There was a sound like thunder, and Rakel and Two appeared in the safehouse. Rakel tripped and swore, kicked at one of the chunks of stone scattered around her feet, and regretted it instantly. She’d apparently left a pretty fair crater behind her; without access to a telemancer she’d had to settle for a talisman which took a spherical volume and moved it, without regard for what it held.
Rakel set Doorman to cleaning up the debris, and had Two empty its cargo onto the floor. She opened each of the bags in turn and grinned—she’d hit the jackpot. The smallest coinage she found was the one-crown piece, and the rest of the bags were significantly more valuable. She was no good with large sums of money in small pieces, but she was willing to guess that she’d escaped with something in excess of ten thousand crowns, enough to set her up comfortably in the High Quarter for the rest of her life, if she’d been so inclined.
She wasn’t, though, and in any event she’d probably have to give the money back eventually. She told Two to start counting the take, and left a letter for it to take to Kajsa when it finished. They’d have to figure out how to move the money, but that was a problem for another day.
Rakel left the safehouse and started on her way back to her inn. On her mind was the problem for today—how to placate Henrik. He was likely to be hopping mad at her, and not without reason. She’d broken dozens of rules, only some of which she had permission to break, and more than that had committed a very obvious crime using magic, which would no doubt bring the Council and probably even the Chieftains themselves down on henrik, and he certainly had more important things to do.
She half-expected the call before she got to the inn, but she made it without hearing his disembodied voice shouting at her. She shivered at the thought of it; normal as it was for a diviner to study scrying and illusion together, the way a voice so projected sounded simply raised the hairs on the back of her neck. She waited in her room for a few hours and, finally, frowning thoughtfully, decided he had nothing to say. She went downstairs and spent the rest of the day at tafl.
She had just reached her room on her way to bed when she heard Henrik’s voice, echoing all wrong. “What did you do?”
Rakel quickly pulled her door closed and held up her hands. “Look,” she said, “I had very good reaons, and—”
“No,” Henrik cut in. “I want to know what you did. We’re hearing stories about a crazed mage and quite a lot of money spent on a cover-up, but nothing specific and nothing official.”
“Oh.” Rakel scratched at her neck, and was a few moments in answering. “I, uh, robbed a bank.”
Rakel was ready for it, though, and kept talking before Henrik could say more. “If I want to get in fast, I have to draw attention to myself. I’m prepared to give the money back if I have to. Talk to Kajsa and she’ll handle it, only I think the money should officially come from the Magehunters. Better if people don’t ask too many questions about it, right?” No response was forthcoming. She filled the silence. “Is that alright?”
She heard an incredible frostiness in Henrik’s voice. “We’ll talk about this later.”
Rakel waited a minute or two, then shrugged to herself. As her head hit the pillow, her last thought was that she hadn’t expected it to be that easy.
Rakel woke to the sound of her door exploding off its hinges. As splinters rained down around her, she launched herself out of bed and pulled her dagger in the same motion. One tough by the door, she saw, which she could handle, and two crossbows in the hall, which would be a bit more problematic.
Something silvery flew at her head, and she threw herself out of the way. It clanked off the wall and fell right in front of her. She had just enough time to come up with an appropriate word before the talisman triggered and she felt her muscles lock.
One of the crossbowmen leaned down into her field of view. “The boss says nice trick,” he said, tugging a bag over Rakel’s head, “and he’d like to talk to you.”