Result 13 – Part 6

Silas is equally hopeful and apprehensive. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to get outsiders involved, and worries about what Ameronis might do and how it would upset things if she rocks the boat, but on the other hand, the idea of an additional helping hand or two to possibly settle some unfinished business is too good to pass up. Still, it wasn’t easy to convince him to agree to show Ameronis where Soza’s shop is; it was only after she assured him she wouldn’t do anything other than gently observe that he agreed. You opt to come along, and Leif and Rufle also enlist themselves in case anything goes wrong. Now Ameronis tries to convince them that their presence won’t be necessary; nothing is going to happen! But, the three of you insist on coming along anyway, if only have a look yourselves. Finnegan remains behind to watch the tent.

It’s a 15-minute walk from the tent to the shop, a journey that takes you out of the built-up complex and into a much more spacious and green area. You’re in Greenbrook now, according to the beggars, one of the oldest parts of the city, and home to many of the larger old-money estates. The Grand Jamboree is situated here, at the edge of the area, close to Windston.

As you walk, you ask Silas exactly what it is that Soza’s trying to sell. Apparently, it’s a small, ornate, wooden jewellery box with intricate carvings, along with a black obsidian pendant with a fine gold thread engraving and gold-coloured chain. He previously had other things in the box, but didn’t see them at the time. Instead, the box had been fitted with a luxurious little purple cushion on which the amulet was displayed. Other things he had in the box included an old key, a coin pouch, a small, brass compass… Several little trinkets. He claims that they’d be of no value to anyone else; they’re just…somewhat sentimental to him.

However, Leif somewhat unhelpfully points out that, he saw one of the items once; a small candle holder, and he’d imagine that alone could sell quite well; it looked like an antique.

“Whatever else was in there, the lot would probably sell for more than a few shimmerbits, I’d say. And you’re saying that pendant has real gold on it?”

Silas does not respond, looking even more grim.

You soon approach the shop, with Silas slowing and appearing more cautious. He glances around as if hoping not to run into Soza or his thugs. Finally, pausing on the edge of a side street that joins onto a commercial stretch and peering out carefully, he looks down the street.

“There, ” he says, nodding in the direction of one of the shops. “’Bradwyn & Holden’s’. The box was in the front, right window when I saw it.”

Silas moves back while you four others look down the street. Quaint, wonky buildings older than those on Banes Way, though not as closely clustered together as you’d expect for a street like this. As you ponder the layout, Ameronis rummages around in her bag, extracting and putting on her coat and pulling up her hood.

“Right, I’m gonna check it out”.

Silas whirls around as Ameronis starts sauntering towards the high street.

“What!? No! You said you wouldn’t do anything!”

“I’m not going to do anything! I’m just going to take a closer look. Trust me.”

Before Silas can object further, she covers her face with her mask, and steps out onto the street. You and Leif look at each other, then watch her go in silence. Silas watches with his hands balled into fists.

Ameronis ever-so-casually makes her way down the street, looking in the windows of the shops she passes, occasionally pausing to linger in front of one. Eventually, she stops and stares at the window of one for a while longer. You can’t see the signage from here, but you assume she’s made it to Soza’s shop. Then, after a few more moments she turns to start walking back.

You thought she was coming straight back, but instead, she turns right and goes directly into the store. Silas swears and begins pacing, whilst Leif tries to reassure him. You can’t offer any reassurance; you simply bite your lip and wait.

Bradwyn & Holden’s General Store

(Ai-generated image produced using Dall-E 3)

After a few minutes, Ameronis emerges, walking at a relaxed pace, and not restrained by thugs. That’s good to see at least. Silas looks visibly relieved, but still very frustrated. Once again, she casually walks down the street until she rejoins your group, where she takes off her mask and coat and stuffs them back into her bag.

“Well?” says Silas, a bit too curtly.

Ameronis does not look up from the bundle.

“Did you know that that, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, black diamond amulet was made by the great Engsin Trinoa himself, was inherited by Soza after his great aunt passed away, and is worth a small fortune thanks to its rarity?”

She slings her bag back over her shoulders and looks at Silas, who stares at her, mouth agape like a fish. Ameronis chuckles and recounts what happened when she went into the store. The pendant had caught her eye, or so she claimed to Soza. It would make a very fine gift she said, and asked him to tell her about it; how he came to have it, if there are any others, what the price is…

He happily spun her a yarn about the exquisite craftsmanship from the aforementioned jeweller, the rare gemstone it’s cut from, his esteemed great aunt who had great taste and cherished it, and how she bequeathed it to him, so that he might find someone else worthy of its majesty. Of course, looking at Ameronis he deemed her a potentially worthy new host, and was willing to part with it for a meagre 650 cogs, even though it reality, he shouldn’t sell it for less than 800.

Ameronis was intrigued, and very tempted to buy, but did not have that kind of money on her at this time; not when shopping alone. She would have to return a little later with the correct amount. He urged her to hurry; it had already garnered interest from a few other perspective buyers.

Silas swears again, incredulous.

“That pendant is worth about 10 cogs, tops!” he yells, with Leif quickly attempting to quiet him down. “It’s not black diamond, it’s regular glass or obsidian, and I’m pretty sure that chain is brass! And my grandfather gave it to me!”

A short way further down the side street, so as to avoid Silas attracting any unwanted attention, your group attempts to calm him and figure out what to do next. You point out that, if Soza’s claiming the pendant is made of diamond but it’s actually made of glass, that would be pretty easy to prove. All you’d need is someone with a loupe who knows what to look out for. With that being the case, you could go to the police and report Soza for false advertising. In the worst-case scenario, he could be arrested.

While the idea of Soza being arrested is pleasing to Silas, he’d certainly not be able to get the pendant back in the end. The enforcers would confiscate it off Soza, and that would be that; he’d not be able to prove that it’s his. However, would that be worth the potential to get Soza locked up? What if he just gets a slap on the wrist and they still confiscate it?

“The low monetary value of the pendant doesn’t matter. It’s the principle, and the sentimental value that’s important!” says Ameronis. “He cannot be allowed to keep or sell it, and you have to get it back from him.”

“Urgh, I should’ve just broken the window when I had the chance,” Silas mutters.

“You know that wouldn’t work out for you”, says Leif. “Even if you managed to grab it, you’d be chased down! Who knows where those thugs are lurking?”

“Actually, there didn’t seem to be anyone else in the store. He was alone, as far as I could tell” says Ameronis, thoughtfully.

If those thugs aren’t there, now would be the best time to confront him, you suppose. You still outnumber him, especially with Rufle present. Simply stop him from running away and calling the enforcers, and demand he return the stolen items. If it goes well, he complies, you get what you’re after and leave. If it goes badly… He sends thugs out looking for you all, the enforcers are also involved, and next thing you know, you’re all wanted for daylight robbery.

“No”, says Silas, “far too risky. It would just be a mess, for everyone. No, we can’t get the thugs or the enforcers involved.”

He stares down the street wistfully. “If I would just get in there I’m sure I could grab it…”

“How are you supposed to ‘just grab it’?!” asks Leif, “it’s right there in the window, on full display to the world!”

“There’s not that many people around, and besides, they’d not be paying attention. I’d just need a distraction” Silas protests.

“A distraction? While you clatter about in the window display? Don’t be stupid! Besides, all this talk and we’re only focusing on the pendant and box; we don’t even know what else he might have stashed in there; you won’t be able to find all of it.”

Silas’ expression turns a little grim. “Then I’ll just have to go in at night and have a proper look.”

“Nooo, if anything, that’s when there’ll be guards in the place!” It’s Leif’s turn to protest. However, Ameronis focuses on Silas.

“Do you really think you could break in so easily?”

Silas nods. “I’m sure I could manage. It’d be easier if I had someone to keep watch”. He stares pointedly at Leif. Leif glares back.

“Ooooh, yooou…”

“Fine. I’ll ask Melora. I’m sure she’ll help me”, says Silas.

“No, don’t ask—Rrrr!” Leif throws up his hands in frustration. “You’ll both get caught and you won’t be able to run or fight your way out! Then they’ll come after the rest of us!”

“It’ll be fine”, Silas says, though he sounds a little less sure.

“Don’t you dare, Silas.” Leif warns.

“I’ll do it”, Ameronis volunteers, “I can keep watch, run, and fight!”

Silas looks intrigued, Leif looks dismayed. Ameronis looks at you.

“I’m sure we can handle this, right?”

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