Change of Heart

Change of Heart

Kazmi Blackfeather once had a different life. Different, but also satisfying, because ignorance, as they say, is bliss. She was a pick-pocket in Kabol. She made a decent living, nothing too grand, but comfortable. Everyday, she’d cruise through the business district, the markets and restaurants, “liberating” cash and other belongings from the unsuspecting crowds. To Kazmi, stealing was like breathing. It was easy and almost involuntary. She’d often pass by a stranger, then look down to find a purse or valuable trinket in her hand. She automatically scanned any area for marks, categorizing them, sifting them into lists of lowest risk and highest gain.

Her skills also won her a place in the guild. She low-level and that suited her just fine, but occasionally she’s supplement her income with odd jobs that filtered down from the guild leaders. Lift this document, tail that diplomat, listen in on the crooked constable’s drunken card games. Kazmi never really thought beyond the simple part she played. She never asked questions, just did her simple part, took the coin and went on with her life. Until she was assigned a delivery.

It seemed just like any other job, and it was. A small package from the guild fence to be delivered to a warehouse near the docks. Kazmi reached her destination swiftly taking care not to “pick-up” anything along the way. If she got pinched while carrying guild property she’d be in real trouble. It was night when she arrived, and she gave the coded knock she’d been taught and waited.

The door opened to reveal and a greasy, overweight lump of a man peered around the frame. His eyes scanned around suspiciously until they landed on Kazmi’s stocky, but pleasant form. A salacious grin crawled up to his face and his eyes squinted with lewd intent. The pick-pocket sighed and waited for the usual indecent banter to spew from Demshi’s cracked lips.

A gravelly chuckle escaped the old thief’s throat, “Kaz, me girl! Couldn’t keep away from ol’ Demshi, eh? I’m a bit busy right now, but if ya meet me in few hours, I’ll give ye a surprise you’ll never ferget.”

Kazmi rolled her eyes and spat back, “Th’ only surprise there’d be is how long it’d take to find ye’re wee package, ya lech. Speakin’ o’ packages, I got one for ye. From Ooli.” She tossed the small paper wrapped box to Demshi and said, “Don’t lose it trippin’ on ye’re tongue on the way in, neither.”

Demshi’s face reddened at the slight and he barked, “You’ll regret yer treatment o’ me wench! I’ll have ya yet! Only now I ain’t gonna be so gentle!”

“I’m already regrettin’ it, Dem! Yer smell’ll be lingerin’ fer hours. Now gimme me coin so I c’n be gone.” Kazmi spat.

Flustered, all Demshi could muster in response was, “Bah! I hope ya choke on it!” He flicked a gold piece at her and made to close the door, but before he could, a cry for help escaped from the depths of the warehouse. Kazmi stepped forward, That sounded like a kid!

“What was that?” she asked, getting closer than she liked to the dirty old thief.

Demshi’s head snapped toward the inside of the building, when he turned back, his face was full of concern, “Get outta here, girl. Ferget anything ya heard an’ be glad fer it.” He slammed the door and Kazmi heard a heavy bar lock being quickly moved into place.

The young thief stood staring at the door for a long time. She knew there were darker goings on than she was involved with, but she always justified that with the belief that anyone who got hurt probably deserved it. But, a kid? How could some kid deserve that? She had to know more, and against her better judgment, she was going to find out. She looked at the door. She was always shite at picking locks, she didn’t even own any picks. Maybe up top would be better. She was crap at climbing, too, but luckily the warehouse had an escape ladder she could use. Once on the roof, she peered through window after window until what she saw stopped her in her tracks. Tears instantly welled in her eyes and she tried not to wretch at the sight. Luckily her breath was stolen or she would have cried out. She saw several guild members she recognized milling in small groups . . . and blood. No struggling, no more cries. Just small, bound still forms lying in dark red pools and on man, gagged and tied to a chair. He was shaking, body convulsing with silent sobs.

Kazmi’s shock took over and she staggered back away from the window. Before she knew it she was on the ground in the alley by the warehouse and running. She didn’t stop running until she reached her flat. She hastily stuffed a pack full belongings and the small chest with all her savings. She had to get out of this place, and now. Kazmi threw on her cloak and made her way to the city gates. She bought passage on the first caravan she could find, vowing never to return to that life again.

Change of Heart

Saga of Jaraah joettle