+ Show First Post
Total: 383
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

“My mistake.”

After a pause to see if more mollification is needed, “I am unfamiliar with this quarter. Will you take coin for good information?”

Permalink

"I'll take coin."

Permalink

“I share freely with my friends.

I need to find a tobacco shop. There is a human man of middle age who owns one in this quarter. The shop has a large yard. Do you know it?”

Permalink

“Any leaf worth the light comes from Pauvine.  She got a cart near the sign of the fool’s cap.  Wouldn't take none from t'other.”

Permalink

He retrieves his coin purse and begins counting out coppers. He nods gravely at the creature.

“That may well be. I cannot attest to the quality of his product.”

He slowly stacks coins one at a time on the rim of the water trough. He pauses at five. 

“Nevertheless I have business with the tobacconist with the shop by the yard. Where is it?”

Permalink

The tramp’s eyes stare unwinkingly at the coin stack.  When The Nameless One withdraws his hand, he wrinkles his nose.

"Here.  In the Court."

Permalink

He shakes out a dozen or so more coins into his hand. There look to be about a hundred total in his possession. 

The silvers are a little too large to be one-ounce coins if they’re the pure metal… so he has what, 6oz silver and a hundred commons? Certainly enough to lodge somewhere in The Hive for a few days, but his wallet may need to withstand several more such exchanges.

Enunciating his words slowly and precisely he says, “A tobacconist. Has a shop. With a yard. He is a human male.”

Permalink

His eyes quickly scan the coins in his hand.

“There are fifteen commons here. I vow that if you can lead me to a place in Flint Court that fully passes that description, I will give you these coins in addition to that pile. Do you accept my terms?”

Permalink

The tramp shakes his head violently from side to side, spraying water on The Nameless One.

“Aye,”  he says.

“Kiss your pecker for another twenty?”

Permalink

Whether because of the words or because of some disturbance in the air caused by the shaking of the creature's long hair, The Nameless One just then catches a whiff of his own bodily scent, and the odor triggers an involuntary upward curl of his lip in displeasure.

He reaches behind his head to pluck at the  seams of his vest where they itch the skin. He feels the dampness of sweat there.

“Not today,” he says.

Permalink

He closes his palm around the handful of coins and gestures for the creature to take the stack of five.

“The rest when we arrive. Show me the way.”

Permalink

This part of The Hive seems to have been built all in one go, perhaps on the whim of a planner who very much fancied red bricks and right angles.  The streets are narrow, and they’re bordered on either side by an uninterrupted line of two-story square structures.  There are sewer grates every hundred feet or so, and the streets seem to alternate from pure unsigned residential to 80% mercantile with colorful, if weathered, signboards.  The Nameless One glimpses one that says “Moonmaiden Shoe Repair” above a poorly drawn caricature of a female face with brown complexion and long white hair.

Permalink

They cross a plaza with a row of pop-up merchant stalls and a stationary caravan full of wagons packed with something loose and bulky held under cloth.

On the other side the tramp leads them behind a line of townhomes with narrow individuated courtyards.  The shared outer wall of the yards is of wooden pickets and stands maybe six feet tall, with periodic masonry fence posts to demarcate the homes.

Permalink

“One of those there,” the tramp gestures upwards when they’re halfway down the line. “It’s a yard, yes?”

Permalink

He squares up against the fence on tiptoe and peaks over.

What can he see of the two or three nearest yard sections?

Permalink

The dividing sectionals mean he can only see one yard at a time.  If he makes the effort to peer sequentially into this yard, the previous one, and the next one, he’ll see:

  • The first yard looks like a vegetable garden.  There are three rows of green roughage, and the remainder of the visible space contains a wide gravel path and a patchwork of grass and soil
  • The second yard is covered in rough-looking grass about a foot tall.  A barrow without wheels extends an iron handle up at an angle.  There are two planters about the length and width of a man with a few large-leafed flowering plants.  Barely visible from his angle of viewing are a stack of flat paving stones and a pile of sand
  • The third yard has several empty wood pallets.  The grass looks rough, but not as long as in the second.  This one is less level than the others, with one side of the yard slightly higher in elevation.  Vines grow along the fence pickets of the yard’s sectional wall
Permalink

Certainly no bodies lying there, but that is to be expected, even if this is the right place.

He spends ten seconds scrutinizing each. Anything that suggests stains of blood or bodily fluids or other corruption?

Permalink

“I see,” he says. “There is a tobacco shop opposite one of these? Which one?”

Permalink

The tramp nods.

“Don’t know.  Come see,” he says, and beckons with his arm trailing behind him as he continues up the path.

Permalink

They round the corner of the townhome block and turn again immediately to approach it from the front, stepping into one of the wider avenues they’ve tread in Flint Court.  The building fronts are mercantile, with hanging signs and awnings.  There are a dozen or two pedestrians going about their business.

Permalink

“Clear as day,” the tramp says, pointing at a hanging sign that depicts the image of a gentleman's smoking pipe done in shining dark wood.

He walks underneath the signboard and turns abruptly to face The Nameless One, spreading his short legs to span and block the threshold.

He holds out his palm, tilting his head upwards without making direct eye contact.  “Done my part,” he says.

Permalink

He pays off his guide. Then he leans his axe against the outer wall. Holding that weapon does make him feel safer, but he’s coming to appreciate just how much of an inconvenience it is. He doesn't want to scare this shop's occupants and then be forced into greater violence.

He enters the tobacco shop.

Permalink

Pulling the door outwards triggers the peel of a small bell hanging above the door.

Almost immediately, a voice calls out in sing-song, “Hearty afternoon, friend! Leaves, weeds and snuff.  And some pretty pipes, too.  Don’t mind the beast.  She'll only bite you if you get to thievin’.  I'll be out in a minute.”

The interior is small, with an L-shaped layout and packed floor to ceiling with jars, boxes,  and barrels.  Pouches and incense sticks hang in bundles from hooks, but the place of pride at waist height has been given almost entirely to the pipes, which come in seemingly dozens of shapes, from the simple tankard, to the bafflingly ornate.

Permalink

Lying on a rug in one corner of the L is a large rottweiler hound with rheumy eyes.  She pants with her teeth showing, but, apart from raising her head to look at him, does nothing to cause alarm.

Total: 383
Posts Per Page: