city. Risks were a given--chances were something that Xara had been taking since before the carpenter was even part of the equation. His eyes downcast, Ilias blinked twice softly and turned his head the other way. He had conceded the point for now, so it seemed.

"Um, yeah..." Yasmin trailed off, pointing with her gaze towards a trio of guards headed from down the street. At the head of their formation was a face that Xara somewhat recognized. It took a few seconds to put a name to the bearded, broad, stern features... Hashid? The burly man's fancy pauldrons and dual swords helped remind the Void Rabbit of his station as a captain of the guard. Worse, he had once given chase to the bunnygirl, and he might yet do so again if she didn't make herself scarce quickly enough or at least formulate a good excuse. Unfortunately, they were close enough that moving the cart itself would look rather incriminating, and the man who had been robbed was standing nearby, waving them over to the direction of Xara's stand.

Safiya immediately walked off in a casual manner, covering her face with her scarf as she did so.

"What do we do now?" asked Yasmin in a whisper. "I think Rabi can play witness, but..."
 

Hafnium

Tentacle God
Moderator
Jan 5, 2011
2,067
83
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

It would be.... Hasheesh? Hazoul? It would be the captain of the guard -- Hashim! That was it, right? -- who awaited her when she returned. Luck didn't seem to be smiling upon Xara that day. She had a tough choice. Either abandon the cart they'd worked on and all their treasure, hoping that Rabi and Yasmin could handle things, or come face to face with the man who'd chased her as a criminal. The former option didn't bother her much except that the buyer who'd been stolen from would surely remember it if one of the shopkeepers never returned, and of course it assumed that Yasmin and Rabi were capable of any level of deception.

The second option was less bad than it initially sounded, as technically the man had never seen Xara commit in an actual crime, he'd only come in at the tail end of her failure to pickpocket his cousin and then chased her about. She was pretty sure that the illegal things had only happened when he was out of sight and there were no other witnesses willing or alive to speak against her. She'd also been wearing her finer silk traveling cloak that time rather than the woolen cloak she'd borrowed from her companions specifically because her tribe's silk was too distinctive, and beyond that she was confident he'd never seen her face. It was at least possible that he'd not recognize her.

After a few seconds of thought she would hastily whisper her response. "We tell the truth. Mostly. We weren't the thieves this time, after all. He bought it, he walked away, and he got pickpocketed. Despite our best efforts to chase the thief, they got away. I'm willing to bet that few other merchants are as willing to put themselves in harm's way for their customers. Though, uh, if anyone else is on any wanted posters they might want to go ahead and sit this one out."

Unless the others had anything to add following her directions, Xara would casually return to her cart and await the questioning which would surely ensue. She just hoped she hadn't overlooked anything which could implicate her or give the captain of the guard a legitimate reason to arrest her.
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
Re: A Thief's Oasis (Hafnium) GMed by Takimaru

"That guy has a good memory though," replied Yasmin. "I... can't let myself be seen by city official types--not ones like him. I don't know his relations with my father, so I'm not going to take this chance." With that, she did her best to blend into the nearby stall, leaving Rabi and Xara to man the cart.

When he arrived, the captain of the guard squinted at the bunnygirl, as if scanning his memory to see if he could recognize her face. It was a familiar sort of look, one that he had definitely given her before. He had, after all, taken in the details of her visage up close the first time they met. But this time, she was wearing different clothing, and even had her ears concealed. Surely he shouldn't be able to recognize her at this point? And yet, he continued to eye her, with one of his brows seemingly stuck in a raised position.

"I am Hashid, Captain of the Jadiram City Guard," he announced loudly. "I am told that you sold a piece of jewelry to this man, and that he had it snatched away shortly thereafter. We are investigating this stall, so as to eliminate any possibility of foul play on the vendor's end. Where is your permit?"

"But we even went to chase the people who stole from him! Did your man tell you that?!" cried Ilias in protest. He stepped forward, but one of the men alongside Hashid drew his sword and pointed it at the carpenter's chest.


"B-Besides, I... we need a permit to sell here?" asked Rabi.

"In this district, you do," proclaimed Hashid. "It involves a small... application and setup fee, to officials such as myself." Xara would find that the other of the two guards flanking the haughty constable couldn't help but grin a little.

"Besides, I don't think we've seen this cart around this area before. Are you new? These wouldn't be... stolen goods, would they?" continued the captain, picking up one of the silver bangles and examining it closely. "And this is a safe district--not one for thieves. Surely the appearance of the thieves and this stall can't be a coincidence?"

Xara spotted Ilias clenching his fists off to the side.

Hashid furrowed his brow and leaned down to get a better look at Xara. "And why is it that you look so familiar to me? Remove your headscarf," he commanded.

Rabi opened his mouth in protest, but the guard continued, interrupting him. "Don't worry, I just want to make sure that you aren't someone I think you are. You see, I lost a very good man not too long ago, thanks to a subhuman girl and an unknown thief, as the reports say. My tolerance for thieves and their accomplices these days has not been particularly high--not that it ever has."