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"My life is nothing more than a vivid tale scripted on parchment;"

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Little Dirty Treasures

XxRichter found that being part of the Pitch Black wasn't as exciting as he thought it would be. The Pice Tenebris were people that raided towns and took what they needed. It was a gang of sorts. They were marauders, but they changed the rules a little. As said before, they took what they “needed”, not what they wanted like most of the plunders and pillagers and roamed the desolate wastes of Coenum et Harena.

There was a certain, uniform way that every Pice Tenebris member did things. Before a raid, they would be told what they needed to get; each person received a role and that role was expected to be played out to the best of the person’s ability. The roles were immutable, nothing was new and not a single role varied.

Roles and jobs were divided into two categories, Raid and Take. Very common words, but they served a purpose in telling exactly what a person had to do. In Raid, a member had to enter houses or fields and take food and supplies. They then dumped those goods in a certain spot that had previously been marked in the planning stages of the Raid. Take required that a member find the designated Raid dump grounds and take the goods swiftly to the trucks that the Pice Tenebris owned in order to store all the needed goods they stole.

Of course, there were other roles, such as protecting the cargo trucks and keeping frightened people from doing anything that would get them hurt. Other than that, it was the same thing over and over and over again. It was an unsettling monotonous job; a job that, if not done right, could leave someone reprehensible.

A reprimand was more like a beating. Richter would know. He was always getting in trouble for taking things that weren’t on the supply list. He was always covered in contusions and small lacerations but that never stopped him from taking.

He liked unique items and things of art and they would be added to his collection if he could get away with taking the item. He had piles of old novels—though he couldn’t read—and papers covered in odd drawings. Statuettes and broken pottery lines the corners of his tent. Old weapons, like ruined forty-five caliber pistols and grenades bereft of their deadly charge, hung in tight old fishing nets.

Richter’s newest find was a glittering ring that, even though the gem inlaid in the center of the silver was black, sparkled with an internal light. The normal lugubrious expression he held was replaced by a soft smile as he slid the cool metal over his finger. The dusty box he had retrieved it from clapped shut when he touched it and he slid the wood into his hidden coat pocket.

A loud horn signaled the end of the Pice Tenebris raid and, happy with his new find, Richter shot off with joyful alacrity. His dirt dusted boots struck the ground with hollow thuds and he barely managed to jump into one of the trucks. He sat down, legs dangling over the lip of the truck bed and he stared down at his ring. The abandoned shack he had gotten the ring from was farther away from the trucks than he had thought, but he had managed to get back in time and he considered it to be an accomplishment.

Behind him, the sound of rustling clothes signaled that he wasn’t alone in the truck. Immediately, Richter shot to his feet and pulled a dagger from its place in his boot. A laugh boomed around him and a voice spoke, “Good reflexes, lad.” With a relieved sigh, Richter returned the dagger to its hiding place and nodded at the man that now stood in front of him.

The man was Duncan. He was large and his face held a certain asperity that kept most people at bay, but he was kind for the most part. He was one of the few members of Pice Tenebris that believed that Richter wasn’t a contumacious brat. He was also one of the few members that could read and write. Duncan was usually the one that descanted long letters to the leader of Pice Tenebris. Though, unlike most of the few members with literary skills, he avoided circumlocution and kept to normal, straight-forward speech.

Duncan was also always quick to take notice of new things. His hazel eyes found the ring that circled Richter’s hand and he folded his arms over his chest. “Richter…” his words were soft and held a small hint of warning. Duncan was always the one to hang over Richter when he got hurt because of his actions, almost like a large, obsequious nurse. He disliked when the smaller, younger man had to face the rage of the leader. “How many times do ya need your mug bruised before ya learn to keep yer mitts to yerself?”

Richter didn’t answer at first. He was taciturn and often didn’t stand up for himself, even to explain his actions. He also knew that Duncan was going to continue. “We don’t steal out of greed, lad! Avarice is a sin! We aren’t the malevolent sort. We take to survive and leave a lot to the people that are…kind enough to share their food and resources. Ya can’t just take their valuables, boy!”

Richter raised his hand to look at the ring and he then defiantly looked up at Duncan. The look made Duncan’s eyebrows shoot high up on his head. That was first time he had ever seen such fierceness in the boy’s eyes. “There was no one living at the shack I found this in, Dun.” He hissed, his voice rough from underuse, “I didn’t steal this from anyone.” Duncan sighed and placed a hand on Richter’s shoulder. He understood. Richter would be able to keep this little treasure for as long as he lived. Or for as long as the leader of Pice Tenebris didn’t find it.


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