Thursday, May 30, 2019

130 - “Tense Negotiations” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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What should I tell them? Should I say it’s her? They’ll probably give me more for her. But if they find out it’s not they’ll come after me. She looked at their questioning and uncertain faces. Maybe I can be gone by the time they find out.

She dropped her head.

“No, it’s another wizard I caught,” she finally answered.

They relaxed to see her speaking more coherently again. “That’s a shame.”

She continued, “This one’s a striking mage. He’s powerful. He almost killed us. He lit the place on fire.”

“Fire, eh?” She saw the two look at each other with pleased faces.

She took a deep breath to calm her tension. Maybe I can still play this well. She felt her shoulders relaxing and her breathing calm. As it eased, she felt a familiar warmth in the palm of her hidden hand, and an excited shiver ran down her neck. “So, I’ve brought you my quarry. What’s the pay?”

The elf thought a minute. “Well, it’s good that you got this one off the street. That’s worth two or three gold.” He reached across the table for it.

She quickly snatched it away. “Four gold. And another oculus.”

“What? Now, let’s be reasonable.”

She began to stretch her mind and will through the sapphire across the table. She tentatively reached out to the elf. A sense of superiority, smugness, and confidence radiated from him. Typical elf.

He continued, “I mean, really, how powerful could he be if someone like you was able to catch him? Where did you find him, anyway? A magician at a SummerFest?” The two of them laughed.

“He was a slaver. He and his band were capturing children and holding them deep in Umbrawood Forest. He was plenty powerful.” She saw their eyes open in surprise, for a moment, then, after a glance between them, saw them try to mask their interest. She felt a wave of intensity in her mind. She had their attention. “But if you don’t want to pay for him, I could just drop him in the river. There are plenty of stones just like it under the water.”

They looked intently at her, trying to read her. In her mind, there was a sudden flash of an image. The two of them, on a staircase, talking with another man in robes. They looked focused on their conversation. She heard the man address the elf and call him Illitharin. I have your name, now! She smiled. This mage is important to them. The three are talking about him!

“Maybe five gold, then?” she asked, holding up the granite stone between her thumb and finger and wiggling it back and forth.

They looked at each other in an unspoken conversation of facial gestures. They glanced at her with mistrust and tension. Finally, the elf nodded, “Agreed. Give me the stone.”

“Oh, no,” she said, dropping the the gray oculus into her palm, “Put the payment on the table first.”

There was more glancing, more nodding. The human reached into his pouch and counted out some coins under the table, then set them in a stack in the middle. She looked them over. Five full gold pieces.

She smiled. “Good! And the oculus?”

The elf hesitated, sighed, and then from his own pouch he pulled out a stone and set it next to the money. It was round and flat, shiny and cloudy, green and brown.

Karendle frowned. “What’s this? I need to do magic, not skip rocks across the Wynne!”
The human hissed, “Quiet! It’s jade. It’s a nature oculus.”

She tried to sense the truth from them, but wasn’t able to get a clear feeling one way or another. With uncertainty, she reached across the table and set the granite oculus next to them. “Do I look like a riverman? Don’t you have ruby? Or an opal?” They shook their heads. She gathered up the coins and the Jade stone.

The elf snatched up the traded granite stone as quickly as he could. Just as quickly, he stashed it in his pouch and stood. His companion joined him.

“You bring us the wizard girl, and We’ll give you all the oculi you ever dreamed of,” he whispered, and then they walked away. There was a suspicious eagerness to their step. She quickly reached out to them with the power of the blue oculus in her bandaged hand. For a moment, an image of dragons flying and buildings burning flashed through her mind, and she gasped, frightened, and jerked in her chair.

What on this Creator’s earth was THAT? 


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox, Genevieve Springer!

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