A Wicked Age Undreamed Of


BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#81
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The fair haired Zamoran girl was much like a charmed snake under Hebeny's beguiling gaze. She stared at the Stygian, her lips slightly agape as she listened to her words. She smiled, more bashfully than perhaps she had meant to when Hebeny chided her for suggesting she wasn't a dancer already. The hands upon her flesh, drew tiny, wordless enunciations from her as she shook her dirty blonde locks from side to side.

"O-of course not, my lady. I am sure you are an amazing dancer, but you seem more - noble of bearing."

The girl leaned against the stone wall of the estate while Hebeny drew back to give her impromptu performance. It was not only the one whore who watched her, but her dusky skinned friend, Jann, Danya, the two guards, and even the older ugly man who hung around the entrance. Some whistles from the market stalls indicated that the audience had drawn the attention of other men behind as well. When she was done, Hebeny received a mild applause and knowing grins.

The girl in front of her was now absolutely entranced, and was blushing as Hebeny performed her coin trick with aplomb to get the girl's honest opinion.

"Flattery and truth will be the same for you then, my lady," the Zamoran said, moving to take the coin and then smirking helplessly as Hebeny teased her with it. She leaned back against the wall and continued.

"Doban Korr prides himself on surrounding these halls with the exotic and the beautiful. And you are certainly both. The girls who dance for him now are practiced, but you are naturally graceful and if you know a routine, you could easily draw his eye."

When Hebeny gave her the kiss and relinquished the coin, the girl happily returned the affection, and having been already paid, she was more than eager to continue the playfulness for as long as the priestess wanted.

"My name is Svitlana," she breathed. "And what may I call you?" she asked, putting an arm around Hebeny's back and running her other hand through the Stygian's dark, raven hair. Then, regardless of whether Hebeny offered her name, Svitlana would glance over her shoulder towards the entrance, then whisper in Hebeny's ear.

"I do not know if it is what you're interested in, but you come to the Night Bazaar at an odd time. The Cold Brotherhood has raised Doban Korr to his current state as Paymaster. For that favor, they are given special treatment within these walls, so take great care not to draw their attention, for their word is law here. The Master is greatly displeased about this. I have heard him say so while he was out of their earshot. Now that he has attained his position of power, he no longer wants these upstarts to have a hold on him or his business. Tensions between Korr's personal guard and the Brotherhood have never been higher, even though he still pays lipservice to them and acquires girls for their... needs."
 
Last edited:

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#82
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

"Do I?" she asked. Hebeny supposed she shouldn't have been surprised... and though the thought of unlearning her proud stance and confident bearing briefly entered her mind, she knew it would offer no protection from her pursuers so long as her far more obvious dark skin and beauty remained. Instead, Hebeny simply shrugged. "I am but a pretty thing, looking to make myself known to a powerful man here in the Night Bazaar..."

Hebeny's stomach fluttered, knowing that despite her dishevelment and the stresses of the day, she could still tempt this woman, inured in temptation daily as she was. She made sure to keep up her confident temptresses' mask and gaze into the whore's eyes as she worked, as much as she wanted to bounce from the praise.

"Ohh...? That sounds like quite the dangerous gossip to be sharing, Svitlana..." she whispered into the girl's ear. "...But very interesting." Hebeny straightened, and continued, a bit more loudly, "I'd like a bath - regrettably, only a quick one, no milk or stones. I wish to be less... dusty, when I perform. Those three silvers will be enough to have you do such a thing for me, will they not?" The Stygian stood, kicking her legs up before planting them back on the ground and rising to her feet. She shrugged and concealed herself within her cloak once again, hoping it would shield her from the notice of any Brothers in the brothel. She didn't need to be weighed down with another fight, after all...

Brushing her hand down Svitlana's arm, Hebeny turned, stepping in close to Jann. "I'll see about making us known to Korr, then, yes? Try not to get into any trouble." She bounced up to kiss him on the cheek, whispering as she held her lips against his cheek. "Keep Danya out of trouble, and watch out for the Brotherhood." Her head bobbed around, to kiss him on the other side. "They might go for Ryl again. Keep it in your pants for now, and..." she bounced back down, smiling up at him. "...We can celebrate, when we're done!" Hebeny wrapped her hands around Jann's wrist, sliding it in under her cloak, biting her lip as she brushed it against one of her breasts, looking up at him all the while.

She turned, and slid an arm in with Svitlana, drawing close up against her. "Please, lead the way, Svitlana... perhaps I'll tell you my name one night, but I think there are more exciting things to learn about each other, don't you~?"
 

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#83
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

"These are dangerous times," Svitlana replied in a low voice. "And I have little to fear in telling you. The Cold Brotherhood use women, they do not include us. They give no credence to the words of someone like me."

For the first time, Hebeny sensed some of the underlying deadliness in the whore's voice. It was a subtle thing that she had observed in the females of Zamora during her short time in Arenjun. Despite the politics here that treated them as objects, they were not docile things. A man who could not handle a Zamoran woman properly was like as not to end up with a knife in his belly. The Stygian priestess sensed violence in this girl's past, and more than likely she had given it as well as taken it.

"I will make certain that you are thoroughly cleaned, good lady," Svitlana nodded and waited for Hebeny to speak her intentions to Jann before holding out a hand to lead the priestess into the brothel.

"Aye," Jann concurred. He attempted to take the kisses on either side of his face with a manly stoicism, but the young blood in him added color to his cheeks, despite him not smiling. "I'll keep an eye on Danya and an eye out for trouble. Rylynn can handle herself, though, I'm sure. We'll not stray into a private room or anything, so you should have little trouble finding us when you need to."

Danya stood nearby, her glances flitting nervously from one distraction in the bazaar to another. The corners of her mouth turned down slightly as she saw Hebeny leave with Svitlana inside the archway, but she said nothing and continued to stand close by to Jann. The other whores had begun to move away from them, making calls to other passersby when it became apparent that Jann wasn't going to part with his silver for a pretty face at the moment.

---

Hebeny was hand-led through the archway, past an ugly man in robes and two shield and spear wielding guards with no markings upon their clothes. The inside of the building was heady with incense and hidden behind multicolored curtains that Svitlana pushed aside as the passed into a large common space.

The inner hall was a wide open space with elongated flat steps that were covered in fine rugs and laden with a multitude of cushions, such that a person might well sit or lie wherever they so chose. Large porcelain vases held ferns and flowers and vines in them and a large fountain was at the center of the room, fed by a miniature aqueduct which bisected the northern portion of the hall. One could walk under it through a large archway which seemed to be a passage leading into another hallway. On the far eastern side of the room was a staircase leading to the second floor balcony that wrapped around the walls and showed many spare rooms and small halls leading towards the center of the estate. There was also a grand archway on the first floor, with its double doors pushed open, that led to other wings of the building. Finally, there was a ramp that went steeply down and led somewhere out of sight, perhaps to a cellar area.

It was daytime, and so the brothel was not at its peak hour of service, but still there were some male clients here, lounging in states of unabashed undress, with a woman servicing them with food, drink, and sensual touching that was meant to induce further negotiations. The women who worked here were nearly all topless and wore sheer or transparent skirts or cloth hung loosely from thin belts. All hallways, stairs and exits had a pair of spear and shield guards posted. Furthermore, Hebeny noticed that there were interspersed around the area several groups of men in threes, each of them bearing the blue arm marking of the Cold Brotherhood. These men glowered spoke among themselves, with dark dispositions and predatory eyes.

"The bathhouse is through the hallway in the back," Svitlana said matter of factly as she strolled through the back hallway, which was dark and lit by lamps. "We gather hot tub water from a natural hotspring located beneath us. The rocky outcrop upon which the City of Thieves rests is filled with wonders, they say. Bel blesses us."

They passed by one of the Cold Brotherhood groups, and as they did so, Svitlana received a smack on her ass from a tall thin man with a crooked nose. He leered at both women with a grin.

"Client. You'll have to wait." Svitlana said sharply and tugged at Hebeny's hand to bring her down the hall. It forked left and right, to which she brought Hebeny down the right path, which sloped on a steady decline and led to a wooden door guarded by two plain-clothed spearmen. She nodded to these two who opened the door for them. Steam escaped from the door, and they passed into a room where the walls and ceiling seemed much more roughly hewn from the rocky ground, though the floor was painstakingly tiled with white and green serpentine. Some men were here, resting in steaming pools while naked women slowly rubbed them with cloth or their own bodies.

Svitlana took Hebeny swiftly off to a side hall, leading to a much smaller but private bath room, where there were private alcoves with tubs.

"We will not be disturbed here,"
Svitlana said. "Please wait here a moment, I will have the water brought for you."

She left Hebeny alone for a minute, which would allow the Stygian to look around or secure her items somewhere for herself is she liked. Soon however, Svitlana would return with a train of young girls and a few older, thin looking men, all of whom bore buckets of steaming water. They poured these into a tub until it was three quarters full, and then disappeared around a corner again.

"The old men are abandoned laborer slaves that we get at a discount," Svitlana explained. "The girls are future workers here, given such tasks until they are ready for this sort of life. The older girls like myself take care of them as if they were our little sisters. Now please, lie down in the tub."

Svitlana had not been idle while she was away getting servants to collect water. She had a tray of oils and soaps and sweet smelling poultices with her that she set near the head of the tub.

"You asked for a quick bath, and you shall get that. I will clean your skin and make sure that it shines and is scented alluringly so that you may make a good impression on Doban Korr. When we are done here, I shall take you to a dressing room upstairs in the slave quarters where we have many pretty costumes, some of which are ideal for dancers. You can borrow an outfit while you are here."

She smiled and put her hands together, then asked if there was anything more Hebeny would like to discuss before they began. If not, then the girl would start to efficiently, yet still tenderly, rub a soft cloth across the Stygian's body, then she would use the soaps and oils to clean and smooth her body, and offer different scents such as Hebeny preferred. The priestess' hair would also receive special attention and cleaning and would be wrapped in a towel when done to dry.
 

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#84
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Hebeny stroked her chin as she thought, letting herself be led along by her companion for the next few moments. When the Brothers stopped them, she glanced over at them, wearing a stoic expression to hopefully deflect any interest they might have taken in her. After all, her body was hidden - but she could do little but veil her face, and her eyes were as delightful as the rest of her.


The Stygian sat on the edge of the tub, having stripped stark naked except for the gleaming bauble hanging from her neck, and placed her things in a corner, where any errant splashes wouldn't stain them. She smiled brightly and waggled her fingers in greeting when the men and girls came in, not bothering to make herself modest.

When Svitlana asked her if there was anything else, though, Hebeny tapped her chin. "Hmmm... actually, now that you mention it..."

A chocolate arm came up, pulling Svitlana by the hand, to draw her down, and then looping around her neck to draw her in, so that only she would be able to hear Hebeny's whispers as she lounged in the bathtub. "I have a dangerous secret to give you, too. Do you wish to hear it?"

If the whore agreed, Hebeny would continue. "The Cold Brotherhood seems to worship some dangerous old god, and one of them told us they plan to enact some ritual that will allow them to seize power, this very night. I plan on asking Korr where this might be happening. Knowing his position on the Brotherhood will make convincing him easier, so you've already been very helpful, Svitlana..."

The sorceress gave her a kiss. "But I expect a fight - probably a big one. Would you happen to know any fighters who might like silver, or perhaps hate those that would threaten Arenjun's peace in the name of some foul upstart god? Mmm, or maybe just people with something against the Brotherhood..."
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#85
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Rylynn couldn't help but wince internally at how awkwardly her words were emerging from her mouth. Only hours earlier, she hadn't a problem speaking so confidently, so straight, the way a Cimmerian should. But now, after seeing the sorts of pleasures that the place offered, and the way they unearthed some of the long buried sources of guilt in her past, it proved difficult in a way that she wasn't quite ready to handle.

And she saw the power that her coin possessed. Never in her previous travels had she been so tempted. "Well, it wouldn't hurt to enjoy myself just a little, as I have been doing..." her thoughts naturally started, but the eyeful she caught of the rather unattractive, gaunt man--perhaps a wizard or banker or some other sort of unsavory character--proved somewhat sobering, reminding her that she was here for business. Her gaze shifted to the side as she caught an earful of information. Luckily, Hebeny had already pried the answers that she needed out from one of the other girls. She closed her hand around that of the young man's, as if urging him to keep the coin she had given him, and managed a slight smile. "Um... nevermind. I've some people I am looking for tonight. But ah, keep me in mind for this sum, won't you? If we meet again." The barbarian wasn't sure exactly why she gave this young stranger such an amount. Perhaps she had merely been charmed by his face, his voice, or more likely, the memories they triggered.

Though his companionship was tempting, she wasn't about to just give up the larger task at hand. Her first query must have been a little too literal, as she sometimes was faulted for being. An audience with someone powerful in the area could get her some further answers. "Would you... mind giving us a tour of the premises, then? I asked who holds the best parties because, I'm looking for work. I need a reliable employer, one who pays well." It wasn't the most graceful or tactful of deliveries on her part, but if nothing else, it could put her in a position to blend in as a mercenary looking for some work and a little bit of leisure. Being too blatant about finding Korr or Danya's sister could attract even more unwanted attention.

She saw the look that the ugly one gave the slave she spoke to. Was he his employer? Rylynn didn't like the look or the air of him, but in a place like this it was all too often men like him that called the shots.
 

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#86
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The young man pocketed the coins, making them disappear in a smooth trick of sleight of hand. He then brushed a few dark curly locks of hair from his smooth, unblemished face and listened patiently to what it was the Cimmerian had to say. When she asked him about looking for work, a surprised look appeared on his face.

"If it is work you need, then there might be some here for you, though that possibility is the choice of the masters. Either those who bring their servants here to work, or the Paymaster who resides here. I am told that he is currently being entertained by dancing girls, but I shall bring you to his chamber, if you like."

He moved close to Rylynn then and draped his arm round her waist, letting it rest on her hips. The pair of them were of a comparable height, and the barbarian was clearly the stronger of them, her muscles sculpted and cut from her tanned skin, while the youth's leanness was pleasant to look upon, but soft, and his scent was perfumed and effeminite.

"You have paid me and are my customer. My name is Aphyerei, or 'Affy' if you like. As my customer, there is an expectation of intimacy, but once we are out of the sight of my own master, I shan't touch you unless you will it."

Aphyerei led Rylynn inside the main doors, past the guards and the cruel, porcine looking man in the robes who reached out a hand and clamped it tightly upon the young man's wrist as he went by. The man said something in a tongue that was harsh, whispered, and quick. Rylynn couldn't catch it, but it sounded like a different dialect of Zamoran, one which she was not familiar with.

Aphyerei tugged his hand away, and made a short reply in the same language, though is eyes were downcast as he spoke, not meeting the robed man's angry gaze.

If Rylynn acted in a manner to intercede, Aphyerei would grip her waist tighter and try to keep himself in between the Cimmerian and the robed man, and continue to walk forward.

"This boy has an important task to do," said the ugly man. "You must wait your turn with him. Or give back the money. He is not meant for women anyway. Or did he not tell you that?"

Aphyerei's downcast expression remained, but he kept his hold on Rylynn. "Forgive me, I must see to one small thing first, before I see to your request. You... do not need to go with me and can wait here if you like. Or, if you truly did want that tour, you could see some of the more unusual appeals of the Ring and Swallow. I leave it to you to decide."

Once fully inside the brothel, Rylynn would see the same scene that had greeted Hebeny when she had walked through. An open space with many places for a traveler to rest and be publicly attended to by the comely servants of the brothel. There were rooms above on a second floor and a hallway towards the back that led to a different set of rooms, all presumably with a purpose.

If Rylynn chose to wait in the common room for Aphyerei to finish his task, he would sit her down on some cushions and wave over a serving girl to fetch a drink of the Cimmerian's choice, sharing one of the silvers she had given to him and placing it in the palm of the first wench that approached.

If she instead chose to stick with Apheyerei, he would head towards a stone ramp in the near back corner of the room that led beneath the staircase and into a dark, torch lit tunnel that wound down into the rock and ended at a large, heavy wooden door. A pair of guards were positioned there to open the door for Aphyerei and let him and anyone accompanying him through.
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#87
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Ryl didn't miss the youth's apparent skill in stashing away the coin she had given him, reminding her that he was still of this city.

"The Paymaster..." she trailed off quietly to herself in response. That was the kind of person she was looking for. Surely an important man like him could use a competent bodyguard, and given the overall quality of the sort that she had tangled with thus far, she was confident that she could prove herself a fine asset in the field of protection. "Right. Yeah, I'd like to see him," answered the Cimmerian firmly.

When she felt his hand slip around her waist and settle comfortably upon her hip, she found herself surprised by the lack of sudden response that her body had; as her first instinct might have been to backhand him across the face. Most city folk who dared approach a Cimmerian woman in such a fashion would have deserved as much, after all. But Rylynn's automatic instinct didn't fire this time. Perhaps it was because this lad was a particularly charming one, or that she wouldn't want to damage the most valuable asset he had in his looks.

Instead she felt a blush fill her cheeks from the fact that she was even letting him do this. Normally she was relatively dominant and straightforward with her partners, but the last person to be able to make her give in was somewhat not unlike the one with her now. Light beads of sweat formed around her brow as she proceeded.

"Affy... is it," she said thoughtfully. "Very well, you are Affy to me. And you are already touching me," added the barbarian. "You are still unharmed, so I am not protesting." Though she had managed to speak straight again, it didn't keep the butterflies from fluttering about in her stomach.

They stopped when her eyes met those of the less fortunate looking man, the one she suspected to be a wizard or cleric of some sort. Her expression flattened.

She quietly returned the gaze with muted defiance when the facts about Aphyerei were given. So he was for men only? Rylynn felt as though this man was simply ruining her moment. "Men, women... what difference does it make? There are plenty in this city who qualify less as 'men' than I. The coin I give is as good as any."

Here, Rylynn would shake her head. "No, I will accompany you. Small thing, important thing, everyone tells me different things in this city. Either way, I can assist so that business can be done afterwards."

She followed Aphyerei down into the tunnel, her eyes scanning the environment around her. It was an odd sort of setting, rather clandestine, perhaps like many things in the city but also puzzling considering that this boy was supposed to be a mere servicer. What was going on here? The barbarian remained quiet as she went along with him, at his side rather than behind.
 

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#88
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

In the bathing area, Hebeny had safely stowed her items in the corner of the low-lit and humid room, where they would not get wet from errant splashing. Her body was easily lain bare and now rested languidly upon the edge of the tub. The old men among the servants were disciplined enough to avoid overly long glances at the priestess' dark and enticing figure, though her waggling fingers would elicit respectful nods. The girls were shyer still, and focused more on their duties than upon the guest. It was likely that intermingling with the guests was frowned upon by the masters of the brothel, and would explain why only Svitlana appeared to be the only one overtly interested in Hebeny's charm and sexual appeal.

The Stygian pulled the brothel worker close to her, and whispered intently into Svitlana's ear. The way she worded her question gave the other girl pause, but eventually she nodded for Hebeny to continue. When at last the client had finished, the prostitute thought to herself, hesitating before replied.

"There is no shortage of men in the City of Thieves who will fight and murder for the pursuit of coin. And more than you think would like to put the Cold Brotherhood in its place. Not far from here, just on the near side of the Night Bazaar market, there is a house of challenges, where sits Zenon, merchant lord and Ninth Paymaster. For a small fee, a public challenge can be posted and a prize set. The boldest thieves or those wronged by the brotherhood may respond to your call."

Svitlana frowned and wrung her hands, before adding. "There is also... a man, Yevegh, he is my boyfriend. He hates the Brotherhood for the way they treat the girls here. To be honest, mostly because of how they have treated me. I do not want to see Yevegh hurt, but he has been becoming louder about his distaste for the Cold Brotherhood's presence in the Bazaar and in the Maul, and already I fear he is meant to be made an example of. He has some like-minded friends who would be willing to help put a stop to the Brotherhood. I just don't know what I would do if he were to be killed. Life is hard in Arenjun for girls like me, and my Yevegh is one of the few good things in my life. If you intend to gather men to fight the Brotherhood, you must be sure that you are not sending them on a suicidal errand."

Svitlana squeezed Hebeny's hand as she said this. Genuine concern was heavy in the girl's voice as she looked into the young sorceress' eyes.

"Yevegh will be among the roasting tents. He stokes the fires of the spits. He is a strong man, with burns along his left arm. People there will know him if you ask."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rylynn's gruff answer returned the scowl to the robed man's face and he turned his soured expression away from the Cimmerian and the young man. It seemed he was content in the knowledge that his servant would be doing his task first and enjoying Rylynn's company second.

As for Aphyerei, the smooth skinned youth nodded at the barbarian's insistence on going with him and led her down the ramp and into the subterranean lower level of the brothel, where the guarded doors gave a rather secretive and ominous atmosphere to a house otherwise dedicated to the pleasures of the flesh.

"Well, it is both a small thing, and yet also an important thing. Easy to do, and yet, if neglected, would be a great loss to my master's interests and I imagine a severe punishment for myself. I do not ask you to assist, nor do I expect you shall want to, when you see what must be done."

The two walked through a darkly lit corridor with many small, closed doors on either side, reminding Rylynn more of a prison hewn into the stone than a place of amorous pursuits.

Most rooms appeared or sounded empty, but on occasion she would hear the stray sounds of grunts, moans, and slaps of flesh against other flesh or sometimes the lash of a flog or the smack of something hard upon a body, followed by the expected pitiful sounds of such harsh treatment. Aphyerei said little about this unless asked, and walked on until a second set of guards confronted them near a wrought iron gate. These guards bore the sign of the Brotherhood, and they did not seem overly friendly, nor pleased to see Rylynn accompanying Affy.

"Has this one paid?" A guard asked the boy.

"Yes, she has," replied Affy.

"With someone else's coin, no doubt," offered the second guard.

"It should hardly matter," Affy said heatedly. "My master has insisted my client and I be allowed to pass. His creatures need their daily tending."

"We care not for your master's insistence, cock sucker, nor for your wagging tongue talking so boldly. If you've not learned your place by now, perhaps we shall give you a lesson to remind you."

"Is it not the will of your Brotherhood that these unspeakables be housed here? Would you rather it was you and not I who maintained them?" Aphyerei said, bowing his head in half-supplication that Rylynn's warrior sensibilities would find distasteful, even though it was clear the boy would lose badly were it to come to a fight.

"Go. And bring your savage client with you. No doubt she is missing her rutting with the beasts of her own wilds."

Here the men would step back and allow the pair to pass, unless Rylynn wished to raise an objection or her sword to the foul-mouthed men. Should she opt to reserve her comments, the gate would be unlocked by a small key that Aphyerei produced and pushed inward.

They walked down an undecorated corridor until they reached a cul de sac, with five chambers. A large chest was pushed against the wall between the second and third doors from Rylynn's left. In the other intervals between doors were placed benches. On one bench sat a bearded man, covered in ugly, swelling, purple bruises, wearing only an undergarment, rocking back and forth and offering up muttering prayers in a language that Rylynn did not understand. The bearded one did not seem to recognize or respond to the approach of the newcomers.

Here, Aphyerei stopped and turned to Rylynn.

"We have already walked through the 'Cages.' That is a section of the brothel where the sexual desires of more unusual clients are seen to. Those desires that are not possessed by most people and are requested only in whispers. Sometimes it is pain a client wants. Sometimes it is humiliation. Sometimes it is the opportunity to dole those things out to others. But where we stand now is something completely different. Where we are now is called the Pit. The servants within it are not just unusual, they are otherworldly. My master collects them. He tames them and has brought them here to work. The clients who come to see them do so for unknown reasons, though I guess for many it is something of a religious experience. It is my task to tend to the creatures that dwell within. To see them can be... disturbing. I will understand if you wish to remain here and I will be about my task quickly, but you are welcome to take a look."
 

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#89
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

A frown materialized on Hebeny's face and her eyes darted about as she processed this new information. A public bounty would draw much attention, but she did not know how much of it she wanted - surely some of the Brothers would see it and raise some sort of alarm. Recruiting men there directly seemed dangerous - they owed their loyalty only to coin, after all. If she perhaps left Jann there to find men, what was to stop them from simply ganging up on him and simply taking his coin? He was certainly carrying enough of it that mugging him would net them a tidy sum - enough to make it matter little that they would have missed out on victor's spoils after they killed the Brothers at the ritual and ransacked their holdings, she figured.

On the other hand, it seemed to be the best way to get real fighting men, in the mind and properly armed for what needed to be done. She could sew indignance in those scholars she had met, perhaps, but how well armed and how vicious would they be?

Biting her lip, Hebeny glanced up, and looked deep into Svitlana's eyes. "Your man is important to you, and I do not wish to take something so precious to you. I will speak with Korr before anything else - I do not know who or how many my friends and I will face tonight. I cannot promise there will be no danger to him... but I can promise that, if I fail and the Brotherhood completes their ritual, they will grow even bolder, and danger will come for you both."

With a sigh Hebeny scooted off the side of the tub, and let herself sink into the soothing, clean water. "But yes, dire portents and danger. I am new to Arenjun, if my accent did not give it away - tell me, what is a good price for a fighting man?" she asked, starting to talk specifics about finding some men. "An open challenge seems dangerous to me - what if my targets see it and raise an alarm? No, I want to find my fighters directly."


Some few minutes in, Hebeny also decided to ask about Oleska, the governor. "I don't suppose you know any useful things about him, perchance? He has a new, pretty little slavegirl that I want."