Zefram Troyas, Machinations I
Zefram sits in a large chair in his richly furnished office. Standing at the door are two large elves, Dúranu and Dínenír, and a dark-eyed, cowelled ealdrin, Grindol, sits on the corner of his desk. The door opens and Harrik Orenna walks in glances at the others in the room a bit surprised.
Zefram begins, "This man is my lawyer, Councilman. He is the one who arranged this who thing through you man, Thimble."
Zefram gestures, "Sit down."
As he sits, Harrik says, "I was under the impression that you and I would talk alone."
Zefram replies, "I trust these men with my life, councilman. If I were to ask them to leave it would be an insult."
Harrik continues, "Well…uh, its perfectly alright with me, but I should tell you that I am going to be blunt. Perhaps more blunt than others have been with you. The Troyas family has done very well here in Brindol. You own, or control, two of the major inns, the trading house, and one of the guilds. Your licenses were grandfathered in, so there is no problem with the council. Now, my sources tell me that — you plan to make a move against Ilya’s Cardhouse. They tell me within a week — you’re going to move Ilya out. That’s quite an expansion. However it will leave you with one little technical problem. Ahh—the license will still be in Ilya’s name."
Zefram replies, "Thimble is a good man."
Harrik says, "Yeah, well let’s cut out the bullshit. I don’t want to spend any more time here than I have to You can have the license, the price is 10,000 gold pieces. Plus a monthly payment of 5% of the gross — of all your establishments. Mister — Troyas."
Zefram says, "Now, the price of the license is less than 100 gold, am I right?"
Harrik replies, "That’s right."
Zefram continues, "Now, why would I ever consider paying more than that?"
Harrik says, "Because I intend to squeeze you. I don’t like your kind of people. I don’t like to see you come out to this clean land iwth your oily hair–dressed up on those fancy robes–and try to pass yourselves off as decent humans. You associate with all kinds of riffraff. I’ll do business with you, but the fact is, I despise your masquerade–the dishonest way you pose yourself. Yourself and your whole fucking family."
Zefram says, "Concilman–we’re both part of the same hypocrisy. But never think it applies to my family."
Harrik says, "All right, all right–some people have to play little games. You play yours. So lets just say that you’ll pay me because it is in your interest to pay me. But I want your answer and the gold by noon tomorrow. And one more thing, don’t you contact me again–ever. From now on you deal with Thimble."
Standing up to leave, Harrik addresses one of the elves, "Open that door son." He starts to leave.
Zefram speaks up, "Uh, councilman–you can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this–nothing. Not even the fee for the card house license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally."
Harrik laughs, "Good afternoon, gentlemen."
A moment after Harrik had left a figure drops its cloak of invisibility and nods to Zefram.
Zefram, "We got what we needed?"
Alanu replied, "Yes, give me a few weeks and it can be arranged."
Several weeks later…
Grindol walks into the The House of Sleep Inn.
The manager calls out, "Grindol, good to see you."
Grindol replies, "How is he?
"He’s okay–he’s in the back."
They walk to the back of the inn. Some ladies of the evening are standing outside a door.
The manager says, "Come on girls, take a hike."
He contiues, "In this room here."
Grindol says, "I want to talk to him alone first."
The manager says to his bouncer, "Come on, huh." Grindol walks into the room alone.
Grindol looks at the carnage before him. There is a dead girl, obviously a call girl, bleeding on the bed. Next to her is Councilman Harrik naked sitting on the bed with his head in his hands.
Grindol speaks, "I thought I could help you Councilman."
Harrik moans, "Cibel."
Harrik continues, "Listen, I did not–"
Grindol interrupts, "I know, you’re alright."
Harrik starts to plead, "I didn’t do anything."
Grindol says, "It’s okay. You’re very luck — my boss, Zefram, has a controlling interst in this place. He was called before anyone. If this had happened someplace else, we couldn’t have helped you."
Harrik says, "I–when I woke up, I was on the floor–and I don’t know how it happened."
Grindol says, "You can’t remember?"
Harrik answers, "I passed out." He stands up and moves over to the head of the bed. "I–I’ll fix it." He unties the girl’s hand from the bed post. "Just a game." He takes a towel and begins to wipe up the blood that is all over her. He looks at the towel and wipes off his hands. "Gods, gods…" He begins to cry. As he does, Grindol looks over at Dínenír who is wiping his hands in the watercloset.
Grindol asks, "Was any magic involved?"
Dínenír answers quietly, yet loud enough that Harrik could clearly hear, "No."
Harrik continues, "Gods, Oh, gods, I don’t know–and I can’t understand–why I can’t remember."
Grindol speaks very calmly, "You don’t have to remember–just do as I say. We’re sending a messenger to your house–explain that you’ll be there tomorrow afternoon–you decided to spend the evening at Zefram Troyas’ house in the Tradetown district–as his guest."
Harrik continues, "I do remember that she was laughting–we’d done it before–and I know that I couldn’t’ve hurt–that girl…"
Grindol continues, "This girl has no family–nobody knows that she worked here. It’ll be as if she never existed. All that’s left is our friendship."