“Can I borrow a moment of your time?”
You look up from your work at your desk to see a tall-ish man standing in the doorway. His clothes and shoes looked torn and overall peasant, but the manicured nails and the neatly trimmed beard and hair all spoke of his money. The tip of his boot tapped impatiently under your gaze, brow furrowing. He needed something, from you specifically. You’ve only been in this town, in this Inn, for a couple of days on a job, and have rarely interacted with anyone besides the bartender. For someone to have tracked you down to this room is pretty impressive.
“What do you want?” You say, standing to lean on your desk, subtly placing your hand over the closest dagger. It never hurts to be prepared.
“Well, um, I heard- You have quite the reputation in this area for your ability to… acquire certain objects.” He walked inside the room and closed the door behind him. “The job I have in mind doesn’t line up exactly with that criteria, but I believe that your particular skillset will be useful for what I have planned.” That caught your attention.
“What type of job did you have in mind, exactly?”
“I need to get somewhere. Somewhere that, normally, I would have difficulty getting anywhere near. I figured it was likely, with the vast collection of treasures you’ve managed to acquire over your career, that you would have to be experienced with getting in and out of places.” As he was speaking he straightened out his back, chin tilted up. Something about that motion ticked you off.
“I might be able to help you out here. But, of course, depending on where you need to go it’s gonna cost you.”
“Will a fairy-killing sword suffice as payment? Or any number of artifacts from the Queen’s treasury?”
“Hmm…” You tried to play it cool. Access to the Fairy Queen’s vault? An incredible opportunity. Risky, but so, so rewarding. Internally, your grin spread from ear to ear. “I’m gonna have to be paid something upfront, it’s sort of how I do things. Say, one hundred gold pieces?”
“One hundre-” He sputtered. “That’s outrageous!”
“That’s my price, if you don’t want to pay, feel free to lea-” You raised your hands as he interrupted you.
“No, I’ll pay it, obviously, it’s not like I don’t have the gold.” He takes a sack off of his belt and starts counting coins. “I just think you should lower your prices, is all. You know, for the poorer folk.”
The orange-tinted glow cast from the candle on your desk gave the gold an almost amber tone as the man carefully counted, muttering to himself. You sat back down in your chair, leaning back on two legs and twirling your dagger in your hand. The payoff from this job has the potential to be incredible, who knows what that fairy has hidden away. She’s always been drawn to beautiful things, it follows that she’d maintain some sort of dragon-esque hoard. Ideally, you’d be able to pay off your debts and live peacefully for a good long while. Speaking of…
“So what did the Fairy Queen do to you to get on your bad side?” As you speak he scoffs and briefly looks up from his – your – gold.
“I think you’ll find that the details are none of your business.” You raise an eyebrow. “If you must know, I believe it’s time someone put her in her place. She is corrupt, has a horrible sense of fashion and is terribly, terribly rude. I mean, honestly, would it kill you to be a little nicer to-” He stops himself, and coughs awkwardly. “I just want her to suffer a loss. Like I have.” He pushes the pile towards you, and you begin to recount.
“You realize that we won’t be able to do this with just the two of us, right? She’s no doubt heavily guarded, it’ll be incredibly difficult to pull this off alone.” Not to mention you have no idea how experienced this man is with this sort of thing.
“I… have some contacts I might be able to bring in.”
“What a coincidence, so do I.” You pour the gold into your own sack and drop it with a satisfying plop onto your desk, smiling.
“So, you’ll help me, then?” He seemed to lean forwards on his feet.
“Well you’ve paid handsomely, with more to come, I think that’s all I’m looking for here. You’ve got yourself a deal.” You spit into your palm and hold it out towards him, at which he immediately recoils. He stares at your hand, as if you were holding a poison-coated dagger, for a moment, before tentatively taking and shaking it.
“I need to go wash my everything, now. It was a pleasure doing business with you, I’ll keep in touch.” He shakes the spit off his palm and heads towards the door.
“I don’t believe I caught your name…?”
“You can call me Rook.”