Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Roads of Bone, Chapter 2: The Peacock

I am doing a little experiment.  I am going to write a series of chapters in a fantasy world of my creation and see if it goes anywhere.  Since I have not prewritten this story and have no outline, it will probably end up a convoluted mess.  I do not know how often I will be able to update this or if it will ever finish.  This is the link to CHAPTER 1.

Chapter 2: The Peacock

            After pulling out the pin and rolling up the map, the fat wizard and the flamboyant swordsman walked out of the little bar they had been conspiring in the corner of.  It was hard on Malachite's knees watching Pasgard lumber around the building to his cart, two little children emerged from behind the shadows of boxes and barrels, running up to the wizard who gave them bits of rock candy from a bag Malachite had not seen him with before.
            Watching the children run off, Pasgard turned and sat down on the back of the cart, "care for a sweet my new friend?"
            "Just to be clear," said Malachite, taking and popping a piece into his mouth.  "Getting to Solace is the easy part, we'll need more people to navigate the city and its stupid back biting once we are there."
            "Don't you know people?" asked Pasgard.
            "In life, yes."
            "You know what I meant," said the wizard.
            "I went to Solace as a teen to sell lots and lots of cows," said Malachite.  "I did not deal with gem stones, I dealt with salt, leather, ingots--"
            "They're metal bricks," explained Malachite.
            "I have never heard this word," said Pasgard, taking out a tiny book seemingly from nowhere and writing out 'in-gauts' followed by a swirl of Oasian.  "Excuse me.  Words are power to a man like me."
            "That," said Malachite.  "That makes a good bit of sense."
            "Please, continue," said Pasgard as he was no longer writing or even holding the little book.
            "Right, ah," started Malachite thinking back.  "I learned to haggle from traders who worked in very basic goods, materials that were so common and a part of day to day life that most people don't think about them.  Most people don't think to negotiate over them either.  A single coin saved on pinches of salt or a single peppercorn slowly turns into lots of pretty things over years and years of trading.  Gemstones are flashy and I love them just like everyone loves them to sparkle, but I never bought them because I was trading cows."
            "You were a cowboy?" asked Pasgard.  "I thought your father was a count?"
            "Yes," said Malachite strumming his fingers on the stiff material that was his family crest which covered a good portion of his torso.  "And we have little copper circlets fit with bits of amber, silver rings, and flashy clothing--"
            "I can see the flashy clothing for myself," Pasgard lightly tugged at Malachite's sleeve.
            "But we were rulers of people who raised meat and corn," finished the Dandy Knight.  "It's a shame my friend, Father isn't here."
            "Your father's friend?" asked Pasgard.  "Why?"
            "Not my father's friend," said Malachite, laughing a little at how many times he had had to explain this.  "He is my friend, and he calls himself 'Father', though he never told me why."
            "Was he a man of faith?"
            "He runs a whore house these days," said Malachite.
            "Not a man of faith."
            "I am confused," said Pasgard.  "Why would he be helpful?"
            "A man in his position meets a shocking number of people who might be able to help us," said Malachite.  "But, he is a long ways away."
            After a long period of time in which an awkward impasse had been met Malachite continued.  "Point is, I can take you to Solace safely, but before that I need to get two people... Maybe a third, to help with navigating the city and its trade."
            "That sounds expensive," replied Pasgard who now had a coin he was rolling around his knuckles.
            "Look at how I dress," said Malachite.
            "A blind man could see how you dress," said Pasgard.  "Is that your way of saying you are worth it?"
            "No," said Malachite shaking his head slightly.  "What I mean to say is that you had heard of me before we met?"
            "If I fail to help you," said Malachite.  "You can tell people, and I will no longer be Malachite the Wonderful.  I will be Malachite the Cheat."
            "If it gives you any comfort," said Pasgard.  "No one but you calls you Wonderful now.  I was told to look for the Peacock."
            "Fair enough," Malachite continued.  "But I would lose that credibility if you spoke against me."
            "A nobody old sand tick like me?" said Pasgard.  "I don't think my words would carry very far."
            "I knew who you were before we spoke," said Malachite.
            "That is a boost to my ego I have not felt in a while."
            "You didn't come to me because I stood out," said Malachite.  "It's because you heard that I knew people who could help you with what you were doing.  What is the gem you are looking for really?  Slaves?"
            "If you knew me you would know it was not slaves," said Pasgard the Sand Devil, now making two coins dance across his old hands.
            "You also seem to think you are more anonymous than you are, maybe you have gone crazy and decided to enter the flesh trade in your old age."
            "I'm not that old," said Pasgard the Black Word.
            "You've got more silly nicknames than I'll ever have," said Malachite.  "You must have other friends that could help with this more if it was just a shiny trinket for a bribe.  What are you after?"
            "A legacy my new friend," said Pasgard the ex-Vizier.

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