Money Makes the World Go Round - Part 6
(Previous Chapter: http://www.erfworld.com/blog/view/50369/money-makes-the-world-go-round-part-5)
The meeting with his Toolship was actually easier than expected. Some of this was because he seemed rather distracted, always looking out the window at his great city, and even stroking the glass at one point. He gave no reason for this, and while no one Drachma questioned was quite sure of what was on his mind. This did have the advantage of allowing the Moneymancer to dictate his own terms, which he kept moderate, not wanting to irritate the Warlords around him. It mostly dealt with his upkeep cost, a per turn salary, and a bunk in any Gobwin Knob city he desired.
His part in it was simple. Up to half his juice per turn would be spent as the Warlords of Gobwin Knob, or its Overlord of course, wanted. He would field questions from Parson, answering them truthfully, so long as they didn’t violate sacred trusts placed in him by the other Bank Heads. He was also to link, a stipulation he almost said no to, but Maggie, the Thinkamancer, assured him she had several Master Class Thinkers waiting in the EmmKay should something go wrong to untangle his thoughts from the others.
After that, Drachma claimed a room in the tower, and settled in. By the time the end of turn happened, he had the room looking almost as good as the one he’d been in in the morning, including his huge gem bed, which sparkled as the last rays of the sun came in the small window beside him. Looking around, nodding to himself, he stepped outside to find Parson, Duncan, and Ansom waiting for him, the three men motioning for him to follow them.
They took him down into the depths of the city, not quite to the dungeons, but rather to a storeroom where they’d placed the majority of their magic items, each spaced out on a table. Parson then had him go around and state the value of each one, writing it on a sheet of paper, before placing that in front of the item on the table, until each had its cost listed in front of it, with a master list in Parson’s hand that the three Warlords huddled around, discussing the items in question.
“Tell me, where did you get such a collection as this? Most of these items are of quite good make,” commented Drachma as he picked up the Laurel once again, playing with it idly as he looked towards them. This question seemed to surprise the men, who didn’t speak for a moment, till Parson nodded towards a distant wall.
“We captured most of this in Spacerock, actually. The Dollamancer in our prison was apparently quite fond of making things in his spare time, at least according to some of the units. He never got to make too many, but what he did is of very good quality,” commented Parson, picking up one of the items, a bracer that fired a Shockamancy blast of surprising power.
“Indeed, these items are quite well made. Do you plan on Turning this Dollamancer to your side?” asked the Moneymancer, considering his options with that. Money could sometimes cause a Unit to forego its loyalty to its original Side, but it was rare, and if his information regarding Jetstone was correct, many of their Units were quite loyal to them. Still, the offer needed to be made.
“We’re discussing that tomorrow. I have some ideas on what to do with our prisoners, and a few things we need to go over. For now, we just want to make the most of your talents,” he said, and spoke no more on the subject, before returning to the item list. Sadly, Drachma couldn’t copy the Bracer that Parson wore, as they found out a few minutes later when he’d been asked to do so. Still, even with that setback, the Laurel soon had a dozen brothers to go with it, and the ‘Jetpack’, as Parson called the Flight inducing item, was soon joined by enough copies to equip the Warlords of Gobwin Knob.
Mind, it was here that he’d had to inform Parson of the limits of his talents. While he could copy what already existed easily enough, he could not alter them in any way. The aesthetics of the item remained firmly rooted in Jetstone’s own, with their crest firmly on it. Parson didn’t seem to care too much, however, especially after floating around on the thing for a moment, and then going over all the tactical advantages it would give them in their coming battles.
He then asked a hard question. Drachma could make things, not just duplicate them. Of course, making without a base was draining, and far more costly than simply copying as he was doing. It required expenditures in Juice and shmuckers that were far greater, though he knew a few items that might interest Parson if it came down to it. Parson was more interested in units, rather than items though, and soon brought him to what he called a ‘Grave’, and explained.
A while ago, many turns ago, Gobwin Knob had had a Lookamancer, Misty. She’d died due to a bad link break, and Parson was curious if he could bring her back. Her body had, of course, depopped long ago, but the image of her on the ‘Headstone’ was rather clear, having been made by Sizemore at Parson’s request. Looking at the image, feeling it with his fingers, Drachma felt a heaviness in his heart, as he remembered all the ones he would bring back, if he could.
He had to tell Parson he was no Titan, and Croaking was the end. Well, Decrypting now, but Croak meant gone. He could make Golems, of almost every sort, but nothing alive in the way a normal Unit was. Parson did something incredible then. He apologized for wasting the Caster’s time, and obviously upsetting him. Warlords and Rulers tended not to care for their units in that way. Heck, units didn’t tend to care for units in that way, like a Caster to their Golems, or a Ruler to their Heir.
That was Drachma’s second hint of how different Parson was, when he placed a hand on Drachma’s shoulder, to show he understood how it felt to lose someone. He didn’t ask Drachma to elaborate either, he just wanted him to know, he wasn’t alone in that grief, as three young faces, three young, stupid kids, flitted across his mind. Drachma thanked him for that as well, before they resumed the workshop, and Drachma was set about making as many items as he could, an example of each so they could inspect it.
By the middle of the night, they had a treasure trove, including the Shield of Mirrors, which could reflect Shockamancy attacks, to the Sword of CroakGolem, supposedly forged via a Croakamancer/Dollamancer link, and able to take life from any golem in a single swing. He even reached far back into his memory and gave them a cannon from his old days, a Harpoon Cannon, which Parson saw potential in, especially if it could be sized to fit on a dwagon.
When he called an end to it, because he’d used up more than nine-tenths of his stored Juice, he’d been allowed to retire, with the Warlords going over each of the items in turn. He left as Parson suggested ways to use them that sounded novel, and Drachma would have paid more attention, if he hadn’t been exhausted. So he left the room and made his way back up the tower, finding his chamber gleaming just as it should, and letting him lay down on his gem, resting his head on a silk pillow.
He didn’t drift off to sleep right away, of course. He was thinking over his position. In many hundreds of turns, possibly thousands of them, he hadn’t left the Kingdom. And yet, now here he was, far from home. It made him nostalgic for his days on the old galleon he’d used to man, all alone as the thing had been a simple ship. Then he thought of Parson down below, as idealistic as the three kids he’d once sailed around the islands he’d lived on. A brown haired dashing rogue, a fiery redhead with a temper to match, and that demure blond girl in the silvery dress.
Then he thought of the questions Parson had asked. How Juice worked, what the limits of his range in item and unit making were, and a dozen other things besides. He’d been asked things Warlords either should have known instinctively, or things no Warlord ever wondered about. He was so interesting, that Drachma found himself not regretting his decision at all, though he would be tired the next day. He was a Master, and would be able to recover most of his Juice tonight, but even still, he went to bed wishing for more, as he wanted to see what idea the ‘Perfect Warlord’ would come up with next.