“When we get into Port Goldsalt you should let me do the talking around here, we are suspicious enough as is with five guys and two little elf girls heading to one of the most corrupt cities,” Kross states.
“Shh….we are approaching the gate. ” Grendel hushes the group as the guards step out of their tower to greet them. Chuck tosses a blanket over Snowy and Ash then proceeds to drink from a bottle of ale preparing to use it as a bartering chip if needed.
The path leading into the city was your classic dirt road to the gate where two watch towers sat before a mote and then a high wall. The moat itself was filled with poison-tipped spikes and broken arrows insuring any who tried to cross any other way than the draw bridge would surely die.
The tower guards approach the wagon and Kross straightens up and prepares to speak only to be cut off by Cecil.
“Lovely day isn’t it?” Cecil sparks up the conversation as they reach the oxen pulling the wagon.
“Aye it is, please state your purpose for entering the city.” The lead guard greets them with a smile on his face. Missing teeth and the only guard with any sort of armor he stands out compared to his bow carrying and rag covered counterpart.
“Oh that answer is simple, we are here to trade. Caught us some young female elves. Figured the best price we could get for them would be here.” Cecil states this causing the group to look at him with concern from which he merely smiles.
“I see no elves.”
“They are right here…” he reaches back blindly padding the blanket covering the girls. He feels around till he finds the edge and pulls it down so the guards can see the heads of the very freaked out twins.
“Well then, they seem well-fed and are attractive. You may enter the city and see what you can get for them. Elf children are in high demand as of late.”
” We are looking to also purchase a sea vessel to do some traveling around the coast, do you have any recommendations?” Cecil asks as he recovers the girls as Chuck offers his ale to the guards who accept taking long drinks from it.
“Yes well Oddrick the port master would be the best one to speak too if you need something right away, otherwise you can talk to Holden the ship maker and he will build you a ship for the right price.”
” Thank you, good sirs, for the information it is quite a value to us. ” Cecil fumbles around his coin sack for some copper coins to give to the men. Grabbing 4 gold coins instead he hands it the lead guard. ” There you are 4 copper coins for your troubles and the information. ”
” Certainly good sir enjoy the city remember, the Steward nor guards are responsible for any ill actions taken against you and yours. In other words, nothing is outlawed as long as it doesn’t affect the nobility or guards.”
They would nod and Kross would start the wagon back up as they cross the draw bridge into the city. It was a dirty but lively place. Women of the evening would bare most of their flesh tempting all who travel along the main roads, as taverns were open-faced allowing for easy access to their supplies. Drug dens and dives lined the streets along with the markets. As they travel through the city they see a boy by around the age of the girls having his hands chopped off for stealing by a local market owner. Argos grabs Cecil by the back of the neck as Chuck tells the girls to stay hidden for now.
“Why the hell did you tell them we were slave traders! Let alone selling Snowy and Ash?” Argos says in a quiet yet aggressive tone.
” Bahaha ha ha ha…ah ha…so serious Argos, it’s simple really. This is a city of cruel and terrible people. Acting as if we didn’t have some sort of sleazy reason to be here would have brought more attention to us than we needed. Now we are just another ban of common thugs doing terrible things while we are here. Now if you wish to keep your hand I would suggest you remove it from my neck it’s quite unpleasant. ” Cecil says this all with a chipper tone expect for the final threat from which his tone changes drastically to a very serious, brutal and cold causing the rest of the party to look at him surprised.
” Easy boy scout, let the old man go no point in doing anything to him, we are in the city and we are not selling the girls so no issues. How about you mind the girls and the cart and go gather some supplies for our sea journey and try to sell the oxen and cart. Storing it here will only ensure we never see it again, so making some money off of it is the best course of action. Cecil and I will visit the port and meet with this Oddrick about getting a boat.” Kross makes these suggestions as Chuck and Grendel wander off to one of the open-faced taverns.
” We will procure the food and ale! Come back and pick us up once your ready!” Chuck would shout as he disappears into the crowd at the establishment.
” Very well Kross, keep an eye on this blind man before he talks us into some trouble. ” Argos says taking the cart and the girls over to the markets in attempts to sell it once Kross and Cecil Climb off of it.
” Kross, that was clever back there with the guards however some warning that was your plan might have been better than just stating that on your own.”
” With all due respect Kross, not everything I say or do will be judged prior to me doing it. Regardless if you or Argos approve of my actions the results remain the same, and no one was harmed doing it. ” Cecil says sternly.
” Yes will the same goes for us then. ”
” Very well but you should be concerned with who is going to captain this vessel, not sure any of you have had any boating experience.”
” I have Cecil, been a long time but it should be simple enough to recall”
” And navigation via the stars?”
” Kross well that part might be a bit tricky however nothing we can’t figure out. ”
Making their way to the docks they find the port master whipping a young water elf and dwarfling. They are tied down over a barrel as the cracking of the whip and their whimpering announces their location. Guards are watching and laughing taking bets over which child will pass out first. Kross sighs having seen this all before and numb to the scene in general as Cecil narrows his eyebrows. They approach the guards Kross politely pushing his way through the guards had already counted 12 strikes.
“Excuse me gentleman I am seeking an audience with Oddrick in order to purchase a ship for a voyage.” Kross says as the man holding the whip waves at him”
” One moment has to finish punishing these two for dropping a load of wine into the bay,” Oddrick says with a stern look on his face. Cecil stumble pushes his way through the guards who at first look angry then realize he is blind and gives him room to move. Cecil apologies to the men”
” Excuse a blind man, sirs…Oddrick I believe its called business before pleasure, and by the signs of the laughter and betting this seems to be a pleasure detail, not business. Besides we are in a hurry to make arrangements and I will personally be happy to cover the cost of the lost wine if it means we can discuss our business in a timely manner.” Cecil says this all with narrow eyes and a semi stern but circuitous tone.
” Well, why didn’t you say so quicker, it was a very expensive crate of wine, however, 1000 gold coins, And a ship as well that will cost you an additional 5000. ” Kross looks at Cecil a moment knowing he had money but wasn’t sure about the total amount.
“And how much for your two slaves that seem to be more of a burden than a help. Could use an extra hand here and there for traveling as I am blind they can serve as my eyes across the sea.”
” 2000 apiece, I warn you they are far more trouble then they are worth. ”
” Very well… I will give you 9k for all of it, “Cecil reaches into his pocket and pulls out a large black diamond. Worth at least that much.
” 9000 doesn’t….fine that will do” Oddrick was going to haggle but seeing the stone assumes he can get more than that for it and quickly agrees. Kross had only seen black diamonds at the mines, or at royal festivals as prices and none the size of this one. He began to question exactly who this Cecil was all over again.
” Show me to my ship and release my slaves from their bindings they shall begin their work right away…” Cecil says as Oddrick releases the children who can barely move with blood running down their backs.
” Now to your ship, you can take Green Moss, at the end of the docks let me get your parchment showing the transfer of ownership of the ship and these two. ”
” Kross tend to these two while I finish up business with Oddrick. ” Cecil orders as he places his hand on Oddricks shoulder using him as a guide to port master’s chambers.
Kross looks at the children pulling some healing potions out of his bag giving one to each of them to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process but the damage was excessive so more treatments will be needed.
“Well then little ones, the girls will be happy to meet you, they do not get other children to play with often, however, to be honest, I am not fully sure of the intentions of your new master Cecil, though I have a feeling it will be better than what you are accustomed to. My name is Kross, may I ask yours?”
The water elf would thank Kross and introduce himself and the dwarf, ” I am Vile, and he is Bile…”
” Do you like those names? ” Kross would ask kneeling down, the guards begin arguing over their bets as the game was ended with no conclusion, agreeing to spend all the money on winches and ale they make their way to the taverns.
” Do you like the name Kross?” asks Bile.
” Its Krossel actually and yes I do it was the name my mother gave me.”
” We don’t know what our mother named us, that was the name given to us by Master Oddrick.” Vile responds.
” I see well that doesn’t mean you have to keep it, I am sure Cecil would allow you to change your name. He may be a little odd but from what I can tell so far he means well.
Cecil would exit the dock masters quarters patting a large amount of dust that suddenly has covered him while inside, holding onto the parchments of ownership for the Mother Seaweed instead of the green moss, this was a much larger and nicer vessel, as well as the ownership papers for the two children.
“Cecil, shall I track down the others?” Kross offers.
” Splendid idea Kross, the children and I shall get the ship ready to rock and roll in the meantime,” Cecil responds walks up to the children, he places his hand on their heads, and their backs instantly heal. The kids look at each other in disbelief then look up at Cecil unsure what to think. Cecil messes the kid’s hair up and tells them to guide him to the Mother Seaweed. Kross smirks slightly seeing this and heads off to the taverns and market to track down the others.
Kross heads into town but before seeking out the others he heads down a residential district looking around for a certain home. He finds it and walks up to the door knocking on it. It opens slightly and he hands some coins through the crack and the door closes. He would sit on the porch and wait. An hour or so would pass before the door opened again tossing out a book hitting him in the back. Picking up the book he would wrap it in a rag and toss it in his bag before heading to the markets to find Argos and the girls.
Argos was not hard to spot being much large than most of the others. Snowy and Ash hid under cloaks on either side of him. As he argues over the price of potatoes, with a little old lady who will not budge on her price.
Ash would see Kross approaching and step behind as Snowy grumbles wanting to eat.
” Argos, just pay the lady already potatoes suck anyway taste like dirt…” snowy whines.
” Listen here lady a copper a piece is stupid. this potato is half the size of this one and you’re charging a copper for each, I will give you one for both! ” Argos demands as the lady merely shakes her head giving him the stink eye”
” You will pay price, and that big one now costs 2 copper because your such a big baby!” the old merchant growls.
” HOW DARE YOU, this is stupid keep your potatoes! I have wasted enough time on you at this point there are other vendors.” Argos states before he storms off noticing Kross who simply has a smile on his face having witnessed the big guy get bested by a little old lady.
” How are the supplies coming?” Kross would ask holding back his laughter.
Snowy would respond, “It has been just terrible…Argos sucks at haggling why do you guys keep letting him go to the market unaccompanied. ”
“Argos wasn’t unaccompanied he had you two.”
” Knock it off you guys that lady was being unreasonable. We managed to get fish, bait, and some fruit. Vegetables here are extremely expensive though. One copper use to get you 2 pounds now it gets you one potato,” Argos chimes in.
“You know to watch after this guy is a full-time job! He also doesn’t listen to us or let us help much cause we are kids…”
“It’s all good big guy, and you should let the kids do the talking more often your this big huge intimidating guy, and they are cute little innocent children. Honey over vinegar will catch the bear every time they say.”
” Now see here boys we need to finish up…Argos you leave the shopping to Kross and I. Go drag the monk and dwarf from out of the tavern.”
“Very well…” Argos would snort before heading towards the taverns and brothels. Ash would look at Kross a moment before shaking her head following Argos as Snowy at first goes to stop her but re-frames letting Ash follow Argos.
” I hope she gets over hating me someday. ” Kross says with remorse.
” Oh she will be fine in time, she doesn’t scare easy, and you scared her real bad. So did you find us a ship?” Snowy says slightly worried about her sister going to a brothel, but Agros would break whoever tried to lay a hand on her so this brought her some comfort.
“Yes we did, and it came with two young boys around your ages, a Water elf, and a dwarf. You will get to meet them soon. ”
” Boys? Great more boys…just what we needed…will be nice to have someone else to play with I suppose.”
The day would finish out with them collecting the rest of their supplies and heading to the ship. Cecil would have disappeared as everyone else would pile onto the boat and claim cabins to sleep in. The boat was very large and had the life of luxury written on every wall. Fancy engraved door frames, and real goose feather mattresses. Snowy would look at all of this and feel right at home excited about heading out to sea.
Kross would pace back and forth along the deck wondering where the hell the blind man had meandered off too as the two new children rest on a pile of ropes. Argos would have carried a passed out half-naked Chuck and Grendel back to the ship leaving them in the wheelhouse lying over one another having had a hard time locating them among all the sleaze in the town. After doing so he would make his way over to Kross.
” So where did he go, now more mouths to feed. I hope you took that into account when purchasing food. ”
” Well yes of course I did. Money is no issue for now, as long as Cecil is backing us anyway.
“What does that mean?”
” He has money, gods know how much. He used the largest black diamond I have ever seen and acted like it didn’t mean much at all to him. I don’t fully trust him, and we have traveled together for a while now. Though I believe he is trying to do the right thing. He also disappears on us when no one is watching which causes some concern as well, what does he do when he is not with us?”
” Argos, he is powerful and had gotten around for a long time before us. He is capable of taking care of himself. ”
” Don’t you get it that is exactly my point. He has more power than we have ever seen and more money than we know, what does he need us for exactly?”
” Kross, we do not see eye to eye on a lot of things. I do not trust his judgment at all times either however, the fact remains he is an assist to us and we are to him to some degree. Why else would he bother with helping us? Ash and I most likely owe our lives to the man, he gained nothing by destroying that hoard of orcs other than us. Personally, I have faith that he is the best shot we have of helping the Gods, he may even be one of them. Either way, I am in his debt, and I know one thing, starting rumors without fact can only cause damage. ”
” I just hope your faith and sense of honor don’t doom us all into following a piper to the cliff. I am going to turn in, you mind taking the first watch. We will leave in the morning if Cecil has returned. I would rather not linger here longer than needed. ”
” I will keep watching you get some rest. ”