Eamonn was finally hauling himself up to the rope. Aaren watched as his student made it across, forgetting stealth for the time being, he stole a glance down to the street below. He could make out the shadows of the three bandits on duty, he hadn’t noticed the others leaving.
Aaren held out his hand and helped his friend down, taking the long dagger from his belt and his own and jogged over to the corner, where the cloth covering lay. He pulled the covering aside, as he’d hoped the small window was still ajar. He worked his fingers underneath the edging of the window, and slowly wedged it open further. He used his knees to support the window and finding the first dagger, he slid it in on one side, jamming it in to place so that it added leverage to the frame. He did the same on the other side. He lessened his own weight on the window and, judging that it would hold, he let go completely.
Looking over the side of the building, Aaren saw two more bandits exit the front of the guild, he could hear the distinct chatter of the pair, and Aaren and Eamonn watched as they moved off towards the market center, presumably to find out more about the lights display.
They moved away from the edge now and Aaren wiped the sweat from his brow. Silently, Aaren gathered his tools and handed them over to David, who was standing nearby. Aaren wiped the cobwebs from his trouser and shirtfront as he leaned over the siding to check the contents of the room.
Eamonn slowly edged his way over to the window with the extra set of tools one of the sentries had been carrying. Eamonn passed Aaren a wedge that he could use to shift and eventually remove the nails that held the iron window frame that was in place.
Aaren could see that there had been some sort of structure installed here, but with this window now serving as a replacement. Gently, Aaren eased the hook-like head of the tool underneath the front of the window pane, searching for the locking mechanism that would be in place, Aaren found some resistance, shifted the tool slightly carefully into proper place and slid it across until there was the soft scraping noise as he found the head of the nail.
Gently but firmly, he tugged at the nail and felt it come free. There was the uncomfortable task of lifting the tool back up to him to catch the nail before he could resume but seven nails later, he felt the pane drop a centimeter or two and swore underneath his breath. He had forgotten that without the added support of the nails, the only thing holding it in place were the two daggers.
With infinite care, Aaren slowly lifted the pane up. The ongoing wear and tear on timber as old as the window pane meant any rushed movements would cause creaking sounds, which would give them away to those below them. He slowly worked it back and forth, he grit his teeth as he could feel the wooden fittings scrape on the iron hinges and edging.
He breathed a sigh of relief as it finally slipped out of place and he lightly placed it to the side. Looking down into the room, Aaren saw several foot falls that he could use to help himself down. He handed Eamonn his crossbow and returned his dagger from the sill it was sitting on to support the window pane and gently eased himself over the edge.
Aaren shimmied his way down into the hole. He was left hanging by his arms, his feet awkwardly searching for those foot falls. His left foot slipped onto something firm and he rotated his foot quickly, scrabbling for a better position, he lowered his hands to grapple the ledge to look inside. His right foot found solid support a little further down and he was gone from Eamonn’s view.
The boy was peering over the ledge just as Aaren dropped gratefully to the floor. In the light cast by the moon, Aaren could see the relief in Eamonn’s face. He made a waiting hand gesture to the rest of the party and scouted out the rest of the room. It wasn’t overly huge, there were a few wood pine containers, sturdy structures that would contain anything and everything. There were a few dust covered bags of jewels set to the side. The dust came away with some force, it was laid thickly and stained the bags. No one had been here for some time.
He reconsidered the containers. They were too big for him to move without help or without making noise that would alert others of his presence. But there were smaller ones. Purposefully, he grabbed two of the large ones, piling them on top of each other directly below one another with another beside it that his friends could step down onto.
After a few minutes in relative darkness, the moon’s rays seemed blindingly strong, and they lightly illuminated the small room Aaren was in. He held one hand above the other to ward off some of the light and motioned for Eamonn to make his way down.
The boy promptly lowered himself down into the dank confines of the guild. He too saw the crates everywhere containing who knows what, and doorways that led away to other rooms. Aaren helped the boy down to ground level and Eamonn moved over to the side, drawing his sword with a quiet shriiing sound.
Soon there were nearly a dozen people in the room. Aaren looked at the doors, their handles were also covered in layers of dust. He thought back to the map, seeing it in his mind, trying to remember how they had entered the room and which would lead into the front room.
“This one.” He said in a low voice. Aaren’s instincts were telling him to ignore the others as he moved towards the particular door. Deliberately, he gripped the handle, turning it slightly and felt it seize on him. He let go and tried again and felt it happen again. He turned to the others, “Anyone know how to pick a lock?”
A sentry towards the back of the group raised his hand and surged towards, pulling out some sort of thin key-like piece of metal and inserted it into the locking mechanism. The man grunted quietly and then there was a faint metallic click and the man turned the handle until the door slid open slightly.
Aaren patted the man on his back and beckoned Eamonn forward and drew his sword. Aaren edged the door open and led the way out into the large central room the rest of the infiltrators a meter or two behind him.
He realised without knowing how that the fireworks had finished, he’d grown so used to the sounds that it wasn’t until after they had finished that he’d remembered their importance. He was glad he’d thought to involve Braum and his men in this, they provided him with some much needed back up.
His footsteps echoed in the room and the occupants turned to meet Aaren. What Aaren saw before him sent painful memories surging through him, causing him to hesitate momentarily. Aaren’s couldn’t believe who he could see in front of him. Standing beside the bandit they had been sent to capture was his own former mentor.