2E 582: Entry 18
I loathe spying upon my friend.
I've known Zeira since she was a young cutpurse. I wasn't part of the guild then, but our paths crossed. At first, she thought I begged for food on the streets. I did nothing to convince her otherwise. She always paid extra for information—gave me more coin than others from the Thieves Guild. Sometimes she'd slip me a roll, or a piece of fresh fruit.
When she learned I posed as a beggar, a merchant, and a fire juggler depending on the day of the week, she wasn't angry—she was beside herself with amusement. Zeira was the first person in on a joke only I had known for years. I made a true friend that day, sitting on the roof of Hew's Mane and sharing a bottle of grog pilfered from a fishing boat.
I remember when she asked me to join the Thieves Guild. I had no interest, for my experience was with the guild Bright Ilmund built. I'd received enough beatings from that bunch to know I should keep away. But when I turned her down, she didn't push, cajole, or otherwise manipulate me into doing what she wanted. I kept waiting for her to do so. I was prepared to vanish, if it came to it.
It never did. Zeira was part of a new assortment of thieves brought in by Nicolas. She lived by the rules the guild follows to this day. She showed me the principles by which she stood—the kind those of us raised in the alleys of Abah's Landing can appreciate. She set an example, and I realized it was a good one. I still remember the smile on her face when I told her I'd changed my mind. I'd never seen her beam before.
Now, I find reasons to stand within earshot. I pretend to inspect my jacket for lint, but steal a glance at her features in my hand mirror. I watch for signs she isn't her old self.
I was lucky to watch Zeira flourish in the guild. A few years after I joined, Nicolas elevated her to the Thieves Council. Velsa couldn't stand her, of course, but I believe she appreciated the verbal sparring partner. Edda warmed to her quickly. Daldur made a point of frowning and scowling, but always weighed her words.
It's no wonder Nicolas relied upon her as the years turned. She was the guildmaster's right hand, but she never let it go to her head. I once asked if she ever thought about taking his place. She laughed and said, “What does running a guild compare to pulling off a heist? I'd rather make us all rich. I'm not the type to stare at papers and plan our next move."
But now, Nicolas is gone. Edda and Daldur are gone. Velsa wants nothing to do with the Thieves Guild. There is no one but Zeira to plan.
All the weight falls on our new guildmaster's shoulders. She must gather the few of us who remain, shelter us from the Iron Wheel, and find a way to restore our honor, such as it is among thieves. She must learn to run the Thieves Guild with Velsa's pragmatism, Edda's spirit, Daldur's boldness, and Nicolas's calculation. She must do things she previously disdained, if she's to lead the rest of us from this dark and lonely place.
For example, if she noticed me acting strangely, she might feel the need to read through my journal.
If she did, I'd want to let her know that she doesn't need to bear all the weight alone. That despite the way he carried himself, Nicolas did have people to confide in. I'd hope she realizes those few who remain have survived and stuck together because of her actions. I'd tell her she was among family, and that all she truly needs to do is keep setting an example.
When I was certain she understood—truly understood—I could stop spying upon my friend.
—Walks-SoftlyMEET THE CHARACTER – ZEIRA