by Stephanie Valis
Episode 01 (cont.): It wasn't me, I swear!
“It’s about a job for me.” The mayor placed a chair down at the edge of their table and sat his considerable bulk into it. The medallion that marked him as mayor to those who didn’t already know him by sight, glinted in the light from the wall-sconces. “Deiter, I thought you were house sitting for your dads.”
“I am, but if you need help I should be there when they’re gone, don’t you think?” Deiter folded his arms, his expression somewhere between pleasantly welcoming and mulish.
“Well… perhaps it’s true at that.”
“Tell us more details about this help you need.” Cal piped up, leaning back into his seat.
“First, let us have a drink.” The mayor gestured to Sam who immediately brought over four tankards of a thick dark ale. “Please, drink up.”
Deiter shrugged and picked up his mug, downing it quickly. It was one of the tastier ales he’d ever had the chance of drinking. The belch that followed made Cal blanch, though Deiter was pleased to note that T’zielle didn’t seem particularly bothered by it.
“It’s really quite good, as Deiter’s uh… approval shows…” The mayor winced as he gestured to Deiter, obviously apologetic. “Please, it’s tradition not to start any such endeavour without a drink of the tavern’s finest ale first.”
Reluctantly, Cal, T’zielle, and Xavros all sipped cautiously at their drinks. Deiter wondered why they were being so shy about it but figured it didn’t matter much. All three of them kept glancing at him, looking like they expected him to keel over at any moment. He supressed an urge to roll his eyes at them. (His Papa said that was very, very rude, no matter how often his Ugha did it when dealing with people).
“Wonderful.” The mayor beamed at them all and clapped his hands together. “Now that you have all accepted payment I can tell you what you’ll be doing.”
“Wait, what?” Xavros’s harsh voice from the corner made Deiter jump a little. They all turned to look at the tiefling. “You mean that this shitty beer is our payment and we’ve been paid in advance?”
“Well, yes.” The mayor stammered as he stared at Xavros’ unusual face. He swallowed thickly. “That’s the custom, and it was on the sign… now that you’ve taken a sip you’ve accepted the listed contract…”
“That seems a little unorthodox.” Cal frowned. “I don’t even drink, there’s no way I can have more than a sip of this and I only did that because you insisted.”
“Yes, well, you are welcome of course to any other items or things that you find while you’re on the mission. We simply need you to head out to the old Tinisville keep and retrieve the city’s funding from Collegium. It was stolen by bandits and we desperately need those funds to keep the city running smoothly. It’s quite a blow that they’ve dealt us by doing this. It should be a simple enough thing. Our reports say that there aren’t that many of them and that they’re not very well co-ordinated, but as Deiter can attest our usual ah… heroes aren’t here at the moment.”
“That’s true.” Deiter nodded, straightening with pride. “My dads are off on an important mission for Collegium.”
The mayor sighed deeply at Deiter’s proud announcement and managed a tight smile toward Deiter.
“Yes, that’s correct. Normally we would send Deiter’s… *ahem*… fathers’ on this kind of mission but… well we can’t. Again, all we need you to do is bring back the back with our coins in it, anything else you find that they’ve stolen will go to you four as a bonus reward for completing this mission for us. Will you do it?”
“Of course!” Deiter spoke up. “We can’t let bandits get away with stealing from Tinisville! What would happen to all the townspeople?”