The Return of the Thief




Chapter 1: The long overdue return home

“Jay Winters eh?” the security guard looked up at me dubiously as if I had sprouted horns, “You don’t look like much of a super hero to me.”

“Looks can be deceiving,” I retorted in a plainly unconcerned voice. Jennifer, my old fence and forger from my teenage years in Paragon, had done a topnotch job on the ID, and it had been painfully easy to hack into the security database and add myself in, so I knew there was no need to worry. Besides, who ever tries to disguise themselves as a super hero?

“Well if you want a new costume with some tights or something, I know a great tailor-“ he began as if he had all the time in the world before I cut him off.

“I chafe easy,” I smirked giving my loose jeans and button down shirt a tug as if to demonstrate.

“Ah well, we’re glad to have you here, Paragon needs all the heroes it can get,” he beamed thankfully, but I didn’t have the heart to take the ruse any further so I simply smiled and boarded the waiting tram.

I can’t say I ever expected to be back in Paragon City, when I left ten years ago I had several members of the Freedom Phalanx on my tail, but given all that had happened in that time I doubted there was even so much as a musty old filing cabinet with my criminal record in it.

“Fine way for Paragon’s premiere thief to make his grand return” I mumbled under my breath as the tram car bumped along towards the city center, “Although I suppose that title probably belongs to someone else by now.”

As if confirming my response one of the compartments in my utility belt vibrated noisily. Pulling out the cell phone inside I brought it to my ear, “Winters.”

“Do you have the well?” came the reply, it was my employer, someone I wasn’t looking forward to talking to. Although I was admittedly curious about them after what had happened just a few days ago, their voice was familiar perhaps someone who had employed me during my days in Paragon, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

“There were complications, the 5th Column showed up,” I responded blandly.

“Then you have failed I take it?” a strain of hidden concern could be heard from the man’s voice on the other end.

“Not yet I haven’t, during my escape from their vessel I managed to gather where they were taking it,” I continued in a business like fashion despite this being the first time someone had beaten me to my prize.

“The master thief Jay Winters was captured?” came a boisterous laugh from the other end of the phone, it sounded so familiar, but who? “Where are they taking it?”

“Paragon,” I retorted coldly despite the lack of maliciousness in that laugh, “Like I said, I haven’t failed yet, there’s just been a change of plans as to where I’m stealing it from.”

Ten years robbing the dead, and now I’m back to robbing the living.

“That is not good news,” came the reply after a long moment of silence, “The Well of Souls must not be opened.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll get you your trinket,” I stated rather unconcerned.

“No I think its time I withdrew my contract with you Mr. Winters, this is out of your league,” my employer stated in a kind almost fatherly fashion. Was he trying not to hurt my feelings?

“It’s too late for that, I’ve taken your job and I intend to fulfill it,” I responded holding back the sparks of annoyance his words had brought forth.

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with Mr. Winters, this is a job for heroes not treasure hunters, the kind of forces you’d be dealing with are not something for a normal person to get involved in,” he replied, his voice growing more serious.

“Just have the money ready,” I replied cuttingly, ignoring what he said and hanging up before he could reply.

At last I recognized the voice, but why would he be hiring me? The very man that got me to leave Paragon in the first place is now the reason I’m going back.

I stared out the window as the tram continued on its journey, I had heard about the great dividers erected during the Rikti wars, but this was my first time seeing them. Much of Paragon had been destroyed in that time and many new statues of fallen heroes had been raised in their honor, but despite all this it still felt like the same Paragon as when I did my last job here, the one that ended my career as a thief.

The tram car gave a bit of a lurch as it came to a halt, and I simply followed the throng of people heading out of the station as I pondered my next move. The first stop would be city hall and the reason I got this ID in the first place, I knew the 5th Column had brought the ancient clay urn my employer was so worried about to Paragon, but I didn’t know exactly where. I could have just stolen all the info the local authorities had on the Column I suppose, but I wasn’t in the mood to be reverting to my old career, I had left that behind for a reason. For now I had to play the part of the hero and see what information I can’t dig up legitimately, well… as legitimately as I ever do things.

More to come...