Tuesday, June 26, 2007
New Beginning 302
Dalin Archer chose the wrong mark on the Camden Bridge.
He'd singled him out for his clothes. The man's blue overcoat, woolen and slightly wrinkled, extended over leather breeches all the way down to his knees. It wasn't in the local style, and marked him as a traveler. Dalin wasn't allowed to rob locals, only travelers, which exasperated him because often he couldn't tell the difference. At least this one stood out. Travelers were the best marks in any case; they carried more money.
The man was pinned shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowd that streamed across the bridge in a shifting mass, like the turbulent river below. The Camden Bridge was Dalin's favorite beat. As it was the only means of crossing the river into the upscale district of Ghan, well-to-do townsfolk poured onto it from all sides of the city. The press of humanity, the jostling and bumping, and the clatter of boots on the wooden slats provided excellent cover for a pickpocket.
Slight of build and not yet at his full height, Dalin wormed his way easily through the crowd and slipped in behind his mark. His mark was tall and wore his hair long, in the style of the nobility. Dalin doubted he was a noble; his clothes were too modest. Probably he was a wealthy merchant with aspirations above his station.
Dalin took his position just behind the man, a little to the right and, just as another wave of bodies came from the other direction, moved in. He banged his shoulder against the man’s arm and used the distraction to dip into the mark’s money pocket. It was empty. And as the man turned around, showing his unkempt hair and pock-marked face, Dalin realized this was just a vagabond in cast off clothing.
* * *
Fagin looked at the three men seated before him and shook his head. “Dodger, I expected better of you. Four gold crowns; not very good. "Mr. Twist, seven pieces of silver. Nice try, but I’m still wondering if you just aren’t too nice for this kind of business.
"Mr. Archer. Hopeless. You got nothing, totally messed up the task. You chose the wrong mark. I’m looking for an apprentice who can spot a hot prospect a mile off, and for that reason, Dalin Archer . . . You’re fired.”
Opening: amyb.....Continuation: Anonymous