Spacer Chapter 6 46
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Earthdawn-ish | Chapter 6 |



    "For the jade itself... it's already been marked, it's not a good carving size... maybe a mark, probably less."
    That seemed a little low. Terzin set the chain mail on the counter.
    Mouse whistled softly, feeling the close links. "It certainly looks as if you found the remnants of someone important. Has the same clan markings on it, too. I'll make you a trade for this right now," he offered. "I have a suit of human-sized chain mail in the back."
    "We'll have to think about it," Terzin said.
    "It's not in the best of condition, but I'll even throw in the cost of refurbishing it."
    "We'll have to think about it," he repeated firmly.
    "Mind if I ask a question?" Harrick inserted. "What are you going to do with it?"
    "We have dwarvish caravans that come through every couple months. I'll be able to hand this over to them and say that some adventurers came in and dropped it off, I purchased it to return to their clan, and get a fair price for it. I guarantee you that you wouldn't be able to get anywhere near the deal that I would, so this is probably the best offer that you're going to get."
    Horse apples, Terzin thought. He didn't trust this dwarf at all. "Well, that's all we have to show you today."
    Mouse glanced at the sack, which obviously contained more that he hadn't seen, and hurriedly said, "I do have some things here that you might be interested in, regardless of trading...." As part of the locksmith side of his business, he explained, for a small fee he provided locked for those with a need for such things—unpickable, operating with two keys, perfectly secure. "Even in a town as small as this, you have to be wary of thieves."
    Dubricus snorted his skepticism, fully shared by the rest of the group. They decided that they had no need of such a service.
    Undeterred, Mouse continued to show them his wares, some of which were obviously items pawned by prior adventurers who had (for whatever reason), never claimed them. That included a couple of decent steel broadswords, the suit of chain mail (slightly rusted, but entirely functional), some jewelry, and a narrow-bladed silver dagger, which he held with an attitude near reverence.
    "No, it doesn't hold much of an edge, I acknowledge that." He sheathed the blade. "Traditionally, nether dead will fall over the moment they're hit with it—at least, that's what the legends say."
    "I have heard such tales, but honestly never seen them in practice," Dubricus said, his usual enthusiasm resurfacing.
    "How much for the dagger?" Terzin asked.
    Mouse appeared to think deeply. "Well, if you're willing to go in trade with some of the things...."
    "How much cash for the dagger?"
    "I certainly couldn't go less than sixty marks."
    Which would just about bankrupt their little party all over again. "Forget it."
    "Probably wise, I mean, what are the odds of you encountering nether dead around this area? I'll find someone who wants it eventually." He put it away with a philosophical shrug.
    The mail was large enough to be a bit snug on Jared or a bit loose on Robin. After some deliberation, and remembering the encounter with the giant rat, Jared bought it—Robin intended to retrieve "her" mail from the bandits, and anyway, she had a shield. He traded in his own (genuine toad-hide, only slightly scarred and bloody) leather armor and paid the cash difference; there was no question of trading in the almost-certainly-undervalued dwarf mail.
    "The only reason I think he might not be dishonest about that," Harrick said—"that" being the safe deposit service, when they had left the pawnshop—"is frankly people know where he lives, and it would be really hard to get that entire shop out of the way in a hurry. Pawnshops are flammable."
    "He could just be hoping that we'd never come back," Robin suggested.
    "That's what he's hoping for, I don't think he's gonna steal stuff, he's just gonna hope we don't come back."
    "Wait us out," Jared nodded.
    "And if worse comes to worst, and we get something really spiffy, he rats us out to the bandits."
    "That's a happy thought. Speaking of which...." Robin was itching to go out and try to backtrail the one who had followed them to the harpy nest, in hopes of finding the bandit camp.
    "Do you feel he is that untrustworthy?" Dubricus asked in a rather shocked voice. "Granted, he struck me as being a trifle...."
    "Cheap," Terzin put in.
    "Greedy," Dubricus amended.
    "I don't know that he's not that untrustworthy," Harrick pointed out.
    "He's running a pawnshop," Robin shrugged.
    "There is that," Dubricus said.
    "It's always easier to assume corruption than virtue," the orc stated.
    "Not really easier, but usually wiser," she half-agreed.
    Terzin, as usual, had his eye on the gold. "If we can get this stuff to representatives of that clan, especially the war hammer that we didn't show him, they could conceivably offer us quite a bit more money. We'll make it plain that we found the stuff and we're going to sell it to them. Okay, they might try to kill us, we'll have to try to avoid that.... Try to arrange a long-distance deal."
    From the pawnshop they went to the blacksmith, who immediately set his excited apprentices to work cleaning up the armor and replacing the few loose links; they didn't get the chance to work on stuff like that very often. They also picked up Jared's new weighted gloves, which added even more solidity to his formidable punch. They stopped at the Keep's general store to pick up the chain, emptying the small supply, and other materials for hiding their loot. There was obvious curiosity as to what they planned to do with it, but they kept close on that subject. As their next task, they tracked down Sabine.
    "Yes, can I help you?" she greeted them inside her small office.
    "We have a piece of information for you," Harrick said by way of preamble.
    "We must report a great danger to the community," Terzin added stoutly.
    "Strangely enough, he's right."
    "We have solved the legend of the Shy Tower!"
    "Then, enlighten me?" she inquired, sitting forward in her chair.
    v"It's the largest class three Elemental I've ever seen," Harrick told her.
    "I'm sorry, I'm afraid you've lost me? It's an Elemental?"
    "Oh yes. It lives in the hill, or under it, or in fact it might be the hill. It's a little hard to tell."
    "It likes to eat people," Jared added.
    "It uses its disguise as a tower as its means to lure innocents to be devoured!" That was Terzin.
    "Actually, he's right," Harrick supported his overly dramatic friend with a sigh.
    "You have proof of this?" Sabine asked.
    "We were in it," the orc shrugged.
    "When we went inside, there was no signs of any kind of habitation, only one corpse, the beast's latest victim," Terzin explained. "We went upstairs, and good Harrick here was wise enough to figure out that what we thought were runes were in fact scales on the inside of the beast, that the windows, which were then closed as the beast was sleeping, corresponded to its eyes."
    She appeared to believe them, albeit still rather astonished. "Could you write all of this down in a concise and orderly fashion, so that I can present it directly as a report to the armiger?"
    Harrick dictated, and Dubricus wrote everything up in his elegant hand. They didn't have any recommendations for dealing with it other than to avoid it; the thing was just too big to kill.
    "Also, there may be lizardmen in the area," Terzin added. "I was attacked by one."
    "You've been here for a week, and you've certainly been... busy," Sabine admitted.
    "We killed some harpies for you, too," Robin said, feeling rather pleased about their accomplishments as well.
    "That, I've heard about."
    "We got the entire nest," Harrick put in.

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