"I care enough about you to never say I love you; I'd have to kill you if I loved you." That was one of the earliest memories Secrat had for Veras. All of it was a lie though. An act. An act Toucan performed with a keenness few were able to see beyond. Copé was one of those few.
Veras wasn't cuddly and soft beneath his rough exterior, but there was a more compassionate side to him. He showed it on occasion, whether he meant to do it or not. The night he banished Secrat from The Red Flux, for example. Father Toucan Veras might have crushed all Copé's fingers, but he did it with such love and affection.
Older and more experienced thieves were also allowed to see a different side to him, but it was never intentional. Father never meant to show that side to himself.
He wasn't a preacher, or anything like that, that's not why Secrat called him Father. Secrat called him it because he was the man who raised him at a very young age. Everyone else called him it because he was the leader of The Red Flux. There was no doubt that he was a man of God, however. In-fact, he practiced the stuff almost religiously, and took it on as one of his unhealthy obsessions. He parented over everybody, and it wasn't about being a leader, his eccentricities spread over that normality and everything had to be set in a certain path.
Toucan boldly stood against the Aeonians. Soldiers of Evil, to him. The chaos that happened all of those centuries ago was supposed to end, but not because of them.
Like a preacher, Father Toucan gave sermon-like speeches and dressed in decorative clothing. Nobody ever really said anything about it, and that's because he had the fear. Some often thought the reason for his hardened shell and behavior was because it's what was needed to be a strong leader. That it's what was necessary to keep something so broken in one piece, but Copé always assumed that Toucan simply liked the way it made him feel.
The Red Flux traveled often. It was with the territory of being thieves.
They migrated about the Unprotected Wilderness and infiltrated major cities.
They did this at night. That's when they did it mostly at least.
Some occasions called for their noctivagate rule to be broken, like if they were stealing from Hardan or in the deserts. The Flux wasn't run with an ironfist, but Father Toucan Veras made certain to establish a couple of key principles about it.
About forty thieves, thirty-five male and five female, a few children roaming about, and some women to watch them. Aside from certain circumstances when the situation called for more, the usual heist called for about ten. They didn't all work together. They traveled together until making it to the selected city, and then, they split up into groups of two and made their heists.
The Flux members all made certain not to shit where they eat, and if they thought they were being followed, that only left a couple of options for them. They could either lose their tail or risk having The Red Flux's main-camp be discovered. If they did that, they were better off dead. This has only happened once in The Red Flux's brief history, and it was before Secrat was a member. Even to this day, he isn't aware of the complete story, but it was something along the lines of Toucan crushing a man's head in with a large stick. Whether or not there's any truth to it though is neither here nor there, and chances are it was a wise tale meant to induce fear.
After that, they relocated to an area between Acera and Italina, and in the times when travelers were passing through, they were certain to hide any connection to thievery. Everything ran smoothly, and they hadn't been completely wiped out yet, so it'd be fair to say they were successful.
Secrat carried his wearied bones and battered limbs forward, walking onto the muddied grass from yesterday's rain, since stopped. His clothes almost as black as charcoal. One of his arms bandaged heavily and both of his arms had dried blood and dirt on them. His hair had always been a dirtied blond, but even such a definition looked like an understatement at this state. Everything of his body ached, but there was no part of him that wanted to stop to rest once more, all of him wanted to end the heart-ache and shift his fate.
He walked and walked until came to sight, a garden of tall grass, nay, not a garden, but a collection, harvested by nature, he shoved through them. Nearly stumbling over the roots of large trees and having to brush off the ticks that tried their way up the forest of his leg hairs, his leggings since ripped, exposed his knees. The very second the tall-grass came to end, he could flourish in his own arrival.
The Red Flux was exactly how he left it.
His eyes covered the land like the sun's rays, fluttering throughout the scenery. A dirt trail led up to the Flux's village, and at the center of it all was a flag hanging up from a large stick, carved smoothly. The flag wasn't anything, neither decorative nor telling of the people.
Secrat looked at his hand. His fingers remained stiff from Toucan's boot and still couldn't make a perfect fist, but at the palm of his hand was the most telling thing about him. The symbol of The Red Flux.
What looked like the letter 'C' with a stick puncturing it at the side was meant to be a crescent moon with a knife stabbed into it.
Whether anybody else could decipher the crude carvings made into each of their flesh was not very important. It wasn't for them. It was to let the members of the troupe know that there was somewhere they belonged. And that there was somewhere they could call home.
Surrounding the flag, a series of rocks, put around it for decoration. Over from that was an area of sticks. A burnt pile. For gatherings where Toucan often rallied his troops. Secrat started following down the path, eyeballing it all like he was seeing it for the first time. There were horses too, kept inside of a fence made from shoving sticks into the ground. About five foot high. Most wouldn't even know they were there at a glance. It was deliberate not to draw too much attention to them. After all, didn't want them stolen. That was one of the ideas instilled by Toucan. You can steal. That's what you're supposed to do. But you can never steal from family, and that's what you are when you're with the Red Flux, you're family.
Secrat's eyes went over to one of the dwellings. The Red Flux wasn't like a lot of others. They didn't have tents or tarps or anything else, they kept it simple.
They dug holes, as big as their hearts' desired.
They threw wood over the hole and slathered it with grass to shelter it from the rain. Some had flowers on theirs for decoration. None of them were the same, and all of them had specific traits about them. Little mementos and items that showed off their individualism
The Red Flux had a Trophy Room as well. It was about the only dwelling with any style and is where the Elite Thieves bunked.
The Thief among thieves, Secrat Copé, started his eyes for its location, but before he had a chance to look at it, he felt a spear pushed up against his stomach. Copé sighed. First a sword, now this. "Lukas," he said, ever-so warmly.