Welcome to the 7th day of Dice-ember! Today we will venture away from Albazahr and his dungeon of infinite dimensional spaces to something a bit more mundane. Well anything would be more mundane that that crazy place wouldn’t it?
Whilst watching my youngest each his ‘snack platter’, the only thing that he will eat the inspiration came for this item, admittedly a week and a bit ago, and I just had to include it in the Dice-ember series of posts.
Fruits of ones labour
Captain Grant Thatcher rubbed his temples as he tried to make sense of the nonsense that the messenger boy was trying to tell him.
“So what your telling me…” Grant paused trying to remember the boys name infront of him.
“Jayk” interjected the boy, looking rather put out.
“Jayk, so you’re telling me that you saw a man spill a crate of apples.” Grant began again
“Basket of apples” Jayk said “Do you just want me to start again captain..?” he asked irritated.
And so Jayk began to describe the situation.
Running, always running. This was the life of a messenger boy and today he had to get some messages out for some very impatient clients. As he ran Jayk didn’t pay attention to the people on the streets buying their rolls of fabric, their crates of fruits, their knives, swords, bows, arrows, bags, spices, animals, vegetables. Well maybe he paid a bit of attention to what was going on around him which paid off as he managed to narrowly avoid a cart being pushed out from an alley just in front of him, much to the disgust of the owner of said cart who didn’t appreciate him leaping over his cart filled with straw.
Seeing the shop that he needed to deliver a message to he darted across the narrow street, weaving through merchants, their customers and mercenaries, much the chagrin of most. Walking through the door he produced a wax sealed envelope from a bag he had slung over his shoulder and waited.
“Can I help you boy?” a grave voice asked from behind the counter, seemingly endless shelves of roots, herbs, fleshy bits and things that couldn’t be described were stacked in jars behind the counter.
“are you Phil the alchemist?” the boy asked.
“Well this is my shop…” the man said as he pointed to a sign that hung from the front door *Phils Alchemical supplies*
“I am Jayk, I have a message from you from Carter.” He said as he produced the letter and held it out, his other hand extended. Phil reached into a pouch and retrieved two copper coins and gave them to Jayk, the standard fair for messenger boys in this town.
As Phil read Jayk stood around patiently, he learnt a long time ago that it always pays off to be still around when the person who receives the message is done reading it.
A intense sour look of worry came across the mans face “I can’t do this. Not since my shop was broken into a week ago. Boy!” he called looking out his window, well hole in the wall, before noticing Jayk standing their sipping from a water skin patiently, “Ah there you are. Are you busy. I have need of a message and a vial to be delivered to Carter.”
“I don’t normally do goods sir, too much risk with the pickpockets out there. Plus I am too small to really defend myself if someone wants to take something” Jayk began, his eyes noticing how full the coin pouch of the alchemist was.
“I’ll give you one whole gold piece to take it to Carter my boy. Just one vial,” Phil produced a vial no bigger than one that you would store ink in. “and one letter.”
“I don’t know sir, he is on the other side of the city and through the market.” Jayk began.
“Ok, 5 gold pieces. But I need it done now. Please.” Phil pleaded as he fished out the coins and put them and the tiny vial on the table. Looking around to make sure no one was looking Jayk stepped forward.
“Ok. Done. I will need to be quick before someone sees what’s going on sir.” Jayk said in a hushed voice, his ploy had paid off exceedingly well this time round. He would be eating well for a week!
After Phil had written the message and sealed it with a green wax Jayk grabbed the gold, the message and the vial. Phil clutched his hand in a firm yet gentle manner. “Under no circumstances are you to drink or have any contents of that vial spill on you Jayk. It will turn you and what ever you are carrying into the last object you touched for 5 minutes. The last person to make that mistake turned into a chunk of cheese and was eaten by a rat… ” Phil warned. “Now go! Make sure to deliver my message. I will have more of the potion end of next week!” he called as Jayk was already running full speed out the door.
Not wanting to risk running into pickpockets in the market place with 5 gold pieces and a potion that would cause problematic for his reputation if he lost it, he decided that going down bridge road. Bridge road would add in several minutes to his travel but it was a lot safer and generally boys his age were always playing on the streets, so pickpockets tended to ignore them. As he turned the corner he skidded to a stop before crashing into a stack of apple crates. Before going to yell at the man, holding a basket of the fruit, for blocking the road with his produce he noticed a shady looking fellow standing next to the well dressed and spoken man. A second later the apple basket tipped over, the man holding them appeared to have tripped or something and the apples started to roll down to under the bridge where a wagon was travelling. Then the yelling began.
“My apples!” shouted the empty basket wielding man, the shady man ducked between the crates and the wall, out of sight for all except Jayk and grabbed an apple and quickly skulled from a vial. Immediately the man shrank to a small round fruit as the vial dropped from his hand and shattered on the stone.
Not wanting to be held up by a clean up of apples he decided to travel above the bridge and avoid going down bridge street. As he got onto the bridge he was almost knocked over by a bunch of stampeding children shouting “Run away before Red gets you!”
Shaking his head he started to run across the bridge, shaking his head trying to make sense of what he had seen when he passed a bunch of people gathered at the edge of the bridge.
“you saw her too right? The little girl fall over the side? Where is she, I only see that wagon and a bunch of apples” he managed to catch as he ran past the crowd, he had a job to do.
Approaching Carters house, well large manor, he knocked on the door before being let in and shown to a room dedicated to waiting. When he was older, and rich, he wanted to have a place like this. Not just a single room above a smithy’s shop he wanted one that had multiple rooms that he could make people wait for him in. Smiling he stood up as he was informed he could see Carter now.
Standing in front of the man was a harrowing ordeal, Carter ran much of the town that the law didn’t and because of that is the reason that Jayk had found himself delivering messages on his behalf.
“And the vial boy?” Carter asked extending a hand.
Reaching into a hidden internal pouch sewn into his jacket he produced the little glass vial before handing it over. As Jayk put it into the hand of Carter he froze, he had seen that exact same vial moments before.
“Will you be available in a few weeks time for another courier job Jayk?” Carter asked as he opened a draw in his desk to bring out a pouch of coins.
“Yes sir, happy to be of service” Jayk replied hungrily.
“Good. ” Carter almost smiled “here, this is for you in advance. You remind me of me when I was younger. I hope that my show of faith is not misspent?” he tested.
Opening the pouch Jayk could count only 20 gold pieces before the first layer obscured the rest. “Yes sir. You can trust me”
Carter just smiled before nodding to the door.
Jayk watched Grant rubbing his temples as he tried to make sense out of the story he was told. Jayk didn’t mention anything to do with Carter and had changed his story a bit to only being told about the break in and stolen potion, he wasn’t stupid and he liked the gold from the street king and he knew Phil wouldn’t want to be known as an affiliate of him either.
“So you think this potion turned the man into an apple.. ” Grant muttered.
“yup.” Jayk answered.
Sighing Grant stood up and opened the door to the room. “You can go now Jayk. I don’t thing magic apples or what ever it is here has anything to do with the Wagon heist.
Ok, that turned into a bit of a bigger writeup than I had intended. But I hope it was worth it! If you liked it, or didn’t, feel free to let me know. I aim to create a magic item block for the potion this week as well so keep and eye out for that.
Don’t forget to come back each day this week for more Dice-ember content. If you have fellow DMs, adventuring guilds or people who may like have a casual read of this type of content please share it around – Shameless plug I know but the more people that read this potentially the more TTRPG games that can be spun up and that can only be a good thing right?
Oh and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe