- Job Info:
* lead, rubber, plastic, water vs contamination
* time, distance, exposure amount
Morgate Town was a horrible place to start or endure a job. In fact, the mere mention of Morgate Town had her double checking the spelling of the job information provided. Was it not Mortgate Town? Maybe Mort Gate was a place? Sadly not, but a double check didn't turn her away from the job board either. Though this was more of a mission than a job, there were certain jobs that she had a proclivity for taking. The ones that were challenging, dangerous, and down right life risking always appealed to her. It was a strange sort of thrill, a way to live life to the fullest, that propelled Zincarla to choose this sort. The other part of it was the likelihood of spiritual or ghostly remains in the area. She might be able to locate the place and the items more quickly in a place that had known so much death. Certainly, death was frightening, but losing her power more so. And not using her power made her feel like she was holding back, keeping the magic in a cage as she was trapped in a prison for those long long years.
No. Morgate Town might have a desolate reputation, but the job before her was just right for the witch. The job had been posted by the son of a maid who had once worked in a great manor in Morgate Town and he asked to be met at the tea shop nearby at dinner time. There wasn't any more information on the matter but Zincarla plucked up the sheet from the board and set about looking for the local tea shop. She wondered how many nights the man had sat at the tea shop alone, growing more and more desperate. Judging by the paper, it had weathered at least one good rain and was crinkled at the edges. It brought a smile to her face knowing that she would be the one to end the poor man's wait.
Zincarla moved through the city like a mouse in a maze, using the sounds of the people in the streets, gossiping to figure out which corner the shop was set. As she got closer, the murmurings of people discussing tea selections and a lone man sitting by himself in the shop for the seventh night in a row, increased. The conversations guided her like a dog with a scent finally to the right corner and the right shop. The witch stood near the door for a moment, appraising the shop. The building was tall, with curved red balconies for three floors and red and white patterned lanterns adorning the edges. It was as if a festival was going on but just at this shop. A long printed board outside listed over a dozen types of teas, herbal, black, white, and green, with various options of light food down the side. The teas had punny names which did manage to entice a grin out of her: Pink Par-tea!, Positivi-tea, Shake Your Boo-tea, and So Matcha To Do! were her favorites.
A woman with black pants, heels, and a frilly dark green blouse approached her from the door with a straight backed manner of confidence. "Well hello there! I can see you have found our menu board! There's actually a lot more options inside!" Her blonde hair gave an exaggerated swing as she bent in a quick bow for greeting.
Zincarla looked up and chuckled, "I did, and I think it's pretty cute. I came here to meet a man actually. My name is Zincarla." The dark haired mage looked over the woman who greeted her and decided she was probably more likely to be a hostess than a server, lacking the usual apron, folder, or mini notebook.
"Oh this place can be so romantic! I can't tell you how many marriages have been made through first dates at this Quali-tea Tea Shop! Is your date here already?" The blonde seemed so congenial it was hard to let her down. Zincarla offered a slight smile and decided to just go with it for the moment.
"He's actually been waiting here for a few nights now. Edward Vain." Zincarla looked a little abashed as she added, "It took me some time to find the time and reaching him was harder than I thought. Can you take me in please?" The blonde gave her a fast salute and feigned a serious military style face before it split back into a laughing expression.
"I will lead you there directly! That poor guy has been here for over a week. I am sure he will be delighted to tea you!" This time, Zincarla had to force a half chuckle out. The tea puns on the board were obviously thought out but she worried now that every employee might talk this way and turn phrases into puns that didn't really need it. Luckily, she didn't have to say anymore because the hostess turned and marched into the tea shop. She was certainly a quirky and playful person, one that probably was great at her hostess job. Zincarla followed her into the shop and to a small table on the side.
"Here you are then, miss! Sir," She bowed towards the man and gave him a wink. "I know you have waited a very oolong time, but here she is! Your date!" The woman bowed out again and left Zincarla standing there with flushed pink cheeks. She might have let the hostess take the joke a little too far. Zincarla looked at the man who was also blushing as he looked up at her. He was wearing a crisp white shirt with a front pocket and shiny silver cufflinks. His pants looked dark and pressed beneath the table and Zincarla took him for someone who cared a lot about material things and business. Still, he had kind gray eyes and she couldn't believe that he made his money stepping on the little people as some other wealthy patrons had.
"I saw your job, and I came to meet you for the details." Zincarla explained first, pulling out the sheet she had carried from the board. A light dawns from inside the man as he seemed relieved to not be facing a potential date any longer. "The hostess thought it was a date and I didn't want to spread your business. I'm Zincarla of Luminous Rose." The man stood up graciously gesturing for her to sit before sitting again with her at the small table. An empty cup of what she presumed to have been tea sat in his place. He had a calm voice, as if resigned for her to already refuse the job. She wondered how many people had gotten this far to leave him here after.
"Well, at least you have brought a smile to my evening. Thank you, Zincarla. I am Edward Vain. I put this job up awhile ago, but so long ago that the weather eventually ruined the paper and I had to put a new one up. I have no hopes that you will actually take this job, see, but if you would at least let me go through explaining what it entails? I'll even buy you a cuppa for your time." The man was smooth talking like this was a date or perhaps a sultry business affair under the table. She saw a note of desperation in his expression even though he tried to play it off as reasonable. Zincarla gave a nod and Edward waved a hand up in the air. A server appeared almost out of thin air and the mage was impressed by his obvious ability to get what he wanted. For someone without any magic, she was starting to respect at least his version of power.
"Two Royal-teas please, and a side of chocolate min-tea biscuits," Edward said briefly and Zincarla raised her eyebrows.
"Biscuits with tea? And how do you know what I want to drink?" Zincarla questioned, pressing him with her own inner confidence. She wasn't about to let him think that he could roll over her like some sort of carriage in a mud puddle. The server stood beside quietly, uncertain but not speaking.
The man gave a saucy grin, "Biscuits. Cookies. You going to tell me that you don't like chocolate or cookies?" Zincarla tilted her head at the assumption. Sure, he was right, she did, but she didn't appreciate the condescending that seemed only too natural for him.
"Cookies are fine," Zincarla said kindly to the server, letting them off the hook. As the server left the table, the dark haired mage turned back to Edward with a heated look and a firm tone. "I want respect, if you please. I understand the dangers of this job. It is a hell hole of a place. I already know the precautions I will need to take to avoid the dangers of contamination. And I am strong enough to get there and back with your precious heirlooms." Edward swallowed hard, looking askance, his image shattering piece by piece. "I am Zincarla of Luminous Rose, not some cheap mage off the street without a penny to her name. Give it to me straight, none of this rich persona crap, and I will get it done. Deal?"
As Zincarla folded her hands on her table, she watched the man slowly transform. Despite his cocky words and his impressive get up, he was quick to simmer down in her presence. She had that effect on plenty of people, but something told her that this man was not used to the treatment. Something told her that he wasn't born wealthy and was using the weight of his wallet to throw himself around because he didn't have strength of his own. It must have been shameful and embarrassing to not even be strong enough to get your own heirlooms back and a prim interview at a special tea shop was likely all part of the show. When he didn't answer, Zincarla let out a sigh.
"I know I come on strong. Just give me the facts. Are you scared? I'm not going to hurt you."
"Anyone not scared of Morgate Town would be a fool, you know," he retorted. He lifted his hands in supplication, "All right. Straight talk it is. My mother was a house maid in the Vain manor in Morgate. I carry the name Vain as I am the only living relative of the family now, but I was born a bastard." Edward bit down on his back teeth and Zincarla narrowed her eyes at him.
"The lord of the manor liked to screw around, did he?" Zincarla said brazenly.
Edward's eyes popped out in surprise and then he let out a breathy chuckle, "Nobody has ever put it like that. My mother was kicked out of the manor when she told him of her pregnancy and in good time. The bombs fell only a day later and not a one survives." He ran a hand over the back of his neck and a server returned with two cups of tea and a plate of small round cookies, as promised. In the silence, both the mage and the man turned polite smiles and thanks until the server slipped away again.
Zincarla reached for the tea and while she took a hearty drink, almost losing herself in the rich aroma, Edward's voice dropped to a whisper. She was forced to lean in slightly and watch his lips forming the words so she didn't miss a single point. "If I am going to take the Vain name, the Vain fortunes, I need more than just the half blood in my veins. I need the family's most prized heirloom as proof that Lord Sirius Vain claimed and approved of me. I need to shun the secret that he banished my mother. And though he is dead, I think this is something I deserve even more by her treatment."
Zincarla sat back in her seat and took another sip. "Good tea," She commented. Edward stared at her expectantly and finally she rolled her eyes. "You don't tell this story to most people do you?"
"Most adventurers don't understand the dangers of Morgate and my explanations tend to drive them away. What do you think? Will you help me?"
The woman fluttered her magenta eyes at him, "I love the story. The tale of betrayal certainly has me intrigued. Bring up the payment too and you have a deal. What is the heirloom and where exactly can I find it?" Zincarla was nothing if not an astute broker. This really was a risky mission, but she was also telling the truth. A gaggle of non-magics mistreating each other, throwing Edward's mother into a bed and then out into the street just as fast was betrayal. Zincarla could understand betrayal.
"A golden horse statuette with rubies for eyes and onyx hooves. It stands rearing back with the mane whirling about its head. Lord Vain never let it leave his salon, kept in a protective magic glass case for every visitor to see. The salon was probably near the door, as was custom in old mansions, but its been so long that I couldn't promise you any more details."
Zincarla finished her tea and reached for a cookie. "I'll head out tomorrow then. Another round of tea, on you?"