Afternoon, 43rd of Ashan 721
He walked into Hurk’s smithy, intent on just buying ordinary, run-of-the-mill blade. Nothing fancy just a simple pair of weapons. Radburn, his Spirit of Commerce, trailed behind him, his golden plumage forming a wake of glory behind. Calixia was also with them, and had spent the better half of the last break lobbying Woe to not make a huge and exorbitant purchase. Perhaps she knew him too well. For as he gravitated toward the more impressive pieces (in terms of quality), she could be heard by him to audibly sigh. Hurk meanwhile was oblivious to the presence of spirits in his shop. Woe told them to make themselves scarce, as he didn’t wish to alarm the man with the appearance of a pair of supernatural beings.
Calixia looked very fey-like if that was the correct phrase. With butterfly wings, and a golden silhouette, long hair, and a feminine figure. She crossed her arms over her chest as she watched Woe take up the short blade that he’d settled on buying. He gave it a quick once over and looked to Hurk as if asking if he could test the edge. Hurk nodded, and Woe smirked, trying the burgundy medal’s edge with his fingertip. He found it deadly sharp. Yet the piece itself was nothing to inspire awe but was obviously crafted with a great attention to detail and with the parameters of a spear-bladed knife in mind. A twin of these weapons laid also nearby, which Woe took up.
Woe attached it to his belt, to a harumph from Hurk who had other ideas about his purchase apparently. As for the rest of his outfit, he wore a padded silk surcoat, colored charcoal gray with trims of darker colors. Beneath the surcoat, a simple, black wool shirt, brown leather trousers tucked into shin boots. Around his shoulders, a mantle of gray magpie feathers which was worn over a cloak of light, black velvet.
The mortalborn went up to the counter and tapped it with his hand. Radburn seemed positively radiant with pleasure, while Calixia looked desolate. Woe could sense them without even looking. ”How much for the blade?” Woe asked Hurk.
Hurk shook his head, incredulous. ”It’s one of my best pieces. I can’t just let you have it for the market price.”
Woe quirked a brow. Obviously, this was a ploy by the merchant to drive up the price. But Woe couldn’t have that. However, he would meet him in the middle. ”What if I can help you clear out your inventory in just a few breaks? For the full price? Would that earn me the right to buy these blade?”
Hurk snorted and shook his head. After a moment, and looking at Woe’s seriousness, his expression grew sober. He seemed to reflect a moment or so, and then shrugged, ”Fine, if I clear my inventory in a few breaks, you can buy it.”
Woe reached into his coin bag and slipped an onyx nel to Radburn, his diri of Commerce. The diri swallowed the nel whole, while Hurk was blind to this action. It looked to him as if he’d done some sleight of hand and made the nel disappear into his sleeve. He shrugged. Woe told him, ”I’ll be back in a few breaks for my blade then. Enjoy the rush of business! Hope you can keep up.” That said, he unhitched the blade from his belt, and placed it on the smithy's shop counter.
With that, he departed. He had other business that day at the Elements watchhouse at the gate.
Woe arrived at the watchhouse of the gates, and found a man at a desk, scribbling notes into what looked to be a ledger. Woe only gave a cursory glance over the ledger, before returning his eyes to the man behind the desk, waiting for him to acknowledge his presence. Homer Stickles was busily recording what looked to be transcripts of incoming shipments, to be sent along to the docks and various other avenues of freight. After a moment, his eyes flickered upward toward Woe. Recognition didn’t immediately hti him, and he said politely, ”Well, citizen? How can I help you?”
Woe smiled kindly toward him, and took a step forward. ”I was wondering… If I could join the Elements. Specifically the Land branch… I’m Woe Morandi.”
Homer nodded, and looked at his ledger once before his eyes went wide. He must have heard about Woe, because he appeared very excited all of a sudden. Then a certain skepticism crept over his tangle, which Woe could perceive. ”Wait, you do mean you’re the Morandi that set up a Hospital in Egilrun? The same one who facilitated the move of a ranger’s station there?” He blinked twice. Woe could see threads of what appeared to be ambition rise in his tangle. Perhaps the desk Element wished to use his recruitment to further his own career. Woe saw a mutual benefit here to be gained and was pleased to have met such a forward-thinking young soldier. As his mind turned over the notion of hiring one of the more prominent members of the Egilrun community to his squad, it seemed to Woe that this young man was certainly interested in furthering his career, and from the context clues Woe uncovered, it seemed he’d be keen to use Woe to do it.
Woe had nothing against being used for such a purpose. After all it was a give and take. Woe saw it as gaining something of equal value, and thus they wouldn’t be beholden to each other. He tried to keep that in mind, and not be too grateful toward the young soldier as he jumped at the chance to introduce him to his senior officer…
After an interview of a few breaks, the job with the Elements settled. Woe strode triumphantly back toward the shop. At first, it appeared there was nobody there. Radburn, Woe could sense was about. He appeared positively radiant in Woe’s mind’s eye as he searched for his companion of Commerce. Yet there was nobody there. Had they already cleared out Hurk’s merchandise?
Woe entered the smithy with a sense of trepidation, yet was relieved when he saw the shelves cleared of stock that Hurk had crafted. The old man, contrary to the favor Woe had done him, appeared to glower as he saw Woe enter. The mortalborn strode up to the counter, and pat Radburn on his head-feathers, slipping him another golden nel or two, as a reward. And as inducement for the encouragement of a sale of the blade he was promised the opportunity to buy.
Hurk shook his head, ”How’d you do it, sir? How’d you pay that entire crowd to buy all of my stock?!”
Woe smiled, and tapped his nose. ”You still have my blade?”
Hurk grumbled and placed the blade onto the counter. ”Yeah, it’ll cost ya dear too. No less than seven onyx nels…”
Woe nodded and hummed, pulling the requisite amount of nels from his coin pouch. These he slid over to the man and placed a hand over his new blade. Hurk grumbled and placed a hefty mitt on Woe’s gloved hand as if to stop him. ”You won’t get away with that trick again… but still I thank ya. I might not need to do anything but custom orders this season… So… Get gone will ya?”
Woe smiled and nodded to him, fastening the blade to his belt. He left the shop, trailed by his spirits, as the fortune of Commerce’s aura left the shop behind, and Woe made his way to meet the young soldier whose squad he’d enlisted with.
Homer Stickles was an interesting individual, it couldn’t be denied. He wasn’t the sort you’d expect to find in the military. One more for political struggles and striving than for combative prowess. Yet that was something Woe could respect, and exploit. He would get to know the young soldier, and they’d see about their own self-promotion as symbiotic entities.
Homer whistled, when he saw the blade that Woe wore on his hip. ”Trooper Morandi. Quite the sword you got there…”
”Is your patrol ready to make for Egilrun?” Woe asked him, and Homer nodded. Then, they were off on the road through Beacon, toward Egilrun.