Chapter 5

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Chapter 5: To Market

It had been some years since Kasta had crafted herself an item. She was quite famous for the quality of her enchantments & objects, be they bejewelled necklaces or functional weapons. Her time was spent making for others so it was a delight to craft for herself.

She was making

  • a ring 29%
  • a necklace 14%
  • a dagger 43%
  • a wand 14%

Kasta sat at a wooden desk polishing an ornate, but wickedly sharp dagger. The blade was a golden colour, about the length of her hand, with a dark wooden grip. The pommel was a golden cage holding a clear crystal sphere to hold the enchantment she was going to embed in it.

She took the dagger to a plinth in the centre of the room. Strange markings were drawn in a ring on the top of the plinth. Placing the dagger at its centre she sprinkled a number of powders and a few drops of oil on the blade and handle before beginning her chant. The blade would

  • give her strength 33%
  • give her speed 33%
  • be poisonous 17%
  • make her invisible 17%

She laid her left hand over the dagger and then her right, attuning the weapon. Two tiny lights shone inside the crystal pommel, one red, rotating clockwise, one blue anticlockwise. She grinned.

Lifting the dagger with her right hand filled her with a great sense of strength.

Tossing the dagger over to her left hand turned the pommel to a full bright blue and filled her with a sense of swiftness. She felt she could outrun a horse!

Kasta was delighted with her new weapon. It could prove very useful for her short journey to the market in Thess.

Michael walked slowly through the streets of Retham towards Kasta’s workshop. He was going with her to the Great Market, which happens just twice a year. He daydreamed about the items he’d see, and maybe even buy.

He had some time before they had to leave so he took a detour to

  • a food store 29%
  • a bank 14%
  • the stables 14%
  • a tavern 43%

Michael liked to dice. He wasn’t very good at it, and lost a lot more frequently than he won, but there was just something about the thrill of the game that kept him coming back. He entered the Pig and Barrel, one of the taverns on the way to the workshop.

There was a game ongoing in the corner of the common room. He smiled at the three men & joined them at the fourth empty seat. They made some small talk and Michael played some games. For a change he was winning. He’d more than doubled his three silvers. He decided to bet it all.

  • And won. 12 Silvers. 70%
  • Lost it all. 30%

The dice rolled and he laughed with delight as his dice settled on a win. He scooped up his handful of silvers and considered another roll.

“You can’t leave now that you’re on a winning streak” encouraged one of the three other losing players.

Michael pursed his lips.

The clock on the mantel struck the hour and he realised he’d stayed longer than he should have. They should have left for market by now!

But he was winning after all.

He weighted the silver pieces in his hands.

  • Roll & try to double up 28%
  • Quit while he’s ahead 72%

“I’m afraid I have to take my leave.” Michael said, as he hurriedly stood up. “Until next time, gentlemen!”

He didn’t wait for a reply but quick-stepped to the door of the tavern and darted towards his sister’s workshop.

Kasta was impatiently waiting for him, their cart loaded.

‘We were to leave two hours ago” she said curtly. “I can guess where you’ve been.” She shook her head. “We will be very hard pressed to find lodgings. We may not even make it to the city, if we’re further delayed.”

She grimaced. “Perhaps we should hold the trip until tomorrow”.

  • “We can still make it” 86%
  • “Let’s go tomorrow” 14%

Kasta sighed. “OK, but we leave immediately. Load the last crate & let’s set off”.

Half an hour later the wagon was heading out of town along the dirt-packed road to Thess.

It was an uneventful journey until, with the darkening sky, the horse stumbled & a wagon wheel broke.

“Damn it!” snapped Kasta in frustration. She hopped off the seat to examine the wheel. “I can fix it but it won’t be light for long. We are still a good two hours away.”

The wind had picked up and a rumble of thunder rolled in from the West. “It’s going to rain, too. Damn it.”

  • Pitch a tent 73%
  • Fix the wheel and continue 27%

“I knew we should have waited” mumbled Kasta. She went to the back of the cart and pulled out a canvas-wrapped tent.

“Here, help me pitch this just over there” she pointed towards a flat bit of ground just off the side of the road. It began to rain before the tent was up.

Hours passed and they both slept, though the rain hit the canvas like a drum.

Kasta woke with a start to a flash of lightning outlining what looked like someone standing outside the tent. She shook her brother but he moaned still in deep sleep.

  • Go outside to investigate 20%
  • Wake her brother 65%
  • Ignore it – try to sleep 5%
  • Scream! 10%

She shook him harder & said ‘wake up, you dolt! Thieves!’

Michael woke with a start and a cry as Kasta scrambled from out of her blankets.

She felt her new dagger in a scabbard at her waist & pushed her way out into the raining night. Michael reuctantly followed with a bellow.

They were in luck. The three thieves had yet to unpick the knot on the wagon’s canvas covering. All three turned to see Kasta striding towards them on Michael’s cry.

“Hey!” She called. “Get away from there!”

Michael had picked up a short but sturdy stick & Kasta drew her new knife.

  • Go left handed – speed 54%
  • Right handed – strength 15%
  • Flip between left and right 31%

The dagger’s pommel glowed blue in her left hand.

One of the thieves strode confidently towards her. With a sudden unnatural burst she dashed forwards, leading with her knee, winding the shadowy man and dropping him to the floor.

Another swung a fist at her which she dodged.

Her pommel connected with his temple, dropping him like a sack of grain.

The final thief, a hooded woman, looked at her companions on the ground and darted away into the night.

Michael finally caught up to Kasta, panting, and knocked the winded thief on the back of his head.

  • Chase the third thief 23%
  • Tie & question the two 69%
  • Tie the two and leave 8%

Kasta, her knife lending her extra strength, and Michael quickly took some rope from underneath the cart chair and bound the two thieves, leaning them against a tree off the road.

“Are there more of you?” She demanded of the groggy captives.

“No” one shook their head.

Kasta interrogated the thieves, getting very little information from them. It seemed they were just taking an opportunity presented to them by the misfortune of some traders. There were some valuable commissions in that wagon and Kasta worried they were targeted.

“We need to go”.

The sky lightened & the rain passed. Kasta used metal stock from her craft box & a spell of moulding to shape a trim for the broken wheel. Filled with strength from her knife she lifted the cart for Michael to replace the wheel.

In 3 hours they trundled into Thess for market.

The female thief stood in front of a fat, bald man sitting in a large wooden chair. He stared angrily.

“You failed. Now we need to extract the item during market which is infinitely more difficult. Fail again & it will be the last time you fail anyone.”

She winced and nodded.

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