Part 3) Adwin
It had been well over an eight-day since Adwin had seen Tipper. He missed her and wondered how her classes were going. When they had last talked she had been enthusiastic about a paper she had been working on for one of her classes; the paper had something to do with the Kaymere ruins and a renowned enchanter, but Adwin had not understood the significance of what Tipper had been working on. Though, he did get the fact she hoped to gain the curiosity or attention of her professor, all part of her plan to gain access to the Arcanium.
Adwin had seen the Arcanium a number of times now, it was technically part of the GreensBridge University grounds, though, it was walled off from the rest of the university and was not commonly accessible. There were some outbuildings and a riverside dock on the Arcanium grounds but the Red Tower was the main structure. The tower was actually more like a great round fortress or keep, or so it looked from the outside. Made from red granite, seven storied under the battlements, Adwin figured that made it eight stories but Mokha argued that a roof did not count as its own level in such a building. The base of the tower appeared to be over fifty paces across, the top was around thirty paces across and it was sixty paces high, or so. To Adwin it seemed like an impossible place to sneak into, not even considering that pretty much all the people associated with the Arcanium were mages.
Snow flurries gently fell outside, their sudden appearance brought Adwin back to the present circumstances and he left off his thoughts of Tipper and the university. Through the small, cloudy glass window Adwin could see the shapes of people coming and going. The cold weather had folks bundled up and the twilight of the day was mostly due to the heavy cloud cover above. It was only just afternoon. He glanced over his shoulder at Mokha, who was sitting at a small table that took up much of the floor space in the small attic room they had rented for their meeting with Hadrim. Mokha had his nose in one of the books he had acquired from the thieves, a mage’s grimoire, full of arcane formula and lore. Since he had stolen the books, it was rare to see him without one or the other and nearly every moment Adwin had spent with Mokha over the past eight-day, the Aggedrah had been reading.
Since their heist, Mokha and he had been kept busy trying to avoid the Fingures family and their gang of thugs, while also trying to work and behave in a way that would not draw undue attention from anyone. One of the first things they had done after they had robbed the thieves was prepare a number of short letters to report their findings to the authorities. Copies of the letter had been delivered to the Arcanium, Councillor Bane and three of the city guards stations in and around the Gray District. All of this had been done while Mokha had maintained spells that would limit another mage’s ability to use magic to see who or where the letters had been written.
The day after they had robbed the Fingures, Adwin had moved his few belongings from the boarding house to the Roburns Trading Company’s warehouse complex. Likely only for the short term, at least that was his plan. He kind of missed the routine of the boarding house, Jabert, his wife and the other tenants. Though the accommodations through Roburns were newer and it had given him the chance to get to know many of his fellow workers. Mokha had not had to change his lodging as he lived in a fancy manor, in the employ of a rich merchant for the winter. It would be very difficult for the Fingures to get to him there.
Mokha had been able to track down Hadrim, much to the artifact dealer’s surprise, and secured his services. Now they were waiting for him to show up for a prearranged meeting, hopefully he had been able to sell the items Mokha had entrusted him with. Adwin would like to have some extra silver weight for the Yule Tide. He sighed and moved away from the window, walked around the room, stopped to listen at the door then walked around the room again.
Mokha looked up, “Something wrong?”
“No, just impatient. Are you sure this is the place?”
Mokha chuckled and shut the book he had been reading, “Oh, yes.”
“Well, it’s way past noon by this point.”
“Sure, but delays are to be expected. All of us were already people of interest to the Fingures. If we’re caught at this then we’ll likely be dead shortly thereafter. Not to mention, what we’re doing is illegal. Chances are, Hadrim is either downstairs or nearby, biding his time too make sure he was not followed or that he’s not walking into a trap.”
They heard the hinges of the door at the bottom of the stairwell creek and then the sound of someone clumping up the stairs. Adwin moved to the door and opened it as soon as there was a knock. Hadrim looked up at him with a startled expression.
Adwin smiled, “Come up. Or in, whatever the case. Good to see you.”
“Have you been waiting at the door?”
“No, of course not.”
“Any troubles on your end?” Mokha asked.
“Not that I know of.”
Mokha stood up, “Everything seems good on our end. No one has been following us. Should we order food or something hot to drink?”
“The weather’s oppressive and the wind is rising from the north, sure to be a storm soon. Sadly though, I don’t have time for pleasantries. I’ve secured passage out of town and need to finish our business as quickly as possible.”
“Oh. We were hoping to be able to use your services again.”
“As much as the idea of the profit involved in such a proposition appeals to me, I’m afraid I’ll have to decline. There is all together too much interest in what you two have stirred up. The Arcanium is in an uproar, not to mention the Fingures and a great many other people are too curious about what happened for my comfort.”
“Well, let’s sit down at least. How did it go?”
The three of them sat around the small table. Mokha adjusted the lamp so the flame was not putting up so much smoke. Hadrim placed a cloth wrapped package on the table, it made a clunking sound, heavy despite its small size. He removed his gloves and loosened his cloak and scarves then made a show of unwrapping the package. When the cloth was folded back three small bars of gold glistened warmly in the lamplight.
Adwin was shocked, “Wow, that’s gold.”
Hadrim gave him a quizzical look. “I should hope so.”
Mokha asked, “Is that it?”
“Oh no, far from it. This is your share of the gold bars, I kept one for myself, as we had agreed.”
“So the signet ring was from the Probancruq family?”
“Oh yes, and most of what we made came from the reward for the recovery of the ring. His lordship was thrilled to have it returned, it had been stolen nearly seven years ago. When I crunched the numbers, the ring was nearly seventy percent of our total take. So essentially, most of the other trinkets you gave me covered my cut of the transactions.”
Adwin looked to Mokha and then back to Hadrim. The artifact dealer pulled out three pouches, one with a few gold coins, a larger one with silver weight and an even bigger one with copper.
“As you requested I made sure to get a decent amount of copper and silver weight. Though I guessed you would not have wanted the gold bars exchanged.”
“No, no. That looks great. Thank you so much for your efforts on our behalf.”
“Truly, Mokha, my pleasure. I am sorry about not sticking around to help you with the rest of it, but I need to get my brother’s wife and her kid to safety.”
“Well, thanks to you recognizing the signet ring, we are now well set up with more than enough weight. So, thank you. Is there anything else we can do for you?”
“No. Other than mentioning I’ve headed to Swampdon, should anyone ever ask you my whereabouts.”
“Ah, of course.”
Hadrim stood, as did the other two and they shook hands. Without further delay he left. Adwin saw him to the door and after confirming the lower door had been shut he closed the upper door. Then the two of them stood looking down at the gold bars.
“That’s a lot of gold.” Adwin eventually commented.
“Well, that’s really a matter of perspective Adwin.”
“I see it. It’s a lot.”
Mokha sighed, “Anyway, How do you want to split this?”
Adwin shrugged, “How about we each get a bar and you and I can keep the coins?”
“What about the other bar?”
“What other bar?”
“The third bar.”
“Yes Adwin, that’s what we’re talking about.”
“I mean the three of us each get a gold bar.”
Mokha looked around, as if expecting to find another person in the room, then said, “Do you mean Tipper?”
Mokha rolled his eyes, “She didn’t have any part in this. It’s our money, friend.”
“There are two of us that won this loot from our enemies, we figured out how to move it and now we are going to profit from our endeavours”
“Okay. It’s a lot.” Adwin thought for a moment or two. Mokha sat at the table and opened the book he had been reading.
Adwin’s mind wandered back to some of the ledgers he had been transferring at the warehouse over the last couple of days, he crunched a few numbers in his head, “So that bar is worth something like seventy thousand copper weight, more if the quality is good. We could feed a hundred thousand people.”
Mokha resumed reading.
After a moment Adwin made an amendment to his idea, “Though I don’t know how you would get all the food to people. You would need distribution points and some people at each place, maybe a hundred points, through the Gray District, each giving out food all day. We’ll-”
“Adwin.” There was an edge of asperity to Mokha’s tone.
“Thank you.” Mokha returned to his studies.
Adwin quietly counted and stacked the coins Hadrim had left. Twenty-one gold, sixty-four silver and two-hundred and fifty-six copper. All seemingly top grade coins, mostly stamped here in GreensBridge. About another quarter bar worth.
As the afternoon passed, it began to snow in earnest. Large heavy flakes soon left a covering of fresh snow on the adjacent rooftops. Adwin occupied himself trying to figure out all the different things you could do for people with one gold bar. By the time Mokha had to return to his employer’s manor, to entertain that evening’s dinner guests, the two of them had discussed a number of options. Mokha had convinced him that the third bar, one gold weight, four silver and six copper coins would be placed in a box and hidden by the two of them as a contingency for the future. They decided Mokha was going to hang onto the extra until they had a chance to hide it.