103 Chapel Days · Scene 21
Chapel Days · Scene 21 · Schemes a
The Chapel ~ Interior ~ Bowels
Early Autumn ~ Late afternoon
Early Autumn ~ Late afternoon
ithin the shopping center of the Chapel, a circular plaza within the bowels linking the mid floors to the entrance, what would have been an outdoor restaurant filled the main space. It was a common place for traders from settlements to entertain themselves while trading with the nuns, and the perfect place for a former merchant to share his secrets.
“This seems as fine a place as any to talk, Chainmaid is it now?”
The rotund icaran man took a seat and smiled at Chain as he threw his feet onto a table. Placing his round hat onto his waistcoat covered stomach, he fiddled with his short moustache seeming to ignore Chain. Chain would have been fine with that, but the greasy air about the rotund man bothered her. In fact, every member of his entourage save the revolver and rapier armed guards seemed just as greasy. In comparison, the guards seemed ill dressed as they lacked the greasiness to fit the finery they wore. There was a pompousness present that they just lacked, and it created an odd contrast. None of it sat right with Chain but the friendliness of the rotund man seemed earnest enough to deserve a response.
“That’s right. I’m the Chainmaid, but I don’t remember you. If what you say is true though it’s just because that memory is long enough back that it’s one of the very hard ones for me to try and grasp.”
“That sounds troublesome, but you were maybe in Cross a year when I last passed through. I’m for certain you can imagine my surprise with what was going on in that village.”
Chain’s brow furrowed and the rotund man chuckled.
“Right. I am talking about rather sensitive matters, and considering your conversation with the holy man up there… I can understand why you wouldn’t trust me. That’s fine, we’ll have all the time in the world to talk later in more secure conditions, the Head Mother has attested to that at least.”
“Why should I want to talk to you?”
“Between me knowing more than the holy man about your relationship with Hazel and that I’m here as a representative of the Soarmont Adventuring Company–”
“You’re with an adventuring company⁈”
Stars nigh exploded out of chain’s eyes as she clenched her fist in front of her in sudden excitement. The rotund man nearly fell from his chair in surprise and his guards only did not move to his side at his hand waved command. Resettling in his seat, the rotund man smiled and winked at Chain.
“That’s right lass. When we first met I was Buck Puffin, salvager turned merchant due to being too old to keep jumping into holes of scrap in the Face of Icarus. Now my years of travel and trade have landed me in the role of Buck Puffin, Recruiter and Asset Analyst of the most esteemed adventuring company in all of Athecia. While it’s not unusual for Sa·B·ers to take up adventuring contracts to earn a little more spending comfort, I was rather intrigued when I heard that there was a nun from a mobile fortress looking to speak with a representative about providing an opportunity to a Sa·B·er in their care.”
“Ah! Then you’re the one that the Head Mother sent for!”
Tilting her head as she questioned Drop’s insight, Chain looked curiously at her tiny mermaid double.
“It is one of the things that we spoke with the Head Mother about. We need to do certain things, but we need help to do so. She said she could get us that help and that we only needed to wait.”
“Hmm… I guess that makes sense, but…”
Half folding her arms, Chain pinched her chin in thought. Eying Buck out of the corner of her eyes she could not continue to feign a lack of excitement. Her eyes shimmered with excitement and the corners of her mouth twitched with the urge to break into a smile. Buck laughed at the pitiful display put on by Chain and motioned with a hand for her to take a seat.
“Why not join me Chainmaid. We can always work out a contract right here and now. It’s likely that this is our best opportunity to even as Mother Osprey is probably keeping her other guests occupied.”
Snapping his fingers, Buck issued a silent order and one of the other greasy men stepped up to the table beside him and placed a briefcase beside his feet. Pulling his feet from the table, Buck sat up and placed his hat beside the briefcase. Flipping the latches, he popped open the case and extracted an ink well and writing quill before a sheaf of papers. Licking the tip of his thumb, he proceeded to thumb through the papers until he found what he was looking for. Pulling free one sheet of paper from the stack, he held it aside and returned the others to the interior of the briefcase. Chain watched him curiously as he worked nervously and fiddled her fingers behind her back.
“I did invite you take a seat Chainmaid, you don’t need to stand there. I’d actually advise taking a seat as well, I can’t just sign you up willy-nilly. As much as I would like to help you, if only to satiate that thirst for the adventurer’s life in your eyes, an adventurer company is still a business and I am an asset analyst. I’ll have to conduct an interview to see if you’ll be a good fit for the Soarmont Adventuring Company.”
“What if I’m not…?”
Seating herself across from Buck, Chain nervously kneaded the edge of the table as she questioned him. Drop wore the same anxious expression and swam from one side of Chain’s head to the other with nervous energy. As Buck provided both a comfort and a warning, Chain grew even more nervous.
“I wouldn’t worry about it. There are plenty of other adventuring companies. Should you not fit with the Soarmont Adventuring Company you need only seek them out. But if you should fail my interview…”
Trailing off for only a moment, Buck let his eyes steal a glance upward towards the upper floors where Mother Osprey likely attended to her other guests. Chain followed his eyes and swallowed loudly. Lowering her eyes back down she found Buck smiling at her and she tightened her grip on the edge of the table.
“I can’t afford to fail! I want to be the most renowned adventurer to walk the Face of Icarus! I have to be!”
Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater