Maidservant to a Monster [21 Lage 4261]
There were considerable relief and congratulations given to me when I got back through the Halflight Gate.
And various advices were also thrown at me. Paarhan in particular complained at me considerably and greatly for getting Vae to turn into a tree. I actually breathed fire in his face ... I can't remember the last time I did that to anyone. Certainly never to anyone as dangerous as Paarhan. He just healed it and glared, and Strenata suggested that he save his tactical discussions for later.
I didn't particularly feel like putting this errand off. I flew to Heavybell Street, where the smiths are. Kaim-Su had recommended Basnt. Her shop is a small unobtrusive one, not that any of the smiths' shops are particularly ostentatious. If you work with metal, you don't need to be ostentatious.
Basnt's shop was more trouble for me than most shops. The door was closed, and I had to scratch loudly enough to be heard over the tinging of her hammering. She works in lead, silver, gold, and mnenorzion.
Me:"I've some lead moss to sell... I've never done this before."
Basnt:"Oh, you're the one controlling that nendrai out of town, aren't you?"
Me:"That's an optimistic way of saying it ... a very optimistic one!"
Basnt laughed, and called her mari Bandazure over with a bit of tea.
Me:"Oh, thank you. It's been an alarming and shakesome sort of day several ways already, and it's not even noontime."
Basnt:"Oh? Tell me, if you like? The Howling Horn didn't say much about it yesterday."
"It wasn't this morning," I said. So I wound up telling her and Bandazure about meeting Vae, and, somewhat to my surprise, about Eitharheinen catching Ilottat and me in bed together. I am now officially traff, having pretty much introduced myself that way to a business contact. They were more than a little bit disturbed by it, unfortunately, and I was more than a little rattled by that.
Me:"Well, I suppose I'm to sell you some lead moss?" I showed it to her.
Basnt:"Well, it's lead moss ... I'll have to refine it, destroy out the plant material; it's a lot of work to make this into pure metal."
Me:"I'm sorry -- it's what the nendrai gave me to sell. I don't know what the rates are like, and I don't particularly even care to know."
Basnt:"Oh ... oh, great staring gods. That's what I say when regular adventurers bring metal in, to start the bargaining down a bit."
Me:"I'm not an adventurer at all" (which got an odd look, alas) "and I'm not trying to make money on these. And I've used up a nine day's supply of cajoling and sociability on the nendrai already. Could you, oh, give me a fair price for them, I don't care what it is, and leave it at that?"
Basnt:"This is city business, isn't it now? I can do that. Let me look at the moss." And, while she was hefting it, she asked, "Why not just give it to the guard and have them give you a bit of money?"
Me:"I don't know. Kaim-Su said to do it this way. I should ask about that."
Basnt:"Not that I mind extra metal, of course. I would hope to buy this for eight lozens. For you, since it is city business and I'm grateful for you keeping the nendrai quiet, how about ten lozens?"
Me:"How about five lozens. It's not my money, it's the nendrai's."
Basnt:"You don't get to keep any of it?"
Me:"I should ask about that too."
Basnt:"Well, we can do it that way this time, but I'll expect you to renegotiate for next."
Basnt:"This is not the usual arrangement, dear sweet bug."
No. It's a very disturbing arrangement.