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Talking About Stealing
Thu Aug 3, 2006 10:14 (XFF:

Toren and his lanky convict were one of the last pairs to return from their walk around the Tower grounds. Asha’man Saudade shepherded the convict back into an orderly row with his peers, while Quine gave the Soldier a hard stare. Toren wondered whether she disapproved of his brawling, or if she was simply noting his lack of the Compulsion talent. He couldn’t worry about that now. He moved to join the students who were already assembled in a semi-circle around Saudade.

The Asha’man gave a brief explanation of Compulsion – it was more difficult to compel someone to act against their nature – and outlined the last assignment for the class. “You’ll have to Compel your charge into committing a theft. While these misguided men will have experience in larceny, I can say that you will have to Compel them to do so . . . For those of you without the Talent, give it a shot. It can’t hurt. At the very least, you’ll be able to manipulate the emotions of your victim, and if you get them feeling a particular emotion, they may be more susceptible to verbal compulsion.”

Toren pondered how he might compel a convict to steal something. He clearly didn’t have the talent, and he wouldn’t always be able to use physical force to get what he wanted. He was jolted out of his thoughts when he arrived at the front of the line, where Asha’man Saudade was pairing up students with convicts. This one was a young man, who wore his hair tied back in a ratty braid. Toren led the man a little ways away from the group and the two of them sat down on a large rock.

Reaching out for saidin, Toren began to weave Spirit mixed with Air and just a touch of Fire. He was aiming for pride, vain boastfulness. Letting the weave settle over the intended target, Toren waited before addressing the convict. “I hear you’re pretty good at what you do.” The convict looked up with interest, but Toren didn’t give him a chance to answer just yet. “You look like you’re pretty light on your feet, quick with your hands. How’d a guy like you end up on a chain with the likes of . . .” Toren finished the question with a sweeping gesture towards the other convicts who were still lined up next to Saudade.

“Because Davey the Weasel couldn’t keep his bloody mouth shut.” The answer was short and direct, punctuated by spitting on the ground nearby.

“So,” continued Toren, “You’ve never actually been caught stealing? You’re too quick. You’re too good.”

“No. Not since I was ten.” He paused a second, as if reminiscing. “She had good eyes, my mother, but she was as honest as she was poor. She made me give it all back and apologize. Since then, I’ve made sure nobody saw me.”

“So, if we went down the street to the Ploughman’s Rest, you could just walk in and lift a man’s purse? He’d never know?”

“If it was the right man, sure.” The convict didn’t even sound like he was bragging. He was just stating a fact, which should have been obvious to anyone. “Find some guy who’s had a few too many drinks, or perhaps he’s looking a little too hard at the cute barmaid. He won’t notice until I’m an hour down the road.”

“Could you teach me?” Toren’s entire plan hinged on the next answer. If it all went smoothly, he could complete the assignment and learn some skills which would serve him well as a Spy. He increased the pride weave just a little.

“Well, I could,” answered the convict. “And, to be sure, you wouldn’t find a better teacher this side of the Manerherendrelle, but I’m not big into the whole apprentice thing after what happened with Weasel. An apprentice is basically just another person who might see what you’re doing, and that never turns out well.”

“Could you at least give me a couple pointers?” Toren was struggling to get the conversation moving in the right direction again. “What if I wanted to steal from someone who wasn’t drunk or distracted?”

“Well, then it gets a little harder,” said the convict with a knowing nod. “You’ve basically got two choices. First, and certainly the easiest option, find someone else who is distracted. There is no shortage of stupid people in the world, and most of them insist on carrying around something valuable. You can live quite comfortably without ever having to deal with someone who might actually catch you. But, if your heart is set on stealing from that one guy, then your second option is to make him distracted. It’s probably not even that hard for you – set his hair on fire, or something.”

The two continued to spend the afternoon chatting. Toren’s weave wasn’t strong enough or focused enough to make the convict actually steal anything, but it kept him in good spirits and talkative. He was happy to brag of his best successes, and share his favorite techniques for duping a mark. He knew a trick for confusing a slow-witted merchant with three piles of coins; once he had paid five silver crowns for a small medallion and ended up with two gold marks in “change”. He explained how husbands were almost always distracted by men talking to their wives, but women were much less likely to ignore their valuables when a pretty girl made a pass at their husbands. On the other hand, he had made a small fortune by releasing a rat in a room full of ladies enjoying an afternoon social. Toren felt like he had learned a number of things that might turn out to be useful in the future.

Eventually the other pairs of students and convicts started to return to the classroom, and Toren gave his convict a friendly slap on the back. The two shared a final laugh and then the convict, still smiling, walked over Saudade. The Asha’man re-attached the chain to the man’s ankle and looked at Toren inquisitively. “I don’t have the talent, sir,” stated Toren simply, looking at Saudade’s intensely polished boots.

OOC: Thanks for the extension! I should be back in town, and more punctual for the foreseeable future.

  • Part III: Actus ReusAsha'man Quine, MuC, Thu Jul 20 11:12
    Whether she would admit it openly or not–and she knew without variation that the answer was “not”–Quine rather liked Accepted Medaea. The woman was talented in Compulsion, even beyond perhaps the... more
    • Talking About Stealing — Soldier Toren Swain, Thu Aug 3 10:14
    • Temporary TheftSoldier Ceto Amaya din Marin, Sun Jul 30 19:45
      Ceto Amaya listened once more as the two Asha'man explained the next and last task for the Soldiers. It was an interesting idea, and one that would definitely test each student's skill. Ceto Amaya... more
    • Of Horses and DragonsAccepted Medaea sur Yvaine, Fri Jul 21 07:23
      As the Asha'man delivered her final speech, telling them that Compelling someone to walk was fairly simple and straightforward—though her own smelly convict had not necessarily wanted to walk in the... more
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