There was a figure on the side of the clock tower. Dressed in black and grey, a stark disguise to blend in with the great clock. But there was more to the tower than the clock, and the figure had no particular interest in the time of night. No, there was a much more tantalizing plum for the spooks and ghosts who dwell in the shadows of the city. Tonight, in the ballroom, the Baroness was having a grand masquerade ball. All of the city’s most important people would be there, and a noble and his jewelry are easily parted.
This was something not entirely lost on Roland Denholm, as he entered the tower through the ground floor. Roland knew he wasn’t exactly top-class material, the king of thieves he was not, but even a petty Spook with marginal Talent could likely make away with an easy catch or two from a ball like this. And it was a masquerade ball, Roland thought, which means everyone would be wearing masks, so he didn’t even have to bother with a disguise. Well, except to try to make himself look presentable so he’d actually get let in. Roland grinned to himself as he thought this, he did always say he’d clean up nicely. Indeed, he’d managed to find a discarded old suit that fit him well, and he was able to wash his scraggly hair in the bursting banks of the Red River. Handily equipped with a mask he’d taken from a preemptively drunk aristocrat, Roland felt he could pull off the noble look pretty well. Granted, a two-bit noble, probably on the last rung of the hierarchy, but as long as he got let in. The smell, however, was a different issue... Of course, he’d only have to get close to people in order to take their belongings, so Roland personally felt it was a moot point. And he wasn’t about to go out of his way to fully clean himself anyway. So Roland, dressed as presentably as he could possibly manage, entered into the ground floor of the clock tower. Spying a group of chittering aristocrats, mostly women, he quickly stepped over to them and wedged himself into the middle of the crowd. They paid him no heed, barely noticed him. Roland was used to not being noticed, it was a blessing in his line of work, but it did feel like a bit of an affront in this case. All the work he’d spent dressing up and no one even noticed him.