The next day Taffer was in his hideout, waiting for Theodard to show up and pay him. He’d been right, he was one large bruise. He’d visited a nurse he knew and gotten his broken ribs treated, as well as the hole in his shoulder, but for right now he didn’t want to move, he just wanted to get paid. He was admiring his take from his hammock, watching the candlelight glint off The Eye of Ydzotl as he turned it in his hand.
A rapping came at the door, and Taffer got to his feet with a groan. This shack on the docks wasn’t in a well-traveled area, and only a few people knew that he lived here. Checking his peephole, he saw that it was Theo, along with two very burly gentlemen. He rolled his eyes and began the long process of unlocking the door. A minute or so later he had all the locks off, and swung the door open, saying, “Welcome, Theo! You have no idea how good it is to see you!”
Theo’s eyes went wide at the sight of him, as did the eyes of his bodyguards. “By God, boy! What happened to you?”
Taffer sniffed, shrugging. “Got into a fight with a vampire. Nothing I couldn’t handle.”
Theo looked skeptical. “Looks like the vampire won…”
“Well, that all depends on how you define ‘winning’,” Taffer retorted, holding up The Eye.
“You actually did it?”
“I actually did it. I told you, Theo, I’m the best!”
“You may be at that, sonny,” Theodard marveled, taking The Eye in both hands. He was mesmerized by the glinting of the candlelight in all the different gemstones, facets, and precious metals. “You’ve done me a great service today. As promised, your payment.”
Theo snapped his fingers, and one of the guards walked up and deposited a large bag of coins on the table in front of Taffer. The thief reached inside and removed one, then pressed his fingernail into it. The tiny crescent moon imprint told him that it was indeed real gold. Theo had not tried to fleece him. Taffer smiled, tossed the coin up, caught it, and dropped it back in the bag.
“Pleasure doing business with you, my good Halfling,” he said. “But I wonder, what do you need with that thing, anyway?”
“It’s an ancient artifact,” Theo said, “that’s rumored to have immense power. Of course, I don’t believe those old tales. Someone came to me and asked me to acquire it. I came to you, and here we are. Now you get paid, I get paid, and my employer gets what they want. The why’s and wherefore’s aren’t my concern, nor should they be yours. If he wants you to know, you’ll know.”
“Fair enough. I was just curious.”
“Sometimes curiosity can get you killed, boy. Remember that.”
“You threatening me, Theo?”
“Just reminding you that sometimes the healthy thing to do is mind your own business. Speaking of your own business, I’ve got another job for you. Same employer, another artefact. Interested?”
“Of course I am. I just need a couple of weeks to heal up first.”
“Understandable. After the beating you look like you took, you could use the rest. I’m sure my employer will understand. After all, you did deliver in a timely manner.”
“It’d be unprofessional to do otherwise,” Taffer said with a grunt, laying back down on the hammock strung up in the corner. “Now, if you gentlemen don’t mind, I’d like to just lay here and not move for a while.”
“You’ve earned that and more, sonny,” Theo nodded. “I’ll be in touch when you’ve healed up. Take care of yourself, Taffer.”
Taffer nodded and waved after them, settling back into the hammock. Then he remembered he had to lock the door. Groaning, he got up and stomped over to the door, closing it behind the Halfling and his bodyguards. After he’d locked it back, he returned to his hammock and tried to sleep. As he drifted off, he wondered who Theo’s mysterious employer was, and what they really wanted with The Eye of Ydzotl. In the end, though, it really wasn’t his business, and he wasn’t paid enough to care. Not yet, anyway. The next job was lined up, but for now there was only sleep.
(Part 1: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-night-job-part-1)
(Part 2: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-night-job-part-2)
(Part 3: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-night-job-part-3)
(Part 4: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/the-night-job-part-4)
If you enjoyed this story, you can find more of my work in the DimensionBucket Media anthology, Darkest of Dreams: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073WPKMDC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=jimfear138-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B073WPKMDC&linkId=0ef22a21e890a33c5fc0a8711774d068