Log:Pound of Flesh
|Pound of Flesh
18 June, 2017
Damion goes to make a bargain at Wild Roses
It's another Sunday. It's the Hedge. To be more specific, it's the Goblin Market known as Wild Roses, and it's pretty hoppin' on this particular day. Plenty of hobs, plenty of Lost, plenty of the other things. Everyone's behaving themselves. Many stalls are open, mostly by hobs, a few by Lost. I other words, it's yet another day.
Nifty things are being sold all over the place. There's stalls selling fruit, both mundane and hedge-like. Other stalls sell fantastical weapons. One stall seems to be selling something that looks like it's out of some Baeurle illustration to a Christina Rossetti poem. And there's one pushcart, with the sides let down and the wares on display.
The sign atop the pushcart reads "Everyday Joe, Bargains To Be Had." The hob who owns the pushcart is sitting on a camp chair at one end, with mirrors up on the other end to prevent stealing. Some of the wares on display involve strange clay amulets, a single sword that isn't very shiny, cans of soup and beans and other foods that all have the Kroger imprint, a knife that's the color of rust, carefully displayed with the cutting edge up, a tiny tree whose hair is on fire, but has a headband so the sparks stay away from its face, and several framed pictures that have black drapes on them. Everyday Joe seems to be eating a sandwich.
Damion is fully kitted out in armor and weapons because, well. It's the Hedge. And these are hobs. You can never be too careful around either. He's looking for something rather specific. Something he's not even entirely sure it's POSSIBLE for him to find. Except....everything is possible with the Wyrd, right? He stops and speaks at one stall, only talking briefly before sighing and moving to the next. Then he sees Joe's stall, and he considers the wares carefully for a time. Odd. Very odd. Well, that's promising. He comes to a stop in front of the cart, studying some of the items more closely. Eventually he glances over at the merchant. "Afternoon. Interesting wares you have here."
Everyday Joe nods at Damion and shifts his mouthful of food to one cheek. "Thanks!" he says, muffled. "The wares are more interesting now, but it used to be I had a real fun life. That's before I got married. You'd think the wife wouldn't mind what I used to sell, it's what got me her in the first place. She didn't mind the extra husband I got, but when it came to the sheep, she put her foot down. "Joe," she says to me. "I welcomed Owen into the family like a trooper, but the sheep aren't even USEFUL, someone crossed them with rats, so they have large teeth and no wool!" So, there I was, stuck with a herd of totally useless sheep and out of my usual stock. I managed to trade the sheep to someone who wants to cross-breed them wooly, toothless rats to see if he can get something workable. And in the meantime, I am, as you see, full of some of the strangest things imaginable."
Joe stops to chew and swallow, then says, "Take that sword over there. I could offer it to you for another sword! It's guaranteed to be completely useless! Or those canned goods." There's another pause and he says, "The canned goods are cheap. It's the can opener that gets pricey."
Damion listens to the complaints of the hob merchant, and cna't help being somewhat amused by him. "You know. There are wool-bearing, non-sharp sheep in the mortal world." He looks over the wares again and considers the sword. "Guaranteed to be useless, huh. I suppose I cna see how that might be useful in some situations." He looks over the cans of food. "Mm. Not big on lima beans to be honest." Finally he looks up at the Hob, expression seriousening. "Honestly though. There's something specific I'm looking for. How are you at....procuring hard to find items?" Best to see if there's any chance of this guy getting him what he needs before moving on to the next one.
Everyday Joe looks from side to side, shiftily, and puts his sandwich down. This is Srs. Bizness, yo. He leans forward. "What are you looking for?" he says to Damion.
Damion takes a deep breath, and rests his hands on the cart in front of him, leaning in to murmur to the hob, "Memories." a pause. "Not mine. Somebody elses. They were taken from him at a certain point in the past...well. That or ones he has were never real to begin with. I'm not sure which it might be. Basically, I want to get the truth of what happenned back for him."
"Aaaaah," says Everyday Joe, thoughtfully. He considers Damion for a moment and then says, "I have some in stock. But you want a specific one, I think." The little tree opens its eyes and looks over at Damion and says, "I could probably answer some of your questions. Three questions, no more. But I charge more than he does. And you might not understand my answers." Then the little tree appears to go to sleep again, having dismissed everyone around. Joe looks at it, then Damion. "He's not wrong. But he can only answer when he's awake and my hat. Best to try him on another day. What memory is it you need? Who's it for? Any clue which of the Gentlemen?"
Damion blinks a few times at the tree when it talks, then looks back at Everyday Joe. "Mmm. Before I tell you that, you have to promise not to sell, trade or give away any of this information to anybody else, alright?" He waits.
"It's that good? But if it's gonna get me a sale, I can agree to that," says Everyday Joe. He starts to spit into his hand, but stops and looks at Damion. He puts his hand on his sandwich and raises the other one and says, "I pledge on my lunch that I won't sell, trade, or give away any of the information you're about to give me. Unless I have to in order to get the goods. It could happen. If I lie, may my sandwich eat me, instead."
Damion shrugs his head. "Maybe, maybe not. I'd rather be safe than sorry. You understand." He waits for a few moments then says, "It's for the Lost known as Rorschach. The memories, are of his lover. The one he followed into the Hedge, only for both of them to be taken away. As for the Gentry.... it was the Borrower. Either they took away the details of who this lover was, or they created them entirely and inserted them into his head. Whichever it is, I want to give him the truth of it back."
The hob nods at Damion, and says, "Hang on a moment." Then he pokes about some bottles and jars of hand cream on the other side of the wagon. "Ok, I don't got it now. Give me a few minutes. Don't go anywhere. And don't let anyone take anything off my cart. You can look around it to see if you want somethin'." There's a pause and he points out the rusty-looking blade. "That's made out of blood. Don't touch it, it'll cut through anything. Never needs sharpening. Look at it wrong, it'll take out your eyes. It's sharp."
Joe pulls a hole out of his pocket and sticks his head in. He yells something in some other language to whatever's on the other side, then climbs in it. The hole hangs there in midair.
Damion starts to look directly at the knife in question, then wonders if he was serious about even looking at it wrong cutting somebody and decides against it. He instead watches other passerbys in the street, making sure none of them get too close to the cart and try to take anything. He waits patiently, or as patiently as he can manage anyway. A few minutes seems like a remarkably short amount of time to him if he can actually get what he's looking for here.
In what's about 20 minutes, Damion-time, Joe comes climbing out of the hole again. Well, he's trying. He seems to be on a ladder, coming feet first through it, and hanging onto something on the other side of the hole. When he realizes his feet are about an inch from the ground, he lets go. He's got full pockets, which he unloads into a tray under the part holding his sandwich. That being done, he takes the hole down and puts it back into his pocket. "I've got a hole in me pocket," he gravely informs Damion, in a Liverpool accent. Then he bursts into guffaws. "I wonder how many of those it'd take to fill the Albert Hall." He shakes his head, then takes a HUGE bite of his sandwich. "That took me about three months. I think I got what you want, but it's gonna cost ya, there's the labor to consider!"
Damion looks over to the hole when Average Joe begins to emerge again. He's considering offering the merchant a little bit of help getting out when he drops down on his own and unloads his pockets. His lips quirk up at the comment from him. "Yeah, you sure do. Looks useful honestly." He tried to get a glimpse of what he unloaded, and blinks a few times at the response. "Yeah?" His lips peel back from his sharp black teeth in a grin. "That's great! Yeah, I figured it was going to be expensive. So..." Yeah, this is the part he's definetly not been looking for. He has no idea what he's going to ask for, but he's sure it's not going to be something he'll want to give up. The Wyrd just doesn't work that way. "What's it going to cost me?"
Great! Time for the haggling! "Well, now, that's the thing. Turns out your boy didn't come from the Borrower. Just passed through there. Took me and the wife and husband three months of our own time to track down the memory and get it back here. Barely took the time to bathe." He did, however, bathe. Be glad.
Everyday Joe pulls a small container out of his pocket. It's carved out of some kind of stone, much like alabaster or soapstone, but it's the shade of the new leaves. Holes have been carved into the lid, and something seems to be peeping out this hole, then pulling back and looking out of that hole. It's very hard to tell what the little thing is, except it's the same shade of stone and seems quite happy.
The hob looks at Damion speculatively. "The memory of the kindest thing you've ever done, and a piece of your heart to go with it. Not the physical one. I have the right tool for extracting it. It'll hurt, no use lying about that." The container looks like this, but green: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/600x315/6a/8f/a0/6a8fa078d199793acc5cb13b4e9ca490.jpg
Well. That's...huh. Damion isn't even sure what that first one would be. He studies the box curiously, bending down to peer through the hole, trying to see what that is inside of it. "Mmm. This is all under the understanding if it's not actually what you say, I'll get a full refund, right? I'm not saying you'd try to trick me. But you have to cover your bases." He straightens up again and drums his fingers on the cart. "I understand that you did a lot of legwork getting this item. But, you have to admit, there would be a lot more buyers for part of the heart of a Lost than there would be for the memories about somebodies relaitonship with one specific person. Giving up both of those seems a bit steep, doesn't it? Instead of the memory of the kindest thing I've ever done, how about...." He considers. Crap. What WOULD he rather give up? It's honestly the heart thing that sounds more troublesome. But he doubts he's going to drop that one. "...the memory of the best meal I've ever had?" Okay. That sounds like a weak counter-offer even to him.
Looking mildly affronted, Joe narrows his eyes. "Full refund if it's not what you're looking for. IF you meet my price...you have GOT to be kidding me! And me with a wife and a husband to support and you want me to do it on the memory of a meal? This isn't just any memory I'm giving you, it's /precisely/ what you asked for! AND with incomplete information, I nearly had to give up my nu...manhood for this memory! And me with a wife and a husband to sati...suppport!"
Damion sighs. Okay. He's really not good at this. "Okay...yeah. I see where you're coming from. I'll agree then." He's kind of curious what it is he's going to forget having done. Ah well. He glances around. "So. Where would we go to do this....whole thing?" He's starting to get a little nervous about this. Well, more nervous. But it's for a good caused. He just has to remember what Rorschach looked like when he nearly crumbled from doubting his own memories.
Joe perks up. "Really? You're gonna..." He stops. Yeah, it might be the first time he's ever gotten his asking price. He takes out two little stone bottles and opens them up, laying them out next to the mostly-gone sandwich. "Ok, hang on a second." He grabs the knife he warned Damion not to look out. "Hold out your arms like this," and he holds them straight out at shoulder level. Crucifixion position. "This is gonna hurt, but you won't bleed." Then he pulls out a step stool.
He puts it down, about two feet away from Damion and climbs up on it. He reaches out until he can touch Damion's forehead and then pulls his hand back, taking something like ethereal silly putty with it that looks an awful lot like the color of a sunrise. He draws it out, and makes a single cut, that sears Damion to what's left of his soul, then disappears as quickly. "That's the memory. Now for the heart." The memory goes into one of the bottles and gets sealed, then it's back to the stepstool, where he repeats the process but at Damion's heart area. More like the heart chakra area. What he pulls out this time is red, and he takes a small piece of that with the knife, too, before watching it snap back into Damion's body. This time the pain lasts longer than a split second, and seems to permeate Damion's spine. The memory of the pain in both areas lasts a lot longer than the actual pain, but it's almost like an after-burn. The bit of heart goes into the other bottle and gets sealed up.
Damion slowly extends his arms out to either side, an apprehensive look on his face. When the man pulls out that memory and slices it away he hises at the burn racing through his etheral self into his tattered soul. Christ, that hurts. He's never felt anything like...oh, wait. Nevermind. The heart hurts worse. The heart hurts much worse. He shudders, his body going rigid as he grits his teeth and tries to keep from moving and making the merchant acciently cut off more than he meant to of his heart. He drops to his knees once they're both gone, resting forward on his hands and groaning. Then he feels....strange. His body feels like it's...swelling? Not a lot. But his armor, which had always been a bit too loose on him, suddenly feels like it's more snug around him. He gains several inches in fact. The red of his scales darkens further, and beneath the armor, what few areas (other than... you know) that hadn't yet been covered by scales spontaenously sprout them now. Then there's another, lesser burning from either temple. Black draconic horns sprout out and curl up along either side of his head. And as he stares at the ground, the green in his eyes fades away, leaving them just a bright, almost molten orange. He pants heavily as he tries to recover from the sensation. "Fucking hell..." Finally he swallows, and slowly pushes himself to his feet, a bit unsteadily. "Is that it then?"
"That's it!" says Joe, gleefully, trying not to rub his hands together. He hands over the small container. "Have your friend rub the lotion in there on his temples, wrists and over his heart. There should be just enough. The memory will come to him. If you're not satisfied, bring the friend and the container back and I'll return the goods. I have a twenty-one day return policy, but after that, all bets are off and all sales are final." He considers Damion and says, "I'll throw this in, just for you being a good sport." He considers the lima beans but settles on a small clay amulet of a frog. "Wear this, it'll make the burning subside. The amulet will disappear when the burning does, should take about three hours. Pleasure doin' business with you!" He adds, "The person who uses the cream gets the memory, though, so don't you use it, it's non-transferable after use."
Damion takes the amulet from the hob, and puts it on. He sighs in relief when the burning fades. "Thank you, Joe. It was...good doing business with you." He takes the box from him, carefully tucking it into a pouch on his armor. "If this works, I'll be sure to come back again next time I need something." He raises a hand to the merchant, then turns and starts for the exit from the market, into the Hedge and back to the mortal world. He'll have to make sure the bug stops by soon to give him that.