It is usually assumed that the Gang Of Four (the two girls, Sam the Mouse and Simon the Albatross) initially became cat burglars in order to provide themselves much needed food and money. This is not really accurate. They did indeed need food and money and burglary did provide these things. But in truth, they began enacting ever increasing heists of breaking, entering and stealing in order to practice. They were practicing for a single heist they knew it would take them years of training to pull off, and this heist was not for any personal gain, but so they could help their secret fifth member break a terrible curse her father was caught in.
Agatha had been researching curses and artifacts for years and one thing she knew for sure was that in order to break the curse upon her family and stop these stupid, psychotics wraiths from showing up and dismembering everyone whenever she got even mildly tiffed, she would need the actual artifact that had caused it. But this artifact was in the possession of the most powerful banking family in the city, the Millhouse Seths, and locked in the single most secure vault in all of New Albion.
The girls, Mae and Mags, Sam and Simon had all vowed they would help their dear friend Agatha the Librarian, even if it took years, which it did. They discussed and discussed it and agreed they would have to become thieves extraordinaire, so they set about this task with great focus.
Sam quickly proved to be the strategic brains of the group. He would plan more and more complicated operations over time and showed a genius for tactics and planning. Also, as a mouse, he was sometimes invaluable in getting into difficult rooms.
Simon, being a bird, was not only the perfect lookout, undetectable and airborn, but through flight he could transmit messages from team member to team member with a speed unheard of at that point in New Albion history. He could also simply make off with a desired item. If Mags procured say, a necklace that she needed to get off her person as fast as possible, she could simply reach outside the nearest window give it to a waiting Simon who would fly it to safety.
Mae and Mags had always been good at gymnastics, but now they trained themselves to perfection. The human element was needed in their heists, although at times they themselves did not actually need to enter the room with their desired target item was kept. They were needed to interact with other people, usually to act out a narrative and as teenagers they had to learn how to pass as adults or play the child/youth card.
Agatha never went on heists, but instead acted as researcher. She had access to architectural blueprints for the entire city as well as information about the history and details on any building, neighborhood, or social strata.
Their first few “jobs” were incompetant near disasters, but they quickly became a well oiled machine and after two years were nothing short of dazzling. Legends of a master cat burglar began to spread across the city and Sam quickly recognized the value of such a thing. The legends assumed a single male, which the gang would play off of. Sometimes they would leave taunts by this fictional male and other times not, carefully changing their tactics so that police would build a false methology and character analysis.
However, even after two years they were nowhere near ready. It took another two years of work after that until the gang finally thought though they might be skilled enough to tackle the M&S vault.
The problems were multitude. The vault was buried far underground and other than that no one knew a thing about it. Procuring information on the vault tooks months and several raids on the Millhouse Seth Manor and some of their top clients as well as the bank itself. The daughters also spent over a year building identities as rich, spoiled heiresses. They were too young to pass for the kind of high power client who would garaunteed to get their possessions stored in the main vault, but by hiring an actor to play their wealthy father on a few occasions and some well placed appearances and press they built an identity and account that was recognized by the bank.
The amount of time and energy that went into just getting information about the vault was tedious enough, so imagine the shock and near defeat they felt when they discovered that due to the MIllhouse family’s propensity for black magic, the vault was not actually stored in this dimension.
The gang was all sitting around, shoulder slumped, mouths hanging open, in near tears. It was Simon was got them out of their stupor. In the library was a Victrola, an exciting new contraption at the time. Simon played it, and the cylinder on it was a brass march. Simon marched up and down the table with a paper hat on his head, head up, chest out, in a gesture of complete resolution. Everybody laughed and before long they were marching in a line around the library. They sat back down again, their spirits raised and got back to planning.
Agatha’s years of researching magick and Sam’s years of developing complex heists were tested to their limits, but after some time the entire Gang came up with a Plan. It had taken over four years of training, a year of prep, but finally they enacted their great Plan.
Mags made an important deposit for their prime account in the mian vault. The Gang had amde a number of very valuable depostis over their career to build up their credit and insure they had a deposit box in the main vault. The item to be stored was strange, but it was done.
Sam the Mouse was in the item, and so he ended up in the vault. Once he was certain it was after hours he crawled out and began work. Also in the item was a bag of salt. He bit a hole in the bag and dragged the salt around the vault floor in a circle.
Each night the vault was sealed with both locks, seals and sigils, impervious to thieves and occultists. The vault upon being sealed magickly was transported to another dimension, a dark, chaotic one where if any human were to enter, the sight of which would drive them instantly insane.
Sam cast a circle and scratched the various runes taught to him by Agatha. Meanwhile, back in the basement of the library, Mags, Mae, Agatha and Simon did the same. Each team created the exact same Circle and at the appropriate time opened a portal connecting them. Simon the took a rope in his beak and flew into the portal in order to connect the two Circles.
A human could never have done it as it required watching where you’re going. However human vision and albatross vision are quite different and although they had not been certain this part of the plan could actually be pulled off, in fact Simon was only partially bothered by the chaotic alternate dimension. It freaked him out but did not drive him mad.
He landed in Simon’s circle. Mags and Mae then put on blindfolds and crawled slowly along the rope, through the monstrous abyss, not daring to open her eyes and ignoring the terrible sounds howling arouond her. Agatha kept the ritual going, the portal open, and the rope anchored.
Once in the vault, the girls went to work scouring the boxes in the area where the family was most likely to store the artifact. At this point time began ticking. The more important boxes would have astral golems protecting them. The astral golems existed to do one task and one task only: if the boxes were disturbed they were to fly through the astral byway to deliver an alarm to another golem on the other side.
Due to this never having happened before, the Gang could rely on a little bit of time passing before trouble came barging in. However, as time goes, not much. Not much at all.
They worked as fast as they could. The boxes were sealed well and to open them the girls had brought hammers and chisels. They pocketed a full items of interest, but mostly just methodically went through the boxes as quickly as possible. Finally the room began to rumble and the sigils and seals covering the door began to glow, signalling impending intrusion. Time was up.
Mags was the one that found it. The door began to open. Simon was already waiting with the rope in his mouth. Sam tucked himself into Mae’s bra and the girls leapt from the walls to the rope. Mags would have landed poorly on the floor and would have probably broken something, but the floor disappeared completely.
When the door opened, the room would return to reality. The Gang banked on this. The rope connecting the Circles would still exist in the terrible dimension and the room would simply disappear from around it. Thus the Gang was left clutching a rope suspended in the space of a horrific dimension, terrible, terrible sounds howling around them, the girls unable to open their eyes lest they go insane and Sam unable to open his eyes simply because he was scared shitless. They all were and the fact that he peed in Mae’s bra was never held against him.
Simon was their only hope. With the end of the rope in his beak, he slowly flew it and those clutching it in a ball together across the nightmarish space, the chaotic nonsensicalness, the blasphemous unreality, slowly but surely until he reached the portal and landed them all in the Circle in the library where Agatha waited. She immediately closed the Circle after them.
Simon suffered from nightmares the rest of his life. They were worse during the weeks following the heist, but the Gang cared for him with great love, and eventually they receeded, only appearing a few times a month from then after, more when he was stressed.
Agatha’s family curse was lifted. While there is more to the story, we have spent more than enough on this particular chapter. There were a few more heists needed and a couple more adventures required to get the job done, but we assure you dear reader, the mission was accomplished and Agatha’s curse was forever done away with. She remained with Gang thereafter, never going on jobs but always as their unknown librarian and 5th member.
When the Gang first entered the Vault they left their cat burglar calling card and despite the family’s best attempts to keep the theft under wraps, it got out, at least amongst a certain strata of New Albion and the gang found their reputation after that to be elevated to an almost unfathomable level. They soon found themselves with a power and influence they had to struggle to come to grips with.
There are so many stories to tell and perhaps one day they will be told. But we cannot go through their entire career here and now. It is time for us to skip ahead and talk of how Simon’s end came about.