Aphelion Issue 236, Volume 23
February 2019
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Adventurer’s Contract

by Chris Knoepfle

A hulking half-orc, fresh, agitated, and heavily armored, well greased, twiddle taps the pommel of the great sword seated across his lap with an ‘as you like it’ scowl as his business partner, an electric-eyed Lloyodo boy of House Oyan, settles into negotiations. The young man is sporting the usual western boots and t-shirt of that prestige and the tungsten skull cap of his trade as he conducts the business of the day with potential patrons in the smoky candle light of the most important one’s office.

“Witches Court rules, sirs, and no welching,” says the wiry slate-eyed lad.

“Don't take me the wrong way, monk,” he starts off again on the man on the left, a thickly muscled Grup mercenary of House Gldarr, wrapped in the bright azure vest suited to his faux-bewildered patron.

His sunbaked face aglow with gritty intensity, piercing intellect, and insane talent, the boy adds, “I could drink a case of your argument.”

Turning to the man on the right, a well-dressed, near sunburned-to-black Barl of House Ocercan, identified as commissioner by his starched civic overcoat pomp with the gold emblems of his station, which he wears over narrow ‘drainpipe’ trousers and a button up jersey with insane floral patterns - the regal office platinum signet emblazed even in the smoky candlelight at the table; now the kid chides, “Politician, you call quips the more powerful and then assign euphemism to wisdom. I’m just not that thirsty.”

Then, the hurried Adept, the skull cap atop hell set and determined face, makes short work of any question as to his profession; he kicks back from the cluttered office table in a flourish of well-tended sable – He wears this color top to bottom and for all occasions. Even as he does, he gutturals in uncanny baritone reverse from the back of his throat, so that his otherwise trivial incantation should take effect inside of his mouth. When he speaks next, he mouths great bursts of light in sprays blasting outward and thick so as to engulf the two potential patrons with each articulated syllable.

“Gent-le-men; i-llum-i-nate-ed ones;” he says in deliberate slow Turoc draw cadence and drone slur monosyllabic voice beam to his now clearly annoyed potential patrons.

“I am Ta-e-les, re-trie-ver of Do-cus’ Skull, and I am at your ser-vice, if my serv-ice can be of use in your cur-rent sit-u-a-tion. Might-y War-ri-or Tal-un here is uh well known to me and a might-y war-ri-or. I trust his judg-ment in a-ss-oci-a-tes for sure-ly a group he is a part of has al-read-y found some suc-cess. Let me then join in as well, and let us to get right what-ever ter-ri-ble wrong has oc-cur-red. A-hem, and uh how much a-gain does the job pay?”

Clap shut and cheeks internally aglow, Taels pauses for the reply: impatient, fidgeting, thumb twiddling.

“Freaking brat lunatic,” snaps the man on the right, responding in blind agitation as no eyes present have yet adjusted yet to the new darkness.

“Young master mage, we already reached terms,” comes a more patient measured answer from the man on the left, still blinking.

“As I said before, you will be paid 200gp to reach Gane and assemble a team. And another 200gp on return with evidence of cult expansion in the region.”

Suddenly satisfied Taels the Adept assays them coldly, then with fixed eyes and blank smile,

“Aye, two acknowledgements, sirs. That makes an Adventurer’s Contract.”


2018 Chris Knoepfle

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