Night Vision

A Deal for a special item is finalized

As one approaches the City of Nashaki, trains of caravans lead through the sprawling outskirts to the numerous open city gates. The largest gate is on the west side and leads past the fortified walls into an octagon of eight districts. Each district features unique markets and is maintained by one of the eight Towers that rule Nashaki. In the city, heavily guarded, is the prized oasis that supports the Nashaki people to flourish in such an unforgiving land.
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Eddrick Brodon
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Night Vision

34 Zi'Da, arc 716
Eddrick left the estate compound by the front gate, the guards even going so far as to give nods of acknowledgement. He had his doubts that they genuinely approved of his vocation, those that knew it anyway; but if they were to express disapproval of that which gained prosperity for their employer, they would certainly be granted reprieve from the dishonor of their jobs. Their dedication to propriety fell just short of that extreme. Eddrick smiled to himself at that observation.

He'd had a meeting with Korieji, the patron of one of the middling-rich merchant families in the desert city of Nashaki. It had been the merchant's idea to hold it within his own compound. With the arrival of so many Athartians for the war effort, Eddrick's identity would be a liability to anyone caught associating with him. He was a deserter from the Slave Raiders of that west coast city. It was not truly from cowardice or ideological differences. He had been made the fall guy for a murder of a member of a Qi'oran diplomatic entourage that had visited Athart a number of arcs ago. It had only been the warning from a friend within the Slave Raiders' ranks that had given Eddrick the chance to slip away. He'd been a desert bandit ever since.

Korieji was the merchant that had backed Eddrick against the schemes of Kalid'hi, the son of a rival of Korieji. Kalid'hi had tried to use Eddrick to aid his efforts to advance his own agenda; and had intended to then betray him to advance it even further. But Eddrick had learned not to trust an offer that appeared to be so generous. So he had met with Korieji, and they had worked out a deal of their own. It was a strange irony that the very fact that Korieji and he did not truly trust each other that gave them cause to trust each other.

Now Eddrick made his way to a gemworker of considerable repute among the trade in Nashaki, where fine crafting was only short of divinity. He had a very special project in mind. Korieji had assured him that Elaka Niervane's connections to the Council of Gems would benefit from his 'special possession'. He would gain yet more political backing and protection, provided he was not arrested before the meet could take place.
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Eddrick Brodon
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A squad of loudly boasting Athartians strutted by, telltale in their signature red leather armor. Eddrick felt a brief twinge of homesickness at the sight of the armor which had been the mark of human status during his growth in the avriel city. But the quick realization that these men would take him down and kill him with no loss of their cavalier boasting set him back to his priorities. He simply lowered his gaze to his feet, letting the linen kaffiya cover his face as he adopted a servile demeanor while they jaunted past him.

He considered that he may well be able to look these men eye to eye with no fear of recognition, so tanned and hardened had his features become over the last several arcs of desert extremes. But this was no time to take such chances. He'd been told that Sahib Niervane would be watching for him this morning. He was not sure what Korieji had said that had prompted this agreeable arrangement, so caution was to be applied against possible betrayal. After all, he only had one of the Night Glow gems. And being a bandit by trade did not lend much recourse in the event of outright theft by a Nashaki merchant/citizen.

The gem had the look of a simple lump of smoothed glass. He'd found the thing among items being carried by walking corpses, raised by his breaking of a bone from the ancient Bone Yard. True to legend, the undead for an hundred miles around had risen to assault the one who broke a bone taken from that cursed resting place. Eddrick had managed to manipulate the breaking into being done by one of his captors, but the undead had not been so discriminating upon whom they vented their unnatural wrath.

He shook his head to disperse that dreadful memory. What mattered was that he'd come away with the stone, a bit of supernatural petrified...something...that allowed a person to look through and see what was on the other side as if lit like midday. The stone had already been shaped for a capacity as a spyglass lens, and Eddrick had every intention of seeing that ancient soldier's scheme realized. As a bandit, a spyglass that would light the magnified vision as if in daylight would be a huge advantage against any target or pursuer.

But he had to consider that Sahib Niervane might have had the same notion. But the man made spyglasses! He was known for lens crafting of all sorts, as well as most other areas of glass works. Eddrick gnashed his teeth in indecision. None of these tangents of thought gave him more or less cause to trust the man. The more he thought of how rare and useful the piece of mystic stone was, the more sure he was that the man was going to try and steal it from him. It was what HE would do...

Persuasion to go ahead with the meeting came in the form of a trio of city guards turning the corner at the far end of the alleyway, heading his direction. Trying not to appear hurried, he headed up the stairs and knocked on the door. It opened just as the guards were coming up on his location. They called to him as an elderly man in an multi-pocketed apron opened the door and invited him inside. The guards came quickly after.
Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 586
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Eddrick Brodon
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They had not actually hailed him to stop, not in the name of the law, or one of the towers, of Chamaradast, or whatever the Immortal's name was, or anything else. But even Sahib Niervane, had glanced up uneasily as the guards had diverted their direction to approach his shop. They came in right on Eddrick's heels, one of them placing a firm hand on Eddrick's back to drive him face-first into the wall as the other two converged on the proprietor.

They kept a fairly respectful distance from him though, knowing his connections. But there was a hint of malicious eagerness as well, stemming from the possibility of great notoriety gained from a legitimate arrest of such an individual. That had no doubts that true justice would be 'bought off", but given that the pay-off would be primarily into their pockets, the travesty of justice would not grate too abrasively against their honor.

Eddrick's protest did not take the form these guards were expecting. He started to make an odd crying sound, with just a few words whimpered within, as he put all his effort into turning to face the guard and backing down into a squat with one armed raised protectively. "No, no papa...no slippery...no good...hurts...no, no papa..."

The guard in front of him gabbed the raised arm, trying to pull Eddrick to his feet. The bandit shrieked as if he was being burned and pulled away to cringe into a ball, both hand protecting his backside, one inside his leggings, the other without. His cries grew louder, as realization dawned on the guards, who stepped into a semi-circle around him, looks fluctuating between sympathy and loathing.

Niervane stormed the few paces to come between the guards and Eddrick, hissing in fury over his shoulder, "NOW look what you've done!" Then his voice cooed in sudden softness as he spoke to Eddrick, "It's alright, Molo, papa is not going to hurt you again, these men did not know, they are good men, they won't hurt you, don't be frightened, you can stay there, no one will touch you. It's alright..." his words stayed on this track for several bits as Eddrick feigned calming down, repeating small phrases and adding "yes" to them. "Stay here, yes...no touch, yes." But he kept his hands firmly over his rump.

The guards looked pained and whispered back that they'd had no idea, but that the poor bas-...poor fellow had fit the description of a bandit that was supposed to be carrying a valuable jewel stolen from the artifact vault of one of the towers. Eddrick continued to mutter in fright as the men finally came to an agreement that they would pat him down everywhere but his actual butt cheeks, as Sahib Niervane stayed close to keep him calm. Niervane deliberately paced until he positioned himself where could send a glance Eddrick's way that the bandit could nod discretely back to.

"Well, I guess, if we take it slow and easy. But you men will have to stop for a bit to let him calm down if he gets upset, or it could get ugly. You know how strong...fellows like him...always seem to be." the guards murmured their agreement, both to the plan and to that last observation; one of them even beginning to go into detail of a previous encounter he'd had.

Eddrick made sure to make a fuss from time to time, mostly whenever the search got anywhere near the seat of his pants. The lead guard asked Niervane what had happened. "My cousin made a poor choice of consort may arcs ago. The young man's father was a traditionalist to a filthy degree, believing that he had "right of deflowering" over any addition to the family, wed or not. He took a liking to young Moloram here, over and over for several arcs. The poor child was traumatized and has not moved past the 5-arc-old he was that first time."

The guards looked horrified, commenting that even the Tower of Flesh had limits, for non-slaves anyway. Satisfied, they left. Niervane watched until he was sure they were gone. "Moloram?" Eddrick asked, "Isn't that a villain in some story?"

"Sorry, it was the best I could come up with in a pinch." he cracked a smirk, "And speaking of 'pinch', let's see the stone."

Eddrick made a face and began working his fingers between his ass cheeks. "You know, not all that painful whining was faked..."
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Eddrick Brodon
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Eddrick produced the gem after a moment's struggle. Niervane made a face and looked quickly around for a cloth with which to take hold of the gem. He carried it over to a small wide-mouthed jar filled with a solvent and wiped it down.

"Hey, that's not going to ruin it, is it?" Eddrick protested.

"No, it shouldn't, but we can make sure right now." he pulled the blinds on the street and grabbed a drop cloth. Throwing it over his head for additional darkness he looked through it, confirming it still lit the image seen through it like unhindered daylight. "No trouble sir, it still works fine. I just naturally didn't want to touch it until it was thoroughly...sterilized."

Eddrick gave him a blank look before snorting with some amusement. "Okay, fair enough." he admitted. "So you can make the spyglass we discussed? One that will not only magnify, but light up a nightscape into full daylight?"

The craftsman made a dismissive snort and waved off the question, "Of course. This is a magnificent sample, and will easily retain its property through a process as simple as grinding to be fit as a lens. You think I am an apprentice or something?" He turned toward the bandit with a serious look, "Now, you realize that our little arrangement does not mean you get this device free of charge. There's still going to be the hundred gold nel charge, sir."

Eddrick looked up sharply, "A hundred? I can get a naval spyglass for seventy in Athart."

"Of course you can, if you wish to risk recognition there. What is your life worth there? Thirty nel? Besides that would only be an Athartian quality product." He snorted pointedly. "Not one made by the best craftsmen in the very CITY of craftsmen."

Edrrick rose to his feet irately, "Now wait. You know damned well that the description of the insignia on that leather case was something your friends in the Tower of Glass were very interested in. Are you telling me that has no impact on the price?"

Sahib Niervane rode out Eddrick's outburst with dignified patience. "You can not put a price on the value of the Tower's gratitude, sir. Yes they ARE very eager for the information. It will allow the historians to greatly narrow down the locations of old battles that might yield more, as well as possible veins worked by these old tribes. I might also add that they instructed me to intercede with the guard on your behalf."

Eddrick's glare narrowed dangerously, "Funny you should mention that, Sahib. I must confess I found it very curious how the guard already had my description, and had somehow already connected it to the possession of an allegedly stolen gem. It almost seems as if someone tipped them off..." he stepped up to bring his glare within inches of the merchant.

The merchant looked right back, his expression unaffected by Eddrick's threatening proximity, "Am I supposed to confess to having arranged to collect the bounty on a known bandit? Very well sir...Yes, I tipped off the guard to have you taken away. It was nothing personal, but the bounty is quite large. Fortunately for you, a tower representative came to me and requested that I take steps to ensure your acquittal. They have decided that the information you possess is worth your freedom. I trust you have no objection to a near miss?"

Their eyes remained locked for several ticks before Eddrick's softened, and backed into a smile. He shook his head fatalistically, "Well, I guess I can't blame you. But how do I know you won't have guards waiting for me when I pick the spyglass up?"

Niervane shrugged, "And why should that happen? Their reason for wanting you free will be as viable then as now, sir. If you are fool enough to give the tower all the information you have before the item is finished, you will deserve to be sold out."

Eddrick realized he was going to be on the losing end of this arrangement as long as he was the one having to come to them. The value of his historic information was not going to gain him anything more than this one-time pass on prison. He did not have the records the towers had to enable him to seek out these lodes on his own. But he could think of no arrangement he could request, that he could enforce, that would allow him any edge on the true value that was being withheld from him.

Still, the truth of having the Tower's gratitude was a legitimate point. But it was anyone's guess if they would honor that gratitude the next time he needed a favor if they already had everything they wanted from him. Once he had his "night glass", as he'd decided to call it, he would track down the sites the tower marked as bearing lodes, and "mark" them himself. If the Tower reneged on their 'gratitude', he would see to it that their value would be diminished; or that he claimed his portion of whatever they carted out of them.

But he let nothing of this attitude show on his face. He gave a mild sigh and nodded his head in resignation, "Okay, I guess you're right. If you can just have the spyglass brought to me when it's finished, I will have the information ready to trade, straight across."

The merchant smiled, "Of course, sir. The Tower had already instructed me to expect, and agree to, such terms."

Eddrick shook the man's hand, and turned to leave the shop. His face darkened in anticipation of future treachery. 'Yeah, I bet they did...' he muttered inwardly. Nashaki had betrayed its promise once before. Why should they be any more trustworthy now?
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Night Vision

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Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: NA (solo thread)
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Acting: A demeanour of servitude
Acting: An air of meekness
Acting: Appearing to be mentally unwell
Acting: Pretending to be terrified
Acting: Faking PTSD
Acting: Slowly 'calming down'
Endurance: The discomfort of hiding something in your butt
Endurance: The discomfort of removing something hidden in your butt
Intimidation: Utilising height
Intimidation: Using facial expressions
Intimidation: Pointing out that you have a reason to hurt someone.
Negotiation: Explaining where you can get the same item for less
Negotiation: Argument and counter argument
Negotiation: Pointing out information which might motivate someone to do a fair deal.
NPC: Korieji: the patron of one of the middling-rich merchant families in the desert city of Nashaki
NPC: Korieji: backed you against Kalid'h
NPC: Kalid'h: the son of a rival of Korieji
NPC: Niervane: a glassworker, known for making spyglasses
Politics: Distrust doesn't mean you can't work together.
Politics: Knowing your colleagues, their relationships and rivalries
Politics: Knowing when you've got to just go with the best you can get out of a situation.

Loot:
Loss of gem - gain of nightvision spyglass.
Fame:
-4 (breaking city laws), -4 (opposing 'popular cause')
Magic:
These points may NOT be used for arcana

Overview:

General comments.
Story As always, a well-woven and intricate story which was funny and a great read. I am always delighted to review one of your threads, this one is no exception.
Structure No problems at all.


Please do PM me if you've got any questions
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