FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 2 Part 9a

FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 2 Part 9a

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Part 9) Adwin


Adwin had been going non-stop for the past few eight-days. When he was not engaged in business for SkadWind he had been busy trying to make sure he was able to retain control of the company. He estimated he was working upwards of fifteen hours a day and nearly the same amount on what were supposed to be his days off. Mentally he was tired, a bit sick of paperwork, lawspeakers and business meetings. Truthfully, he wished it was spring and that he was on the road with his companions.

He had seen very little of Tipper or Mokha over the past few eight-days. He knew Tipper was finishing her papers for her university courses, as she continued to study the history and architecture of Kaymere. Mokha spent most of his days at Hearts Nook and had taken on an apprentice. Neither he, nor they, had heard much about or from the Fingures. In fact it had been over two eight-days since their last known operation had been taken down. No one was naive enough to assume the crime family had been dealt its final blow, after all, neither Celestial nor Raven had been taken in any of the raids and a handful of them had actually escaped from the Arcanium’s custody.

Most of the thieves that escaped had been captured when Tipper had gone to rescue Mokha and it was suspected that they had inside help. As a result the Arcanium had been in a bit of an uproar as an internal investigation was taking place. However, Adwin had very few details and more than enough of his own work to keep him busy.

He looked from Addath to Master Kreen and tried to pick up where they were in the conversation. It seemed like Addath was winding down the negotiations and that Master Kreen was less than happy with the present conversation. Kreen gave Adwin an imploring look.

Adwin raised a hand to stop Addath, “Excuse me a second.”

Addath paused and looked at him, “Yes Master Adwin, you had something you wanted to add?”

“Well, after having given it some thought, I think we should go ahead and back Master Kreen’s endeavour. I think that he is correct on his assumptions regarding the usefulness of a printing press in GreensBridge and certainly local efforts have been falling short as compared to what’s available from Maldorn.”

Kreen[ smiled triumphantly and slapped the table in enthusiasm, “You won’t regret this Master Adwin and I’ll make sure the first newspaper that we put out has good things to say about SkadWind.”

“That is all well and fine, though I’m going to offer different terms than what you were suggesting. First, repayment time will be extended to twice what you had suggested and there will be no interest on the loan nor the property you need. But, SkadWind will become a silent partner, owning thirty percent of the business and default on repayment will result in the company, property and all associated assets becoming wholly owned by SkadWind.”

Master Kreen’s expression turned to one of cautious optimism. “That is a very different deal than what we had discussed, sir.”

“It is. I’ll give you some time to think about it. I also intend to cover the cost of having some of the folks from HighFort come with the press. You’re going to have to cast new letters, better to have someone who knows what they are doing than rely on your friend’s educated opinion. No offence to your friend, nor the local metal workers, I’m just securing my investment.”

He seemed surprised, he regarded Adwin with a curious look before saying, “I understand Master Adwin, I’ll have to let my partners know what your offer is, but I expect we’ll be getting back to you within the eight-day.”

“Excellent, then I guess we are done here for now. I’ll cover the meal Master Kreen. Feel free to send me a message if any questions come to mind. I look forward to doing business with you.”

After Kreen had left, Addath gave him a quizzical look, “That’s going to be expensive Adwin. I thought you intended to rent an airship for the spring?”

“Ha. You were right on all accounts with that idea. Neither Roburns nor the two independent ships are really available and to make them available for the length of time I’d require was too expensive. Practically speaking.”

“As I said some months ago Adwin, there are the well to do, the rich and then the fantastically rich. You would have been fine if you needed to go south or north on the existing routes, but to rent an entire ship and its crew for a season is something only the later sort of person could afford.”

He nodded. In truth he could have ordered his own airship from HighFort for the same amount of money it would have cost him to rent one for the spring. The problem with that was the three year, plus, waiting period and of course, crew, supplies and an air-mage.

Still, there was another option, much more within his economic means. He had gone ahead and rented an express coach. Roburns Trading Company also had a couch and courier service with multiple lines running out of GreensBridge, the eastern route extended nearly as far as Wikkersak, though there were plans to have the line extend all the way to Elquin. An express coach could be hired, or an express courier, for three times the normal rate. Horses would be swapped at way points and company stations along the line, allowing between two to three yateer to be covered in a single day.

He had not much liked his first coach ride, but he assumed it would be more comfortable not travelling as luggage. Hopefully Tipper would accept the transport option, gods knew she would claim to be able to run there faster herself, but he seriously doubted it. Short of finding someone to open the ways, the coach would be their fastest, across land, option.

He realized Addath had been waiting for him as he had sat there gathering wool. He gave himself a shake, “Sorry, just thinking about logistics.”

She smiled, “It’s too bad you have to leave Adwin, I’ve enjoyed working with you. Working for you won’t be the same.”

He brightened, “So that means you accept? You’ll manage SkadWind for me in my absence?”

“Absolutely. Kind of hard to say no. Your offer was three times what Roburns pays me and that does not even count the shares in the company you offered. I don’t mind being well to do, but being rich seems the better option.”

“I’m happy to hear that. Shall we get going? I’m sure the paperwork has been piling up while we’ve been here.”

She gave a nod and passed him his coat. As they came outside there was a road crew working at clearing some of the ice and blown snow from the street. Being close to the administrative tower, the street the restaurant was on often had issues with ice and snow buildup, as neither could settle along the main boulevard due to the fact it had been enchanted. It was a common problem along the streets off the thoroughfare, especially the streets to the east side and southeast as the winter winds generally came out of the northwest.

One of the crew looked up as the two of them moved towards their carriage. He said, “Crackin’ cold out lads.”

Adwin gave him a nod as Hidge came out of the carriage to place the step. Then the work crew was throwing tools and rushing the carriage, the driver was knocked from his seat, the horses started to panic. Addath cried out in pain and fell to the ground in front of him. Celestial was suddenly bearing down on him, raising a pistol crossbow, “No one fucks with the Fingures, little man.”

Adwin felt a stab of pain in his chest, he was suddenly looking up at Celestial, she’d been about to say something else when a bright flare flashed and an alchemical bolt slammed into the side of her head. She fell down into the street next to him. Adwin tried to get up and could not. There were other alchemical flashes, screams and shouts. Adwin’s vision narrowed, Celestial stared with sightless gaze, tendrils of smoke curled up from the hole in her head.

Suddenly Hidge was kneeling beside him, slowly he focused on her face, he was having troubles breathing. “Are you alright Master Adwin?”

He forced himself to speak and let out a gasping cough, blood sprayed across Hidge’s face. That was concerning. With sluggish effort he moved his arm and pointed in the general direction of the temple grounds. In a rattling rasp he said, “Sisters of Mercy.”

Hidge gave a curt nod, “Yes, sir. You just hang on there. We’ll get you to the Sisters.”

Adwin let out a blood splattering gasp, darkness enveloped him.


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