Adwin collected the notes he had taken, making sure the ink was dry and placed them within the folder. He was technically done work and planned to head out to the university with Calathy as soon as they were changed and ready to go. The paperwork consisted of his instructions and the legal form for making Addath his proxy for SkadWind while he was away from the city. It felt kind of strange to him, to be walking away from the project or, at the very least, removing himself from the day to day work he had been immersed in for the last few months.
There was a knock and his secretary opened the door and apologetically announced, “Councillor Bane, of the East Dock District has just shown up and is seeking a meeting with you, Master Adwin.”
Adwin was surprised and immediately curious what the Councillor wanted, he had never followed up on the earlier request from the man to meet with him. “Unexpected, but please show him in. Have the kitchen send some tea and biscuits.”
“Of course, sir.” The secretary fully opened the door and let Councillor Bane into the office.
The man was well presented, groomed and wearing good quality clothing, not unlike what Adwin himself generally wore. He eyed Adwin for a moment, “I was unsure if it was you, but I don’t generally forget a face.”
Adwin smiled, “Come in Councillor, take a seat. I have tea and biscuits coming. Or, if you prefer something stronger, I can pour you a drink?”
“Tea is fine with me, Master Adwin.” He sat down and looked around the office.
“To what do I owe this visit Councillor?”
“Well, perhaps I should first start with an apology.”
“Oh, I was not aware that you had wronged me. Why do you owe me an apology?”
“Well, thinking back to how we had first met and the situation with the Fingures family over the last few months. I’ve come to realize that I may have been too presumptive and certainly dismissive, if not downright condescending, regarding your situation at the time.”
“I see.” Adwin wondered what he really wanted but had learned to let people speak their piece before overlaying an interpretation of their motivations.
“So, with all due respect, I beg your forgiveness. If I had taken your claims more seriously we may have been able to defray the situation and ultimately prevented much of the bloodshed that has taken place recently. If there is anything I can do, at this late date, to make amends, I would do so.”
Adwin had a hunch that this apology was likely the preamble for some request or favour the Councillor was hoping to gain from him or his business and he was curious. In as dignified tones as he could manage, Adwin said, “I can but graciously accept your apology, Councillor Bane. We should view the past incident as a simple misunderstanding and look to our future relations as an opportunity to work together.”
Seemingly satisfied the Councillor inclined his head with a grave expression. “You humble me young Master Adwin. In truth, there is an issue I had wanted to discuss with you, if I may have but a few more moments of your time.”
The tea arrived, they paused their conversation until they had been served and the staff had left. “Tasty,” Bane commented on the tea and biscuit after they had both sampled a bit, “If I may continue?”
“Well, I’m sure you have heard of the coming conscription that will be taking place?”
“I had. What of it?”
“Well, as you know they have called for every household to provide two able bodied people for the defence of the city against the expected Tannican siege. As well, two of five single men are also expected to be called up and they will be taking additional volunteers. Historically, when conscription has been called in the past, we have seen as many as one in five men leave the city, to avoid being drafted.”
“Sure. I’ll take you word for it, as I have no real knowledge about such things.”
“Well, the main point being, this will have a very negative impact on the available labourers and in turn the performance of the docks, with the eastern and northern docks likely being the most critical.”
He nodded, though he was at a bit of a loss as to how Corvern thought he could help, “What did you want me to do?”
“Well, I need you to be my ambassador to Roburns Trading Company. In the past I’ve made some rather inflammatory comments about the Maldorn and the company as well as encouraging certain actions that may have been detrimental to the company. You on the other hand seem not too concerned about hiring them nor working with the company. I’m hoping you can broker a meeting between myself and the local boss.”
“Alright, I can likely do that for you. I’m assuming the issue is specific to this upcoming labour shortage you mentioned. Though, if the company sees you as a threat to their operations, I can’t guarantee that they’d be willing to talk.”
“I realize that. Though you might remind them of the benefit of having a Councillor indebted to them. And if required you could mention to them that I’m reconsidering the tax on foreign businesses operating in the city.”
“I see. I take it sooner is better than later?”
“Well, in that case Councillor Bane, I’d be happy to mediate on your behalf. Was there anything else?”
“Nothing pressing, Master Adwin. Though I do look forward to conducting future business with SkadWind. I will certainly mention to my associates that I hold you and your company in a favourable light.”
They sipped a bit more tea and Corvern finished the biscuit he had started. Then, claiming other pressing matters required his attention, he bade Adwin goodbye and made his departure.
Adwin sat for a couple moments reviewing the encounter, he made a couple of notes and after a few moments he noticed Addath waiting at his door. She had a questioning look on her face and he waved her in, “Shut the door behind you.”
Addath took a seat on the edge of his desk, “Well, what was that about?”
“Bane wants a meeting with your boss.”
“Tell me everything he said.”
Adwin passed her his notes, “That’s the gist of it.”
She pressed him for more details and seemed excited, “This could not have happened at a better time. If we can make this work it will help your efforts to retain SkadWind. I know you had plans tonight, but I’d suggest we do some work on this now.”
Adwin almost refused, but the thought of bettering his chances at retaining SkadWind and all that he wanted to do with the company made him reconsider, “Alright, I’ll send a message to Mokha. Can we get this done so I’m free tomorrow?”
“More or less, let’s say tomorrow after midday.”
Adwin groaned but started writing an apology to his friends, another half day would not change that much.
Addath was full of energy, “I’m heading to the north docks, I’ll pull the company file on Bane and make sure the boss knows we’ll have something important for him first thing in the morning.”
Adwin sent a message to Mokha and another to Tipper just to be sure they both knew he would not be making it to their planned engagement. Then he cleared one of the work tables in the back room and made sure there was ink and paper. He looked through SkadWinds files and pulled anything that might relate to Bane or the East Docks. After he had the room set up to his satisfaction he informed the staff that he and Addath would be working late and let the kitchen know that he would in fact be around this evening. Then he went upstairs to tell Calathy.
She was just in the process of selecting the clothing she was going to wear for the rendezvous with the others. One look at his face and she knew plans had changed. The disappointed expression that followed made him a little sad, “Sorry, Calathy. Something important has come up and I’ve had to put our plan off until tomorrow.”
She shrugged, “Alright.”
“I let the kitchen know we would be staying, you could ask them to make something special for us.”
“Will it be a late meal?”
“Likely, it might be a good idea to expect Addath to join us as well.”
“Okay then. Is there anything I could do to help?”
“Well, you are certainly welcome to join us, if you want.”
“I might. What are you going to be doing?”
“We’re putting together an intelligence brief on Councillor Corvern Bane and likely looking at some labour issues that might come up as a result of the conscription.”
“Well, I know a lot of rumours about Bane, Lord Greensly did not view the man very favourably.”
“Yeah, that might help. I’d imagine Addath will be back within the hour, you could join us if you want.”
“An hour you say?” She gave him a mischievous look, “I can think of a fun way to spend the next hour.”
Adwin smiled, “If you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, then yes.”
Clothing quickly fell to the floor, Calathy chased him around the rooms for a few minutes as Adwin pretended to be hard to get, they made love on the main dining table and then again by the fireplace.
Smiling and giggling they went down to the work room where Addath was already busy, going through the Roburns files on Bane. She looked up as they entered, hid a smile, then said, “Nice of you to join me.”
“I though Calathy might be able help.”
“Ah, well, no doubt something will come up.”
They worked late into the night, they took a break to have supper and then compiled their report. Calathy did have a few interesting bits of gossip and was generally more familiar with some of the past goings on with Bane and the East District than either of them were. She also insisted that Addath spend the night with them, which turned out to be very enjoyable but did not lend itself well to getting much sleep.