That night, Keith feasted with his friends in the underground guild. Like a long-lost brother, he was welcomed with open arms into their world. Keith’s closest friends gathered around him at one end of the long table, with the rest cleared off to make room for the meal. Beside him sat Blackavar, who listened closely to the Healer’s many stories. A sip of strong wine was just enough to loosen Keith’s tongue, and he dived into a multitude of slave stories and family history, though he was careful not to reveal too much. The small warning in the back of his thoughts grow stronger when he came close to saying what he should not.
“Ya know,” Toby said in between chewing, “it was a big thing around here when Castle Mire went down. The streets were full of people! I’ve never seen so many!”
“Easy pickings.” Aldaris grinned, jingling a pouch full of money at his belt.
“Well, naturally.” Blackavar finished the rest of his drink. “Wealthy slave owners came from all around, trying to figure where else to get their slaves.” He pointed at Keith. “Yer name was mentioned quite a bit.”
“Mine?” Keith asked. “Why would I be mentioned? I was nothing more than a slave myself.”
“Um...” Lancheshire cleared his throat. “Ye know those documents that Shafari kept locked away?”
“Yes,” Keith answered. “They were destroyed in the fire.”
“Well...” The young thief glanced at the Master Thief, who nodded for him to proceed. “Apparently a few were not.”
“What!” Keith stared in surprise. “How could that be?”
“Oh, relax!” Daumier intercepted. “All you have to do is change your appearance like before.”
“And you might want to do a name change as well,” Jasper added. “Just in case someone asks.”
“He's right,” Blackavar continued. “Keith Larson will always be remembered as the one who destroyed Castle Mire. I suggest another name for the time being, just ‘til things have cleared.”
“So you’re telling me,” Keith said, “that even after three years, my very name could get me arrested?”
“Think about it,” Toby said. “A couple hundred slaves escape from Castle Mire. Where’s the first place they’re gonna’ go? Lexington!”
“Bet that threw the town guards in a loop.” Keith grinned.
“Exactly!” Toby continued. “Now think how excited everyone was when you freed them, repeating your name to everyone they came across, including guards.”
“Pish posh!” Lancheshire pulled his chair closer and folded his arms across his chest. “With all I’d seen from him in Castle Mire, no one’d be stupid enough to mess with ‘im long!”
Keith smirked. “True. I do have quite a temper at times. As for appearances, well...” He passed a hand through his hair, and the color instantly darkened to a rich black, then faded to its original color. “Illusion should be easy enough. Name change too, if I need it.”