Lukas turned from him, locking eyes with Secrat Copé. Copé offered him a warm and inviting grin, patting the side of the wall and welcoming him to join. Lewis did not. Opting to stand on the other-side of the Trophy Room instead.
Secrat recognized the Elite thief. By his voice more than his physique or facial features. His voice sounded raspy and like it was filled with tar. The fellow thief's name was Brutus Ess and he had once been a primary member of The Red Flux. In-fact, only years back, Brutus was the right-hand man for Toucan. An heir to the throne until his thirst for alcohol washed down his ambitions. Now, he was out-of-shape and no longer had anything worth a damn to say for himself. But, besides belching random slurs and making an ass of himself, Brutus was a terrific and well-respected thief.
Toucan didn't keep them waiting much longer. Copé could see him spreading out one of those scrolls he had on his desk but was in no position to see its contents. Father spoke plainly: "Italina is the wealthiest of the five major cities."
"And the weakest," Brutus mumbled beneath his breath. Secrat heard it, and evidently, so did Toucan, who stopped momentarily.
"Italina is also the most difficult for a thief. Entering Italina, the gates are open, but at night, they close. The guards remember faces as well. Trained to have suspicions. That's why The Flux opts against it." Father Toucan leaned himself back in his chair, taking his hands off from the table. When he sat up straight, it only emphasizes his height. "We've set ourselves a formidable foundation with frameworks, not based on wealth, but on survival. We don't take what's not needed. That's something I believe in, and I believe the Elite believe as well, and it's something important to be bestowed on young thieves." Toucan looked over to Lukas Lewis with the last line, though, not Secrat.
"Italina itself has some of the biggest gluttons of all Maharris. Materialism subtracts senses and strengthens brutality for superficial gains. And yes, far be it from us to play the righteous hand, I think they deserve to be reminded of something." A small smile formed on Toucan's face. Secrat had forgotten how good he was speeches. "With fear comes humility, and with humility comes betterment. Our job isn't to better outsiders but if our survival leads to enlightenment, so be it. It's time we rob Italina's finest and rob them blind."
Secrat smiled at that last line. He found Father Toucan Veras to be about as self-righteous and arrogant as they came, but he was smart. The way he did things was a more practical reason for admiration. With such confidence and believability. The man spoke a sermon about the unimportance of wealth and ended it by reminded them all of their thirst for exactly that.
They fell for it.
Brutus Ess said some of his raspy and incomprehensible strings of dialogue, and other thieves came out of their lulled demeanors as well. Secrat kept in check, not the type to lose composure less alcohol was involved.
Toucan waited. Like he expected somebody to ask him the 'what' and 'how' of it all and nobody did. That didn't stop him from answering, however.
"The Aer Festival offers more than swine sipping sparkling water from a decorative glass. It offers opportunity." Viciousness plagued Toucan's voice in a way that would stifle the average man. It almost intimidated Secrat.
The Aer Festival was a semi-annual festival held in Italina. The festival includes parades and the whole town swarmed with quietly abrasive music. Violins and harps strummed in the most pretentious way possible. The restaurants all serving up their finest. Everyone had something to do, nobody was home, and it was all very messy and crowded.
"How does it offer us opportunity?" one of the thieves calmly inquired.
Secrat recognized him as well. Samuel Syi was one of the neater and more articulate in the Flux. Secrat couldn't remember a time when Samuel lost his temper or showed fear or emotion other than being at ease. One of the few levelheaded ones, and where Brutus once was, Samuel found himself now as Father's right-hand.
"The reason we don't rob Italina isn't lack of interest, but lack of means. If three or more thieves entered beyond the gate into Italina, it'd raise suspicions... an understatement, they'd have every one of the thieves locked up before nightfall," Toucan said.
"You're suggesting the Aer Festival will be opportune?" Samuel asked.
"We'd be indistinguishable," Secrat Copé added.
Father Toucan Veras' eyes went off from Samuel Syi and over to Secrat. "Precisely," he commended. "A group of thieves, all of them scattered out. If you hide into the crowd, it'll be easy to blend in. Pickpocketing. Raiding. All of it, anything you can think of. Have your pockets filled."
"Have the wagon brought out on the outskirts of Italina, somewhere away from the guards and suspicion, but close enough it can be reached fast. Come back to it on and off through the night until it's full. Make a killing," Secrat suggested.
Toucan smirked. "We can do that."
"The guards only welcome guests during the day but at night, they are sealed up tight." Lukas Lewis pointed out.
Secrat couldn't help but think had it been anyone else, he would've kept his own mouth shut. "Yes, but this isn't any ordinary day," Secrat replied matter-of-factly.
"He's right," Samuel reciprocated. "There's an exception to that for the Aer Festival. It still closes, but does so, hours into the night."
Lukas Lewis' head went down in defeat, saying nothing in response. Secrat couldn't help but smirk, however, Toucan soon took the conversation back for himself.
"I have sat on this heist for very long, amongst others, and only now do I believe The Red Flux has assembled a wardrobe of thieves capable enough. In defeat, loyalty should be at the reins, as should it in jeopardy." Toucan stopped for a moment. He rolled the scroll up in his hands. For theatrics, Secrat presumed. "Gather supplies but travel light. Each of you will be leaving before sundown. You should make it to the gates of Italina with time to spare, but you aren't to enter into Italina until the festival begins. I don't need to stress you the importance of not being caught, and I shouldn't need to stress that murder in any form and for any reason won't be tolerated." Toucan shot a look over to
Secrat at that moment.
Copé heard a small noise from Lewis. Not a chuckle. A sigh of remembrance.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)