The World Above

Up above

Wine to vinegar

(Author’s note: the name Cojan Company is pronounced “Coh-Han”)

-I swear to you Gwen, it is nothing but the truth! I was there, I saw it with my own eyes!

-That was ten years ago Jen. You sure you didn’t get your memories mixed up?

-No, I am sure Gwen! I wouldn’t forget a man like that. Tall, tan, dark, handsome. His face is a bit of a blur to be honest. But I won’t forget his piercing gaze, dashing looks and… what he did that night. He presented himself as Esteban Nostra, businessman and trader. I did not hear much from him. He arrived in Myrsa looking for a Guarantor for himself and found one outside the Pendrach. I spoke with the clerk from the Guarantor’s office and his papers were solid, just as his description of the Cojan Company, the mining trade group he worked for.

-How can you be so sure of all that he told you. He was there only for a brief moment and disappeared.

-I am not. But I believe what I saw and heard. I was at the Pendrach’s party with Sally, Margaret and Lian and I set eyes on him. He was a charmer, a looker and, by the Gods, that accent was to die for. I could’ve spent my entire evening listening to him speak, so much I wasn’t really listening to what he had to say or ask. I just wanted to hear him speak.

-Not creepy at all…

-Shut up Jen. He moved on, but I kept tabs on him during the evening. I heard he was looking for a guarantor to vouch for the Cojan Company, which he represented. I heard him say it was a metal and metal byproducts trading company which operated in the south. They must be pretty secretive because I found no trace of them in Myrsa. Anyways. He had meetings with executives from the five pendrachs and was all courteous and polite. But I managed to eavesdrop on one of those meetings. He looked pretty content when one of the executives spilled the beans about Lady Carsas and her daddy’s mother-hen attitude.

He did seem very interested in her later on in the evening. Not that it didn’t cross me… but Lady Carsas is a very fair lady, and a prize to take according to men. So I was not surprised to see him compete with the other men. He was very blunt with her, but managed to stand out, which brought the attention of her bodyguard.

She walked away for some time, during which Esteban walked and talked. Word that the guarantors were arriving got out and most of the crowd went away. Lady Carsas came back and had a chat with him. More than anybody could expect out of miss perfection. He was good at it. He kissed her on the hand before heading out to witness the arrival of the Pendrachs.

He looked them over but he didn’t seem so desperate as to seek audience with them directly. Though he was trying to get to know them. Like he was investigating something. I can’t really say since the whole time, he kept his hat on. Quite the dashing hat, if I may say so. He then headed to talk with a man I hadn’t noticed yet. A young trader, modestly dressed.

He was standing away from the others, seemingly focused and at attention. Unlike any proper dinner guest should look like. Esteban went to meet and greet, but it seemed tense. There was something wrong with all of it. The Pendrachs walked in the manor and the young merchant followed them. Esteban followed the young merchant.

It is then that the incredible happened. Everybody had gathered around the local celebrities and town rulers. The young merchant though was manoeuvering his way through the crowd, heading for the Pendrachs. Esteban had noticed something and matched his pace. I saw it too: the young merchant had a blade hidden behind his back. They began tackling their way through the dense crowd, but the assassin was one step ahead and broke out of the crowd before Esteban, ready to strike his blade down on the Pendrachs.

Esteban, beautiful Esteban, jumped with catlike grace above the crowd and onto people’s shoulders, I am not lying! He stepped on the serving platter of one of the servants and onto the crystal glass of one of the guests! And it didn’t even budge! As if no one even felt he was there! He lept up in the air and fell down on the assassin, disarming him, locking him on the ground. It was such a scene.

Shortly after, one of the guests shouted “Assassin!” and…

-You’re sure you’re not messing with me? I’m having some trouble believing you.

-But I swear it’s the truth! Nothing but the truth!

-Yes. Like the time you went out with Leonardo?

-Gasp! That was not the same thing!

[Banter intensifies]

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Boivin Chapeau

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