the 30th of Saun 718
Oberan took a few moments to rest, letting his breathing return to normal, and allowing his heart to slow down its rhythm. A careful peak around the trunk revealed that he hadn’t been spotted –though his hearing had told him that as well, since there had been no alarmed sounds, drawing of weapons, or hasty footfalls coming his way—and that the guardsman hadn’t moved all that much yet. From what he could see, the mercenary was looking away from him, letting his gaze sweep over the flowerbeds to Oberan’s right.
The man didn’t seem to rush his job, taking his time to check out every part of the garden, though he didn’t really move away from the path that coiled around the mansion. Slowly he made his way from one side of the building to the next, scanning everything around, including behind him. Oberan wouldn’t be able to sneak up behind him, that was for sure. The constantly shifting position of the guardsman also offered a different angle on the garden, but it really didn’t do much good in the darkness. The Mortalborn noted he didn’t carry a lantern or any other light source on him, probably to make sure he didn’t rely on it, thus allowing for better dark vision.
But it wasn’t enough.
As the man disappeared behind the corner, Oberan began to count, keeping an eye out for the other members of the patrol to show up. From the size of the manor it was clear that more than one guard was needed to ensure the security of the whole plot of land. The rounds allowed for fresh eyes to check the area, what always helped in flushing out intruders and the like, and had the added benefit of keeping the guards from dozing off.
However, one could not battle tiredness.
If this had been a bigger deal, Oberan would have done some research, would have gathered some intelligence. Checking for the best ways in and out, observing the patrol routes, finding out when the shifts ended. He’d estimate the time needed to get both in and out, as well as guessing how long he’d need to find what he was looking for. Then he’d have waited for the end of the shift to come around, and time it so that he’d have a little surplus of bits to spare, just in case. The eyes of the guard would be tired, their minds would be thinking about the end of their shift and their beds –in general, they’d be less aware. Easier to get past.
And if he was really trying, he’d have tried to find out where his target was stored as well, so he didn’t have to waste any time looking either. Just a quick in and out. Preparation took time though, and since Oberan wasn’t being paid for this, nor had he been feeling particularly excited for this job, he hadn’t done either of those.
Instead, he patiently waited, and counted.
It took about two bits for the next guard to round the corner, and her modus operandi seemed quite similar to the other one. He let her do her thing, didn’t move an inch, and began counting anew when she disappeared behind the corner.
More or less two bits later, the next guard arrived. And two bits after he left, the another took his place.
Not an irregular rhythm then. Good. That made things easy for him.
Oberan used the two bits of time to get closer, resisting the temptation to move in a straight line for the hiding spot closer to the building, and instead trading one place for another, cautiously inching closer. Slow and steady wins the race, and all that.
Despite being way closer to the guards, he wasn’t spotted. Nevertheless, his heartbeat rose and his breathing quickened, and more than once he had to suppress the urge to duck a little more, or to move a bit aside so he’d be entirely out of sight. Just because he didn’t had he remained undetected. After all, the sky was dark, the surroundings were dark, and his clothes were dark. Oberan would be very difficult to spot, but if he moved, the guards would notice. The eye was built to detect motion, so motion was something he had to avoid.
When they were gone, Oberan made his move, closing in on the mansion. He’d planned to use the windowsills of the ground floor to clamber up the wall, but from up close it seemed he’d underestimated the sheer tallness of them. Even if he jumped, he wouldn’t be able to grab hold of the little decorative arch up top. The ornaments also weren’t present –likely to make vandalism a bit harder, and it would have made the whole building look even more tasteless if they had been there—so he could only really use them if he reached the first floor. Fortunately, there was a drainpipe a bit further, which Oberan quickly ran up to.
The countdown in his head told him he had very little time left, so he begun climbing as quickly as he could, using arms and legs in conjunction to swiftly gain height. From there he could reach the decorations, and after carefully testing one to see if it could hold his weight, Oberan began scooting along the wall, one limb at a time.
His mental timer ran out, and about ten trills later did a guardswoman appear, scanning the area below. He pressed his body a bit closer into the stone, but there was little need, as she didn’t direct her gaze upwards. Not too surprising. People tended not to look higher than a forty-five degree angle, if at all. Despite this, Oberan refrained from moving, just in case he caused some decoration to break off, or some rubble to fall down. Giving the guards a reason to look up would expose him immediately since he wasn’t really hidden against the light color of the mansion.
As soon as they were gone, however, he quickly scaled the rest off the wall until he reached the third floor where, according to Solomon, the owner’s study could be found.