Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pillar Chapter One, pt Two

Moving to the front door, he twisted the knob and pushed the door inwards, a small chime clicking to alert the shopkeeper that someone was at the front.
And a good thing she had the bell, because the shop itself was crammed to the brim with every kind of item imaginable, all haphazardly stacked or set up to display as the story widened out from the entrance. Lit by several sconces holding red wax candles, the entire room stank of a pungent incense that seemed to make the mercenary’s head feel lighter, almost to the point of dizziness.

“Hello?” He called out, looking around the various tables littered with wares both big and small. “I’m here to see Elena Selene?”
“How very fortunate for you then,” Came a reply from his elbow, causing him to jump in surprise, knocking a silver platter holding several books to the floor with a loud clang, “as I’m right here.”
Turning, the mercenary looked down at the woman, who was significantly shorter than he. She was a petite woman of indescribably age, with long blonde locks and white robes with golden stars and planets embroidered into the fine material. Her arms, as pale as fresh milk, were visible despite the voluminous robes when she raised her hand to guide the mercenary further into her shop, revealing a spiraling series of black tattoos covering her right forearm, wrist and hand.
It would appear I’m in the shop of a Sorceress… the mercenary thought as he plastered a grin on his face, unwinding his great scarf from his head and handing it to her, along with his heavy coat, which she took graciously, instructing him to follow her to the back room. This should prove interesting at the very least…
Following the shopkeepers rather shapely figure, the two wove through the various stands and tables littered with goods and moved past the front counter through a curtain of… shrunken heads?
“What the hell?” The mercenary said, backing away from the swaying curtain as his guide passed beneath them. He instinctively reached for his blade, hand on the pommel. He could literally feel the dark intentions radiating out from the curtain.
“Are you coming or not?” Came the shopkeepers lilting tone from beyond the horrid veil. Looking at the various shrunken heads, all strung together like beads on a chain, the mercenary decided to do his best to relax.
So she has a Dark item like that in her shop? It’s probably just for sale… He told himself as he passed beneath the curtain, wincing as the heads his hands brushed over seemed to pulse with an inner life that they should not possess in any way. Steeling his resolve and doing his best to keep his face straight so as to appear at ease before his host, the mercenary moved into the darkened back room into what could only be called a miniature library.
The walls were lined with shelves, save for the entrance to the room bearing the curtain of severed heads and a stairwell curling up to the second floor as well as down to the basement. A small desk, intricately carved with symbols of fairy folk and depictions of forests, sat near a small hearth where a fire crackled, casting a warm glow over the tiny chamber, as well as a comforting heat that seemed to permeate his very body and soul. The shopkeeper, plopping his coat and scarf down upon her desk, moved around it and took the only seat in the entire room, motioning for the adventurer to move on into the room.
“Don’t trust magicians, eh?” She asked with a wry smile, chuckling to herself. “That’s a good habit to have, I’m afraid to admit. Most of us have earned the reputation that all have heard about, while others have merely sought out a way to eke out a means to exist in this turbulent world of ours.”
“And you? Which would you happen to be?” The mercenary boldly asked.
She raised a well-manicured eyebrow at the question and pursed her lips. “It wouldn’t matter what I say, seeing as my first observation of you is true. Do come on in and make yourself at him, there’s a stool in the corner you can pull up and take a seat. Would you like something to drink?”
“What have you got?” The mercenary asked, looking in the corner and nodding as he caught sight of the stool, a small brass cauldron perched atop the four legged seat. He picked it up carefully before setting it on the ground.
“Various teas and draughts designed to ease worn nerves or calm racing thoughts, as well as a sampling of the more… mundane drinks.” She replied from her seat, moving to stand. “I keep the common drinks in the basement, and if I recall have an excellent bottle of Elderberry wine that just had its fifth birthday this past week.”
“The wine sounds lovely, thank you.” The mercenary replied, taking his seat with his back against the bookcases.
“I’ll be but just a moment, please help yourself to any of the books on the shelf behind you should you be able to read. Otherwise just try not to break anything.” She said smoothly as she glided up from her seat and towards the stairs leading down into the basement.
Twisting so that he could glance at the various books behind him, he pulled one off the shelf bearing the simple title of “Goblins,” penned by a man named Stan Nicholas III. Flipping through the pages idly, he could tell this was a bestiary where this man had decided to travel all of Pillar and study the various and sundry tribes of Goblin, a rather controversial topic in the political landscape these days as the Temple-City of Nelveska had, as of nearly forty years ago, recognized one tribe in particular as ones worthy of praise, bringing the entire group into the city with open arms.
This had not gone over well with the rest of the Empire, though few would dare oppose any action the paladins and priests of Nelveska on any such issue, at least to their faces.
“That book is one of my favorites,” the shopkeeper said as she climbed up the last of the stairs, a dark green bottle in one hand and two pewter mugs dangling from the fingers of another. She moved to her desk as the mercenary closed the book and moved to put it back, twisting once more and forcing the book back onto the shelf with awkward fumbling.
“So,” she began as she pulled the cork from the bottle of wine, setting it on her desk and carefully looking over the cork, “It occurred to me whilst in my cellar that we haven’t even introduced ourselves, of which I must apologize for my lack of manners.”
The mercenary shook his head, waving off the apology. “No need to apologize, I didn’t make the motion either. The name is Mathias Copperplate.”

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