Prompt: “After falling on some hard times you decide to steal a valuable relic from a church of one of the many gods. After taking it outside it thanks you, ‘Those priests were getting loud.'”
I stalked through the back alleys as I made my way toward the cathedral in the middle of the city. The dead of night help conceal me as I moved from building to building. Eventually the tall spires grew closer and I saw the church. My target.
There was sign of life coming from within the cathedral. The large stain glass windows were dark without even a single candlelight.
I began to move forward, but then held back. I sat there crouched across the street from the cathedral.
“Was I really going to steal from a church?” I asked myself underneath my breath.
In the past I stole from rich nobleman or corrupt governors. Even some thieve’s guilds. Which in retrospect is not a good idea. But a church? On one hand they had to be loaded right? The huge cathedral. Stained glass windows. All of that says way too much wealth. On the other hand, they do feed the poor and take care of the downtrauden or whatever. Plus what about god or gods?
I glanced upwards. It was a still night with no cloud cover. Just sparkling stars shining down on me.
If there were a god or gods, they definitely wouldn’t want me to steal from a church. I might end up a nasty place if I die. Of course maybe I’m already destined for that because, you know, all the stealing.
These thoughts bounced around in my head for a minute, but eventually I shook them off. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
So I slunk forward under the cover of night and made my way to the front doors of the cathedral. It had large wooden doors outlined in metal with brass rings as door handles.
I grabbed a door handle and gave it a tug, but it did not budge.
Yeah I guess that would be a tad too easy.
I then proceeded to move around the church, making sure to stay out of sight as I checked for unlocked windows or any other doors. Unfortunately the stained glass windows didn’t seem like they were able to be opened. However, I did find a bit of luck. As I walked to the back of the church was a small, wooden door.
A back entrance which was probably used by clergymen coming in and out, perfect for someone like me for slipping in unnoticed.
I did a quick glance around, but the streets were momentarily empty. Another spot of luck.
I went for the door, but saw a small padlock holding the door closed. I then pulled a small, metal pick up of my pocket and put it in the padlock. I juggled it a bit before I found the right pins and put them into place. A few seconds later the lock came undone and I was able to open the door.
After my success picking of the lock, I let out a small sigh. I then slowly opened the door a crack and slipped through, closing the door behind me.
The room was completely dark and quiet. I was used to sneaking through the dark but in here I couldn’t even see my own hands in front of my face.
I reached down into my pocket and pulled out a small match. I struck it across my boot and produced a small flame. This allowed me to move around without being in complete darkness.
From what I could tell, I was standing in a small chamber filled with a wooden broom and supplies like scrolls and lamp oil. Definitely not worth stealing.
My match burned up but I struck another and kept on moving forward. I moved from the storage room to what looked like a small meeting room. There was a wooden table and a few wooden chairs. A few scrolls were open on the table. I took a quick glance, but I could not read the text. I mean I could barely read but these religious texts were a whole other language.
I thought about pocketing them, but really the only people who would buy religious texts were churches. Couldn’t steal it and try sell it back to them. Tried that once but didn’t work out too well. Next to the scrolls was an oil lamp which I lit. I kept the lantern low, but at least this would allow me to see around the room without burning my fingers.
I raised the lamp and examined the room. There was a larger door on the opposite end of the meeting room. I went to it and opened it. The door opened to the cathedral proper. A large room full of rows and rows of seating, high ceilings, and a large alter.
I don’t know a lot of about churches, but I knew that the religious people stood up in front in front of the altar and spoke to the people in the rows of pews.
“The altar,” I spoke as I walked toward it.
The altar was magnificent, even when viewed with low lights. It was covered with fine, silken threads. On top of the altar sat three objects of interest. One was a wooden box with golden lettering which I opened to reveal a large, thick book.
“More holy texts,” I scoffed. “How many texts do these people need?”
The next one was a large silver chalice which insides were stained with red and dark purple. Blood? Wine? Whatever it was, it probably diminished the value of the cup. Maybe the silver could be melted down and sold or maybe some merchant would really like to have a bloody cup. I shrugged before moving on to the third object.
This was a much smaller object, but sat in the middle of the altar. A soft velvet pillow which a small, copper ring sat on. It had a bright green gem embedded in it with small lines of copper wrapping around it.
That. That was my target.
I picked up the small copper ring and slipped it into my pocket.
Now I had to leave.
I quickly made my way out of the church using the same way I came in. I extinguished the oil lamp and left it on the table and left through the storage room. Pulled the back door open and peeked out.
Nobody was looking so I slipped out and closed the door behind me, replacing the lock.
“Perfect,” I smiled.
Again I looked around. The light of another lantern caught my eye as two city guards rounded the corner and made their way toward the cathedral. I ran quickly as I stuck to the shadows and slipped down another street before they could get a look at me.
I just kept on running as fast as I could, my heart beating in my ears, until I was sure I was not being followed.
I did it. I actually did it. I stole from the cathedral and made it out without anyone seeing me.
I reached into my pocket and let out a sigh of relief. It was still there. I pulled out the copper ring and examined it in the starlight. This thing had to be worth a fortune.
Thank you for taking me. Those priests were getting loud.
I dropped the ring as it fell to the ground.
I glanced around but I didn’t see anyone. I then looked down at the ring. Did? Did it speak to me.
I slowly lowered my hand and picked up the ring.
Sorry. Did I startle you?
Again, I looked around but there was nobody around. No one speaking to me.
“Are? Are you speaking to me?” I asked the ring.
Well you did take me from the cathedral, didn’t you?
“I…I guess I did,” I said, confused by the ring. I heard a voice but it wasn’t like someone talking to me. It was like a second inner voice filling my head.
Then yes. I’m talking to you.
A deep laugh filled my head.
It is hard to explain but I’m not just any ordinary ring with just any ordinary stone. The green stone is a soul gem and I am trapped within here. However my power lets me speak to you through your mind.
“Right,” I said dumbfounded.
I thought I was lucky that I was able to retrieve this ring, but now I was starting to fear that it was a curse I brought upon myself.
“What do I do now?” I asked it.
Whatever you do, do not return me to that church. I thought I would go insane listening to those ramblings of the priests. Day after day. God this. God that. Holy nonsense. The only time I felt peace was at night when everyone was gone.
I was so happy when a new person picked me up. I thought about speaking up right there but I thought you might freak out and refuse to take me.
“Yeah that was smart of you,” I said. “Are you the only talking thing in there or does the book and cup talk to?”
Another laugh filled my brain.
To be honest I do not know, but I am pretty sure I was the only item with a soul bound to it.
“How? How did you get stuck in there?” I asked tapping on the green stone.
That is quite a long story. Not sure we really have time for it.
I looked around. I didn’t realize how much time has gone by. There were small beams of light breaking over the horizon.
“It’s morning already,” I said.
Morning. I do miss morning. Sun. Day. Night. Stars. I barely remember such things.
“Can you see?”
No. I can only….feel.
The voice sounded sad. A sadness that seemed to affect me. I felt the adrenaline leave my body as a sorrow came over me.
“What do I do with you now?” I asked it.
I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but there is a way to get me out of here. I can tell you but you have to make me a promise. You need to help me.
“I don’t… I’m not really the helping type,” I admitted.
If you help me, I’ll make sure to return the favor a thousand fold. You will be richer than kings and more powerful than tyrants.
That. That definitely peaked my interest.
Header Photo Credit to Red Panda’s Closet
Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompt by u/junkyredditor