Type of Short Story: Novella
Summary: Bolen is a thief, plying his trade under the spires of an ancient and sprawling city. Worried that he's growing too old, Bolen has lined up a risky job, just to prove that he can still pull one off.
Tonight, he's going to break into a nobleman's vault and help himself to its contents. What he doesn't know is that inside is the key to a secret as old as the city itself.
Kings have killed for it, demons have coveted it, priests have prayed for it, and in a few moments it will be in his hands. And when it is, the adventure of his life will begin.
Over muddy streets matted with straw and excrement, bleary-eyed merchants carted their wares to market, and weary tradesmen shuffled off to fisheries and storehouses. City watchmen in their chainmail shirts, and apprentice mages in high-collared robes, watched the bustling crowd without interest.
Bolen’s eyes stung with sleepiness. The short, unassuming man was one of the hundreds wending their way between complaining oxen, chanting Sothay priests, and the upraised hands of beggars. His short, wiry frame moved unhurriedly, ignored by the lurching mob.
Bolen had lived his whole life amid the rhythms of the city and they comforted him, in a perverse way. It was a city of stolen dreams, his among them. Yet to see it stir, the same as it did every day, was like the taste of cheap wine on the lips of a drunk. No longer exhilarating or satisfying, but at least comforting in its reliability.