With a lull in the parade of evildoers coming to sell Bortimer their opals or to tell him they intended to, Shr Grogdahl the jorish huntsman had his warmed beer refreshed and had another platter of gravy covered potatoes brought to the table. As he picked at them, he glared at Bortimer who sat next to him humming a cheery tune. The huntsman was rapidly approaching the limits of his patience and Bortimer seemed to be well aware of it.
Bortimer picked at the potatoes too, ceasing his humming only long enough to savor the tastiness. He smiled at Grogdahl and asked, “Would you like to talk about it?”
Grogdahl growled and said, “What are you playing at? Why are all of the heavy hitters in Slothenburg’s criminal world coming in here today selling their opals to you? And why are they looking at me with even more hostility than I usually attract?”
Prince Bortimer took a sip of his beverage and sighed. “I might have threatened some of them in order to secure their cooperation. I need specific opals and a high quantity of lesser opals for a project.”
Grogdahl allowed his jaw to drop, and he turned to stare at his friend. With clear delight and surprise in his voice he asked, “You threatened the most prominent thugs, assassins, and rogues in order to get them to sell you opals? That’s hilarious!” The jor laughed so loudly and suddenly that everyone at nearby tables turned to see what had happened. “I’ll grant you can be dangerous when cornered, and you’ve slit your share of throats, but I don’t see your reputation as being…” the huntsman suddenly stopped his laughter and halted his thought midsentence. His voice returned to an angry growl as he said under his breath, “You threatened them with me, didn’t you. You told them that if they didn’t sell their opals to you that I’d show up and murder them. That’s it, isn’t it? That’s why you told me to go visit my sisters yesterday, so I’d be out of the way.”
Bortimer chuckled nervously and said in a whisper, “Your name might have come up. I can’t be expected to remember every little detail.”
The huntsman shook his head in disbelief. “You really are something, you know that? Making people think I am some sort of black hearted, cold-blooded killer so you can buy up a bunch of rocks.” the jor muttered.
Bortimer took another drink and said, “You are a black hearted, cold-blooded killer. Are you telling me that if I asked you to slay any one of these miscreants that you’d refuse?”
Shr Grogdahl chuckled quietly and said, “You’d need a better reason than opals, I can tell you that much for damn sure.”
“What reason would suffice?” asked Bortimer as he took another fork full of food from the plate in front of them.
The jor grunted and shrugged. “Why do you need all of those opals for, anyway?”
Bortimer didn’t answer, and instead just sat there eating and humming.
Before Grogdahl could ask again, there was a small commotion as an exquisite dark elven woman strutted into the room and tossed a black wooden box on the table next to the gravy covered potatoes. In a somewhat impatient and irritated tone she said, “Here are the Tears of the Ages that you requested. We want no less than five thousand four hundred platinum coins in payment.”
Bortimer took the black box and gingerly opened it to peer inside. He smiled and said happily, “All of them are accounted for. That price is acceptable.” The grandmaster thief tapped the strongbox on the table and opened the little drawer. Taking out the platinum coins he stacked them in front of the dark elven woman. She counted each stack as she placed them in a small pouch on her belt. Remarkably the coins all fit in the pouch due to some magical enchantment.
When all were accounted for, she smiled at the two men and said, “Blood Moon thanks you. If our cartel can be of further assistance, let us know.” With a wink she turned and strutted out of the room.
As she left there were many men that paid close attention to her movements. Grogdahl couldn’t help but notice that Bortimer didn’t pay any attention to her exit at all. His jaw dropped again, and he said in astonishment, “Love. That’s the reason. Your silly ass has fallen in love.”
Bortimer looked slyly at his friend and asked, “What if I have?”
Sighing heavily, Shr Grogdahl muttered under his breath, “Yeah, I’d kill for that. She’s well worth it.”