Chapter 21 - Project Management - Initiation
“This is private property, if you do not have business here, please leave.” The Clown guard said.
“I do have business, if you allow me to get the letter.” Elric said. Slowly he moved his right hand towards one of his pockets. He watched the guards to make sure none of them made a movement. The standoff continued as Elric reached his hand into the pocket, slowly pulled out the rolled up scroll, then slowly presented it to Clown guard.
With a almost shocking speed the Clown guard reached out and took the offered scroll. With a step backwards he unrolled it to read. The other three guards took up a position to stand between Elric and the other guard. After minute, the guard rolled the scroll back up.
“Yes, you do indeed have business here.” The Clown guard said and the other guards spread out a little. When the scroll was offered back to him Elric took it and placed it back in the same pocket. “Sorry, as you know, security is a big thing for V.”
“Part of the business,” Elric said with a forced smile. No one responded to his smile.
“My name is Russel,” the clown guard said, “if there is something to make your work easier, ask for me and I’ll get it.” The guard also handed him a small black stone. “This is your entry pass. Show it to the guards and they’ll let you in. It will give you access to where you need to go, if you attempt to go where you aren’t supposed to, it will tell you.”
“How does it?” Elric asked suddenly worried that he would be forced to carry some rock in hand at all times.
“It will start to make a noise, soft at first and grow louder. At a certain point it starts heating up as well. It will melt and then you wont be able to enter or leave the location. Please do not place it in an extra-dimensional space.” The Clown, er Russel said.
“Anything else?” Elric said.
“Don’t eat, don’t drink anything while you are in the building. Even if you brought it with you, if you need to eat, find me and I’ll escort you to a safe place.”
“Ok,” Elric said then pausing hoping there would be more information. “Why?”
“I cannot tell you. If the rules are not acceptable your company is welcome to send someone else.”
“I’ll accept.” Elric sighed a little and took a step forward.
The door opened in front of them and the guards beckoned inward. The light from outside lit up the entryway but dark shadows danced around the edges of light. Without hesitation Elric took a step forward. The darkness enveloped him.
Upon his first step into the black, the doors behind him closed with a thud. Before the darkness could swallow him, the stone glowed and the room lit up. In the small entryway a small bench and a hallway that led deeper into the building. Elric paused for a moment and held his stone in front of him.
The hallway stretched forty feet with a couple of doors on each side. Briefly in front of the first door, Elric paused and waved the stone in front of it. The stone’s light added a slight crimson hue. Elric moved it away from the door and continued down the hallway. At the end it split to the left and right, to the left was a stairway going down. To the right a stairwell going up. The stone went crimson when he waved it to the right. Glowing sconces lined the stairs going down.
The stairs went down twenty feet before opening into a landing. A couple of wooden chairs with pillows on them lined up against a wall. Two doors led away from the landing. Sitting in one of the chairs a young looking man with worn but well made clothing sat. He hadn’t noticed Elric and was carefully trying to move a silver coin along his knuckles.
“Are you,” Elric said slowly but the youth was startled and dropped his coin. The silver piece bounced and rolled under a chair.
“Crap!” the young man said as he dove after the coin. The chair it rolled under was toppled as he clumsily reached under it. The coin rolled from his grip and continued towards Elric.
Seeking to stop the almost comical failings, Elric stomped a foot down on the coin. Flattening it against the floor and stopping the momentum. Slowly he reached down and picked up the coin and stood up. The young man was sprawled on the floor looking up towards Elric.
“If you can tell your master, Elric from Mortis Operandi is here to see him.” Elric said. Once the young man finished standing up, Elric flipped the coin towards him. The young man barely caught his coin, almost missing it.
“Thanks, names Samuel. I don’t work for Victor, I’m actually with an outfitting company. We sell weapons and armor in quantity. Brothers N Arms.” Samuel said as he pocketed his coin. He even gave a little bow towards Elric.
“Nice to meet you too,” Elric said.
“You’re much nice than Lethal Inventions. Those guys would have kept my coin.” Samuel said.
“Thanks, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid them so far.” Elric said remembering Eft talking about how they mocked the older goblin constantly during a brief encounter a few years ago.
“Yeah, they’re dicks,” Samuel said and then leaned in closer towards Elric, even though 6 feet separated them. “You guys interested in some Goblin swords and armor?”
“Goblin swords and armor, recently we came into possession of enough to outfit a small clan, 30 sets of short swords, studded leather, and shields.”
“Who buys 30 sets of goblin armor?”
Samuel’s eyes widened a little and he stood up straight, lifted his right hand and swirled it around in the air.
“People like V, and you.” Samuel said.
“Oh,” Elric said and he brushed away the odd feeling of the conversation. Taking care with his words he replied. “I’m with installation and generally don’t handle purchase orders. If you can give me a contact, I’ll have someone review your bid and get back to you if that meets our needs.” Silently Elric congratulated himself on that reply.
Samuel reached back into his pocket and pulled out a small scroll tube. Removing one end, he pulled out some rolled up pieces of parchment, removed one and handed it towards Elric. Upon the parchment was figures and descriptions of the wares. Each item was split into three categories of quality, good, fair, and poor. Only a fraction of the items were poor, and at the bottom there was also a single set of slightly enchanted goblin armor.
A door opened and a tall man stepped out into the landing. He looked towards Elric and beckoned him to follow. Elric rolled up the parchment and stuffed it into his pocket and nodded towards Samuel.
“Thank you,” Elric said.
“You are welcome, keep us in mind for large equipment orders, we work with a couple of adventuring groups so always have something in stock.” Samuel called out as Elric stepped through the door.
As he stepped through the door, Elric had a moment of inspiration. Turning around a little to call out to Samuel he saw there was no doorway. Endless black expansion had swallowed up the room Samuel was in.
“Was he real?” Elric asked turning back towards the tall man who had beckoned him.
The hallway forward was lit up but the light seemed to cluster around each burning torch instead of filling the area. The tall man stopped and turned around. His face was dark from the shadows of torch light behind him, so Elric couldn’t make out many features but some white teeth. Two enlarged fangs that almost dripped in saliva.
“Yes, he is, always trying to sell me crap. My guardians have no need for mundane weapons.” The tall man said.
The tall man turned back around and continued down the hallway. He stopped in front of a door and opened it. Elric followed the tall man into the fifteen by fifteen foot room. A few crates, five buckets, lumber, blocks of stone, and couple of goats were along one wall. A sconce was also on each wall, just a little to the left of the center.
“You’ll find the materials there, if you need more goats they will be provided.”The tall man said without turning towards Elric. “Knock three times on the door and someone will escort you out when you are done or need a break.”
“Thank you, you will not be disappointed.” Elric said. He offered a hand but the tall man deliberately kept looking away from him. Going so far as to take a few steps sideways to get to the door before exiting the room. Shrugging his shoulders, Elric got to work.