Solo Usual Business

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Usual Business

Postby Shakune on August 10th, 2015, 4:24 pm

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65 Summer, 515AV

"I swear these scales are rigged." Havzi muttered, placing her handful of dried cherries onto the small metal bowl that hung from the left arm of the scales. On the other side, there was a stone etched with the symbol '1lb'. "Apparently, these cherries still a pound and I've already eaten five. What're the chances that I was actually sold what I paid for, for once?"

Shakune snorted with quiet laughter. The girl was right: in Sunberth, a pound of cherries usually equated to just over half of that. The market stalls men and women hardly ever sold what they advertised. "Just be thankful there's no maggots in them this time."

Her slave pulled a disgruntled face, and when Havzi slid the cherries back into her hand, they were suddenly less tempting than before. With a sickened gulp, she threw the remaining berries to Axel, who snapped and snuffled them delightedly. Sliding her dark eyes from the shadow dog and onto the packages that stood piled neatly on Shakune's desk, Havzi asked, "how many did we get today?"

"Three. And it's not quite closing time yet. There's sometimes one or two stinking fishermen who want to have something delivered after a day stewing in their own sweat and sea water." The delights of Sunberth, in Shakune's mind, extended as far as the eye could see and the as far as the nose could smell. "But these do need delivering today, so I'll perhaps close up early."

The courier rose to follow through with this suggestion, but the entry door into her store creaked and shuddered, indicating that a patron was fighting his way in. After sharing a loaded look with Havzi (well, I had to go and jinx it, didn't I?), Shakune sat wearily back down in her seat.

The door continued to heave and creak, though no customer appeared. "Push!" She advised loudly, as did Havzi. The rickety old front door to No Questions Couriers had the annoying habit of swelling up in the heat of the summer, making it damned near impossible to open from either side. Shakune joked that it tested her customer's loyalty and their need for her services, but in truth she loathed the irritating door. She could just imagination how many people had given up at this first hurdle and how many courier jobs he had subsequently lost.

Fortunately, the last patron of tonight was a stubborn man, and he fought valiantly against the sticky door and eventually burst into the shop front. "Blood hell." He grumbled, careful to not close the door properly in case it trapped him inside, "you even thought about gettin' that fixed?"

"Yeah. Thought about it." Shakune replied with a shrug. As far as Sunberthian standards went, No Questions Couriers was a neat little shop. At least it had all four walls and a window. And since Havzi had painted the walls a pale purple colour, it looked positively posh.

"Yeh, and y'know what thought did." The old replied grumpily, slapping a wet-sounding package onto Shakune's desk. "I want this deliverin'. Preferably tonight."
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Last edited by Shakune on August 10th, 2015, 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Shakune
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Usual Business

Postby Shakune on August 10th, 2015, 4:57 pm

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"Well, that's what I do." The courier slid the parchment-wrapped parcel across the desk and lifted onto the scales. After balancing out the weight with various engraved stones and pebbles, she announced: "It'll be four golds. three for the weight and an additional one for the last-minute delivery."

The old man chewed this price over, comparing it to the written notice that was pinned to the bottom corner of Shakune's desk. He gestured to his with a chewed fingernail. "This says it'll only be three."

Shakune tried not to sigh. She was not successful. "That's for a delivery within one or two days. You want this delivered within one or two bells. That costs extra."

"But you've got a whole load right there, bet they're ready for delivery."

She glanced to the other packages on her desk. Irritated with herself for not hiding these, Shakune had no choice but to give in. "Fine. But don't go tellin' anyone I'm givin' you a discount." She gave her customer a pointed look before sliding a parchment piece in front of her. "Who's it bein' delivered to?"

"Merv."

Shakune glanced up in surprise, "of the Pig's Foot?"

"Who else?" The old man wheezed, giving a short and succinct nod, "you know any other Merv's in this city?"

No, she didn't. But Shakune did not answer. She simply made a note of who was to receive the parcel and when, as well as it's weight. "Sign here, please." Giving her patron the tattered quill, Shakune slid the paper around so it faced him.

He signed it with a messy scribble that contained a grand total zero letters. Few people in Sunberth could read, let alone sign their own names. A swirl of lines and dots was the usual signature given to Shakune by her native patrons. "Done?" He asked, shoving his dirty hands back into his pockets. After Shakune nodded and bid his goodbye, the gruff man sauntered off to leave the faint stench of urine lingering in the air.

Sniffing, and instantly regretting it, Shakune began to transfer the parcels to her satchel bag. Havzi in turn began to neaten up the desk and general shop floor. Since the grand opening of No Questions Couriers, their daily routine had become slick and incredibly well rehearsed. The two women were familiar with the routine of the working day, and worked well together. "Where are you delivering to tonight?" The slave asked as she scraped crumbs from their lunch off the wooden table.

Shakune glanced down to her document. "Pig's Foot, Dagwood's, the Fence and finally the Barracks." She sighed. It would be a long evening, and though starting in a tavern always a good sign in Shakune's mind, the Barracks was not where she would have chosen to end her night.
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Last edited by Shakune on August 10th, 2015, 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Shakune
I drive a hard bargain.
 
Posts: 352
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Usual Business

Postby Shakune on August 10th, 2015, 7:05 pm

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The Pig's Foot tavern was Shakune's first drop off. The tavern was incredibly familiar to her, and it's proprietor someone the courier had come to respect in his eternal grumpy. Merv greeted her with a stern tilt of his head and minute quirk of his gloriously thick eyebrows.

"Got a present you." She said, tone light and airy to contrast with the barkeep's state moodiness. It wasn't that Merv hated people, he was just incredibly doubtful of his fellow man and woman. The first time she had stepped into the Pig's Foot, he had bustled right on over to Shakune and warned her:

"We don't want no funny business y'here? I'm watchin' you, black eyes."

Of course no funny business had ensued, and over time Shakune frequented his tavern enough for Merv to accept that this particular foreigner did not necessarily spell bad news for his other patrons. Still, he showed little affection towards Shakune as he looked blankly at the parcel she delivered on his sticky bar. "S'pose you want a tip."

"Nah, don't worry about it." Shakune waved his unenthuastic offer aside, and instead produced the document she used to keep a note of her deliveries, "I just want you to sign this, please. Proof that you received the package."

The old man gave another solemn nod and wrote down his signature. When Shakune glanced at it, she was both surprised and impressed by the neatness of the curved letters that spelt outMERV.

"Seeya, Merv."

"Bye, Blackeyes."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shakune was greeted in Dagwood Metal by the sounds of metal clanging against metal. The building was warm, both from the summer sun and also from the blacksmithing furnace that lay beyond the shop Shakune now stood in. Wiping her brow and hairline free of sweat, the courier approached the front desk, where a smiling face awaited her.

"Hello!" Gwendoline Dagwood, based on the few times Shakune had seen her, seemed one of the few genuinely pleasant inhabitants of Sunberth. Always smiling, always cheerful. It was impossible to speak to her without finding yourself suddenly feeling lighter, happier. "Can I help you?"

This is how I should greet patrons after a long day, Shakune thought. But who was she kidding? The courier lacked Gwendoline's sweet kindness. "Got a parcel for--" Her black eyes dropped to the name written on the front of the parchment wrapping, "-your brother, I think."

Gwendoline clapped her delicate hands together happily. It was impossible to imagine such slight, neat hands labouring away at a burning furnace, yet from previous conversations with her, Shakune knew Gwendoline was quite passion about blacksmithing. "Oh, excellent! He'll be so pleased. Wait here, please will you?" With that, the slight woman rose up and exited through a back door. After a brief chime, Gwendoline returned accompanied by her older brother.

Darik was nowhere near as pleasant to socialise with as his sister, and instead the young man was serious and grave. He barely cracked a smile as Shakune gave him the parcel, whereas Gwendoline bounced at his side, an excited smirk on her face. "So, how have you been Shakune? Is that khopesh of yours still fine?"

She touched the curved blade that hung on her hip. The Dagwoods had sharpened it for her a season back, bringing the otherwise dulled blade back to life. "Still perfect, thank you."

"Here you are." Darik said plainly, returning Shakune the signed notice and turning to leave.

His quick exit appeared to dull Gwendoline's mood just a fraction, so once agian Shakune found herself bidding her client's good night before turning to exit the store herself.
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Usual Business

Postby Shakune on August 10th, 2015, 8:32 pm

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Even by Sunberth's ragged standards, the Fence was a dodgy affair. Full of ill-gotten gains and immoral objects that bore a hefty price tag, the Fence was where the average Sunberthian bought the things they either didn't want anyone know they purchased, or when they didn't know where else to get them. Shakune often made to deliveries to the Fence, but because of the sheer number of objects that passed through the store, she was but one of many couriers employed by the fat storeowner.

"Whaddaya lookin' fer?" Came the gruff greeting as soon as Shakune entered the store. The lateness of the evening, the Fence was still bustling with shifty-looking customers.

"You." Shakune retorted playfully, quickly withdrawing the parcel before the enormous man could react to her coquettish reply, "business this time, though. No pleasure, unfortunately."

The man everyone called Zeke gave an exaggerated pout before exploding into spittle-filled laughter. He did not seem to notice how Shakune wiped her face clean. "Well, let's see what you got, then." When she placed a palm-sized parcel in his hand, Zeke frowned down at it. "Y'know, I ain't got a clue what this is." After scratching his forehead with his free hand, the continued, "let's go and see, shall we?"

This was why the Fence was one of Shakune's preferred jobs. She delivered all sorts of curious objects to the store, and most times Zeke opened his parcels in front of her. Before now, she had delivered an intricate necklace ("made of real diamonds," Zeke had promised, though his wink had implied quite the opposite), a taxidermy mouse and a square cube that had turned out to be a very complex safety box that required it's user to shift the individual slats of wood in various combinations to lift the lid.

Zeke led Shakune to the main counter of his shop. Plonking his parcel down, the man began to tear at the wrapped paper. It revealed a small glass bauble that was the colour of the ocean, rippled with white curves and turquoise swirls. It looked rather boring, and Shakune did not hide her disappointment when she said, "a paperwight?"

The old fat man tapped the side of his nose and scarred face twisted into a sick grin. No, the glass ball was not a paperweight: Zeke turned the glass ball over, revealing it's flat bottom that Shakune had expected to be smooth and glassy. Only it wasn't: instead, a broad piece of cork had been edged into a miza-sized hole. With some difficulty and much swearing, Zeke popped the cork out and tipped the ball towards his hands. A tiny black bag tumbled out.

Shakune did not have to ask what this bag contained. She already knew the answer: drugs. Some sort of dried leaves or perhaps a powder that originated in a far off city and had been sent to Zeke by his numerous contacts.

Suddenly, she wished she hadn't been quite so disappointed with the glass ball. At least that had been pure and drug-free as far as she'd known.

"Always a man of mystery, you." She said, but the enthusiasm in her voice had dissipated. Shakune was more than happy to get blind drunk and fuck her way into any alleyway, but drugs were another matter. After witnessing her mother tumble into a horrid addiction, the last thing Shakune ever wanted to do was snort a powder or swallow a pill.

Zeke chuckled and rolled the glass ball across the counter. In order to stop it smashing to the floor, Shakune had to catch it. "Keep it," he said nonchalantly, "it's probably of more use to you than me." He added. His interest in the paperweight had fizzled completely away now it had given up it's powdered secret, "now give me that silly little paper to sign and you can bugger off."
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Shakune
I drive a hard bargain.
 
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Usual Business

Postby Shakune on August 12th, 2015, 3:43 pm

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Dealing with at least one the gangs at one point or another was inevitable when living and working in Sunberth. For Shakune, this meant that she had couriered all sorts of questionable things to the Daggerhands, Sun's Birth and Night's Eye. Though she didn't take as much pride in this line of work as she did in her other jobs, they generally paid well. But they also carried more risk: many of her patrons joked with her about the last courier who had served Sunberth, and who had ended up getting torn to pieces by Goldfinger's dogs.

So it was with great caution that Shakune entered the Barracks, the residency of the Sun's Birth. The sounds of bellowing voices and cursing men greeted her -- a vast improvement from the last time she had visited the Barracks and had bumped into two Dragoons dragging out a half-dead man.

"Well, hello." Jaren Joander. His slithery voice crept up behind Shakune and the marshal tapped her on the shoulder. "May I help you?"

"Got a package." The courier explained shortly. Of the few dealings she had had with Jaren, Shakune had found him to be leery and arrogant, despite his comparatively minor role in the Barracks.

"For whom?" He asked, nose in the air and hand on the hilt of his sword. Shakune revealed the package in question, holding it in such a way that Jaren could read the name on the parchment. "Ah. I see. Boris Holdren." He considered this for a chime whilst chewing his split bottom lip. "I reckon I could find him f'ya."

Jaren lead Shakune through the Barracks, coming to a stop outside a door on which he knocked. After several grunts, curses and what sounded like a crash of pottery, the door opened and a brutish-looking thug was suddenly staring at them. "Yeh?"

"You got a parcel, Boris." Jaren declared, gesturing to Shakune and shoving her lightly towards the Dragoon.

"Sign here, if you'd be so kind." She said, retracting the parcel away from the thug's spade-like hands and instead giving him a page of parchment.

The Dragoon blinked, stared down at the page and blinked again. It was quite clear he had not been awake for many chimes. "wha'."

"Sign. Here. Please." She repeated, slow and pointing to the blank space on the page, "Then I'll give you your parcel."

The brute grunted some unintelligible noise, but signed the document all the same. When she handed him the package, Boris tore it open with savage aggression, throwing bits of parchment wrapping all over the ground. She had expected a weapon, or a skull, or some other sick prize from Boris' higher-ups in the Sun's Birth.

But what Boris revealed to her and Jaren was a pair thick, tightly knitted, socks. "You err... suffer from cold feet?" Jern asked, his lips quivering into a grin.

The other Dragoon gave his comrade a steely look, before turning his attention to Shakune. His piggy eyes pressed down on her with an unwavering, hard gaze. He seemed to be considering how best to ensure this humiliating gift would not be heard by the rest of Sunberth.

Shakune had delivered many, many, questionable things. She was used to her clients wanting to maintain secrecy and privacy when it came to the things they received and sent via Shakune. So it was with great reversal that the courier claimed: "No questions, Boris. Seriously."
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Shakune
I drive a hard bargain.
 
Posts: 352
Words: 281911
Joined roleplay: August 21st, 2014, 10:43 am
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Usual Business

Postby Sayana on January 3rd, 2016, 1:53 am

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Don't forget to edit/delete your grade request. If there's anything I may have missed, please PM me and I'll be happy to look into it.


 
Shakune
Skills
  • Planning: 2
  • Leadership: 1
  • Socialization: 3
  • Mathematics: 1
  • Negotiation: 2
  • Rhetoric: 3
  • Business: 2
  • Land Navigation: 3
  • Flirting: 1
  • Observation: 2
  • Investigation: 1
  • Intelligence: 2
Lores
  • Mathematics: Using a scale to weigh a parcel
  • Business: Collecting signatures to prove authenticity
  • Location: Dagwood Metal
  • Location: The Barracks
Loot
  • Glass ball paperweight with hidden compartment

Comments: Cute ending and I was intrigued by the glass ball 'paperweight'. Though I'm curious to see Shakune's job threads in future. Adding a bit of conflict and challenge would make it an even more enjoyable read. ;)

Your Grader,

Sayana
Boxcode design: Firenze
---

**Available via PM (generally) but looking to tie up loose ends. (Feb 15)

0/2 Solos ----- 1/2 Modded Quests ----- 3/5 PC Threads ----- 1/1 GST Thread (to grade)
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Shadow Queen
 
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