In The Shadow of Zero (Part 2)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Mizuki_Stone, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Mizuki_Stone

    Mizuki_Stone Gnd. Admiral

  2. Mizuki_Stone

    Mizuki_Stone Gnd. Admiral

    Chapter IV part XXXIX

    “Standard fare is a hundred and forty,” Dalam began with his opening bid,

    I snorted, “Standard fare for your full services is a hundred and forty. This is non-hazardous work, for that matter it’s not even you yourself I’m tasking. Thirty five for the full duration of the spell with the ring.”

    “Thirty five!?” he roared in false outrage, “Safe work is half, not a quarter. And that ring has a great many prized protective qualities.” He argued, “How will I protect myself without it?”

    “You work out of Union,” I deadpanned, “If someone manages to hit you with an enchantment that slips by the sentinels notice, then the odds of that trinket blocking them are about as good as me out dueling a Leshay blade master.”

    “It’s still a layer of protection you are stripping from me,” He defended.

    “Maybe if you used the blasted thing, I’d buy that,” I pointed out accusingly. “All it is to you is some merchandise you still haven’t managed to sell in spite of its ‘significant’ protective qualities.”

    Louise shot me a look filled with all sorts of questions. Still she kept silent for now, apparently content to sit back and observe the situation.

    Then again it could be that she was just tired enough to not want to go to the effort.

    Dalam shook his head, “This is a strange land you’ve called me to. One you yourself do not know all the details of! Plenty of risks that might demand its use.”

    I groaned, rubbing a hand into my face, already tired of this, and well, just plain tired. Louise wasn’t the only one who’d been staying up late.

    Still… suddenly an idea struck me. Frankly I blame the mental fatigue I was under for not realizing it earlier.

    I put on a sly smirk, as I removed my hand, “That’s right, this is a strange, foreign unknown land,” I drawled out carefully, “With strange, foreign, untouched, markets.”

    Dalam paused.

    “The magic styles of this land are completely different then what we are used to. Logically, their item craft is likewise, diverse. No one has ever reached this world, and if my theory is correct then no one else can.”

    This time he twitched.

    My face was now twisted into a grin, and not a friendly one, “I wonder just how much profit you could make trading wares between two entirely foreign markets…”

    The djinni’s massive form tensed.

    I shifted over to a polite, satisfied, and dare I say it? serpentine smile, “Thirty five will do, I’ll even throw in a polymorph spell.”

    He started to speak, paused, then nodded, holding out his hand, “Would you also consider a small loan?”

    Took the hand shaking it, with a nod, “Of course, I’ll even throw in a promise to call you in once a month at a small transport tax…”

    Louise seemed very curious at this point, though she still kept quiet. I was frankly starting to grow a little concerned. It wasn’t like her to be silent this long.

    He laughed. It was a deep rumbling sound, that you felt as much as heard, a mixture of joy and satisfaction, “You truly are a snake Levethix.” He shook his head, half scolding, half respectful. “Ten percent?”

    I shrugged, “I was going to say twenty, but I think that might just be the dragon in me getting greedy. Let’s just cut the difference at fifteen.”

    Louise shot me a look at that. My price was apparently ether too high, low, or just plain unconventional by the local customs then.

    Interesting… I’d need to look into that.

    “Fair enough,” the massive man nodded, pulling loose a small treasure box from his side pouch, an item nearly identical to my own, cracking the seal on it with a muttered word.

    I watched as he fished through the various trinkets inside, my arcane senses flaring like a nose in a flower shop. Pulling loose the item in question, he eyed it for a moment, insuring it was the right one, he handed the ring over.

    It was a small ornamental band, relatively plain with a simple decoration styled on a large kite shield. The metal itself was simple steel, though it paled to a more silver hue rippling in odd tones like someone hadn’t quite got the alloying process correct. Spiffy. I wasted no time sliding it on.

    “My gold?” Dalam asked, eyebrow raised.

    I nodded, “Just a moment, you have a bag ready?”

    He grunted an acknowledgment, “Right here,” He patted his side, opening it up.

    I wasted little time filling it, handing over each of the thirty five, slim, one pound bars of near completely pure gold, in a long practiced motion, noting Louise had snapped awake at the transaction.

    “Any requests while I finish this up?” I asked, calling up a chunk of my magic to make with the spellwork.

    “A normal haircut this time if you would please,” he replied with a mildly warning tone.

    I grinned back at him, “Come on, you looked awesome with the afro and you know it.”

    The pink haired girl mouthed ‘Afro?’ at me.

    My grin widened, and I shot back a “Tell you later.”

    He narrowed his eyes at me, “I looked ridiculous! My clients spent more time looking at my head then my wares!”

    I waved it off, “Bah, anyone who bothered you about it probably wasn’t worth it. Anyone who seriously deals with maters of the arcane’s bound to see weirder things then that on a regular basis.”

    “That doesn’t change the shear annoyance of being constantly asked about it, and the touching,” he stressed.

    “Fine, fine, something simple. I haven’t been around long though so I can’t offer a wide variety,” I frowned, narrowing my eyes for a moment, then reached out and poked him in the chest “Polymorph.”

    There was a slight dull flash of chaotic energies as Dalam’s massive form shifted down to a much smaller, though still tall and impressively built shape. Tanned skin, weathered from travel and exposure to the sun, sharp gray eyes, and a receding hairline kept sharp. His remaining hair almost seamlessly blended into the well kept beard I’d largely lifted from the headmaster.

    Louise looked at him curiously, and waved a hand through the spot his arm once occupied, “You transformed him? Like you do?”

    I nodded, “Same spell. Only works on willing subjects however. There is a slight trick to using it on someone less willing.”

    The human shaped elemental looked down at himself and frowned, his clothing was relatively simple, I’d borrowed largely from the older students, and as such included a robe. He looked at me with a raised eyebrow, “local style?”

    I shrugged, “The Country is run by its arcanists. I figured if you were planning on peddling enchanted goods…”

    He gave me a sharp nod, “My thanks then. How long did you say this would last?”

    “Little over half a day, after that your on your own… of course my services are always available for hire,” my grin was a tad predatory.

    He rolled his eyes, before looking at Louise, “This is why wise merchants never deal with dragons. They’ll bleed every copper out of you.”

    “I’m not that bad,” I defended in mock offense.

    He rubbed his forehead “For a dragon? No, you’re not bad at all,” he agreed earnestly.

    Louise seemed to get the message… which was important as I certainly didn’t.

    “…Right,” I stated in utter deadpan, the classic defense for when you didn’t quite understand what was going on, “so you need some directions to the nearest town? I’ve not yet made a trip, but I’ve looked over the local maps…”
  3. Sea_Leon

    Sea_Leon Arf Arf



    Nice update as always mizuki.
  4. Hellfire1

    Hellfire1 Hell's Black Aces

    Merchants, magic, and mayhem, lovely. :)
  5. iamnuff

    iamnuff Unapologetic

    this is a update?


    incredible, time to reread the entire story, then get back to you on this.
  6. Update! ^_^
  7. Twitchy Artemis

    Twitchy Artemis Supreme Commander of Nanomagic. Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Nice, It lives, the first good Znt fic.

    Welcome back :D
  8. Flere821

    Flere821 Amicus


    Nice to see a update :D More Lev is always good :)

    And why do I see Dalam picking up Derf then proceeds to outrageously rip Lev off when he tries to buy the sentient sword?
  9. Angelform

    Angelform The Cavalry

    It’s alive. It’s ALIVE!

    Wonder just what Lev has unleashed upon this poor unsuspecting land.
    Hope Dalam at least gives basic instructions, like not putting a bag of holding inside another bag of holding.
  10. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

    Welcome back, and thank you for the quite amusing part. Wasn't expecting bars of gold, but I'm sure I was less surprised than Louise.
  11. Well, it makes more sense than tens of thousands of coins.

  12. Mizuki_Stone

    Mizuki_Stone Gnd. Admiral

    Fun fact for the day!

    In D&D you can buy a one pound gold bar for fifty gold pieces, or sell one for that amount.

    This dictates that a gold coin would be composed of approximately one fiftieth of a pound of gold (likely alloyed to other metals for strength).

    That (little under 91 Grams)... sounds about right for a decent sized/weighted coin.

    Still that alloying process eats up weight and volume. Hence it makes more sense for barter involving large scale transactions (IE trading in magic), to involve trade, gemstones, and solid bars of valuable metals.

    Think the upper end of Fallout, you don't really use bottle caps to buy most of your stuff. They're more there to settle out the fine details of trade. Most of a transaction is offering one thing for another (IE five finely made steel swords for that horse).
    darkdigi, StrikaAmaru and Winged One like this.
  13. iamnuff

    iamnuff Unapologetic

    good point, on the other hand, if both the bars and the coins are made of the same thing, does that not make the bars just larger denomination coins?

    if by getting 50 gold coins, pressing them together you could get a makeshift "gold-bar" then is that not just another coin in its own right? (one with a value of 50 GP?)

    like using a £50 note instead of paying in pound coins. (yes, pounds, because i'm a Englishman.)
  14. Congrats, you're on your way to mastering bartering. :p :)
  15. -Bored. Checks Spacebattles- ...

    -Sees new thread- ...?

    -Reads- .... YES!!

    Life is good. I was thinking this fic had dropped into the abyss! Great to see Lev back in action. Ah, the "joys" of bartering with a dragon. Good to see this rolling ahead into new territory
  16. Cherico

    Cherico Totally not a NSA agent

    yes YES YES YES
    this is the best thing to happen to me all year!
  17. UberJJK

    UberJJK Solidarity Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    This was most certainly a pleasant surprise when I woke up. Not only a new bit for ItSoZ but an amusing one about bartering.
  18. I need to do some rereading.
  19. IT lives! Yay. Glad to see you back writing. hope this and the other story get frequent updates.
  20. LordsFire

    LordsFire Tel'dai Knight Errant

    It's ALIVE master, It's ALIVE!!!!!

    Probably the best D'n'D story I've read, that comes out of 3rd ed stuff anyways.
  21. Robo Jesus

    Robo Jesus Your Mechanical Messiah

    Ahh, references to the Economicon. Always fun.:)
    TheLostHibiki likes this.
  22. SolipsistSerpen

    SolipsistSerpen Solipsist Serpent

    In that a "gold-bar" has a standard weight/size/ value, yes. It wouldn't technically be a coin the same way your note isn't technically a coin, but they're both the same type of currency.

    Although, if the bar is pure and the coins alloyed, 50 gold coins pressed together would weigh more, be larger, and contain substances you wouldn't get in a bar.
  23. Azunth

    Azunth Uses Reason, Has Faith

    *does happy dance*
  24. Doomsought

    Doomsought Sliver Overlord

    The next denomination up is actually platinum, and then the one above that is a gem of suitable quality to be used in an identify spell which is price fixed to 250 gold by the mage guilds.
  25. XenonPrime

    XenonPrime Cyber-Postmaster Sensei

    Oh nice! Great to see the continuing adventures of Lev!