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Rating: 3-3-3

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Bans: Howard the Duck,
RPF* Real Person Fiction; IE Apping an actual celebrity

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Not A Purely Social Call
July 25th, Tag Arjay
Marvel-X-men Comics-1

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#1
The Thieve's Guild did their best to maintain contacts with people from as many worlds as possible, since their main business in the Hub involved moving people from one universe to another. Generally when someone discovered that their entire world had gotten too hot for them, but sometimes when someone died at a particularly inconvenient moment, and a substitute needed to be found.

So when they'd gotten word of a new player in town, it had seemed logical for one of them to go and greet him, and see if he was someone the Guild could do business with. Mercy had been given the task, on the grounds that since he came from some kind of medieval world a woman would probably seem like less of a threat. And they didn't want to threaten, the offer of a business deal was sincere.

So Mercy, dressed in a simple, but elegant dress, had headed over to the tavern, asked the bartender, who looked maddeningly familiar, and taken a seat at one of the tables, surveying the room while she waited for the owner to come out.
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#2
Arjay had been in his workshop, the ever-needful preparations for the upcoming journey continuing at a decent pace. The sword was coming along well, the preparations for the final enchantments nearly complete, but he couldn’t rush these things. He had to make sure that they were done correctly, that everything felt right before he acted. Today… no, today wasn’t going to be the day, and the knock on his door confirmed that.

He was, apparently, being summoned, as Sascha reported. Was it going to be trouble? No, it wasn’t going to be trouble. Was it someone he knew? No, he didn’t think the boss knew her. Was it a pretty woman? Oh yes, the woman was very pretty.

Well, that settled that. Arjay would just have to see her.

A bottle of wine was delivered to the table, a bright amber liquid that smelled vaguely of pears as Sascha obediently poured two glasses, informing the woman that the boss would be along in just a moment. A short while later, no more than ten minutes, really, Arjay walked down the stairs from his apartment, spotting the woman in question by the glass waiting for him and the indicative nod from his ever-faithful bartender. “Good evening,” the elf said, giving her a sweeping bow which made his cape flare behind him. “My apologies for the wait, but I wasn’t aware that I was going to have company tonight. Have you come to dine with me for business or pleasure, milady?”
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Marvel-X-men Comics-1

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#3
And there the owner was. Mercy smiled at his gallantry, and because he was a very handsome man. No, precisely a man-the pointed ears told her that the rumors were true. The very handsome elf, then.

"Mainly for business." she said, sounding almost regretful "But sometimes business can lead to pleasure, no?". As she spoke, there were a few hints of her natural dialect, but she'd chosen to to speak a more standard form of English, to avoid confusion. "My name is Mercy Lebeau, and I am glad to meet you." she extended her hand, and, to her delight, he bent and kissed it. "My family has a small business in the Hub, and I wanted to come by and introduce myself."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#4
The elf, had he heard Mercy’s thoughts, might have corrected her. He might not be human, this much was true, but he was most definitely a man. This much was, in his mind, indisputable fact, and he was ready to submit whatever proofs she might require to that status, and happily.

That said, she didn’t hear her thoughts, and so he remained blissfully ignorant of any perceived slights against his masculinity. “I’ve always found that drawing an immovable line between the two was nothing but an unnecessary obstruction,” Arjay confirmed, taking her hand and bending over it to kiss it, a playful sparkle in his eye as he gazed up her arm to her face. “So what might your familial enterprise entail that you have business with a very humble tavern keeper such as myself?” he asked as he took his seat, picking up the unearthly wine and taking a slow drink of it. There was always something about Saerloonian glowfire that made business meetings much more pleasant, he’d found, perhaps she would as well.
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Marvel-X-men Comics-1

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#5
Mercy had intended no slight to Arjay's masculinity, she was just reminding herself that he was an elf, not a human. Which, if anything, made him more interesting, not less. Not that she was likely to act on that. Well, not terribly likely, especially since she and Henri had more or less agreed to be monogamous this trip.

"I have to agree." Mercy said, sampling the excellent wine. "For a start, wine like this. My family's business involves moving people and things in and out of the Hub, and we're always looking for goods that might be desirable, and for people who might be looking for a universe with a better climate."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#6
Well now. This was an interesting twist, wasn’t it? The lovely lady was a smuggler, as it turned out. The profession didn’t really raise any qualms with Arjay. All laws were broken sometimes, and some laws deserved to be broken. Shipping laws… well, he supposed that it depended on the person’s intent. Obviously, profit was implied, which wasn’t really surprising. He himself needed to keep a steady influx of money so that he could stay in business, it was the nature of the world.

So the idea that what she might be doing might be… under the table, as far as business was concerned, didn’t bother him in and of itself. The Harpers often did business with such people. He knew that at this moment, one of the men doing business in the other room was a known fence, one that Arjay had reached an understanding with. The fact that ‘smuggling’ tended to have a darker side, though, was something that he was well aware of, and something that his people tried to curb with ruthless efficiency. He didn’t, for example, really approve of the smuggling of narcotics, although he grudgingly only kept tabs on it lest he lose sight of it when something even worse than usual came about. He didn’t even remotely tolerate, though, the trade of slaves, and he had to admit that a business based out of the Hub was in a unique position to deal in them.

“Well, the wine can be had, or its method of brewing, if that’s what you really desire. I’ve found quite a few drinks common to all worlds, some that some worlds do better than others, obviously, but a surprising number that are unique to one or another. If you want some from my world… well, obviously we can manage that. My understanding is that for the more exotic bottles, the off-world price could be… well, rather difficult to place, but certainly high, five times what it would be on its native world. This is one of my more common bottles, though.” Arjay did, after all, pay attention to the business that his pet fences did, too. “Alcohol does always have a good demand to it, one of the reasons I tend to take it as payment on occasion. The business of dealing with people, though… that certainly does seem like a delicate job, doesn’t it?”
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Marvel-X-men Comics-1

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#7
"Wine like this would be a start." Mercy said with a graceful nod "We pride ourselves on keeping the best cellar in the Hub. Price is something we'd have to discuss, of course. Since 'five times the price' could be reasonable, or it could be a small fortune. Not even speaking of how the treasure of one world is the garbage of another." which was something of an exaggeration, since there were things that seemed to be valuable on most worlds, but still, it wasn't totally inaccurate.

"It can be delicate, yes." Mercy said, realizing that he was starting to jump to the conclusion that she was involved in trafficking the unwilling for purposes best not thought about. "Especially since we don't kidnap people, or deal in slaves." sometimes, she'd discovered, blunt honesty was the best policy "We help people who want to move from one universe to another. For a price, of course."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

208 Posts
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Mike

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#8
Arjay favored Mercy with an amused look. “I believe, my dear lady, that if there exists a world that would consider this garbage, it would be a world I simply wouldn’t care to do any business with.” The point of the statement had been made, after all. He knew when something could only be obtained in one place, the value there, where it was plentiful, was going to be much lower than elsewhere, where it was nonexistent. He knew business, and he wasn’t one to simply sell things for a small profit when those he was selling to were going to turn around and inflate the price incredibly. “If you’d like to see the bottles that could fetch a fortune, I could show you, although I don’t see the need to limit it to a small fortune…”

Her blunt statements regarding his worries were a bit reassuring, he had to admit. If someone were involved in such business, they were either going to dance around the issue once they realized that you were opposed to it and then end the conversation, or they were going to bluntly admit to it and trust that you could not touch them even if you knew what they did. He was a good judge of character, one of the talents that had served him well in so many of the positions he’d found himself in, and he found that he believed this woman. All the same, he had his own safeguards for dealing in transportation of people, and if the time came, he’d use them. Besides… if he knew of someone who needed the safety of another world, he tended to help them himself. “As I said… delicate,” he said, shrugging unapologetically. “One can’t be blamed for making sure, although yes, that is reassuring.”
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Marvel-X-men Comics-1

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#9
"I agree." Mercy said mildly "I was speaking of what you might want in payment, not the wine itself. For example, there are worlds in which glass is more prized that diamonds." not that she expected that he was from one of those, but it was worth asking. she grinned at the suggestion "Well, if you're offering to break out the really good stuff, I certainly won't say no."

He wasn't going to assume that she was a slaver, which was good. But he didn't seem interested in the idea of moving around, or using their services to help move people around. Which was disappointing, but not unexpected. Still, it was good to have a friendly person to do business with. "It can be, yes." she replied "I don't blame you, occasionally there will be someone in the Hub who really is interested in dealing with slaves." they didn't last long, usually. The Thieve's Guild had no tolerance for slave trading.
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

208 Posts
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Mike

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#10
Payment. That was ever the question in places like this, wasn’t it? “I’ve found that gold spends well in all worlds,” he answered. “Short of that, I’m not opposed to barter if there is something worth bartering for. My world has similar tastes to yours- Forgive me if I’m wrong in assuming that you’re from one of the apparently infinite Earth worlds- just substitute magic for technology in my experience.” And, of course, she was ready to admit that slavery did occasionally occur, which in this case reaffirmed his decision that she was being honest with him, at least on this front. “I’m sure that someone will try to deal in them again. I’m also positive that they won’t care for what happens to them- at least so long as they’re able to care about anything after that.”

Arjay considered the woman as he took another drink of his wine. “I suppose I could break out a few more bottles, but I believe that much more and I’ll be accused of trying to slip the evening toward pleasure rather than business. Of course, if that’s an agreeable prospect to you…” He offered her a sly smile, letting the statement hang a moment. “It certainly isn’t a bad idea to get to know a potential business partner a bit more… closely before any concrete offers are made.”
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Marvel-X-men Comics-1

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#11
"I am from a version of Earth, yes." Mercy confirmed "Gold is a good medium of exchange, yes. Perhaps we can do business on liquor, at least." slightly disappointed that he seemed unlikely to send other business her way, but who knew what the future might bring. Elves tended to be long lived, and it might be that one day he'd be asking Luc or Sabine's grandchildren for a favor. "If we ever find ourselves dealing with slavers, I will make sure to inform you, so that you can help." not that they would be likely to actually need his help, but Mercy saw no need to turn down help when it was offered, and she most certainly didn't believe in fighting fair.

"We can sample a few bottles, we don't have to finish them." Mercy pointed out. "Unfortunately, my husband can be jealous, so we won't be able to get to know each other as well as we might, but drinking can be a good way to get to know each other was well."
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