Opal-Palooza (Part 6)

There was ample time in between the exit of Master Scalici and the arrival of the next party to deal with Prince Bortimer to allow for the finishing of one plate of food and the ordering of more. This time it was a sugary, sticky mess of half-cooked dough that Slothjemians loved for morning meals. The barmaid had hardly set it down before half a dozen jorish warriors strode into the room.

Shr Grogdahl let out a groan and set his short sword on the table within easy reach and pulled the morning cake further away from the reach of these visitors. “Damn your opals. Torkezahns now?”

Prince Bortimer waved to the newcomers and motioned for their leader to have a seat. “Greetings, Dreggel. Has your grandfather agreed to sell the God Stone?”

Dreggel, a huntsman like Grogdahl, took a seat and nodded respectfully to his peer across the table. Turning his attention to Bortimer, he smiled and said, “Yes, your majesty. He is willing to sell the stone as long as you will pay at least three thousand and seven hundred gold for it.”

Bortimer looked thoughtfully at Dreggel and asked, “Did you bring it?”

Dreggel reached into his inner vest pocket and withdrew something small wrapped in a soft silken cloth. He placed it in Bortimer’s outstretched hand and said, “You bet I did. Anything to assist our favorite ne’er-do-well.” The huntsman chuckled and winked at Grogdahl.

Grogdahl only grunted and continued eating the cake. Bortimer unwrapped the cloth and placed his loupe back in his eye. Gazing for a long time at the fire opal in his hand, he finally removed the loupe and took a deep breath. “This is an excellent jewel. I’ll give your grandfather four thousand gold for it, and another one thousand for you. I’ve always admired your ability to come through when the going gets tough.”

Dreggel laughed and said, “You honor me, my lord. I’m sure grandfather will be pleased to have gotten more than he asked for.”

Prince Bortimer tapped the top of the strongbox and opened the drawer to remove the coins. As he set them down on the table, Dreggel put them into a small leather pouch that seemed to be far smaller than required to hold them all. The final thousand coins he placed into another pouch that he had tied to a bandolier that also held a number of jorish daggers. Having concluded his business, Dreggel stood and shook Bortimer’s hand. With another nod to Grogdahl he left the room followed by his buddies.

Finishing the cake, Grogdahl burped and said wearily to Bortimer, “I’ll do another two days of this, three days tops, and then I’m done. What are we supposed to do with all of these cursed rocks, anyway?”

Bortimer waved to have the barmaid top off his beer as he said, “We have to go home and check on a few things. The opals are going to Branislav Zoric. He is going to make some things for me.”

Grogdahl turned in his seat and stared at his friend. He was at a complete loss for words.