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Honor Among Thieves
Just as working together can help those of good intentions slay a mighty dragon or destroy an army of undead, cooperation and teamwork can also benefit the forces of darkness. When banded together with a single purpose, the villainous guilds of Ultima Online are dangerous foes indeed!

In this week's spotlight, highlighting role-played villain guilds, we present to you the tale of the Drachenfels Rogue Tower Guild. Through careful timing and manipulation, these crafty rogues are able to ply their trade gracefully and with purpose.

 Carmen and her associates - the thieves Steele, Selina, and Don Jose, along with the master Mage Moridin - met Lord Tyre in their favorite spot, the Society of Thieves tavern hidden below the tanner in Vesper. Lord Tyre, a member of Vesper's "nobility" had come to ask for help in a discreet matter. It seemed that a rival guildmaster, Lord Scorpio, had dishonored Tyre's wife, Dorabella, by making comments about her fidelity. Lord Tyre wanted revenge, but besting Lord Scorpio in combat wasn't good enough - only humiliating him and ruining his reputation would do. To do this, he wanted to steal the pride of his rival's guild: a powerful magic sword once won in a quest that was kept in the guild's tower.
So he came to Carmen, the notorious leader of the Rogue Tower, a training place for thieves, gypsies, and rogues. Since its inception, the Rogue Tower had made life around Britain's banks difficult, despite Lord British's recent crackdown on their profession.

Later that evening, outside the bank in Vesper, the rogues found their target in the midst of his guildmates, sitting tall on his horse, proudly boasting of his latest exploits. Selina, disguised as a passing tailor, went first to scout. She snooped his pack...nothing. She thought for a moment, then surveyed the crowd. Several members of the guild wore titles of "Initiate." She made her way unnoticed to these men and snooped their packs. Her instincts were right. One of them had a rune labeled "Guild House" but no key. Another had a key with the guild's initials though. She walked on and reported to Carmen.

Next went Don Jose, disguised as a bullfighter, with his orc helm and a practice sword. He approached the guild member with the rune. Pretending to be interested in the guild, Don lifted the rune from the Initiate's pack. Walking off, he handed the rune to Moridin.

That was Steele's cue, who, with fishing pole in hand, walked towards the guild members while yelling at the top of his lungs repeatedly, "Fish steaks for sale! Only 1gp each!" He approached the Initiate with the key, bumped him, and a moment later, the key was in his pocket. As he walked by Carmen, a silent exchange was made.

Carmen, dressed in red and black, with her trademark flaming red hair, had kept her distance from the crowd, idly playing with the lockpicks in her pocket. Now she approached Moridin, who quickly opened a gate. Carmen, Steele, Don Jose and Selina jumped through… and arrived in front of a large tower on the Ice Island not far from the Shrine of Honesty.

They got down to business quickly. Carmen tried the key on the door. It opened and they rushed in. "Spread out," Carmen said, "Don, first floor, watch the door. Selina, second floor. Steele, third. I'll take the roof." The gang spread out and began checking chests and packs.

On the roof, Carmen found a meeting hall, with chairs and tables in a semi-circle. At the center of the circle in the middle of a large pentagram was a chest on a table. She checked the chest...locked, trapped with an exploding potion. She laughed and quickly disarmed the trap and picked the lock. Inside was a magic sword. This had to be it.

"I got it!" She yelled, "get what you can and let's go!"

Just then, a magical gate opened outside. Knowing they only had a moment to avoid discovery, the rogues quickly hid. But Don Jose, still on the first floor, failed to find a spot. A man on a horse came through the gate. It was Lord Scorpio himself.

Don Jose stood there as he entered the tower, still with his orc helm and practice sword. It didn't take Lord Scorpio long to realize what was happening. Don Jose tried to stall him with talk of joining his guild, but a sword was soon in Lord Scorpio's hand, slashing away.

Meanwhile, the rest of the rogues were stealthily moving down the stairs from the upper levels. Selina stumbled and revealed herself. She looked up as she heard Don Jose's death agony and Scorpio then turned on her.

Carmen and Steele had paused, hidden in the alcove at the bottom of the steps, about to go into the main room. Lord Scorpio rode by them swiftly. Selina ran upstairs! Carmen was about to yell "No!" but then realized what she was doing. Selina made it all the way to the roof before Scorpio dispatched her as well.

Another magical blue gate opened in front of the Tower in the same spot where they had arrived. Carmen and Steele bolted for the door, not worrying about hiding anymore. They saw Scorpio on the tower roof, looking down on them as they rushed through the gate and found themselves back in the Vesper Bank square, with Moridin standing nearby. A moment later, two ghosts came through the gate and headed to the healers.

Moridin gated in Lord Tyre and Dorabella to see the moment of triumph. Carmen then hefted the magical sword and brandished it proudly as she walked towards the crowd still milling around in the square. Apparently, Lord Scorpio's friends didn't know what had just happened at the tower.

When they saw the weapon in this gypsy's hands, they were outraged, demanding to know how she had gotten it. Carmen innocently told them that Lord Scorpio himself had given it to her. Just then, Lord Scorpio recalled in, and before he could react or say a word, Carmen approached him. She stepped lightly up onto a stirrup of his horse and kissed him on his rapidly reddening cheek, saying, "Thank you for everything, loverboy, my noble hero!"

Carmen walked off as Lord Scorpio's guild members demanded an explanation and Lord Tyre basked in a glow of satisfaction. Back at their tavern, the rogues reveled in the fruits of victory: an extremely valuable sword, a bag full of gems which Steele had escaped with from the tower, and the satisfaction of knowing they had shown the town of Vesper a new way of doing Justice and restoring Honor.

- Carmen, Grandmaster Rogue, Drachenfels Rogue Tower

The names of the victims in this tale have been changed to protect the innocent. Of course, according to the Rogue Tower, nobody is truly innocent!

Next week's spotlight will begin our month long commemoration of the second anniversary of Ultima Online's release. Each week during the month of September, we will bring you tales from players celebrating this remarkable achievement. Keep an eye on FYI on the front page of the uo.com site for future spotlight topics.

Published: October 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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