“Hey you there! Want some work? I need strong bodies. Theosius is my name. You look brave. Do you want to earn money?”

At these words, Nicolai almost turns round from his beer, but relaxes and stares even more intently at the table. But he is now solely concentrating on the conversation at the table behind him.

* * * * *

Saeth bristled. This was not how you went about hiring men-at-arms. You didn’t do it loudly, you didn’t do it publicly, and by all the immortals, you did not do it drunkenly! She glanced left at the dwarf Feldard, then right toward the priest. “You know how this works. You want to hire a man, you put your money on the table, and make your plea.” No, that wasn’t how it was supposed to work at all. In more refined parts, he’d be stabbed even for thinking about it. But if the boy across from her had half a head, he’d nick a few coins as the table rejected him roundly. The balding fellow looked drunk enough that he probably wouldn’t notice.

Maruc glanced at Saeth she must be making assumptions about the nature of the work this chap wants, how can she tell? Or is all of her type of work, that type of work? Maruc wondered whether it would be such a wise idea to go long with someone like this elf. But Elves live a long time and there is no telling exactly how old she is. Or how much experience she has of the world. Maybe life is much cheaper beyond the confinds of the cloister. Perhaps she has placed herself in the position that everyone will make the same assumption as myself – namely that she is some sort of assassin or thief. It was also brash to assume that because someone needs to be ‘brave’ or ‘strong’ does not immediately mean that the job is in anyway underhanded and therefore require secrecy. In fact it very much denotes the opposite. Before we make any decision we must first be aware of all the facts.

“Master Theosuis, please be seated. Have an ale,” Maruc offers, jumping in. “Please forgive Mistress Saeth’s somewhat forthright manner. Not only are we new to the city we are new to each others company. So we ask for your forbearance and understanding.” Maruc continued. “Firstly, I know not what significance the green liveried men have within the city. Do you perchance know of these men and what loyalties they hold?”

“Secondly, what are the details of the service you require of us? Will you cover remuneration, out of pocket expenses and guarantee there is nothing in the task that requires me to go beyond the teachings of the church?” Maruc turns to his comrades, “Otherwise, I for one am available to help folk in need.”

Theosius raises his eye at the cleric’s question. “I see we have some newcomers to the Mirror City,” he chuckles as he gratefully accepts Maruc’s pint offering. “The men of which you speak are well known throughout the city. The green livery is the uniform of those who serve the Vorloi family. They’ve done a proud job of managing these unruly Traladarans today. Maintaining order between the Torenescu and Radu seems to be keeping them quite busy of late.”

“Now, onto business,” continues the loud-mouthed Thyatian, “I have need of trustworthy souls who can perform occasional duties for me. I assure you that I will ask nothing illegal of you. You can ask around, and you will find my reputation is that of an honorable craftsman. As an honest man, I must be clear that there is an element of risk in these endeavors. This is why I’d like to offer you 3 royals each as a retainer for your future services.”

Miklos sat gazing at his partially sipped pint. He wondered if opening his mouth while these obviously more worldly individuals negotiated some sort of business contract. He felt he’d missed out on the business side of his family’s dealings and wasn’t at all confident at broaching his own thoughts on striking deals. Everything had happen so quickly this morning he felt out of his depth. He’d mastered the finer intricacies of nature of the arcane and come from one of the most foresighted families in the country, yet it had prepared him very little for a situation such as this, this market trading. He needed to learn about this and he was a very capable learner according to his old Master, but as his Master said, “’Tis better to be thought a fool than to speak and put it beyond doubt.” So he’d kept quiet and observant.

He looked around the table, Feldard and Saeth where both so far beyond his experience it was impossible to evaluate them from a human perspective. They were strange and alien to human culture, no matter how integrated into human society demi-humans became – they where always a race apart. The Halavist was almost as much a mystery, but at least he was trying to hold some kind of sanity over the group, but Halavists are not renown for their sanity and he wondered what agenda drove the cleric on. It might be worth researching it for his own safety. What had driven this strange group together? Perhaps it was fate, perhaps it was the Immortals? Not the Miklos trusted the Immortals, he trusted in knowledge written in ancient books and proven theories that worked. He did not rely on luck, or hope.

But part of the reason that he hadn’t just drained his pint and walked away was his strange fascination with co-incidence, and his somewhat morbid drive to see things that he started through to its conclusion. Now there was this open proposition of work. Coincidence again?



Filed under Dungeons & Dragons

5 responses to “Theosius

  1. XP Update:

    An Opportunity:
    Nicolai: 10xp +10xp 1st post
    Saeth: 10xp + 5xp 2nd Post
    Maruc: 10xp + 10xp DM Choice
    Miklos: 10xp

    Saeth: 110/4000
    Feldard: 85/2200
    Maruc: 115/1500
    Miklos: 70/2500
    Nicolai: 90/1200

    Also, I think after we get further along, I’ll do a poll where you vote on a player xp reward for 100xp or so.

  2. Saeth Tegau

    One eyebrow went up skeptically. This “Theosius” claimed to be a craftsman, but sought to hire mercenaries? Even in far more dangerous climes, artisans within the city walls were hardly in dangers a swordswoman could protect them from. Let alone four of them. Clearly, despite his unfamiliarity with hiring procedures, he was not stupid. Indeed, smart enough not to identify himself in public.

    At the same time, he hadn’t answered the priests question at all. ‘Occasional duties’ explained nothing, and ‘I will ask nothing illegal of you’ usually meant the opposite.

    She glanced at the others at the table. The dwarf’s eyes seemed to light up at the mention of the crona–he clearly had some idea what that was worth, unlike herself–and the priest had already made his willingness to help clear. And the youth? Young humans were foolish excitement-seekers, and this one hadn’t shown himself to be any different.

    She drained her mug. Best to talk before either accepted outright.
    “Your offer intrigues more than one of us, Craftsman Theosius. Perhaps you might show us your workshop, and we could concern ourselves with precise terms there?”

  3. Miklos (Mu 1)

    Miklos felt his old merchantman hackles rise at this blatantly low fee. Something inside him said never accept the first offer he expects you to haggle and if you do not he will think you are weak and easily bribed. Loyalty costs money and he knows this. It is important to evaluate the task he requires of us and match it to his pocket. Sadly the Cleric has opened our hand too much, however just because we are not acquainted with each other or the city doesn’t mean that we are inexperienced or foolish.

    Miklos took a long look at the man in an attempt to gage his personality and trustworthiness. His father seemed to do this to great effect and weaker men seemed to loose all confidence in his mere presence. He didn’t know if he came across with the appropriate seriousness or gravity, but he gave it his best shot.

    “Mr Theosius, I am Miklos Dostevar son of Ilya Dostevar, a local merchant of some success.” He felt leaving this hanging for a few moments might give the man a chance to remember the name if he’d heard it. “I wish to make my own way in this world as my father before me as I have no desire to hang off his coattails. However, please do us the kindness of not taking us for cheap labourers. Seeking work we may be, destitute we are not.”

    Now that he had the mans attention he pressed on. “If we were the type of folk to come rushing at your first offer, you’d quiet rightly think to yourself; ‘Why! I should have offered them only two!’ but as you well know deeds that require an ‘element of risk’ also require an ‘element of trust’. Trust my friend is no a cheap commodity. In fact its the most expensive commodity or naturally it can also be free. But as I am not your most trusted brother of friend I fear the former is more likely.”

    “As my cleric friend here has most aptly put, we are at your disposal, for a retainer of six crona each, board, lodging and expenses for specialist equipment required to perform the duties you wish of us. A task fee to be negotiated for each job and completion bonuses for elements of the job that calls for greater risk if encountered.”

    Miklos didn’t want to come across as uncompromising or blow his friends chances at employment and he knew not everyone was as well-off as he was.

    ‘Aim high!’ Ilya had always said, ‘Your clients are not mindreaders. Ask for what you need to get the job done. It is not an unreasonable thing to do.’

    The dice are in the air, lets see if Theosuis will negotiate.

  4. Maruc (Clr 1)

    Maruc felt somewhat deflated. Feldard had remained quiet and thoughtful and he definitely got the impression that he had annoyed Saeth. Then the strangely silent man who seemed so intent on his pint that he seemed to be mesmerised by it, had suddenly found his tongue, and a steely tongue at that.

    At least he had introduced himself at last, what was it again? The merchant banter had quiet overtaken him, oh yes, Miklos. Miklos Dostevar. He seemed to Maruc to be quiet well to do by the quality of his clothing and the fine dagger at his waist. He had the air of Thyatian nobility about him but Maruc swore he flinched a fraction at the Traladarian put-down. So perhaps one of those rare successful Traladarian merchant families. Maruc didn’t truly understand merchant etiquette but he guessed that if his intuition was right – and it rarely let him down – that his name dropping wouldn’t hold much sway over Theosius.

    Still he had to hand it to the youth, he was handling himself very well in the face of this merchant. He just hoped he wouldn’t talk the group out of work.

    After this meeting with Saeth and Miklos, if Theosius didn’t just turn about and walk away the man was obviously more desperate than he let on. Still, Maruc guessed they had until he finished his pint to see if he was interested.

  5. Miklos (Mu 1)

    Something irritating in the back of Miklos’s mind was trying to get his attention, then he realiesed what it was – the Vorloi. Yes that was it.

    Why were they ‘maintaining order between the Torenescu and Radu’? The Vorloi were a Thyatian trading family, a powerful one, true. But why involve themselves in civil affairs? What drives the Vorloi to interceed between the the Torenescu and Radu? Miklos could only assume that they were rival trading enterprises that were getting in the way somehow, but to show themselves in such an open manner meant only one thing to Miklos. Politics.

    Politics gets people killed. Miklos also needed to confirm his own theory that the Torenescu and Radu were in fact a Traladanian trading faction.

    He made a sideways glance at the cleric. He damn well hoped it wasn’t a religious problem. That got you killed quicker than politics because you never knew where you stood with them.

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