I Need a Guide
The flyer isn't in her hand; she can't read or write, no matter how many languges she can speak fluently. The message is simple: Need a guide? Going into dangerous or wild territory? Ask for Sharrondra The Guide of the White Crows; she will get you there.
But the most impressive thing is that the flyer is dominated by a detailed charcoal sketch of the Amazonite barbarian herself. It does make it easier to know when one has found her, after all.
The Amazonite barbarian is seated on the edge of a fountain in the courtyard outside of the inn where the flyer hangs. She hasn't been there the last two days. But today, she sits on the edge of the fountain, watching children play and animals bleat, and she slowly sharpens a large knife on her lap. A spear rests against her back, a shield against her hip. Her eyes never stop moving. She is attuned to her surroundings, loose and yet strung taut, instantly ready to respond.
Kikao, a young Obsidianu woman enters into the courtyard. She is wearing a patterned dress with various shades of red, yellow, green, and brown. The dress falls down to her ankles but is bare to her shoulders. She starts to head towards the Inn, but then stops when she sees Sharrondra and detours towards the Amazonite woman. "Excuse me," Kikao asks the woman. "Are you Sharrondra?"
The tall, darkly bronzed, dreadlocked woman nods to the other. "I am. Sharrondra the Guide of the White Crows. And you are?" Her voice is a rumbling alto, the sort of voice that speaks of shouted commands on the battlefield ... or the roaring rage of a barbarian warrior. But she is so very still and calm. There is no threat. There is only the guide.
The young Obsidianu woman smiles brightly as she clasps her hands together near her chest. "I am Kikao Fletcher and I am in need of a guide." Of course, her clothes do not seem to lend themselves to traipsing around in the forest so what type of guide she needs is anyone's guess.
Judging by appearances, the Amazonite eyes the Obsidianu woman carefully. "What are you looking for, when do you want to leave, and what more do I need to know?" Swift and brutally to the point. She's not a big talker, this one. But she's guessing there's more to the woman than meets the eye, unless she's asking for a guide to reach a different market square in the city, which seems unlikely she'd be looking for Sharrondra in that case.
Kikao ohs and explains. "Well. I have a map and I am in need of assistance getting to the destination. However, before I go into details, I must ask, what are your rates? I fear I am not terribly solvent at the moment."
The Amazonite considers the other woman carefully, and then shrugs. "Well. My usual rate is a silver a day." Far from exhorbitant, but not cheap either. "I'd do it for half, we agree on degree on what we find, or trade price. Assume you'll contribute to self-defense and night watch?" If not, Sharrondra probably won't agree to the lower price.
Kikao puts her hands on her hips. "I wouldn't dream of not taking my own part in helping out. I have to admit, I am quite capable of taking care of myself." Even in a dress. "So. Half price, I do my share, and something for your troubles of whatever we find not including the object I am looking for. Does that sound fair?"
"That'd do it." Sharrondra gives no impression of how much she believes or doesn't believe the other woman's protestations of competence. She just extends her hand. "Best take a look at that map." she drawls, easily.
"Now where did I..." Kikao pats down her dress like she's looking for something. "Ah." She puts her hand in a pocket and pulls out a compass, the case etched in fine gold and silver. She holds the compass in front of her and the space shimmers like cobblestone on a hot sunny day. Then she sticks her hand into the shimmering hole and pulls out a piece of paper. She holds it up, motioning for Sharrondra to let her sit down next to her so they can look at the map together.
Sharrondra watches Kikao impassively, but she is rather affected by what she sees. This woman works magic, and does so in ways her barbarian self can't quite make much sense of. It's unnerving. But she nods, motioning to the fountain's edge, waiting for her to sit and then turning to look over the map. "Alright. That's ... eight days out. Better to go nine. Big as that is, two days to do it right. Nine back. Assume you ride?" Sharrondra does not.
Kikao is watchful and though Sharrondra doesn't react to the use of magic, Kikao takes note of the silence and squirrels that information away for later. At the same time she sits next to Sharrondra and spreads the map between them. She seems completely at ease as she listens to Sharrondra's explanation. Regarding the riding, she answers. "I've never had any official training. But I could ride if I needed to. Do you think we need to? I don't own a horse or anything."
"I'm assuming you can't keep up with me. Most need a horse." Sharrondra is a woman of few words. Brutally to the point. "Your choice. Thought I'd mention." If they have to go more slowly, it'll go longer. She can do that.
Kikao considers herself a little more longwinded than the simple sounding Sharrondra. "Though I would like to get there with all due haste, We'll simply have to go slower then." Kikao folds up the map and stands, pointing to the Inn, finally giving a bit of an explanation as to her dress. "I'll be performing tonight, making some money so I can pay you. Feel free to come by and listen. I'll be ready to go tomorrow morning if that's not too soon. Before we part for the evening, is there anything that we must consider to take on the trip? I am not as familiar with the area we are going to than I'd like to be."
"No way to know what we may find." the barbarian answers, honestly. "Suggest you stop by the temple, if you can afford it. Oil. Holy water. Torches. If you're a studier, maybe paper." Sharrondra's economy of language continues.
Lucius nods, mentally taking notes. "Very well. I will see what I can do. I will meet you back here tomorrow right after the midday meal." Perhaps a bit late to a seasoned guide but if she has to get supplies, it can't be helped. Unless Sharrondra disagrees or wishes to say something else, Kikao heads off to the inn to tell her stories and entertain the masses and earn her keep.
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