12th day of the 10th moon in the year 4512 of the Noruz reckoning, sunset.
Sorkin heads over to the Great Oak Boarding House a bit later and tries to see if Sasurai will be a suitable wingman in his imminent misadventure later that night. “So, Sasurai, the businessman I’m meeting later tonight likes conducting business very privately. His name is Ruffar and he’s pretty intolerant of people intruding on his “transactions.” I’ve got to meet him, and I’m pretty sure he would be very upset if I showed up with someone he hasn’t done business with yet. So, all I can say is if you can keep him from knowing you’re there, then I think this might work out. I’m supposed to provide some service for Ruffar but, at the moment, I don’t know what it’s going to be until I meet him. It does seem like you have some skills that might be useful for this unknown service, though I can’t be sure. This might turn out to be a pretty boring transaction, or it could be pretty darn excitin’! If there’s money involved, I promise to split it with you evenly if we get paid. So, what da ya think?”
Sitting at his table in the Boarding House, Sasurai takes a sip of his drink and sets the glass down. “Well a man can’t turn down a few coin. I’ll assist you the best that I can with your deal. I may be no thief, but I haven’t lived this long without knowing to survive.” Picking up his glass, Sasurai takes another drink, while watching for what Sarkin has to says.
Sorkin is pleased with Sasurai’s scrappiness. “It’s a deal, then! We’ll not meet beforehand, but just go to the Red Inn prior to the meeting time. You’ll see me go in from the front entrance. You’ll probably have to wait outside the inn that is the meeting point, probably in the shadows. We can scope out the exits of the inn to make sure you can see me if we leave the inn. You’ll have to follow us without getting detected. I can’t be responsible if you break this rule and get found out. If, at any time, you see an opportunity to help out without getting caught, you should do so."
As the sun sets, Sorkin and Sasurai head over to the Red Reindeer Inn to meet Ruffar. Sasurai lurks in an alley across the street with a good view of the front of the inn while Sorkin proceeds ahead. Sorkin enters, eager to see what the night will bring. Ruffar is there with two of his goons. Sorkin stands before Ruffar, and the two goons place their hands on Sorkin’s shoulders. Ruffar ignore’s Sorkin’s babbling and puts on a set of brass knuckles. Sorkin tries to squirm away, but the goons have him. Ruffar pummels Sorkin in the face until Sorkin passes out. About 10 minutes later, Sorkin comes to. He’s on a chair, one of the goons is waving smelling salts in front of him. Sorkin’s bloody nose has dribbled down his face and all over his clothes. He’s barely conscious. Ruffar is yelling, “Did I tell you to pass out?! I didn’t tell you to pass out! I said do what you’re told and nothing else! I told you to get rid of the body, not burn down a block of warehouses!” Ruffar spits, “Ah, you’re useless for tonight. Clean yourself up and be here tomorrow!” The goons pick Sorkin up and toss him out the door into the street. Sorkin passes out again.
Unsure of what the commotion is, Sasurai lays in wait. A few minutes later he hears yelling, but without being able to make out what is being said he doesn’t feel that’s enough to go jumping through a window. Once Sorkin is tossed out of the Inn, Sasurai lets out a sigh, and hits his head on the crate he was hiding behind. “I knew I should of jumped in there, or at least moved in closer.” He mumbles under his breath. Sasurai waits for a few moments to make sure that the goons have made their way away from the building. He then moves up on to Sorkin, picks him up, slings him over his shoulder, and carries him back to the Boarding House hoping he can meet up with some of Sorkin’s companions. “You should have let me go in with you, my little friend.” Sasurai says to the unconscious Sorkin, along with the few apologizes he can think to give.
Sorkin lets out a weak moan and smiles, “It was worth it. The flames, the flames!” He passes out again.
Not quiet understanding “The Flames” reference, Sasuarai accepts his apology. He checks in on Sorkin to make sure he’s recouping alright every so often. Sasurai takes the rest of the evening to sleep, meditate, and practice through some martial arts forms.
The common sleeping room on the second floor of the Great Oak Boarding House is packed with bunks, so Sasurai meditates and practices in the common room on the ground floor with the giant oak stump. This room is usually empty because the residents go to other more happening establishments to entertain themselves. Sasurai has been a regular customer who has always kept his account current at the Great Oak Boarding House, so the proprietor doesn’t mind Sasurai’s odd exercises, nor does he mind it when Sasurai lays Sorkin on a bench to keep an eye on him while he goes through his routine.
Sasurai pauses his kata as four people enter the inn. He recognizes Jongo, Corvis, and Relana from this morning at the dry dock. They are accompanied by a dark-complexioned half-elf in hide armor. Jongo also recognizes Sasurai, he glances at Sorkin and exclaims, “Sultan! What happened!?” Realizing Sorkin is out cold, he turns to Sasurai with a protective and questioning look. “What kind of trouble did you guys get into?” Kalahn hurries over to see. Jongo asks, “Kalahn, can you do anything for my friend?”
Acknowledging Jongo with a bow, Sasurai quickly begins to recount the evening’s encounter in great detail. Once he finishes his tale, Sasurai looks to Jongo, and apologizes for letting this happen.
Kalahn wears a concerned expression as he rushes to the unconscious gnome lying on the bench. “I will do what I can.” He then reaches into a small, wooden box hanging from his waist and retrieves a small obsidian vial capped with wax. Kalahn holds the vial between both hands as he bows his head and prays to his goddess, Rashka. Breaking the wax, he opens the vial and pours what looks to be lamp oil over the length of the gnome’s body, starting at his feet and ending with a circle over his chest. Sasurai watches with both intrigue as to what the half-elf is doing, and concern for his new little friend, Sasurai maintains his distance, and watches.
Kalahn places his hand on the gnome’s forehead, mutters a final prayer and touches the holy symbol hanging from his neck. A small burst of low, blue flame rolls over the gnome’s body and dissipates as quickly as it begins. Sasurai gasps, and begins to run towards the bench that Sorkin lies on, stopping when the half-elf raises his hand. Wanting to speak as the flames die down, he lets out a sigh of relief after hearing Sorkin’s groan. As the flame dies down, Kalahn bends down to examine the wounds.
Relana pats Sorkin “gently” (ie, a bit roughly, and tries to sense where he might hide his valuables). “Wake up darn it.” She smiles sweetly at Sasurai and Kalahn… “I’ve seen you guys before from somewhere”. she chooses to relate her origin in Aval but hides her problems in Aval. After Sorkin is alert, she tries to make small talk, while assessing the plans/skills and abilities of Sasurai and Kalahn… “How did you run into the gnome anyway?”
“Yes, I recall seeing you with Jongo, and Sorkin at the dry dock. I am Sasurai, from Kavus.” Sasurai Bows to Relana. “Your friend here” gesturing towards the gnome, “asked that I go with him on a business transaction this evening. He asked that I remain in an alleyway, and watch out for him. I should have moved in on the first sound of trouble, but I couldn’t tell if something was wrong or not since I really couldn’t make out what was happening.”
Kalahn glances quickly from Sasurai to Relana, then checks the gnome’s condition. He speaks to Relana without looking up, “This is the first time I’ve seen him.” To Sorkin, “How are you feeling, Sultan?”
Sorkin gingerly pats his body everywhere to make sure all his parts are still there (but really he’s checking if Relana stole anything). He turns to the robed half-elf, clears his parched throat and begins speaking. “Wow, how did you do that? I felt as if a fire was consuming me, but I felt no pain. In fact, the opposite! My name is Sorkin, and I’m really grateful for your assistance. I, uhh, got in a little misunderstanding with a local businessman over the terms of a prior transaction, and he has a peculiar method of retribution. I think we’ve come to a fair agreement over that particular transaction, so it should be smoother sailing from here on out. I’m really glad you showed up, though. What’s your name, half-man?”
Kalahn smiles both with relief that Sorkin is all right and at the use of half-man. “It is not often that someone refers to my human heritage, especially not among my people. It is . . . refreshing.” Extending a hand, “My name is Kalahn Al’Fest of the ”/wikis/gehn" class=“wiki-page-link”>Gehn. The healing fire is a gift from my goddess, Rashka. I am glad to see you feeling better." Kalahn introduces himself to the rest of the group.
Sorkin’s nose twitches at the cool name. “Boy, that fire stuff is not to be messed with. I definitely wouldn’t want to be on the bad end of that if you get pissed. That would be asking to get burned by the Wrath of Kalahn, no pun intended! If you’re looking for a place to stay and you saved my life, you or Sasurai are free to bunk with me during your visit! We can share the cost and make it cheaper for all of us.”
Sasurai turns to Sorkin, and nods with a smile, “Glad to see you are still with the living.” He then turns to the Healer, and thanks him as well. “I don’t have much, but name your price, and I shall repay you in full for helping him.” Sasurai continues to stay by Sorkin until he is up and moving. during which time he chats with whomever out of the group, answering any questions they may have, and only avoiding the ones that involve his Family, or past.
Kalahn listens to Sasurai’s tale and upon first impression, finds him to be an honorable man. Upon hearing Sasurai’s offer for repayment he says, “Ah, excellent! That will be 25 gold pieces.” He holds out his hand expectantly. He looks at all the shocked faces and let’s it hang for a moment, then bellows a laugh. “Ha ha ha! A joke!” pointing to Sorkin, “You are not the only one with a sense of humor! Ha ha!” He chuckles to himself, thoroughly enjoying his joke. “No, the only compensation I require is your friendship. You may be able to help me create more Holy Oil someday. Perhaps you could tell me of your home. You say your are from Kavus? Do you follow Izanagi? I hear the Prophets of Talkh are causing a great deal of trouble. I am also a student of languages, you see. I am greatly interested in that of Kavus.” Kalahn pauses, realizing he is talking very fast. “Forgive my barrage of questions. It has been exciting day.” Kalahn listens intently to what Sasurai has to say, especially regarding religion or language.
Sasurai looks to Kalahn in confused manner, and laughs with him. “My friendship you may have.”. Finding a place to sit, Sasurai continues talking to Kalahn. “Yes, I am from Kavus, my family owned a small village out in the country. My family followed Izanagi, But I follow my heart, and instincts.”.
Sorkin interjects, “Great, Kahn! You can tell me all about your fire god. Can you make things burn on command? Does it hurt when it comes out of your fingers? Lastly, can you teach me those tricks?” Sorkin’s curiosity is honestly piqued, as he’s quite a closet pyro, as evidenced by his previous actions.
“I would be happy to tell you anything you want to know, Sorkin. My meager talents are nothing compared to the elders of my order, however Ii do possess the ability to ignite certain materials. I have not, as of yet, had any fire come our of my fingers. When you are ready to sacrifice all to ”/wikis/rashka" class=“wiki-page-link”>Rashka and face the Fire of New Life to be reborn into the Sons of Ember, I will be happy to be your guide." Kalahn gives Sorkin a deep, genuine smile, exuses himself and heads off to find Jongo.
Sorkin mentions off-hand to Sasurai that he’s going back tonight to the Red Reindeer Inn for the second round of transactions. He doesn’t explicitly ask if he’s keen on going (to cover his bases), but just drops the fact, including time.
Sasurai demurs, “I do not think going back would be a smart idea, Sorkin… They threw you out the door, after they beat you up pretty good. However,… If you still wish to go again tonight. I will follow you, and stay out of sight. the first sound that does not sound right to me, I will be there by your side ready to assist you. I won’t let this happen again.”. He nods his head at Sorkin.
At Sasurai’s mention of the Red Reindeer Inn where the incident took place, Jongo’s eyes widen in alarm. “Who’s this businessman Sorkin!? Are you messing around with ”/wikis/the%20Zakhm%20Brothers/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>the Zakhm Brothers? Be careful! They demand absolute loyalty and won’t hesitate to kill you if you cross them. If you do cross them, they will hunt you down. You’ll have to leave Aval and stay away because they will remember you. Their influence extends into Yazd, eastern Sob-Rooz and southern Bandar. You’ll be running for the rest of your life."
Sorkin replies, “Ringo, I don’t know about these Zakhm Brothers. Are they a circus act? What happens at the Red Reindeer Inn that you know of?”
Sasurai turns his attention towards Jongo. After Jongo finishes, Sasurai turns to Sorkin, “My friend, you should take what Jongo has said, and re-think your business idea. I’m sure you can find more honest work by the sounds of it elsewhere. I’m not sure who exactly is the leader here, but if whoever he or she is says that they wish for you not to continue these business deals with the brothers, then I can not look after you.” Sasurai looks at each person there, waiting to see if someone claims the role, ending on Sorkin, “We must always look to the bigger goal, rather then our own individual wants or needs. it’s the only way you would be able to survive. I would suggest that you look for better ventures, instead of risking being on the run, as Jongo says.” Sasurai turns, and walks to a chair, and sits down. Sasurai states “I will contemplate the course ahead, Sorkin. From there I think we can discuss your next transaction. I would not want to be hunted due to a deal gone sour.”.
Jongo explains to Sorkin those gathered. “The Zakhm brothers are the largest criminal organization this side of the Shomaal and probably in all of the Shomaal. They are the worst kind of thugs. They run protection rackets and smuggling rings. They also kidnap people for ransom and will commit murder for money. I’m sure they do a lot of blackmailing too. They operate brothels staffed with slave prostitutes they’ve abducted. Oddly enough, the gambling rooms they run are known for clean play. That’s about the only clean thing they engage in. I guess I have to admit they are good at keeping petty crime at bay. You do get something for your protection money, I suppose. They’re brutal, though. Merchants who try to cheat them get beat-up, sometimes killed to set an example. Sorkin, if you join them, they’ll make you kill people you don’t even know, and if you refuse, they’ll kill you! The Red Reindeer Inn has been a guild base for years. Everybody knows it. The city guard won’t shut it down because they’ve been bought.”
Relana hasn’t been paying much attention until she overhears this part. “How can you possibly be THINKING about joining the Zakhm Brothers Sorkin?!” “Who knows what they might have you do!”
Relana considers that considering her problems with the brothers, it could be beneficial to have someone on the inside, but she does not trust Sorkin… She stomps off in indignation, and decides to go to a local bar (NOT the Red Reindeer Inn).
“Whoa, boy! I got mixed up in some crazy shizzle, methinks! (shizzle is gnomish for stuff) How am I going to get out of this?! He’s expecting me to come back tomorrow night. If I don’t show, I’d be standing him up. If I do show up, I’m going to have to kill people I don’t even know! Ringo, do you think they’ll take an honest resignation? I can tell Ruffar I just don’t have the snuff… Or I can just do this one job, then tell him I gotta split town. Anybody else think this place is getting too hot to handle? (Apologies, Kalahn, for the pun)”