He woke up early in the morning lying on a stony, filthy pavement. His head ached like mad and he was cold. He tried to get up but managed to stand only using the nearest wall as a support. As weak as a blind kitten, he tried to walk but found it impossible. Pathetic. Most of his clothes had been gone – he was left with a dirty, torn, buttonless shirt, most probably not his, and a pair of breeches. No shoes, no leather tunic with these fashionable metal studs he was so proud of, no weapons. He swore. Even swearing was quite a task. His tongue seemed to be twice the usual size and his mouth – completely dry and stinking to hell. Speak about a bad morning…
Then he remembered. He had been on a mission three months now. Last night he finally retrieved the Key and, feeling so happy and elated that he almost danced and cheered, he decided one beer would made the great, successful evening just perfect. Bad, bad mistake. Local beer was different than his usual drink of choice although the name stayed the same – first it went down fast, smooth, cold and pleasant, then it whacked you on your head with its strength quite unexpectedly. The fact that he hadn’t been eating well lately certainly didn’t help either. If he only knew.
One moment he sat chatting with the serving girl, the next he was fast asleep on the table. Then somebody roughly woke him up and told to get his ass out of the inn. When he didn’t move quickly enough he was thrown out unceremoniously by two burly thugs. Or maybe there were three of them? Afterwards he simply drowned in a smooth blackness – losing consciousness has never been that easy. Not for him. Horrible stuff, that local beer. Small wonder he has been jumped and robbed during the night- lying in a gutter near the inn, completely sozzled, unable to lift a finger in his defence, he was every little thief’s dream job. He earned it. The problem was that they have also taken the Key. Injuring his leg, inside which it had been sewed. He wanted to howl with rage but forced himself to think.
It meant the thief, no matter who or what he or she was, knew. Taking his flashy tunic, expensive weapons and good quality shoes was one thing. Slicing his tight open in the right place and stealing an object hidden inside, not bigger than a small caterpillar, was quite another story. Now he was being in dire straits and he knew nobody who would be willing to help. His head was throbbing even more terribly when he heard somebody’s light, cautious steps.