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The Final Rule

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Lady N's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2010

Author - Benjamin Simmons

Find them at ultralightfiction.wordpress.com


 

The Final Rule: A Guide to Proper Thieving

Transcribed from the teachings of Doyen Oliver Chartom

You all should memorize the rules that the best thieves all keep in their hearts; only by following these was this very chapter able to capture its largest single bounty, in the year One Hundred Twenty-Seven of the Third Era.

Loyalty is its Own Form of Contract

When the Wolf Queen attempted to lay claim to the throne of the whole empire, the majority of the guild was neutral, but this chapter, of Wayrest herself, knew that though the old empire may have antagonized us, it was better than the blood Potema drew, as it allowed the merchants to grow fat and lazy. This chapter sought to keep the old empire rather than betray the trust of our patron government.

You see, Potema had loyalists holding the garrison of Bangkorai Pass, and though many of her supporters, especially in the eastern cities, turned against her, the garrison still held strong, diverting the forces of Hammerfell on the way to Skyrim, and raiding villages for supplies to support Potema’s holdings in Skyrim. The Doyen of the time knew two things; 1: The empire didn’t have the forces to easily attack the garrison, nor was it important enough to divert the main attack on Solitude. 2: The garrison was sending large trains of supplies to Skyrim, and if cleverly engaged, these were ripe for the picking.

Preparation is the Foundation of all Successful Endeavors

So it was that the guild members began to make small and obvious attacks on the smaller towns of the area, stealing cows from the richer farmers, and breaking into houses in broad daylight, coaxing a larger and larger guard force to chase them only to disperse and lose their pursuers with all their skill and cunning. These constant raids slowly drew the pursuit near to the midpoint of the road from Bangkorai to the Reach. Of course, it was known that no amount of city guards and irate farmers could stop a convoy guard from a garrison of proper soldiers, but a little pageantry and manipulation could make that far easier.

Boldness and Subtlety in Proper Balance are True Wisdom.

With the harried guards teased out from the nearby cities, the whole of the Highrock chapter then made a coordinated effort on a late Sin’s Dusk night. There were three groups, one to the west, giving the peasantry and city guards a merry chase, another to the southeast, dressed as a proper imperial scouting party, supported by the third group with a city’s worth of wood, oil, and a fleet of wagons to the south. The fourth group was the most important, arrayed like a small cavalry unit, all were armed with lariats and blunt bill hooks.

As Potema’s convoy moved through the dead of night, the thieves, chased by a desperately annoyed host of guards and angry citizens came crying out through the night, and as the thieves dispersed, doing their best to disappear and hide in the brush, throwing off their pursuers. As the crowd chasing our ancestral brethren lost its quarry, it began to look more and more like a mob caught in sudden patriotic fervor. These all would have been cut down by Potema’s troops though, tainting the spoils for the guild were the timing off even in the slightest.

However, before the convoy soldiers could choose to cut down this mob, the mock patrol rode well into their view even in that dim evening, and sounded a trumpet as if in alarm. Meanwhile, the southern group lit large bonfires on the carts, and drove the horses attached to them into a fit with the sound of the trumpet. The soldiers would now see the fires of a large imperial army, following the path of its advance scouts, bearing down upon them. With the convoy soldiers confused, and believing they were surrounded, the plunder had been tended, and its fruit was ready to harvest.

Lack of a Clear Command Breaks Even the Largest Group

We know from later reports and diaries that the Garrison was commanded by General Frieduric, a Nord known for his fierce fighting spirit, and iron. So strong was his will, that he neglected to ever name a second in command, choosing to bark orders to a pair of relay officers to disseminate from the front lines, wherever that was.

So it was that an arrow, loosed from the bow of a contracted Dark Brotherhood Nightscale, flew in from the north. heralding the arrival of the assassin who would be the end of Frieduric. While these two were engaged in battle, the remaining thieves fell in among the men of the convoy. With the use of the blunted bill hooks, simple staves, and lariats, they charged in deep, beyond the soldiers engaging the mob, and behind the men digging in defensively for an army to the south. They then began to lasso or hook the horses leading the carts, and charged westward, towing the carts of supplies.

The value of the nightscale was seen instantly, as he appeared and disappeared around the general, using his battle to effectively cut off Frieduric’s command. This diversion brought the soldiers to total confusion, as they ran in disarray to create several lines of defense, allowing our brethren to escape with minimal conflict.

Victory is Paid for with the Blood of the Valorous.

More than a few friends fell that night shaking off the original drivers of the carts, and fighting the pursuing soldiers. Fighting at a disadvantage to ensure no soldiers died directly at their hands, those who fell on this operation are known as the bravest this guild has ever seen. Their sacrifice allowed the carts for the convoy to be directed south, while the bonfires, still burning brightly in the carts of the horses, were driven west at a frenzy pace, putting a wall of flame between the main part of the garrison troops and the Highrock guild, allowing the thieves to make good their escape and hide the carts of supplies in caves near the Hammerfell border. Later reports say that mob from the town was routed, and the soldiers, in disarray, chose instead of pursuit, to retreat to the garrison, where they would later swear loyalty to the true empire, or be executed for their crimes.

A Rising Tide Raises All Ships

The supplies stolen from that fateful night raid, with the help of the Hammerfell chapter, were carted and floated back to Wayrest, where the Wayrest doyen behind this all split the spoils of the fenced goods among all the living members of the Highrock chapter, including a substantial share he gave to the beggars of Highrock. Many criticized this decision, as the beggars had done nothing on this job to warrant this kind of payment. Yet despite the many personalities, and the greed of some of the members, his division of the riches would later unite the guild in celebration. The riches passed on to the beggars actually allowed many to move off the street, and put sympathizers to our guild in high positions of power in the area, whose influence is still seen to this day in their offspring.

While splitting the spoils of this raid, as the festivities celebrating this job’s completion were nearing an end, the Doyen produced several large chests, and with a grin opened them before the assembled crowd. Each was filled with a large bounty of new looking Septims, and several peerless gems. When asked where these came from, as they clearly weren’t the durable goods from the convoy raid, the Doyen only smiled and said, “They came from the good Cephorus Septim himself, our Emperor of course.” This is the final rule: Never do free a service someone will pay you for.

 

Lady N's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2010

This piece was written for our 20th anniversary fan art contest! It is strictly property of its original creator - you may not modify, publish, or redistribute it without explicit permission from the artist.