Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pasar and the Princes Episode 2 (You are the decoy)

Beatriss and Bangqiu, Sir Crolwer and Prince Slash (and Jasmine!) continued to while awa their time in Pasar. Sir Crowler and Prince Slash being two mysterious wanderers of noble bearing, reportedly related to the king of a faraway land were hoping to buy weapons, something generally difficult to do in Pasar since none were sold openly within the walls.

One day the four friends (and Jasmine!) were enjoying a long leisurely lunch in one of Pasar’s noodle houses when they were approached by a tradesman named An Dohng. An Dohng appeared at the end of their meal as the friends were debating what to do next. An Dohng wanted their help and was prepared to pay for it. As a result of bad luck and a bad brother, An Dohng had lost a delivery of silk and as a result had earned the enmity of a powerful merchant. This merchant, named Badu, was reported to have ties to the Black Flower gang which, despite being banished from Pasar still menaced travelers on the roads. An Dohng was going to meet with Badu at his shop later that day and he believed things would go better for him if he had some powerful friends. The heroes agreed that they would join An Dohng at the meeting place. As they discussed the particulars, two thugs emerged from the shadows of the room and began to threaten An Dohng. Beatriss intervened and no serious violence occurred. An Dohng thanked them profusely. “You’ve helped me already! And now you have to protect me this afternoon!”

The four friends (Jasmine had something else to do) went to the assigned meeting place, a small tavern attached to a warehouse close to one of the gates of the city. They ordered food and drink and surveyed the scene. The two toughs from earlier from earlier and the other patrons of the bar also looked potentially threatening and two openly carried swords, despite the weapon ban. Beatriss of course had her own invisible sword, Bangqiu was very able in defending himself with magic and the princes were always brave, no matter the number or strength of a potential adversity. So the friends chatted happily, seemingly oblivious to any danger.

Before long, An Dohng arrieved. He hesitated for a moment and then heartily greeted the four heroes as his “old, dear friends.” His welcome was loud enough to summon a man from the shop, a man who by the richness of his clothes and portliness of his shape could only be Badu the merchant. He eyed An Dohng’s friends with unveiled coldness and suspicion and then asked to speak to An Dohng alone. The two men sat at a table at the back of the tavern and engaged in tense whispered conversation. Everyone else in the bar fell nearly silent.

After a few minutes, the two men seemed to come to an agreement. An Dohng returned to speak to his protectors. He had come to an agreement, a strange one, ultimately an opportunity for An Dohng to redeem himself by successfully managing another delivery—this one not of silk, but of weapons. “Risky of course, but perhaps with some unexpected advantage. Some of you were hoping to find weapons, no?”

Without agreeing to anything else, the party agreed to at least help An Dohng inspect the shipment. Badu gestured toward the door that led from the tavern to the warehouse. An Dong led the way, followed by Beatriss, Bangqiu, and the princes, with the two toughs they’d encountered at the noodle shop following close behind.

There was a small wagon, already yoked to two horses. An Dohng lifted corner of the tarp, and everyone nodded at the assembled piles of sharp metal. But then there was a shout from the tavern. It was the city watch. “We are here to search the premises for illegal weapons!”

Out in the warehouse, An Dohng jumped into the wagon and grabbed the reins. Beatriss prepared for a fight while Sir Crowler ran into the tavern to alert the watch that the weapons were there. Surprisingly, the tough guys who had threatened An Dohng in the noodle shop assisted him in making a getaway. They opened the door of the warehouse and jumped onto the wagon as An Dohng drove through it. Not knowing what else to do, Beatriss, Bangqiu, and Prince Slash also ran away while Badu and the patrons of the tavern were arrested.

Several hours later, back at the noodle shop, Beatriss, Bangqiu, and Prince Slash came to the reluctant conclusion that something might have happened to Sir Crowler. They went to old village in central Pasar and to the stone house where prisoners were kept. Sure enough, Sir Crowler had been arrested. Prince Slash gave an honest account of everything that had happened, admitting that he and Sir Crowler had been hoping to buy weapons because they wanted to fight members of the Black Flower gang who were roaming the roads outside Pasar. Sir Crowler had made a very similar confession. Appreciating their honesty and their previous service to Pasar, the elders agreed that Sir Crowler should be released with the condition that they should all leave Pasar the next day and not return for one year.

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