Shr Augustin Shadefiend and his three personal guards walked purposefully yet warily to Bortimer and Grogdahl’s table. Shr Augustin was not altogether comfortable with this kind of thing but when his grandfather had given him the task it wasn’t phrased in the form of a suggestion. He nodded at Bortimer and cast a quick glance towards Grogdahl, but said nothing.
Bortimer smiled broadly and said, “Shr Augustin, welcome! How did your family decide on the matter of the Sea of Peace?”
The shadow elf’s voice was low and almost lyrical and yet there was a sharpness to it that any listener would equate to a simmering hostility. “We prefer to call them the Keys to Heaven. Elves view the sea as the gateway to Arborea, and these opals shine as the sea itself in the light of the sun through the wispy clouds.”
Bortimer continued smiling but was having a tough time masking his confusion. Grogdahl set his tankard down and said brusquely, “What in the hell does that mean, and how does it answer the question?” One of the shadow elven guards placed his hand on the pommel of his sword, and Grogdahl just gazed at him as he said, “You might want to rethink that, faerie. You draw that blade and they’ll be taking you out of here in pieces.”
Shr Augustin gave a sideways glance at the guard, and back to Bortimer as he said, “We didn’t come for a fight. My grandfather has returned to our lands to retrieve the opals you want, and I have been told to make sure that the price is right.”
Bortimer wanted this to not be as tense as it was but dealing with shadow elves were rarely easy to deal with in the best situations and unfortunately Bortimer had set the tone yesterday and the shadow elves were now merely playing along to that mood. The grandmaster thief asked as reassuringly as he could, “How much does your grandfather want for the stones?”
The shadow elf took a deep breath and said, “No less than thirty-five thousand gold for the set.”
“And that is for all nine opals?” asked Bortimer.
Shr Augustin nodded his head and looked at Grogdahl as he said, “Yes. And we trust that puts us in your good graces?”
Grogdahl shrugged and said in an irritated tone, “Why are you looking at me? He’s the one buying the opals.”
Prince Bortimer tapped the table to draw Shr Augustin’s attention back to him as he said, “Absolutely. You have my word as a fellow scout.”
The shadow elves stood awkwardly for a moment before Shr Augustin said, “That’ll have to do, I suppose. My grandfather will be in touch.” With that he turned and left the room with his guards following, their eyes scanning the room as they went.
She Grogdahl was about to say something when there was a commotion in the other room where the shadow elves had gone. The noise died down and two swamp orcs wearing spiked leather armor that had been dyed dark green walked in, followed by two bugbears in banded mail armor.
Grogdahl looked at Bortimer with a sneer and said, “Let me guess. These asshats are here to sell opals, am I right?”
Bortimer looked at him and grinned. “Probably not. They are here to tell me they aren’t selling or are waiting for somebody to go to Middleswamp to get the opals.”
Shr Grogdahl sighed heavily and stared at the goblinoids approaching their table and said, “The Jordecaynes? What bet did we lose that we are dealing with these clods?”
Before Prince Bortimer had a chance to answer, one of the jors walked up to the table and said brashly, “These clods have the Heart of the King that your boss wants, so mind your attitude, Grogdahl.”
Grogdahl bristled and said with a growl, “Shr Grogdahl, Cur. I earned my title so use it right.”
The jor waved his hand dismissively and said with a chuckle, “Everyone is a knight. Nobody cares. Our clan is sending somebody to bring the black opal. Prince Bortimer, how much you gonna pay for this rock?”
Bortimer ignored his fuming companion and said with a smile, “How about six-thousand gold?”
The jor nodded his head and said, “Yeah, that’ll be fine. The jerk we stole it from has been trying to get it back, so that’ll be nice to have an end put to that nonsense. Just so everyone knows we are getting the rock, so nobody gets stabbed in the back.” With that last sentence the jor looked at Grogdahl, and Grogdahl growled again.
Bortimer smiled and nodded to the jor and his friends. “That’ll be fine, Thank you. Nice to see you, Cur. Give your parents my greetings and tell your aunt that I am looking forward to the next feast in Middleswamp.”
The jor nodded and waved as he left the room, followed by the other jor and the two bugbears.
Shr Grogdahl waved down a barmaid, and while she made her way towards them, he whispered to Bortimer, “This is one of those days I hate you.”