Sara Sigurdsdottir’s Secondhand Shoppe is a quaint little store run by the alternately kindly and stern Sara, an old spinster who has been running the place since her father died thirty years ago. It’s located in one of the safer poor neighborhoods of the city and is well-known to those residents who don’t have a lot of money. Sara sells a wide and ever-changing variety of items at prices low enough that her neighbors can afford to buy things from her that they’d never get from the original seller, allowing, for example, quite a few fancy hats and dresses among the city’s poorest women.
Sara is a pawnbroker, sells on consignment, buys from vendors, and accepts donations of old though still usable goods that she can turn over for a low price. She’s also a fence, and the public face of a large and successful thieves’ guild called the Consignment Brigade.
The Consignment Brigade is how Sara gets much of her higher quality merchandise, and certainly everything she keeps in the hidden back room. A motley collection of thieves, professional and amateur, bring her a wide variety of items filched from nobles, merchants, temples, dungeons, and caravans, and if the item in question is too “hot” to put in the front of the store, it goes in the back, behind a secret door only Sara knows how to open. One can procure magic items, stolen jewels, and just about anything else back there, while the store is mostly stocked with clothing and household goods.
Sara herself is not now, nor has she ever been, a thief, but her father was. Once a Shadow Lord of the Dockworker’s Association, he left that guild when he mangled his leg and could no longer “work the docks.” He “retired” and began working as a fence, but it soon became apparent that his old comrades weren’t stealing goods that could be easily fenced, so he made some new street-level connections, including a young pick-pocket named Sarah, with whom he founded the Consignment Brigade and fell in love. She died in childbirth, and so their only daughter Sara grew up in the shop, learning to sell by the time she could walk and talk.
As the daughter of the founding members, Sara was offered leadership of the Consignment Brigade, but she declined, insisting on taking a more advisory role and acting as the guild’s primary fence. Her position affords her a lot of power with the guild, and she’s seen nearly a dozen people rise to lead that group, some of whom even stepped down while still alive. Anything a guild member steals which they intend to sell has to go through Sara, though she holds items to sell to specified buyers when needed, in order to prevent a stolen item from falling into the wrong, or gods forbid “right” hands again. So it’s not unusual to walk into the store and find one of Sara’s many “nieces” or “nephews,” helping out around the shop.
Artwork: “Off He Ran,” by Gustave Brion, from Les misérbles by Victor Hugo, 1867.