[summarized in chronological order] Pre-beginning -In my story, a thief named Daktarash is approached by a mysterious character. This dragon claims to be part of the IDIP, the organization responsible for tracking down high-priority criminals. To back up his claim, he gives information on the location of Sar Argarva, a terrorist who disappeared after killing several police. (This needs a little ironing too but it's not as critical.) -Convinced, Daktarash listens to what he has to say. The agent is working outside the IDIP's jurisdiction in making him this offer. The informant has his hands on a valuable artifact, a sword belonging to Khriza, a famous emperor of history. -The informant says he can put him in touch with Zarakharn, the current emperor, who will pay handsomely for it. -The informant gives Daktarash a pre-addressed letter on which Daktarash writes his own words describing the sword and asking ten thousand ingzai for it. -The agent says that in return for the sword, Daktarash must steal a valuable crystal from Zarakharn, or the informant will track him down and imprison him. Daktarash agrees, needing the money to pay off a debt to a client of his named Kharda, who happens to be Zarakharn's cousin. -Daktarash tells Kharda that he has come into a very profitable venture and can pay off the debt with a sizable bonus added, saying that he can easily double the payment if Kharda wishes at no great cost to himself. -Daktarash tells Kharda the date which he will deliver the sword and be paid, and Kharda tells Daktarash to arrive with his cut the same night, since Kharda lives only a short flight away. Daktarash agrees, since this is doable even if a bit unreasonable, and the deal is made. Start of book -Daktarash then travels to Zarakharn's on the appointed date and meets with him. He tells Zarakharn how he came to possess the sword, keeping a few key details from him, such as the theft he is expected to make in return, as well as Kharda's involvement since he just so happens to know they are related. -Daktarash then pretends to leave, but stays behind to search for the crystal in Zarakharn's room. Upon finding it, he hides it on his person and is spotted by Zarakharn's pet cobra, who gives chase. Daktarash easily outruns him and escapes. -The snake alerts Zarakharn to the theft and Zarakharn travels to Kharda's, teleporting there magically with his secret wizard powers. -Meanwhile, the crystal Daktarash stole becomes inexplicably hot, burning his mouth where he was hiding it. He drops it and sees the white-hot crystal shatter to pieces at the bottom of the river he is flying above. (The crystal, being magic, doesn't actually shatter, and when Daktarash flies away it floats away, perfectly intact and cool, down the river. Daktarash's tongue is physically undamaged and the pain soon passes; when interrogating him later, Zarakharn takes Daktarash's unburnt tongue as proof that Daktarash is telling the truth about losing it, as Daktarash would not have known the crystal would burn him.) -Daktarash arrives at Kharda's and pays him as agreed, but Kharda sells him out to the emperor so that he can take the full sum of Daktarash's reward for himself and Daktarash is taken away and imprisoned in the imperial dungeon. Post introduction -In the next chapter, Zarakharn interrogates him, finds out what happened to the crystal, and kills him in a fit of rage. His arc lives on in flashback dreams and conversations alluding to him, but he ceases to be a major character once his purpose is fulfilled. Questions: My question is: what can Kharda use as a reason to sell Daktarash out? He knows Zarakharn wouldn't care about any of Daktarash's crimes, since Kharda runs several crime rings that Zarakharn turns a blind eye to and Daktarash's are minor in comparison. (He doesn't know Daktarash steals the crystal, so he can't sell him out for that.) The other question is, how does Zarakharn realize that Daktarash is headed to meet with Kharda? I originally had Daktarash be unaware that the two were cousins and let slip that he needed to meet with him, not realizing his mistake, but I want Daktarash to be more capable and careful, a little tighter than I originally wrote him so he's more believable as a successful thief and Zarakharn as a worthy villain for Daktarash, showcasing the threat he will display to the protagonists who are introduced in the next chapter, who he will attempt to track down and kill for the rest of the series. The better at nearly outsmarting Zarakharn Daktarash is, the more powerful Zarakharn seems for defeating him.