Recently, I’ve been hearing the old cliché that there is no honour among thieves echoing in my head. I keep believing that I have overheard it in various conversations, whispered to me as I pass by some of the people I have known since I was a wee little child running wild through the streets of Riften. Each time I hear it, even if I’m just hearing it in my own head, I cringe. The only truth to the cliché resides with the skooma addicts that show up from time to time. Overall, the cliché is a misconception. It is recanted time and time again like the old stories we tell our children to keep them out of Riften’s waterways or away from the dryad glades.

The truth of it is, there is a great amount of honour among thieves. Without that honour, we’d be no better than common thugs roving Tamriel and holding up wayward adventurers. While we might be merry mayhem makers, we do have a pattern to the chaos we reap. Not only do we have a pattern, but we have a code of conduct as well. It’s this code of conduct that I have followed most of my life. When you are born low, learning that your best meal might just be found in the barrel that guard is standing next to, you learn to steal. We don’t become thieves because we were born to Tamriel’s nobility. We become thieves because we have learned to converse with that rolling demand in our bellies. We become thieves to steal our way into a brighter tomorrow.

It’s in considering what these tomorrows will bring that I took the path and I did as a thief. My targets aren’t within cities or even houses. They are within the history of Tamriel. My targets are those long dead but hardly forgotten. As a Bard, I get to learn of my target long before I aim for it. Researching a story or a song, a poem tucked inside a journal and buried in dust, is uncovering parts of history. It’s learning the experiences of others like myself. And in chasing these tales, I can easily uphold the tenets of honour that we keep as thieves.

I have not taken up the quill and parchment to glorify thieves. I have not taken them up to romanticize us. I have taken them up to tell the stories that I have uncovered in my time, the stories I will uncover. Many of these stories deserve to remembered, some of them will serve as a service to Tamriel, to warn them of the various schemes and scams that so many grifters run that give us legitimate thieves a bad reputation. It is my hope that we can all learn a bit of our past and get a glimpse of the future through the relics left behind.

Astridr Black-bow | Tales of a Magpie