Part 8: Apprenticeship and the Upper Quarter
As soon as I awoke the next morning, I got my things together and ventured down into the harbor district.
In the tavern, I saw Nagur sitting in his usual spot.
"Did you sell the wares, then?" I asked.
"Yeah, but for less than I thought. I only got 300 gold pieces. Part of that goes to my employers and Kardif gets his usual percentage - plus the gold for your commission. Which leaves a total of 240 gold pieces. We'll split those as agreed. Here's your part" Nagur tossed me a jingling pouch containing 80 coins. "You did good work. I've pass that on to my employers. What comes of it is out of my hands."
I bid him farewell and walked outside.
I dove into the water once more and swam to the northern harbor where Skip had set up camp.
As I walked the beach, I came across a curious item lodged in the sand. it appeared to be a stone tablet of sorts that had writing I couldn't understand. It seemed valuable so I took it.
Skip was sitting in front of his tent. He looked somewhat surprised to see me.
I presented the goods to the pirate. "I've got a package for you - from Baltram."
He scowled. "What? He's sending me an errand boy? Scared shitless, is he? Oh well. What can you expect from such a penny-pincher."
"He says he wants 3 bottles of your own rum in return."
Skip laughed harshly. "Wouldn't he like that. First he makes me wait forever, doesn't even show up in person, and then he has the nerve to make demands. Here, give him two bottles. That's enough for him."
I secured the two bottles in a pack and swam back toward the harbor.
As I was on my way out of the harbor district, I noticed a fairly handsome fellow nearby. Naturally, I approached him. "What are you doing here?"
"My name is Brahim. I draw maps, and sell them. Since you're new here, maybe you could use a map of the city. It's quite affordable - and very useful until you know your way around." It just so happened that I needed a map so I bought one. My hard earned money was now mostly gone. "Come back again later. I'm sure to have something new for you then."
In the marketplace, I found Baltram's stall and told him about the sale. "I got the rum from Skip but he gave me no more than two bottles."
That angered the retailer. "Damn expensive, that. What does he think he is? Well, give it here then. I can't give you much for it now. This here must be enough." The stingy merchant counted out ten coins and shoved them over to me.
I didn't have any more work lined up for today, but I'd had time to think the three offers of apprenticeship over. I'd decided on working for Bosper. This job of Xardas' was shaping up to be just as dangerous as the last one. At this pace, I'd be head deep in animal skins in just a few weeks. I decided to make the best of it.
I met with Bosper inside his shop. "I want to start as your apprentice!"
He grinned stupidly at me. "Great! You seem to know the basics already. Harad thinks you're a good man, Thorben gave you his blessing. I'm not all that pious, but I'm fine with it. Constantino says you can sign up wherever you want for all he cares. And Matteo says your worth your weight in gold. This means you have the approval of all masters! You can work for me at any time if you want."
"I want to sign up with you" I said.
The bowyer was quite pleased. "You aren't going to regret this! I think we'll be able to work together well."
"What are my tasks as an apprentice?"
"That's easy. Bring me as many pelts as you can get. I'll pay you a better price for them than any of the other traders would give you. Apart from that, you needn't show up here in the shop. I can get along just fine by myself."
Now that I'd signed up with Bosper, I was now officially a valuable member of Khorinis society and officially a citizen. It was time to try my luck in the upper quarter.
"HALT!" The guard shouted as I approached. I stopped and he proceeded to look me up and down with derision. "Only the citizens of the town and the King's troops can get into the upper end of town!"
Clearly news had not yet reached them. "I'm a respected citizen of Khorinis. Let me pass!"
The two guards whispered amongst themselves for a moment before returning their attention to me. "Whatever prompted the masters of Khorinis to let you sign on as an apprentice - I don't want to know about it. You may enter! But behave yourself! Otherwise you'll have the worst trouble of your life!" They obviously didn't know who I was or what I'd been through. It'd be hard for them to top a slumbering demon.
The upper quarter of the city was markedly different. Cobblestones lined the clean streets, and armed guards were all over. As I was busy taking in my surroundings, the Paladin Lothar walked up toward me and began to spout off the rules of the quarter.
"Ah, you again. So you actually managed to get into the upper quarter." He shook his head slightly and continued. "There are some things you must heed here, otherwise you will wind up outside as fast as you got in here. You are only allowed to enter the merchants' buildings. You can recognize them by the signs over the door - just so there are no misunderstandings. The other buildings belong to important citizens - there is nothing there for you! The important citizens of this town live in this quarter. So treat them with respect. Do we understand each other?"
It seemed that I was only barely tolerated here. "Where can I find Lord Hagen?" I asked.
"He is in the town hall, at the end of the upper quarter. But you will not be admitted there without a good reason."
"Has anything exciting happened lately?"
"Yes, that they let someone like you in here. Such a thing hasn't happened in ages." With that said, the Paladin turned and walked away. Off to more important matters, I'm sure.
Despite Lothar's warning, I sought to try my luck with Lord Hagen. I jogged over to the town hall.
Not surprisingly, the building was well guarded. "I need to speak to Lord Hagen!" I stated as loudly and importantly as I could.
"Do you know how often I've heard that? You can't go in. If you try anyway, I'll have to kill you."
It was worth a shot, at any rate. I decided to explore the rest of the upper quarter.
I saw two men back in the main square and started to make some small talk with them.
"How's business?" I asked one well dressed man.
He was sullen. "Not so great. Back when the Barrier was still in place, times were better. The prisoners would scrape boxes and boxes of ore from the mines, and my ships then brought it to the mainland. And on their way back, they brought food and other wares. But now we're cut off from the mainland and have to rely on the farmers for supplies."
"How do you make a living now?"
"Right now, I'm living off my savings. But if I can't get back into business, times are going to get rough for me."
The older man had nothing else to say.
I sparked up a conversation with the other nearby man. "What are you doing here?"
He scoffed. "Who are you, then? Looks like you're new and have no idea what goes on around here. They call me Gerbrandt. To you, that's Mr. Gerbrant, sir. Got it?"
I wasn't about to anger the most influential citizens. "I get the point, Mr. Gerbrandt, sir."
"At least it didn't take you long to grasp how the wind blows around here. As soon as business starts picking up again, I can surely find a use for a strapping lad like you. You would make an excellent depot master. Can you read?"
"Fine, fine. Trained staff is hard to come by. How about your references?"
"All right, I shall remember your face. Once trade picks up again, come and see me. I just might have a job for you then."
I set out to explore the rest of the upper quarter.
I saw a member of the guard patrolling throughout the area and stopped him. He told me that his name was Wambo and that he was in charge of ensuring that no one broke into anyone's home. I made note of that.
The Merchant Lutero was located nearby as well. While I didn't have any current business with him, he seemed to sell a wide variety of more exotic items.
The upper quarter was also home to Salandril, an alchemist. Like Zuris, he had a wide array of potions for sale.
There was nothing else for me in the upper quarter. I went back to the inn for some rest. On the way, I spoke with Bartok. As I was now expected to be bringing in hides, I decided that knowing how to sneak would be useful. It would also prove useful for other things.
After wards, I retired in the inn for some sleep.
The next morning I awoke with no particular goal. I decided that today would be the day that I went to Onar's farm and got the other side of the story.
Other note: I'm not actually done with the city. I just thought it was time for a change of scenery. There are still plenty of side quests left untouched in there. In fact, thinking back I really screwed myself out of some free XP and money due to a quest that completely escaped my mind. That quest being getting Lares some relief so that he can escort me to the Onar's camp. In the next update, I lose a good 400 XP by not getting the killing blow on some critters or outright avoiding them.
In other news, LP distribution has been lowered to default. I figure that what I've amassed so far will be more than sufficient to show off many of the underused skills. Next update (or the one after at the latest, depends on whether I can fit in certain things) will have a vote for camp as well.