07.31.3013: Unpleasant Gift
Summary: Part I - Demos receives a strange gift, he and Balius begin to ponder who sent it.
Date: 31st July 2013
Related: None
Balius Demos 

The Heartwood
This is perhaps one of the largest promenades of the tree city. It spans between the large trunks of three elderwoods, branches used to support the heavy circular plaza. Residing in this promenade are dozens of stores and shops, as well as access to the lower levels of the city. Peddlers of goods move easily through the plaza, trapping visitors and natives with a hopeful sale of their unique and usually handmade goods. At the center of the promenade is a large, sprawling basin where rain water has been collected for generations creating a natural and yet manmade pool. This is a popular place to cross paths with other residents of Arborenin and maneuver through the tiered city.

The cool air of the Heartwood swathes the forest homes of many, amidst that is Demos. He is making his way from the Ways through the branches, walkways, and bridges to the Taphouse. Ready to have a break for a meal perhaps, maybe meeting someone there even. Everything seems in good spirits about him. Nearing the entry a young man approaches, dressed slightly above a pauper, perhaps a porter or errand boy of some sort. He offers over a small parcel or box, wrapped brown, and tied with black string, towards the scholar.

"There you are Mr, hard one to find," says the young man, ash of hair, a tinge to his face that is either from some sun or dirt, half a smile.

Without thinking, Demos takes the parcel, "Why thank you." He looks consfused, unexpecting such an item at this moment in time.

Before he can think on it, the boy lifts a hand, "Fine day for some bread." A way of saying, he could use the money for food.

Demos reaches into a pouch, hands the boy some real money and then doesn't think about the parcel, but heads for the Taphouse.

Balius is outside the Taphouse, barefooted and in typical green tunic. To the observant eye, he will have shaved and put some product in his hair, which is a severely rare occurrence thus far in the stablehand's life. Seeing his friend, he will emerge from his thoughts and wave "Hey Demos!"

Grinning with a wave to the other, Demos returns, "Hello Balius." Then comes up closer to a conversational distance. "Its always fresh, the air here. I'm not used to this amount of humidity in the air, let alone how comfortable it feels. A far cry from the desert, I think that's why I like visiting here." Waving a hand towards the Taphouse itself, he ponders, "Anything good today, I could use something to actually warm me up."

Heading on in, Bey will nod with a knowing smile. He loves his home, his local place. There's a sense of calm and peace. "I've never understood those who would spend all their time surrounded by the artificial and synthetic. Life is here. Breathing and moving. The wisdom of the ages is in these trees." He'll sit at a round table. "I think they've got stew or some venison with veggies."

"Venison sounds like a winner," says Demos, taking his own seat and putting the small parcel on the table. Eyes pondering it a moment, "I'm actually in agreement with you there, perhaps disagreeing with my stay on the Ring, but that is where a scholar errant is most likely to work outside of the Academ. I have a place on Detritus, and visit the surface as time permits." Then lifting the parcel again, "You dont mind if I see what this is about?"

Balius will nod at the package with his usual curiosity. "I think I'll stick with the stew. And by all means, please save me the suspense." He'll smike at the jest.

Tacking to the parcel, Demos removes the string, unwraps the content. It is indeed a box, maybe bigger than a hand at best. It is wrapped more so, with purple fabric of some kind and a black ribbon. Lifting a brow, Demos tears into it, curious why someone would do such a thing as evident by his confused curiousity. "Hopefully that's not insider information, and the Venison is as good as I hope," regarding Bey preferring the stew, or sticking to it. He lifts the lid on the box and looks stunned a moment. Putting it down, he seems at a loss for words, slowly he finds them, "That's .. just, bizarre .."

In the box is what appears to be a rotten apple, halved, maybe cored just enough to look like a skull. Then what looks like a toothpick, 2 inches long perhaps, is stuck into the right 'eye' socket and there is a black flag on it. Instead of being raised though, he 'flag' is at the bottom of the pick, below half-mast by that measure.

Balius will chuckle. "I'm picky about my meat is all. The stew makes it more tender I-" The young Quellton will stop abruptly when Demos finishes unwrapping his 'gift.' He seems utterly concerned and worried by the parcel…and confused. He keeps looking to his friend's reaction and immediately seems on edge and paranoid that someone is watching them. "Uh…got yourself some admirers who are…fruit smuggling pirates?"

There is a slight push away of the gift, Demos shakes his head some. "If only, I don't think I know any pirates. Some artists yet, but they wouldn't send something like this." Then without disturbing the contents, he looks around the parcel, as if to see a 'from' sort of indication on it. That search would seem to be turning fruitless as he looks around what few scant wrappings there are left from it. "I don't know, I mean, I may have upset some gem merchants of late, pointing out flaws, haggling. But this … I'm baffled … Is it supposed to mean something?"

Concern increased with the unknown, but there's also a thrilling rush of adrenaline that Bey is just barely cognizant of. "Fruit would probably have been purchased at a market. It's definitely a negative omen." He'll focus his mind to the matter at hand, while devouring his stew. Mouth full of food, he'll continue "Any gangs on the Ring?"

"None that I know of," says Demos, perhaps more on the protected side living close to the labs. Then a pause, he grabs the lid to check as well, nope, no names turning up, no addressed to even. "That's not true, I mean, I know there are some criminals and the like, but I don't know any." A pause then, "Wait, I met a girl the other day, all black sort of, hacking away at her tablet. Said she was an analysist, but couldnn't escape her life … no, I don't think she's in a gang, that's probably me skewing my perception." Though he is pondering the Ring and criminals as Bey brought it up. By his look his pondering all of his past, but there doesn't seem to be any 'rung bells' of realization coming to him, just confusion.

Balius will nod pensively, thinking of his Da's gambling debts and the loan sharks. While this was a great deal more…imaginative and dramatic…it fit his perception of the darker figures on the ring. "Any of the gem merchants work or have connections with smugglers? This is very obviously meant to convey a clear threatening message, my friend." The stablehand seems ready to solve the pizzle and enact a solution.

Lifting a hand and leaning back, Demos thinks on that one for the moment. Giving up on names and identifiers other than obscure symbolism, one hand comes to his whikers, as if to pull at them even though they're not that long. "No, well, most likely, I'm sure some of them do know a few with no questions asked. But …" Then he makes a fist with the hand under his chin, lifting one finger and extending in front of that chin. "You know, recently I've been examining the walls of Detritus, because of the Hostiles, I brought in an expert eye to see if one could sneak in and out undetected, to make it more secure …" That could be a trail, the idea of smuggling seems to have triggered it.

Connection lost … scene cut …

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