The afternoon breeze does little to cool off my annoyance. Sloan is the type of man that benefits off the misfortune of others. Grief is his gold, and unfortunately he deals in it by the dozens. He has this presence about him that oozes ill intention that mirrors his pale complexion and lanky form. He tries to overcompensate for his appearance by wearing as much ostentatious clothing and accessories as he can. From inside his sleeve he pulls out a bound scroll with a wax seal; on the seal was the symbol of the golden bowl pouring out a black liquid. The symbol for the Rofell family.
“I’m always a fan of your blunt disposition Meric. Right to the point, no fluffy small talk.” Sloan’s smile persisted. “If you would be so kind as to follow me inside where we may discuss the sensitive details of this contract, come.”
The inside of the warehouse was just as cold and menacing as Sloan’s eyes. Long chains hung from the tall ceilings, and large gashes were cut into the floor. A hint of dried blood and wet fur lingered in the air. What the hell happened here? If I knew anything about Sloan, besides him being a piece of shit, is that he never bring live bounties in. It’s not worth the danger, especially with the types of beasts he requests.
In the far corner was a sectioned office with lit by a few dying candles. One of the walls dented and the windows shattered by something huge.
“Trouble?” I nod to the damage.
“None of your concern,” he said with a sigh, “it is being dealt with.” He took his place behind the desk.
“So then what is my concern? Out with it.”
“Very well.” Sloan said.
Now I have had very dangerous jobs in the past. You don’t get as many scars I do tackling small pups and trapping parakeets, but there are some jobs that are just not worth the danger. The contract reads:
I, Jonathan Rofell, task you to hunt down the leader of The Ivory Blade. His gang and my family have had long standing rivalry that every so often has come to blows, but they have gone too far. They have taken my daughter from me and this can only be answered with blood. I have ordered Sloan with supplying you with as much information and equipment you may need, along with substantial pay for this job. As a father yourself, I know you understand how you would feel if your daughter’s life were in danger. Get it done.
I felt so still I’m sure I appeared to be a dead man standing. And of course Sloan is beaming at me. Prick.
“He knows. He knows I only hunt animals, creatures of the night, beasts! How could he ask this of me?” My fists splinter the wood of the desk, the scroll crumpled in my hand.
“Of course he knows, and he empathizes with you especially with your history, but you have to agree this is a unique situation.”
“Why does he not send the city guard? Gods know he has half the enforcers on his payroll.”
Sloan intertwines his lanky fingers. His face calm. “It is because this is a sensitive situation that requires discretion. If it is revealed that Sir Rofell can not keep his own family safe then many within Kharazar will see this as a time to challenge him. As of right now The Ivory Blade is still expecting payment for the safe return of Sir Rofell’s daughter so they have yet to play that card. This has to be quick, it has to be quiet, and it has to be done now.”
My jaw goes slack. “You can not be serious. Any job be it beast or man, any job that I accept I take my time to plan it out thoroughly.”
“So that means you’ll take the contract?” That damn smile.
The urge to punch his face has never been more intense. “I have yet to decide, but considering how sensitive we both know this is I think Rofell would appreciate a little time to make sure I come up with a plan that won’t get his daughter killed.”
“That is a fair point. How about this? You write me a list of what you need, and I will convince Sir Rofell to give you one day of planning. Do we have a deal?” He extends his manicured hand.
“That’s not much better. I’m not confident that’s enough time to make sure this goes off without a hitch, I have to stake out their location, determine how many potential combatants are in the compound, find out wherever the hell she is, not to mention –”
“Do we. Have. A deal?”
We stared at each other for a good moment there. Seeing who would give in first. He won out. “Fine.” His fingers gripped my hand, cold to the touch, like the branches of a dead tree. Feels as if I made a deal with death itself.
“Excellent.” He pushes a piece of parchment in front of me alongside an inkwell and pen. “Get to it.”