Chapter 7

"I don't care where they are. Maybe they decided they did not want the money and it was time for them to split ways. Whatever it is I am not standing outside this shop anymore. I am going to get my money." Akara announced to Farit.

"Our money." Farit reminded him. "Rishk, Sarid, and Tymora."

"Tymora doesn't need it. Let her come down and ask me for it." Akara said looking at the sign above the door "Blor's Alchemy" and pushing his way through. A slight bell could be heard as the door opened.

Farit shook his head and walked into the shop with Akara. The smells of the store were overpowering to the senses. Blor had all sorts of dried plants hanging from the ceiling. Continuing to look around the room a shopper could see dried herbs and bottles of liquids filling racks of shelves on every wall. Of course Akara was not looking to buy he was looking to get paid. The fact he did not see the shop owner was really aggravating him. His patience was wavering. First Rishk wandered off and then Tymora's cleric vanished as well.

"I don't care where they are." Akara turned his head and said to Farit. "We split their money as soon as we find that slothful Blor!" He said Blor's name loudly.

"I am not at ye beck, boy. Ye best be rememberin who it is that is payin ye afore I give yer portion to the boy with the packs." Blor came out of a room off the back. Blor was a dark skin dwarf. He had black wavy hair that came down to his shoulder. His shaped beard and moustache flowed down to the middle of his stomach. He had three black stones woven into the middle of his beard. He was wearing a short sleeve silk shirt and loose fitting silk pants with a broad brown sash at his waist. He walked around the counter and stood directly in front of Akara. Akara looked down at the dwarf with a quizzical expression.

"Did ye bring me property, boy?"

Akara snapped a look back at Farit who snickered. Farit opened his hands up to Akara and shrugged. Neither Farit nor Akara had picked up the bags; Rishk did.

"See smart mouth, ye come in here bellowing fer me and he's got the goods." Blor pointed his stubby thumb behind him back at the room he just came out of. When Akara looked up he saw Rishk leaning in the doorway with a bright red shirt on. Akara turned his face up and shook his head.

"Where have you been and where did you get the atrocious shirt?"

"I carried the pack here while you wandered around the market. I saw the shirt at one of the stalls on my way and picked it up."

"You shouldn't have. It is ugly and stands out. And where did you get coin from?"

"I traded some gear I had. What difference does it make to you? I have been sitting here patiently enjoying a smoke with Blor and sharing some stories while he checked the goods. Where have you been for so long and where is Sarid? You can't keep up with a lone girl in this town," Rishk said standing on his tiptoes and looking over the shop. "No wonder you were having trouble with the woman at the bar." Farit laughed.

"I have been waiting on you out front and don't want you spending OUR goods. As far as Sarid, she ran off as far as I know. You go look for her." Akara's frustration was beginning to show and Rishk shrugged and winked at Akara. A snarl left Akara. Blor's laugh brought Akara's attention away from the grinning Rishk. Blor had not moved and was still standing in front of Akara.

"HA! Yer group is quite the dysfunctional bunch, Huh?" Blor asked as he softly punched Akara in the stomach. "I like that."

Akara bent over and let out a "Humph". Farit moved to his side and put a hand on Akara's shoulder.

"Are you alright?"

"He's fine. Straighten up and lets talk coin." Blor said as he walked into the back room pushing Rishk through the doorway in front of him. Akara, still hunched a little, walked in behind him and flopped down in one of the soft chairs in the room. Farit followed and stopped to lean in the doorway.

Blor's backroom was his office and a lounge of sort for him to entertain guests. The room had a small desk on the right wall, some shelves at the back and soft relaxing chairs spread throughout. Someone sitting at the desk would have a great view of both the opening from the shop area or the doorway that lead out the back of the store. It would also give the individual at the desk access to the dual head war hammer hanging on the wall. The room was a mix of soft and hard, which described Blor exactly.

Blor sat at the desk and pulled out a logbook and some parchment. He dipped the quill and started writing. Rishk picked up a cigar from the box on the small round table next to his chair. He picked up the small open-burning lamp from the table and lit the end taking a deep draw. He blew smoke up to the ceiling and leaned further back into the chair closing his eyes.

"Help ye selves to a smoke as well. I've just made a deal with a dockhand to get a case of them straight off the boat afore the tobacco stores get em." Blor looked back down to the logbook and made a couple more notes on the parchment. "Looks like I owe ye… 30 gold for the poison sacks and the other extra pieces ye cut loose that I can use. I would like to hire ye fer another job." Blor stood and held the paper out.

"What!" Akara tried to jump up while exclaiming but the chair was so soft it was hard to jump out of. He slid up to the edge of the chair and leaned forward to get up. Blor was still stood holding the paper out and Akara snatched it and looked at the numbers. "This is far less than what we agreed." Akara crumbled the parchment and threw it down onto the desk. It bounced up and Blor caught it out of the air.

"Boy, I am yer elder by about 75 years. Show me some respect afore I throttle ye in front of your friends."

"Listen good, old man." Blor simply stared at Akara. "These men are not my friends. They are associates that I used to get a job done. That job is done now we get the money you promised. You pay what you promised or …"

Akara never finished his words as Blor planted his left hand on the solid desk and threw his body up swinging his legs out to the right and over the desk. With his momentum carrying him over he flexed the arm out. The four-foot tall, two hundred pound dwarf hit with both feet outstretched in Akara's chest. Something snapped in Akara and he flew against the wall over turning the chair he had been sitting in. Farit came off the wall and moved at Blor but Rishk reached up and grabbed his arm.

"Akara pushed Blor. The girl is not here to provide you good luck or mend you. Be calm." Rishk said quietly pulling Farit close.

Farit snapped his arm out of Rishk's hand and looked back to Blor who was walking back around the desk. Farit looked down to Rishk who was sitting back in the chair drawing deeply on the cigar. Rishk leaned his head back and blew the smoke up and away from Farit. Farit looked between Akara and Blor. Akara sat crumpled on the floor. His breath wheezed out uncomfortable and pained. Blor sat down at the desk and opened his right hand placing the balled parchment on the desk. He began to smooth it out with his hand.

"I did not agree to give ye anything. What I told ye was the fair price for goods in excellent condition. What I find in the packs there are average quality. Whether it be ignorance or haste the materials are not in the best of conditions."

"Blor, Akara would not have come at you. He was too quick to anger I think but you were not in danger." Farit had made the logical decision to not move against Blor and was kneeling next to Akara checking him over. Akara gave Farit a nasty look as the last words were said.

"I care little fer yer explanation. I am a businessman and will not be threatened by a boy in me own place. Continuing with me earlier statement, I understand ye all saw the old blue scorpion that lives in that hole"

"He has broken ribs," Farit said quietly to Rishk. Rishk shrugged and blew smoke up to the ceiling. Farit shook his head.

Farit turned and answered Blor, "Yes, the blue came out with more scorpions and we ran. Our team was depleted and could not fight any longer."

"Pragmatic," Blor muttered. "Regardless, I'm willing to amend me original offer and give ye forty gold pieces for the poison glands and items ye have in the sack. I will then agree to ten gold pieces worth of stock from the store if ye take the job. I will pay ye forty gold for the blue's poison gland and as much chitin plate as ye can carry on horseback. In excellent condition." Blor emphasized the last part.

"Why…" Akara wheezed. "Why should I…"

"We will take the job," Rishk interrupted. Farit and Akara suddenly look at Rishk. Rishk stood and pointed his hand holding the cigar at Akara. "If he doesn't want the money we can find someone else. We need to find Sarid and see if she will go with us. Farit your skills would be welcome as we will be up against more of the giant insects."

"They are arachnids actually," Farit said looking up at Rishk. Rishk rolled his eyes.

"Akara I don't mind working with you again but your personality doesn't seem to match the group. If you want to share in the gold we are about to make you need to change your attitude. If you can't do that fake it or walk but I will not put up with your self-centered attitude. Can you do that? Do you want to take this second job?"

Akara sat staring at Rishk wheezing slowly with his labored breathing from the obvious rib injury he was now enduring.

"Yes, I want the money." Wheezing came. "I will work with the team."

Rishk brought the cigar to his mouth and drew in the aroma filled tobacco. He held the smoke and blew it out in front of him. He turned from the two on the floor to face Blor. He gave the slightest nod and wink to the dwarf who had sat unmoving through it all. It was unperceived by Akara but Farit had seen it and wondered was there something behind the gesture.

"Blor, can we add a concoction or something, that will mend Akara, to your side of the bargain? We need everyone in their best shape to carry out the job." Rishk queried.

Blor sat for a long minute and wrote something on the crumbled parchment. He handed the parchment up and Rishk walked over and looked at it. He nodded his head. The cigar had become a nub and Rishk took one last draw from it as he walked over and handed the parchment to Farit. Rishk sat the cigar in the crystal bowl, next to the box of cigars, to burn itself out.

"I think it is a good deal. Akara read it along with me and nodded his approval." Farit advised.

"We have a concord then." Blor said coming around the desk. He held his right arm and hand out. Rishk extended his own and the two joined their hand to the others forearm. Each gripped with a tight exchange pulling the other in and moving the arm up and down. The agreement was sealed with this simple handclasp.

A bell rang from the front door opening. Blor released Rishk and walked to the entryway to the store.

"Let me see who this is and I will be right back with the herb mixture for the mouthy one. Feel free to look around the shop for yer stock." Blor walked out and into the shop.

"Moradin, girl!" Blor exclaimed from the other room.

Rishk and Farit looked at each other. A female voice spoke and Blor came back to the door with a strange look on his face. He stood outside the door and pointed at the room. All three looked at the entryway and saw Sarid shuffle into sight. Her robes were soaked with blood and chunks of something hung to it in places. As they looked up to her face she had cuts that had been recently bleeding down her throat. Her black braids had come loose from its tie and the loose black hair had kinked and frizzed out. Blood and chunks stuck in her hair.

"Where have you been? What happened?" Farit asked.

"It was awful. Two kids stole my coin and then a man grabbed me and then the orc was killed and…"

"Orc?" Akara coughed.

"Stop. Slow down. Here sit down and tell us what ensued." Farit said righting the chair Akara had knocked over earlier.

"Now hold on. I ain't set up a hospital or a tea shop for ye to chat and have biscuits. And she smells of vomit and offal. She won't be sitting in me chairs." Blor barged past Sarid and handed Farit a bottle full of ground material.

"Take em out the back door. Come back when ye have yer people in a mood for shopping. Ten gold worth of stock fer the job. Take the bottle and pour half of it into a liquid and have him drink it as soon as he can. Have him drink the other half before highsun. He will be mended before dusk."

Farit slid the bottle into a bag on his hip and walked over and helped lift Akara off the ground. Akara stifled a moan while coming up and hissed air between his teeth. Rishk heard Sarid talking and turned to look at her. Her right hand had pulled her talisman and she was uttering a prayer to Tymora. She sent her left hand out toward Akara.

Akara stood a little taller and breathed a deep inhale. It caused him to cough but he smiled and rubbed his chest. Rishk stood with his mouth open but Farit was the first to talk.

"After all you have been through your first inclination is to heal him. You are a special lady."

"Tymora is the special Lady. I am but a servant. I could feel he needed it. I am all cried out and just want to clean up and tell you what happened." Sarid said flatly.

"Blor, can you pay us the forty gold now?" Rishk turned to Sarid as Blor fished into his waist of his pants. "Our rooms are not far from here, we can get you cleaned up, and talk over a meal. I can come back later tonight and pick up supplies."

"WE can come back tonight." Farit remarked stressing the first word. Rishk looked at him with a quizzical face and then shrugged.

Blor walked over to his desk and pulled a leather pouch out of one of the drawers. He poured coins into the pouch and handed it to Rishk.

"Count it" Akara said to Rishk. Rishk shook his head slowly. "Count it!"

Rishk looked to the dwarf. Blor waved his hand to the desktop. Rishk sat the pouch on the desk and started counting the gold out in stacks. He counted forty gold aloud and then scooped the money back in the pouch.

"I am sorry" Rishk was about to say when Blor understanding the expression spoke first.

"He don't trust me and I don't trust him. I take no offense at ye counting. It is prudent to make sure ye are not getting taken advantage of." Blor walked to the door and spoke Dwarvish words no one else in the room understood. The door shrank from its frame and powerfully swung out into the alleyway. Farit nodded approvingly and Blor made a sheepish look as if it was an ordinary way to open a door.

Farit walked beside Akara out the magical exit. Akara was walking on his own thanks to Sarid's healing. Rishk walked over to Sarid to escort her out with his arm out to help her walk. Sarid's steps were slow and heavy as she moved towards Rishk. She leaned into his arm, took the comfort of his support, and the two started out the door.