Carpe Diem, Page 19

“I want to be an agent.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“I’m sure.”

“Well, truth be told, I’m not sure that I’m sure about it. I don’t know if I can trust you yet.”

“Neither can I. So, I guess we’re in the same position after all. We’ll both have to trust each other.”

“I see. Don’t make me regret this. Come with me; I’ll take you to the other conspirators.”

As you make your way through camp, you take in all the faces: the young and the old, the men and women, all downtrodden, and yet, high-spirited. They’ve clearly chosen a hard life to live, but they all share the same sentiment. It’s much better to live a hard life in which you are free than a hard life in which you have to toil under the boot of another. The camp is rustic at best, blending into the surroundings as much as possible. It’s useless to have a permanent post if you’re constantly on the run.

During your walk, you ask the man for his name.

“Tani. It’s Tani,” he replies.

“Hmph. I take it you’re the leader of these people?”

“Not by choice. They just seemed to follow me, seeing as I was the one who struck the first blow. They seem to believe that I’m the one who’s best suited for the role.”

“You seem to loath that fact.”

“Irrelevant. We’re here.”

Tani pulls aside the flap of a tent and beckons you inside. Once inside, he introduces you to the other conspirators. “The lad to your right is called Guy, and this one here is Tobias. They’ll help you accomplish our mission.”

“And what is our mission?”

“It’s simple. ‘The gods giveth and the gods taketh away.’ Why should the baron get to enjoy our hard work while we suffer out here? We grew the food that he is currently hoarding in his hold, and now we’re going to be the ones that strip him of it. You’re going to be the one that is going to do that for us. We need you to infiltrate his estate, find, and burn down his granary.”

“Okay, and what’s Guy and Tobias’ role in this?”

“Guy will get you all into the town, while Tobias will help with distracting the guards while you sneak into the estate.”

“And how will they do that?”

Guy speaks up. “Here’s how. We’ll get a carriage and tie you to the bottom of it. Once we’re inside the wall, we’ll untie you. If we say that we’re traveling performers, the guards should let us pass with only a small bribe.”

“Why not go posing as merchants?” you suggest.

Tobias replies, “Because merchants constantly get extorted by the guards for unreasonable amounts, and if you can’t pay it, they search through your baggage train and confiscate something. The last thing we need is for them to be suspicious and search us. That’s why we’ll pose as performers. Those weirdos always get through somehow.”

“I’m not sure I like it,” you say, “but it’s better than nothing. When will we begin?”

Tani replies, “Immediately. There’s a festival happening soon, and there will be many people about the town. Because of that, the number of guards that patrol throughout the town will be increased as well. Their number has to come from somewhere, and so the baron’s estate will likely sparsely guarded. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to get in.”

“Let’s hope all goes well,” you say, to a murmur of agreement.