Zachariah, lost in thought for the moment, was a little surprised to see the merchant talking to him. "I'm not really from anywhere anymore, but I do know the lands and towns alright, if that's what you're asking." He said, his voice holding a bit of interest and intrigue. "You need to know places well when you're in my business. Ah, anyway..." He thought for a moment, knowing that he had passed the blacksmith's selling-place not too long ago. "Let me see, here...." He pulled his hood off as if it would help him remember, and it was unusually hot under it anyway. His tattoos seemed to glow for a moment or two, as they often did when he was thinking or concentrating, and he looked back down at him. "If you don't find him amongst the merchant stands with all his metalworking, I believe there's a shop just to the left and two buildings down the way. You'll smell it before you see it in both cases. The man smells the same as his forge, if not stronger."
Engelbert watched as the uncouth merchant turned away and appeared to begin questioning a poor by-stander. An odd seeming bystander at that. It was unnatural in Engelbert's opinion to be dressed so solemnly unless a funeral was afoot. As far as he was aware, funerals did not generally take place in market squares.
With a throaty grunt Engelbert turned away from the unsightly gent and returned his attention to the mysterious Elf seeking the blacksmith. Engelbert's nose was somewhat wrinkled, and his face displayed feelings akin to just having swallowed a raw egg... and not enjoyed the experience.
"The young seem to become more frivolous each year," he stated glumly, "The gentleman i spoke of before is further into the market area. I believe he is selling his jewellery this morning. He's only a tinker, but he makes some exquisitely beautiful pieces. He also knows half the blacksmiths in the town, materials you see."
The latter part was delivered with a little more cheer though Engelbert still appeared to be feeling downcast about the confrontation.
Very well. Reveal the hidden path in the bushes and I shall follow my newfound friend
Phy'cuenye then reached with his arm in a gesture for the storyteller to take the lead. As the cloak was brushed aside it revealed traditional elven clothing, while brown it was still rich with imaginative patterns. It seemed to be a mix match of several items that overlapped each others, creating a suit that covered most of the body. Mostly it was rather tight, as if to prevent obstruction of movements. This was not the case with the sleeves tough, who were long and lofty. Anyone with keen eyes could in a brief moment notice that the elf carried the warpaint of the elven armies on his arm, or at least vague traces of it.
Engelbert nodded his agreement and, after a brief moment to more firmly tighten the clasp that held his cloak tight about his neck, he began to lead the way.
The path he took was directly through the center of the crowded market area. The clatter was still deafening as each trader tried desperately to make himself heard above his neighbour. Wonderful smells of rich herbs and spices drifted from some of the stalls whilst the glittering oddities adorning other stalls attracted the eye.
Engelbert had always enjoyed wandering through City markets. The excitement and intrigue they created fascinated him.
It only took a few minutes of walking for Engelbert to spot the man they required. He was currently speaking to a haughty looking woman in a large, unflattering red dress. On a younger woman it may not have looked so terrible but on this woman in her late 30s it did nothing but accentuate her widening hips and and slacking bosom. She appeared to be pointed fiercely at a brooch upon a table laid with a cream cloth and littered with glittering knick-knacks and pretty items. She also seemed to be giving the poor merchant quite acid remarks about said brooch.
The jewellery merchant himself was a small willowy fellow in his 40s. his hair, though still retaining it's mousey-brown colour, was growing wispy and it floated airily upon the breeze. His features were pinched and almost mouse-like and seemed to shout of a timid demeanor. The pained, anxious expression upon the poor gent's face did not help this.
Engelbert turned to the Elf and chuckled lightly. "I don't know how he manages it but there always seems to be someone out to fight with him," he said with some mirth.
The elf followed closely behind Engelbert, walking through crowds are not the easiest task around but it becomes significantly easier if you are following and even more so if you are a head taller than everyone else. Phy'cuenye wondered why, perhaps humans feels intimidated by beings taller than themselves. Albeit mildly so.
When they approached the jewelers shop the first thought that struck Phy'cuenye that back home she would never be allowed to wear something like that. Her family would spends hours, if not days, trying to find her clothing that suited her body better. When thinking about it he realized how obsessed his people were with beauty and everything aesthetically pleasing, it was almost more important to elven families to be seen as forever beautiful than staying true to the law. And the label of a grotesque, a horrible practice. To make a person a social pariah just because he or she is less of a beauty mentally or physically. Perhaps he had become more aware to the problems of the grotesque since he was labeled one himself. An odd way of showing gratitude for fighting harpies really.
Phy'cuenye snapped out of his thoughts when the human spoke, looking around himself swiftly as if disoriented but tried to look unphased when the storyteller turned to him.
The comment confused him, was the human amused because it was seen as a positive trait? He peered at Engelbert in perplexion.
Zachariah saw the old man and the elf leave so, interested, decided to follow them. Perhaps they had something profitable, as many often did, and the elf looked like a prime target for being relieved of some of his material goods. He stepped as lightly as possible, keeping low and staying amongst the crowd. He didn't need to be seen now, not with this amount of people. They were an interesting two, and when the glint of jewels caught his eye he simply had to maneuver around and take a look. Pretty things, yes, but could he manage to steal them? Perhaps a diversion, he considered, but what could he do with fire that wouldn't end up killing him or being seen? It was difficult to know, so perhaps it was best to just go for plan B. He edged casually towards the table of jewels, and placed a pale hand on the cloth casually over one of the shiny little trinkets, trying to make it look as though he was simply leaning on the table and waiting for the woman to be done. He could only hope he provided ample enough distraction.
Engelbert's mirth was lost upon hearing the Elf's question.
"Well, it's not that he has opponents... It's just," he floundered, trying to explain himself. he waved his hands, trying to convey an explanation he couldn't put into words.
"I guess it's simply amusing because of the irony involved. He's such a polite friendly fellow and yet there's always someone who finds fault with him," he concluded dubiously.
"Come, we had better go introduce you, he appears to be gathering yet more customers," he added. He accompanied this with a nod in the direction of a strange fellow in a black robe. Engelbert then frowned. He was sure he'd seen the oddly dressed fellow not much earlier that day.
Come to think of it, he was sure he'd seen him around the same time at that uncouth merchant. He would have to keep his eye on that fellow. It may just be coincidense, but there was always the posibility of something more sinister.
Zachariah's hand closed around the object, which felt like a jewel-encrusted ring due to the shape and the odd little bumps along it. As quick as he could, he put his hand in the satchel at his side and dropped the ring, pulling his hand out and placing it back on the table over another object, hoping that, still, the merchant wouldn't notice. With his other hand, he made sure his hood was securely over his head as he began to grin under it. Thieving was just as much an art as sword fighting, his mentor had taught him, it requires finesse, skill, and a good degree of deception in the form of both words and sleight of hand. He was taught sword fighting in the same underhanded manner, though after he lost his blade he wasn't able to use these skills for a while. He was fortunate to have come across another blade, though not as well-crafted as the one he had used before, it was serviceable and he couldn't ask for much else. And he may even be able to sell to some women he had seen earlier with the fine jewelry he was lifting from this man.
Phy'cuenye was listening to Engelbert's explanation and peering towards the shop. He was sure he had seen that man earlier, he was very familiar. If subtlety was what he aimed for he wore the wrong clothes. As the storyteller was speaking Phy'cuenye kept watching the blackrobed man with his only eye. One advantage of having just one eye is that people will always assume you have two, thus often guessing you're looking the wrong direction.
Reveal the path, friend
The elf then lowered his voice and raised his hand as if to scratch his chin.
That man, he reminds me of a woodland predator with that grin... I do not trust his intention
Zachariah was able to snatch up the little pendant, which had a ring of jewels on the border with what looked like a diamond in the center. He stuck it in his satchel and looked over what else was in easy reach. He would have to thank that woman for the diversion later, perhaps offer her another thanks if she managed to get her hands on that brooch... and was inattentive enough to have it fall into his pale hands. He turned his attention to the old man and the elf again, waiting for them to move. They had so far lead him to what would eventually turn into some impressive wealth on his part, and something told him they would only lead him to more. "Very pretty..." he murmured. "Very valuable."
Engelbert, startled by the Elf's words, glanced towards him and smiled wanly.
"Aye Friend. I was just thinking something along those lines myself," he said quietly. He contemplated that in silent for a few moments before looking back to the stall. The woman was beginning to walk away now. Her face was still showing the same disdainful glare she had given the brooch, but she seemed more satisfied now.
Engelbert motioned for the Elf to follow and he approached the stall. The mousey merchant's face seemed to light up as he saw Engelbert approach."Engelbert! old boy, how are you?" he called out, face breaking out into a grin.
Engelbert returned the grin in kind and called out his reply, "Good my Friend. Very good. I see your business is going well?"
The merchant held up his hand flat and rocked it back and forth. "So-so, I've had better days," he answered with a smile, "hold on my Friend."
As he said this he turned to the gentleman in the black robe. "Can i help you Sir? Seen anything you like?" he asked politely.
Zachariah was just about to leave when the merchant spoke to him, catching him off guard. He regained his composure as quickly as possible and shook his head. "No thank you, sir, I've not the wealth for anything here. I'm simply admiring what you have, as it's all quite interesting. Must be expensive as well." He said, trying to keep his grin from turning from mischievous to downright malicious. "Would be a shame if someone made off with a few of these things, hm? They could sell it for quite a lot in the open market." He said, preparing himself to run if they caught on. Part of him did, in fact, hope they caught on to him, as a part of him enjoyed fleeing, escaping. The thrill of the hunted, as he often said, was as thrilling as the thrill of the hunt.
The merchant chuckled quietly. "Only if a true jeweler doesn't catch hold of you first friend. The stones are glass, and the metals are alloys. As immodest at it sounds, they're indeed pretty items, but only worth how pleasing they are to the eye," he confided in the man in the black robe.
He picked up a bracelet made of a number of silver bands that were interwoven. Three emerald coloured gems sat delicately on the bracelet, each spaced evenly around it. The setting they were in was so finely wrought and left the emeralds appearing to be floating between the silver bands.
"Here, study it closely," he said, holding the item out to the stranger.
"Look closely at the stones, from above they appear full and green, yet turn them to the side and you can see that they're almost colourless. The bands themselves are only part silver. Keep them highly polished and they'll blend in with any true finery on a woman's arm," he explained to the stranger. His hazel-green eyes were expectant and almost like a child he seemed to be waiting for praise for his work.
Phy'cuenye followed Engelbert as he approached the stall. He positioned himself in order to be able to move to place himself in the way of the black robed man should he try to escape. Carefully studying him and how he moved without trying to appear as staring or rude.
Once the merchant revealed that the jewels were fake Phy'cuenye shifted his gaze to him. It seemed that almost every human he met tried to seize every opportunity of making money without spending much himself. Going to great lengths to achieve this goal. He could not but help to wonder if they were able of great wonders of art if they just spent less energy on deceiving each others.
He peered at the bracelet the merchant handed to the man in the black robe, listening to the explanation of the item. He found it interesting to hear how much effort it seemed to have taken to create that small object in a deceptive way. One could almost say that in itself was a work of art.
Zachariah made a slight discreet twitch. That twitch, were it not for his momentarily monumental self restraint, would've turned into him jumping upon the merchant and attempting to beat him as senseless as possible. He was comforted by the fact that the eyes of those he sold to were not discerning, and never had he met any jewelers, so he could sell them for the same price he could anything, and perhaps add some 'mystical artifact' mumbo jumbo along for the ride. He gave an appreciative smile and nod instead. "Impressive work, good sir." He said as kindly as possible. "I was quite fooled for a moment, surveying these goods, and they still hold the beauty of the real thing, so I must commend you on that." He gave another slight nod, now becoming calm with the prospect of more money despite them being fakes. Fortunately, they were fairly convincing fakes.