He hoists himself over the spiked fence and drops the thirteen feet to the ground as silently and assuredly as the striped tabby cat watching from the window. As the two large dogs raise their heads to bark a warning, he brings his first two fingers to his lips and blows a clear, soft, hardly perceptible note into the cool night air.

The dogs stop, wary, and the intruder creeps forward, making a soft clicking noise with his tongue. He slowly raises his hands and firmly yet gently grasps the dogs by the napes of their necks, right in front of the shoulders. The dogs tense, startled, then relax and back away. The man stands up, brushes himself off, and continues across the yard unhindered. When he reaches the solid stone wall, his sure feet and deft fingers find the invisible cracks and rough surfaces on the building's face and he quickly begins to ascend.

The night is warm and the curtains of the open third story window flutter in the soft summer breeze. He slips quietly through it into the spacious room and his eyes scan the place with the careful scrutiny of one well-practiced at his craft. The bed, the chair, the deskā€”ah, there it is; the bare wall behind the chest, painted a light beige color, slightly faded by the sun. He runs his nimble fingers over the wall until he finds what he's looking for, a small indent; a nick caused by a careless piece of furniture, or the secret opening to a compartment hidden in the wall. The intruder flicks the dagger out of his left sleeve. He carries one in his other sleeve, as well as in each of his black leather boots, but his left hand is more deft and sure, and this is precise work, though far easier than some he has performed.

He slides the paper thin point into the weak spot, right above the indent, and works the secret door open. After disabling a few sorry attempts at concealed traps, he lifts out the solid wooden box. It would be easy enough to the box break open, or simply to take the whole thing, but he won't. There it is, the thin golden lining; bless these empty-headed aristocrats and their foolish decorations. He slides his dagger through the gold as if it were melting butter and has the box open in less time than it would have taken him to cross from one side of the room to the other.

He closes the box and replaces it in the hidden cupboard, slipping its contents inside the double lining of his leggings as he does so. Then, quick and smooth as a shadow, he crosses the room and slides out the window and down the side of the building. Landing without a sound, the thief, with his new possessions, makes his way back across the yard and over the spiked fence, alighting on the dark cobblestone street outside. The whole episode has taken no more than twenty minutes.