Blood for Blood

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    West Schliemann

    Gray Manor, a Silver Necklace outpost in the Near Hinterlands.
    Sunday, May 20th, High Noon.

    “My husband should be in soon with the product line, Ser Pendrakken!”  The silver-clad woman smiled brightly, taking a seat a seat across from the guest as a haggard servant set a steaming kettle on the table.  “We don’t get much business from your lot. I look forward to seeing what you’ll take home.

    “That checks out, Amelia.  Most of my kinfolk have… hangups about slavery.”  He poured hot water over the bag of fruit tea he’d brought from Tranquil.  “Either way, I’m quite excited, too.” He stirred his new teacup vigorously with a metal spoon.

    Before an hour passed, the door swung open.  A tall, bright-eyed man about Romulus’s age led in a train of six rope-bound slaves.  “You must be the Drak of the hour!”  His voice carried both a banker’s professional tenor and a bruiser’s gregariousness.  “Give me just a moment to unwind, so I might greet you properly.”

    Flourishing his arm, Michael turned his attention towards Amelia, who left her seat to embrace him.  It lasted only for a moment, but any onlooker could see a lengthy holiday in their hearts and minds. They spoke softly to each other; “Welcome home, Cupcake,” was all Romulus heard.

    “It’s a pleasure to meet a tradesman of your stature,” Romulus offered, bowing his head as he carried on stirring his tea.

    “And a pleasure to meet a nobleman of yours,” the slaver returned, walking over for a firm handshake with his prospective client.  He seated himself immediately next to Romulus. Perfect.  “So, tell me a bit about what you need in a worker.”

    Worker.  What a euphemism.  If nothing else, the Silver Necklace had balls.  “Well,” he said, now having stirred his tea long enough for Amelia and even Michael to realize it was getting weird.  “I’m looking for someone who doesn’t flinch at wickedness,” the nobleman admitted.

    “I can promise you that!”  Michael smiled guiltlessly.

    “Weak bones might be helpful,”  Romulus added.

    Michael raised an eyebrow.  “I’m… not sure I understand, my good sir.”  Amelia’s attention refocused, too. Romulus only let out a light, awkward laugh, stirring his tea.

    After a tense pause, Michael eyed the cup.  “You… uh, think you’ve stirred that tea enough, Ser Pendrakken?”

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