“Hey, guttersnipe! I’ve got a job for you.”
Shizzal stopped, peering around at the beckoning vagabond. A young Dunmer could never be too careful in this part of town. Shizzal had no doubt he could outrun and out-swim the older pirates if it came to that, so he lingered out of curiosity.
“What d’you want?” he asked.
The vagabond leered, teeth flashing yellow and gold in a pockmarked face. His breath was bad, but Shizzal stood his ground as the old Redguard reached out and snagged the sleeve of his raggedy tunic.
“Mark for you on the docks, is what I’ve got. Pays well. Don’t worry, a wet-eared kid like you won’t be given a second look.”
Shizzal doubted that, but he was more interested in the money. He puffed his chest out as he had seen the older pirates do, shooting the vagabond a disdainful look under half-closed lids. The effect was lessened somewhat by the fact he was still due a growth spurt, and had to look up to see the man.
“I want double on the job,” growled Shizzal. “Half upfront.”
The vagabond laughed, patting Shizzal’s back in a way that made his skin crawl. “Double, then! But no upfront. You’ll have to do the job to get the pay, kiddo. Now see here, this is what you gotta do…”
If Shizzal had been older, he might have realized such an easy negotiation must have a catch. But it didn’t occur to him. The job sounded straight forward enough. The vagabond knew where one of the merchant captains stashed her proceeds. The merchant captain was a water strider, meaning she skimmed off the top of the profit for herself instead of paying it in taxes to her lord. The taxes instead came out of the salaries of her crew. The vagabond wasn’t worried about them, but figured gold already illegal would not be reported if it disappeared.
“…so you gotta open the lockbox, grab what’s inside, and meet me up there by plaza. You can do that, can’t you?”
Shizzal nodded, flashing the vagabond a quick grin before taking off. Teeth gleaming, the vagabond watched him go, speculatively twiddling a red-gemmed signet ring on his index finger.