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    Atar and the Taker
    Posted on Sat, November 24, 2001 by Toran
    Nellisir writes "Thieves haunt the wealthy of the Flanaess, constantly threatening to relieve them of their wealth. One such thief was Atar, who was among the greatest of them. But, in the end, his final act of theft proved to be his undoing...

    Author: Nellisir

    Atar and the Taker
    A tale of caution

    by Nellisir (
    Used With Permission. Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Atar the Thief was the greatest thief in the world, or so he claimed, and in truth, there were not many that disputed him. For many years he plundered the strongboxes and treasure-chests of merchants and nobles from Dyvers to Rauxes. At last, though, Atar the Thief met a woman and stole her heart, only to discover she had stolen his in return. Thus they were married, and for the love of his wife, Atar retired.

    Happily he lived for several years, until his wife took sick and swiftly died, even as Atar summoned healers to aid her.

    "She is beyond our reach now", the healers said. "The Taker has been here."

    Atar then went into his house, and brought forth a chest of gold, and took it to the temple of Wee Jas, the Taker.

    "I will give you this gold", he said. "If you will bring back my wife."

    But the priests refused, for Atar had been a thief and a criminal.

    Atar returned to his house, and brought forth thirty chests of gold and jewels, and took them to the temple.

    "I will give you these thirty chests of gold and jewels", he said, "If you will bring back my wife."

    But the priests refused, for Atar had been a liar and an oath-breaker.

    Atar returned to his house and replaced the thirty chests of gold and jewels, and then took a key from around his neck, and went to the temple a third time.

    "I will give this key, which is the key to all I have in this world", he said, "If you will bring back my wife."

    But the priests refused, for Atar had been a murderer and grave-robber.

    Atar returned to his home, and replaced the key around his neck, and used it to open a door he had sworn never more to open.

    "If they will not return my wife to me", he thought, "Then I shall steal her back."

    Arcane items Atar had in plenty, and at his command, one of these bore him to the Patterned Web of Wee Jas, into which all are drawn at the ending of their lives. Through the endless maze he crept, following the tugging of his heart, and at last came into the Quiet Hall, where the unclaimed dead lay. Here the spirits rested, patient, until a god should call for them, or the ending of time should come about. Through here he stole, cloaked in shadows and silence, not a whisper of sound to betray his presence in the Quiet Hall, until at last he came across the spirit of his beloved and gathered her into his arms. Not a breath disturbed the air as he returned with her, and no darkness was deeper than that in which he moved back through the Hall. The guardians were unknowing as he passed them and his foot lifted over the threshhold. Then, as the sleep of death passed from her, his wife stirred in his arms, and Atar could not help but to draw in a breath at her beauty.

    And Wee Jas stood before him.

    "Thrice did you attempt to buy my aid with stolen wealth, Atar, and thrice were you refused", she said "Had you but asked, with regret for your former ways and repentence in your heart, she would have been returned to you. As it were, your only thought was to steal her away, and in this you have failed.

    "A thief you have been, and a thief you are now, but a thief no more shall you be. Where you have entered the Quiet Hall and failed, another may win true, and so I set you to watch what is mine, to know every footstep in my realm, every being that passes here. Only one place may you not go, and that is into the Quiet Hall. It is for the dead, which you never now will be." And Wee Jas took Atar's wife from him, and brought her back into the Quiet Hall, and laid her on her bier.

    That is how Atar the Thief became the Thief-Catcher of Wee Jas, and why he haunts her endless halls, tormented by the knowledge of his beloved, now forever beyond his reach.

    Note: Wee Jas"

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    Re: Atar and the Taker (Score: 1)
    by grodog on Tue, November 27, 2001
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    I like this a lot :-) Is Atar one of your quasi-deities, or is he basically a cursed/undead/whatever guardian?


    Re: Atar and the Taker (Score: 1)
    by Scottenkainen on Wed, November 28, 2001
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    Good handling of the mythic form, including repetition and the importance of the numeral three. Only iambic octameter would have made it better...

    Re: Atar and the Taker (Score: 1)
    by Blackdog on Thu, November 29, 2001
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    Simple and concise yet classical and poetic...may I borrow this? I can see a priestess of Wee Jas telling this story to children within earshot of the characters. Good stuff!

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