Magpie rolled his eyes and groaned, obviously annoyed with the question. An other response was not given. Oberan wasn’t sure what to think of it. Perhaps the mage did not want to think about whether the story was or wasn’t true. Maybe he was convinced that it did not matter. Either way, the reaction was interesting, to say the least. Not useful, necessarily, but interesting nonetheless.
The other questions were received with an even less positive reaction. Oberan had crossed a line, it seemed, inquiring too much about his intentions. Unprofessional for sure, the thief was quite aware of it. Usually, when commissioned, he did not ask about intentions or other irrelevant details. However, this was a special case. The Mortalborn had a stake in these events, a goal to reach. Gladly he had gifted his gathered evidence to another so that he could stay out of the spotlight, so he needn’t concern himself with the matter anymore. Yet, it seemed he couldn’t so easily shrug of all of the pressure placed on his shoulder by Audrae. Apparently, it was not going to be as easy and straightforward as he had believed it to be at first.
Some supported Sintra. Some did not want to get on her bad side. Some were neutral, interests lying in artefacts or the like. Some wanted Sintra gone, but would not move against her. And some would do all in their power to rid the city of her. The question was thus: who was who? Which path to take, which course was the most likely to lead to success?
It felt too much like politics for Oberan to be into it. He liked sneaking around, gathering intel, stealing stuff, making money, and not having to think too much about consequences. Now though, all he had to do was think of consequences.
Soon enough, the mage relaxed a little, the initial snap vanishing from his voice. The prior outburst had already cemented his intentions in Oberan’s mind though. Magpie wanted to keep the cube, the artefact for himself. There was no doubt that the mage wanted to study it, as he claimed, yet the thief was certain Magpie would not let go of the artefact after his research was completed. It would disappear, never to be seen again. The mage said as much not a few moments later.
A problem for sure.
Ordinarily, Oberan wouldn’t care about what he acquired for who, as long as they paid well and did not act insufferable.
“Neutral, eh?” the Mortalborn echoed. “Which means you’ve yet to determine the side most beneficial to your purposes, correct?” It wasn’t really a question. “Well, I can’t blame you for that. Sure, I’ll consider you a third party in this conflict then.” Not that it changed anything.
“Is it not?” The Thief gave it a few moments of thought, then shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. Worship of Immortals does not necessarily mean reliance on them. Cities without an Immortal at the helm, but with worship allowed are just as valid a bastion as Etzos is –was. I do agree, Magpie. Etzos has lost much of its former glory. Long before all this, even.”
The conversation carried on, Magpie specifying the next meeting point, and the date it should take place. He had even an informant or contact available in case information needed to be delivered sooner. One of many, Oberan presumed. The Mortalborn nodded, seeming to agree with everything.
In truth though, he had not yet come to a decision. What should he do? Warn the Mole? Deliver the items to Magpie? Take the evidence from the Mole, and deliver it to the officials in the Tower? Someone that could be trusted, that was against Sintra’s rule, and who had some power to change things, lacking only evidence of betrayal.
Still, he nodded. “Sure. Meet back here the thirty-first. Visit the beggar with the lily on her scarf in case I need to pass information along. Got it.”
He started moving then, one last glance down at the busker jumping around in circles as they played their instrument. Behind a decorative spire Oberan stepped, breaking line of sight with the mage. Posture changed, losing confidence and mystique. Slumped shoulders, hunched forwards. Head down. Making himself smaller, blander, uninteresting. Unimportant and easily overlooked, even in the most unlikely locations. He emerged silently from the other side of the spire, moving a bit further away, taking up position behind Magpie.
Simply standing there, observing for a while longer before finally leaving the rooftop, still wondering how to deal with this obstacle.