LogestRoad First they caught me
I suppose I should tell you something about how I became a spymaster. After I arrived in Sigil, I figured it would be business as usual. I had very little money, and not a lot in the way of possessions, no ties, and doors to escape pretty much anywhere I wanted to after I finished whatever I decided to go after. First things first though, I needed to scope out the city.
That was actually pretty difficult. Sigil is a very complex place, and as I've told numerous clients over the years, it can be hard to just get from one place in the city to another without finding yourself suddenly somewhere else entirely. When I first got there, I was lucky. I found a few local guides who I was able to talk into showing me around a bit without having to pay them too much. Or anything, for that matter. What? I'm good at talking to people.
So I spent a few days figuring my way around town, getting to know local politics, things like that. Then I started hearing about how there were nobles in the city, and that many were just rich folks with large houses. Sounded about like my usual scores, so I started doing my research into some specific people. There were a few who sounded a little too rich for me, since when you have that much money you can afford to make people vanish. There were a few who were in the right range.
It was also during my research that I first heard of the Lady of Pain. Not long after hearing that she ran Sigil, I saw her. She doesn't often walk the city, but when she does, everyone notices. I've only seen her three times in my time there. She is one of the most beautiful and terrifying creatures I have ever seen.
Well, let's just say that seeing her made it clear to me that once I made my big score I would have to get out of Sigil fast. I didn't want to find out what The Lady did to people who displeased her. It wasn't clear to me then that it would take more than being a thief to displease her, but at the time she seemed to be the one to keep happy. Or avoid. Or preferably both.
Of all of the noble houses, the one that stuck out at me was House DelRis. It was a minor house, with only a noblewoman, no lord of the manor, and it seemed to be less wealthy, and even less influential than most of the others. Looking back, I can't believe how wrong I was. I'm pretty sure they knew what I was up to before I even finished deciding to make them my target.
For a small house, they still had a lot of retainers, servants, and as a result, a lot of activity. There were constant deliveries of food, drinks, and raw materials for things like clothing and decorations of the house. That was my way in. With that much material flowing in and out of the house, along with messengers and other minor functionaries, it wouldn't be hard for me to find a way in that would be overlooked.
House DelRis used a few local suppliers for most of their goods. It makes sense that they'd find a single merchant they could deal with for a large percentage of their supplies, since volume like they used would almost certainly mean they could negotiate for a better price, rather than working with several smaller merchant houses where they would have less leverage to use for negotiation. Even so, that never stopped other merchants from trying to cut a better deal, it just made it harder for them to get the deal.
I figured that there would be a lot of smaller merchants bringing in specialized goods, so I scouted out what kinds of things were sold like that in the city. Spices and wines seemed to be the best options, so I looked around, found what I thought was a good wine, schemed my way into a case. Looking back, I can't believe how bad my taste was then.
But it seemed to work. I approached the kitchens with the case of bottles and managed to talk my way into a negotiation for a good price on the wine. I didn't expect to be in the city for long enough to have to deal with the contract I'd negotiated, so I didn't care that I wouldn't be able to fulfill the rest of the order. On the other hand, I did get myself into the house quite cleanly, and after the negotiation was closed, I was more or less ignored. It was a perfect setup. I wandered about just enough on my way out to find an alcove I could use for a quick change, hid my costume, and was into the house.
I didn't think that there would be much in the way of guards, and was unpleasantly surprised to see that there were quite a few patrolling the halls. I was pretty good at sneaking, and have always been good at keeping a lookout, so I wasn't surprised by anyone, and did manage to sneak around quite a bit. It was the first time I'd made it into a house that I couldn't get plans for before hand.
It took me a while to find anything worth stealing. I found myself in what seemed to be a study or library, and found a couple of small bags of coins and gems. Not a bad start, but not the kind of score I was hoping for. I kept sneaking around, and after I got off the ground floor, the number of guards dropped. Another surprise for the house. With the number of guards on the ground floor, I would have expected there to be guards patrolling up there too, but apparently they were only worried about people getting into the house.
This made my search go much faster. I ducked into and out of several rooms, and eventually found that the reason for the lack of guards was actually that there just wasn't much up there. The second floor was mostly guest rooms, which were essentially empty other than the furniture. There was one room that was under guard, so I figured that was the lady's room. I figured it would be worth it if I could get in there, at least, if she wasn't in there. So I snuck into a guest room next to the Lady's room and found an open window.
Now, I've never been much good at climbing, but I wanted to try to get into the lady's room. So, out the window and onto a ledge, which I snuck along and eventually found my way to a window that opened into the Lady's room. It seemed she wasn't in there, so I opened the window and snuck in. This was more the kind of money I was looking for. I got a bad feeling about the jewelry box, so I skipped it and grabbed a couple more small pouches of coins and gems. Not wanting to be too obvious, I left it at that, and snuck back down to where I'd left my merchants clothing. All in all it was probably a couple of hours, but I made it back out of the house in my original disguise.
At that point I made a quick run across the city to a bar, thinking I'd gotten away clean. I wasn't actually sure how I'd get out of the city, but my heart was pounding, so I figured I'd get a couple of drinks and have a little celebration before figuring that out. I found a quiet bar that seemed to be good for both strong drinks and anonymity, got a table in the corner, and sat down with a glass and a bottle.
After I'd had some time to start pickling myself, an old man approached me. Without even an invitation, he sat down next to me, took the bottle, and poured himself a drink. Just as I was about to object to him drinking my booze without invitation, he told me he knew what I'd just done, and drank what he'd poured himself. I'll give myself credit for not pausing for too long, but I clearly hesitated. I asked what he meant, in what I thought of as a nonchalant manner, and he just chuckled, while pouring himself another drink.
Over the course of a few minutes of verbal sparring, the old codger told me his name was Brala, and that he knew that I'd just slipped into House DelRis and stolen some money and gems, and even named an amount that I'd gotten away with. He also told me to not bother denying it. Even back then I was good enough to know that I'd been caught. So I asked him what we would do next. Despite the drinks I'd had, I felt stone cold sober.
He gave me three options, though only really told me about two of them at the time. The two he voiced were to go back to the house, where apparently I'd impressed them with my work, and work for them, or I could be handed over to the authorities. The option he was hoping I wouldn't take, and that he hadn't voiced, was that he was wondering if I'd try to attack him. I'd already discarded that thought myself, but apparently he also had a poisoned dart under the table that he was read to stick in my leg if I tried anything.
Even so, I was fascinated by the offer of coming to work for them. It sure beat going to jail or being executed. So I asked what kind of work the house would give me. He surprised me again by telling me that initially it would be training, but that the work of a thief would translate very well into that of a spymaster, which they could use. He also surprised me by telling me that we would finish drinking before we went back to the house.
I was a little annoyed that he had already made up his mind that I was going with him, but he was right so I didn't push it. We drank, and talked, and probably spent a couple of hours at the bar after he showed up. I did wind up handing him all that I'd stolen from house DelRis, minus the few coins I'd spent on the alcohol. We walked back to House DelRis, and into my new life of service.