During the hot winds, it seemed as if every green adventurer would tumble into her shoppe. She could hear the ding of a small chime once, twice, three times before she could finish putting back the jars she’d needed to complete the last order. There would be no chaos on her watch. As soon as Kalipsi could taste the heat in the air that morning, she knew the kind of day it would be. 

“Master,” Merek called for her. The boy was young, and a budding artisan but too unsure of his own skill. When Kalipsi came out, there was a line to the door. Merek was helping a young man choose a sword. Davine was putting together a few healing potions for a group. Selara was packaging a few herbs. Yet still the customers nearly poured themselves over the counter.

Equipment. Magic items. Equipment. Magic items. A centaur looking for a month’s worth of food and board in exchange for work. 

“As you can see, it’s very busy today, can you read and write?” She asked in a huff. When he said that he could, she drew a small symbol on the counter with her free hand, and a piece of parchment and quill appeared. 

“Take this, and write what orders everyone outside needs and bring it to Davine, she will help you from there. Got it?” she asked. He nodded and went to task. 

A group of haughty boys came to the counter. They carried swords at their sides that were glamourous but would do nothing to protect them in the tower. She laughed to herself. She knew what they had come for. 

“Morning ma’am. I’m in need of your finest armor,” he said with a smile Kalipsi was sure charmed the skirts off of many. He was a fine-looking human with olive skin. She took him all in. A shame the world would lose such a pretty face. 

“Through that door, you’ll find what you need. If you’re going to the tower, Merek can tell you which armor is best against the Arachs,” she said and called Merek over. 

“Oh, that’s quite alright ma’am. I know what I want,” he said and strode off with his companions to look for the aesthetic he wanted. Merek looked at her but she set him off to work with the next customer. 

This one was a bit more reasonable. She needed rope, healing potions, some dry herbs, and some scrap metal. She was an alchemist. Kalipsi asked to see her weapons. She looked at the sword, it was very basic but she had no need for a better one so long as she had good metal. She called for Selera. 

“Give the girl some iron ore. Melt it first then mix with this and this,” she said pulling two jars from under the counter. She handed the jars over and set the dragonborne to the task. 

She glanced over. Davine and the centaur had developed a system. He would fetch the items she requested. She would craft and package them. He would deliver to those waiting outside and return with their gold or trade. Kalipsi reminded herself she needed to ask his name again when things slowed down. 

The next needed a map. The next needed their weapons enchanted. The next was a beggar. Kalipsi gave him some stripes of beef and bread and sent him off. 

When Selera was done, she returned to help with some of the weapon requests. Many needed a sword that day so Selera would show them their excess ones. Others needed something specific so she would take down what they needed and quoted them a time. Some a day or two, some a week or two. Kalipsi noted she’d have to hire a few more part-timers until the hot winds passed. 

On and on it went. She had just gone to the back to get some more salves when she heard Merek calling her. That boy would be the death of her. 

When she came to the counter this time, an orc stood there. Not many orcs came to this region but she supposed the fame of the tower brought all sorts this way. 

“I asked you to bring me your master, and you bring me a woman?” the orc snarled. Merek flinched but Kalipsi made a face and strode right around the counter.

“You must have been sprouted yesterday if you don’t know your own history. Have you not heard of Urzoth the Fierce? Does Atub the Death Bringer mean nothing to you? A woman? Bah! Never has anyone came to this shoppe and spit in the face of Kalipsi!” she snarled right back. Her hair began to rise and her eyes radiated. The orc stepped back a pace or two and the shoppe had gone quiet. 

“...Apologies. I...I mispoke. I had not known who I was speaking too,” 

“Yes, you did. Now leave this place, I will not help a greenhorn orc who knows no respect,” she said. 

The orc dropped to one knee with a lowered head. 

“Apologies Master Kalipsi. I did not know, please help me,” he said without looking up. Kalipsi calmed down considerably. The orcs were not known for such humility. He must be desperate. 

“Rise and tell me what you need,” she said returning to her place behind the counter. The orc took a small breath and rose. 

“Thank you. I am in search of a pendant,”

“We have many,” she said reaching under the counter. “I suppose you’ll want me to charm it?”

“No. This one...is of angelic origin. I was told you might have it,” he all but whispered. The bustle had not stopped but it seemed so quiet between them. Kalipsi stared for a moment. 

“What need do you have of such a thing?” 

“It’s no business of-I mean...I can not say. I was tasked with collecting it,” he said, remembering his manners. The call of her shoppe outweighed any caution she may have felt. 

“Go to the East. Just outside of Bran, you’ll find Morgan. An elf-born wizard. He can help you. I have no such pendant anymore. Now leave me if you need nothing else,” she said with a flick of her wrist. The orc stared for a moment, as if judging her intention but went away without further word. 

The customers continued until the sun went down. By now all the little adventurers would be trying to slay the beasts in the tower. Their screams would continue through the night. Tomorrow only half would come back to lick their wounds or gather potions to return home. Some foolish ones might try again. 

During dinner, she’d learned the centaur was named Korath. She’d agreed to house him for a short time. They needed a few more able-bodied men but she was sure she could get a few of the surviving greenhorns to help. When she finally lay her head down she wondered briefly if Morgan would help that orc or what fate befell the olive-skinned boy.

December 10, 2019 15:10

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