Originally written:


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How did you get this number?
I can't get my head 'round you
Of course you're not coming over
Snap out of it
You're not making any sense

- Frou Frou - Psychobabble

"Akara! You've got ma-aa-aa-ail!" the tavern-keeper's son bounded up to the bar of the Golden Hourglass, where a particularly sleepy thief sat with one side of her face propped up in the palm of one hand, her other wrapped around a mug of hot tea. It was evening in Palanthas, which meant that it was merely early morning for her. Very early morning. It took said thief a moment or three before the words sank in.

"Wait, what? What do you mean, I've got mail?" she asked, turning to stare at the package the kid had in his hands. The tavern-keeper herself leaned over the bar to look, as well. It was a slow evening so far, so there wasn't a lot to keep the staff of the place occupied. Akara usually preferred the quiet evenings, but it had its disadvantages, too.

"That's what I said! It just showed up a few minutes ago on the steps. Poof! Right in front of me," he held it up to her face, "See? It's got your name on it! I've never seen you get mail before, it's gotta be something interesting. Feels heavy, too."

"Well now, that is interesting," said one of the regulars, a few spots down the polished bar, "go on and open it up, Akara."

Akara took the package and set it down next to her tea, untying the string wrapped carefully around the expensive parchment. The paper was cautiously unfolded - after all, the kid was right, she never got mail. Inside sat two crisp, new, leather-bound books with golden inlay in the title. "What the...?"

The thief lifted the top book, only to find a folded card of vellum stuck between the two outwardly-identical volumes. She flicked it open.

"The top copy is for yourself. The other is for your supporting family," the card read, "happy accumulative birthing days and merry accumulative Yules. ~Raistlin Majere"

"What is-?" The bartender had reached over, picking up the bottom copy and reading the gold-inlaid title out loud. "An account of Akara Krinir, Master Thief by... Raistlin Majere." Eyes fixed on Akara from all over the room; this place was named the Golden Hourglass for a reason; it was usually filled with those who liked to speculate on the archmage in his dark tower. It was why Akara herself stayed here, as well, because she always had an ear out for new information on the guy, even now that she'd given up on their game.

To have the name attached to a mysterious package... and shit. It called her a master thief. Akara was suddenly quite awake, watching in dread as the bartender opened the book up.

"Lemme see! Lemme see!" the kid was climbing up onto a barstool to see the books. Akara, numb with shock, flipped open the cover of the book in her hand... the one she was supposed to keep. There, familiar, blood-splattered, wrinkled pages made up the first dozen pages before resuming in that same angular writing on new, smooth and clean pages.

The ones Raistlin ripped out of that book when he saw me! He was... writing a story? About me?

Akara stared, glazed-eyed, at the wall over everyone's heads for several moments as her carefully-constructed world crashed down around her. These people had always been friendly while assuming she was an artist, but they wouldn't once they realized that the 'thief' part of these books wasn't fictional. Not to mention...

She abruptly scooped the card into the book in her hand, shutting it. Akara plucked the other out of the bartender's grasp, too fast and nimble to be expected, and immediately went for the stairs.

She needed to pack her meager possessions and leave town. Now.