Legal Theft: The Usual Arrangement

There is a fine line between ‘If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be’ and ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ She remembered both adages from a childhood spent sitting in these very pews. Isra was inclined to agree with the latter and happy enough to cut out an unreliable, if divine, middleman entirely. She’d become very adept at helping herself since those days spent blearily listening to the robed priests.

Isra bent her head, mimicking prayer behind her dark veil. The large nave was all but empty, just a few parishioners seated to offer a late prayer or promise before the priests closed the cathedral doors to the public. Only a single robed man watched the flock, but Isra did not pay him mind. He was not the one she had to worry over.

For good measure she offered up her own prayer, that God would keep to himself, leaving her to muddle out her own affairs. This was their usual arrangement after all. Then she stood making as if to exit the church, but before she got to the doors Isra slipped to the side. Isra tucked herself into the corner of the vestry, settling down into the shadows behind a narrow column.

Ever the more patient than pious, Isra waited the hours until the last of the parishioners departed and the priests shut the great church doors against the night. It was not until the last candle had been extinguished that she padded back towards the center of the church and the doors there.

Had she been a common thief, the gilt and gold of the altar would have been hard to ignore. The wealth of the church glinted even in the dark, the little light catching upon the tables and inscribed texts. Isra’s dark veiled figure passed the sacramental riches by without pause.

The unlit ways into the private hallways and poor priests’ quarters were largely unlocked. The holy men trusted public decency and decorum for security. It was all the common of them could afford. Isra’s fingers barely brushed the handles of their doors, instead she pushed herself quickly up the winding staircases.

Now she hurried past stained windows, the crimson and gold glass coloring her black skirts in the moonlight. She could imagine the priests who resided here, staring out the windows over the city with small satisfied smiles. Isra leaned gently against one of the handles. It was locked.

She smiled behind her veil, so much for trust. Her  destination was up another flight of curving stone stairs and past a lazy pair of guards. Patience served her again as she waited for them to move along on their patrol before pulling lockpicks from her skirt and rush to the desired door. The lock broke two of her picks, causing her briefly to rethink her stance on divine aid, before the third slipped into place and the torque turned.

Her brother’s study was meticulously cluttered. Holy texts and treatises of his own make lay across the desk in a manner that was not organic, but Isra suspected, was perhaps instead for an observer’s benefit. Isra closed the door behind her, making note of the window before she did.

Something was going on within her family, and she was unwilling to let her brothers determine what was ‘meant to be’ before she got a good idea of what that was. With that in mind, Isra began helping herself to the contents of her brother’s desk.

This week’s impetus for larceny comes from Bek and her line There is a fine line between ‘If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be’ and ‘God helps those who help themselves.’. Check out her piece and the rest at the Legal Theft Project. 

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