Copé felt more at home amongst the thieves and felt more comfortable there. Even if every one of them would rob him blind given the opportunity. But luckily, there was an unwritten code of honor amongst thieves not to steal in sanctioned locations such as this.
Of course, this isn't something that was written in stone, and it wasn't something that was followed by a lot of the pettier thieves.
Copé didn't mind it, didn't feel worried or bothered by it. The idea of danger put his teeth on edge.
While The Trading Network had a certain professionalism, there were shops and/or tables set out with a shop-like vibe. There were shacks encumbering folk as they slept, restaurants and a lot of other stuff at the Trade Network, but the thieves post lacked the polish. Tents off to one side and more tents off to the other. This usually worked to illustrate the different tropes that frequented it. For example, had The Red Flux been there, they'd be assembled somewhere isolated from everyone else. That's not how the actual Trade Network functioned, with the major cities away from each other. With the real one, because the massive number of people, it was more difficult to diversify based on grouping alone.
The desert sun beamed down on Secrat. The desert sun, although synonymous with any other sun, as the only sun, certainly felt a lot closer than normal. He detoured from his chosen path and walked beneath a large tent, an onyx color, black as night, and certainly spacious, the tent went higher than necessary and looked a lot stranger than the others. Slicker, maybe Italinian roots. Copé treaded lightly, in-fact even stopping dead in his tracks. Not venturing into the actual tent, which confines were obscured in full by the black-tarp acting as doors, but instead simply staying beneath the pitched roof before it.
Copé felt down at the pouch of his leggings. He could feel the hilt of one of his knives but was more concerned with the necklace beside it. Finding a pair of eyes for appraisal wouldn't be that hard. Jewelry was an item about every thief had ready to sell. This hurt chance of a sale, but Copé at least wanted an idea of how much he should be asking for. He wouldn't take the appraisal as law either, and in-fact, he'd likely ask three or four different folks to look at it before averaging it out. After all, everyone had the idea of coin in mind.
Secrat took a breath and let it go. The heat was abundant. His more recent smoking likely hadn't assisted his lungs much either.
The sound of some scuffling from behind the thief made a man come from behind the curtain. His eyes looked so completely white Copé might have mistaken him as a blind man had he not faintly found pupils in the middle of each. His skin was pale, which made for a clashing image in-front of the black tent.
He was from Hardan, Copé inferred by the pigment of his skin. His eyes went over to Secret, they looked malicious and unfriendly, while his disposition fit the look well. "Is there something you want?" the man asked plainly, his eyes briefly traveling up Copé. Secrat offered nothing in terms of facial expression, he felt very uncomfortable, but he wasn't about to let him know of that fact, and so, he replied with a similar plainness: "Just passing through."
The man acted a skeptic, his body stood up tense and tight, while his hand was on the handle of his sword, resting in its scabbard, attached at his waist. He wore black gloves, and fancy clothes with elaborate buttons. At last, the man cooled his glare and took his eyes off from Copé, he turned his body around and walked back to the tent. Secrat didn't move for a few seconds, his body felt paralyzed almost, and he hadn't the faintest clue as to why. Finally, the tension alleviated itself off from his body and he felt normal again, or at least as close to normal as he could be.
From there, old matters took back priority, like the fiery sun forcing sweat out of him, and without a roof giving shade, all he could do was succumb to it. Now, the matter was back to finding someone to look at the necklace in his pocket. He could barely even feel the weight of it on his leg anymore.
Lowering his hand down, back at his side, Copé realized that was because the necklace was gone.
A surge of anxiety and uncertainty came in the thief after the fact. Stopped in his movements. The thief reached his hand deeper into his pocket, like he expected it to have somehow become deeper.
It had not.
Also, there were no holes for it to fall out from either. Nevertheless, Secrat turned around, expecting to see the necklace had fallen out somewhere. His eyes looked down through the desert sand, but nothing popped out to him. It shouldn't have been difficult to see. An emerald in the sand. There was nothing to see in the sand, but then again, there were footprints. Small footprints. Secrat's eyes followed them until coming to the perpetrator, a small girl with brown hair running off and away. In her hand, it looked a lot like a string. The girl soon disappeared from view as she cornered the black tent.
Copé eased a little. He didn't like to brag about it but he could probably beat a little girl in a fight. He only eased a little bit though before he realized that while he could most certainly defeat a small girl in a battle of physical force, he wasn't completely confident he could catch one.
And with that, the surge of fear was back in him. He took in a breath and let it out, sprinting after the small child. His legs still ached from running from the guards earlier. Being away from The Red Flux definitely showed in his health at times as well. But that wouldn't stop him from trying, wheezing afterward or not.
He cornered the black tent as well, halfway expecting to be driven over the head with something as he did. His eyes wandered the sand before once again finding the girl, she had slowed down to a walk, likely just wanting to get out of Copé's sight once suspicion was raised.
Copé slowed down his running also, not looking to alert the girl. He slowed his breathing down as well. The back of the girl's head gave way to a little bit about her, but not a whole lot. Copé made note of the rope that tied her hair into a ponytail. Her body was small and thin, and she was barefoot, her feet walking in the sand.
Secrat sneaked closer to her. He reached for the blade in his leggings. No reason to kill her. Or hurt her at all for that matter. Scare her. That's all he wanted to do. He wouldn't kill a child. Not less he absolutely had to. With every heightened step, he got closer. Inches closer. Feet closer.
His breathing had almost completely stopped by this point. There was nobody else there to see. All he had to do was come a little closer. In her pocket. That's where it had to be. Her hands dangled freely at her side. It wasn't around her neck either. It was in her pocket. One of them anyway. That's where the necklace was.
When he finally made it close enough to make his move, he did. He made a lunge at her, catching her off-guard and taking her off her feet. "If you give me the necklace back, I won't hurt you." The child squirmed trying to get free and Copé tried to restrain her, pinning one of her arms down with one hand while the other showed the blade of his knife. His intimidation tactics didn't work well, however, as the girl used her free hand to take the emerald out from her pocket and toss it in his face. Copé stopped holding her and began holding his face protectively.
The girl freed her legs out from underneath Copé, who was on his knees, then drove her feet to his groin.
Copé's worry over his face immediately focused itself on his crotch, falling of the girl to a fetal position as he winced in pain. The child climbed to her feet and picked up the necklace, running away before Copé could do anything to stop her.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)