It was growing late and paddy Brincon was preparing to close up shop. He ran a small general equipment shop that had everything a traveler or sailor could need. Home spsun clothing made by women while they waited for their sons or husbands to come ashore from the nearby docks from which the hundreds of ships sailed. Lengths of rope and satchels and every odd and end someone might think of needing. It would all be gone one day. His son had been in the town guard and his wife a sailor. He had been content to sit and run his little shop. He had done well enough for himself and he had never had to worry about money. It was family he was lacking.
His son had died in service of the town Gaurd and was buried with honor, his wife's vessel had set out one day, and never returned. It was reported lost without trace after 3 years of no news. That had been 13 years ago. She had sworn to be back after 6 months and Given both him and his son that cocky grin of hers when she set off, the one that seemed to say " Don't worry so much " and 3 months after her departure their son had fallen to a brigand's knife. Some Lutrondae pirates had made a bold assault on a warehouse and the guard had been there to stop them. He had been told his son had fought heroically but had been out numbered. They had buried him in his uniform but his captain, a tiny Skitritch man had held aside the Sword breaker his son had been issued and given it to Paddy. Many Cultures like that of the skitriitch and hesken held knives and swords in high regard as a memento for a lost loved one. Paddy was sionact and didn't hold that custom but he had kept the sword breaker anyway. It was the only weapon he had in the shop, aside from the large cooking knife that his neighbor's wife had insisted he keep just in case. It was either take the cooking knife or one of the mean looking magazine fed pistols her husband made and sold. Both of them had been concerned about his safety since they had opened shop across the way and sold any type of weapon one could desire, from traditional blades to repeating rifles. That is one reason he never stocked weapons in his shop, there was a whole assortment of them across the street. The other is he had no taste for them at all now, after loosing his son to violence.
Sure he understood why people needed or even liked weapons, he had played with stick and pretended they were swords like all little boys and some girls did. But now they just were not of interest to him. He hadn't handled the sword breaker his son had borne since the day it was given to him after the funeral, it just sat in a box under the counter.
He was old now, he had started a family late and now he could feel the aches and creeks of age in his body as he stood to shutter the door and turn of the lamps. He was not a cripple who had to hobble to the door but walking with his stiff left ankle did not let him forget time was catching up to him. Before he could reach the door, it oppened and in walked an expensively dressed Vulpine. He was Valperet for sure and looked to be from the highest born families. He opened the door and stepped in with foppish grace before as gracefully turning and shutting then suttering the door.
" Now we can be wholly undisturbed" he says in an impeccable refined version of the trade language. " Oh do please return to the counter we have buisness to attend but it shant be long" He says in a cordial manner, as if speaking to a social equal instead of a lowly shop keep. Confused but compliant Paddy returned to the counter and smiled nervously. He had never seen this individual before but the the signet ring on his finger gave paddy an idea who it may be, one of the richest families in the country and not someone you can just say no to. He wondered if he was about to get into some serious trouble. A little part of him reminded him that it didn't matter, the shop was all that mattered and when he was gone it would be too. So why bother.
" My good man, i am sure you are wondering what i want from you, well the answer to that is, your wares, no not all of them i am not robbing or buying you out...." The foppish figure assured,
" I just require equipment, of the nature if not the quality of what i currently have." At this he opens his coat and shows he is well armed with a small-sword a fine dagger and a pistol that at first glance resemble a flintlock but was in fact a finely made lightning pistol. He had seen the like in the shop across the street, but they were no where near and elaborately decorated as this one.
" If you do not have an equivalent to some of these then no matter, i intend to replace it all." came the dandy's voice. The well dressed figure removed the long coat and set it on the counter, then he did the same with his waist coat and and shirt. Paddy could not help but wonder at what kind of surreal event had taken place that would cause a noblemen to undress before him and lay each expensive piece of clothing out neatly infront of him. His jaw slowly opened wider and wider while this all occurred. Now he stood behind his counter looking at the toned and well groomed aristocrat standing fully nude before him, all of his expensive clothing folded on the counter into neat individual displays.
" Now i believe we will start with undergarments." The fully nude figure said " Feel free to use these as a comparison with your stocks"
With his mouth still open Paddy walked over to a small closet full of clothing. It was there mostly because sometimes sailors bought new clothing when they come home to their families or an item becomes to worn and ragged for an unmarried sailor to repair. He dug through the item and found a pair of underwear, he held it out with a nervous smile. They fit well enough. after that his shop keepers habits kicked in and he assisted the nobleman as if he were any other customer. As he did he did notice the noblemen seem to listen intently to how he spoke and the next time the nobleman spoke his dialect became more relaxed and common. More sionact. It was as if with each piece of clothing he donned he slowly settled into a new culture. Valparet and Sionact were the same species if the educated could be believed. He remembered The son of the couple who ran the weapon shop telling him that one time when he had visited from the Mages guild school house one time years ago. The mage's guild ran Schools for any child who wanted to attend whether or not they had magical talents or aspirations so paddy had been seeing a lot of sailor's coming in saying they no longer worried what their kids got up to in the streets. Though some worried that their children might learn to do dangerous things there. This was not an unfounded fear as one child, returning from from was beset by street ruffians and would likely have been abducted. Instead 2 of the would be kidnappers turned themselves in and the 3rd was found, his blood frozen solid in an alley way. Paddy wasn't sure he liked magic much.
Soon the noblemen stood before him, in simple clothes, modest leather boots and homespun brown cloth breeches, a light canvas shirt with a more sturdily built vest with pockets and little holders. It was like a cheaper version of the type the he had seen his neighbor wear when he was doing work in his little engraving section. pockets for little tools and items needed by craftsmen, but would be useful for anyone who wanted to carry around a bunch of little things. He covered his well cared for hair with a bandana and he seemed to be trying out different postures to make himself look more commonly borne. Paddy felt a quick stab in his heart as the posture he settled on made him suddenly look like his son the day he had told him he was joining the guard. Relaxed and carefree but confident.
Taking a new look at this strange customer paddy was suddenly struck by something that had been obscured by the regal clothing. This young man had the same build coloration and now posture as his long departed son. His facial features even resembled that of his son's, it was as if paddy was looking at what it would look like if he had had another child, this young man looked like he could be brothers with his dear son.
" now we should be lookin at armaments..." The figure says suddenly breaking the moment. There is still a hint of valparet in his voice and the attempted affect of the slight Ogharm accent many sionact had would not fool many.
" I beg your pardon my good sir, but i don't really sell weapons, my associates across the street sell some fine..." paddy begins explaining.
" That be too bad then" The now too thick street accented response comes. " I t'won't be visiting the Hvjelbrot's shop, I will have to make do with what you have given me. "
" Take this letter and my garments to this address in the morning, they will give you the value of the clothing and weapons you are returning to them, also take this gold as a service fee" The now commonly dressed aristocrat says but in his normal highborn tone. He then produces a letter and seals it with fine wax and his signet ring. He then takes off the ring and puts it on the counter. He makes a motion of doffing his cap though it comes off a little strange as he is wearing a bandana instead of a cap and makes for the door. Paddy feels himself siezed again by the strange feeling that this was somehow His son's brother.
" Wait, i think i do something that may be of use to you" paddy says. He then reaches under the counter and pulls up the box with the sword breaker. He Opens it not knowing what to expect, it had sat in this box in its scabbard for more than a decade. He takes it up for the first time and hands it out to his strange customer.
" Why thank you any thing hel.." his words stop dead in his mouth them moment he touches it. Both Paddy and the customer are staring at the plain leather and brass scabbard with the a small crest of the city guard on it. Both are transfixed by a strange connection. Slowly the customer starts murmuring an Ogharm a lullybly, one Paddy and his wife had often sung to their son when they were together, and one that paddy had sung to him when his wife was out at sea. Paddy's eye's lifted from the swordbreaker and into his son's eyes in a face that could have been that of a brother he never had.
The moment was broken when the strange customer pulls paddy into a hug. The moment returns when the stranger with his son's voice speaks.
" I am so sorry i never returned home to you father. I will find mom i promise." Then paddy has a feeling of his son suddenly receding a with a long overdue fair well. The Customer pulls back and looks embarrassed for a moment, having been privy to a rather private moment albeit one his body had been involved in. He quietly hangs the sword breaker at his side then says in a completely natural sounding common accent bids the shop keeper a good evening, and steps out the door. Paddy had the same feeling he always had when his wife went on a long voyage, a Goodbye for now but fully expecting to see the person again and with the same intense emotion, somehow this stranger had become family in an instant and it felt permanent. He looked at all the expensive garments and the sealed letter with the address written neatly on it. It was the Address for the largest most prominent house in the upper city. It would take a good chunk of tomorrow to get there but the small pouch with the "Service fee" covered more money than he made in months of decent business. This didn't feel like a financial matter though, and the money felt secondary to the completion of these events. It was as if he had been given closure and had promised to provide it for someone else in return. He finally looked away deciding to get some sleep in preparation for what ever tomorrow brought. He jumped startled at meeting a pair of large yellow eyes.
There sitting in the back of the shop that could not be described as anything but very large. When standing he would be a little over 7 feet tall. He was thickly set and had an impressively sized belly, even by hesken standards and hesken men tended to be large in the stomach. That impressive mass was shown off by what looked to be a light blue tunic of light and fine material that was belted at the hips by a red sash. That sash vanished beneath the overhand of his stomach but at his side he saw the figure had a large knife hanging from a belt hidden under the sash. His plump legs were sqeezed tightly into leather trousers and he had sturdy but shiny black boots. His face was broad and snowy white, but translucent and growing more clear by the second. Paddy saw him fully fade into visibility but his eyes always appeared first. He had seen this before. He knew who this was despite not having seen him in a long while.
" By the Sacred light lad, ya scared me!" paddy exclaims and sits down on the stool behind the counter.
" My apologies for that" The large figure says with an apologetic grin that caused the loose folds of his jowls to jiggle slightly. his face and neck were as flabby as the rest of him, but it came of as disarmingly jolly when he smiled instead of massive and threatening.
" Whatcha doing here? shouldn't you be visiting your parents?" Paddy asked.
" They asked me to come over when they saw your sudden visitor enter your shop, they thought he was up to no good and want me here just in case. Mother knows you won't use the knife she left you. " The large figure responds.
" So she sent you to set him on fire if he did anything?" Paddy asks jokingly. Though Knowing Mrs.Hvjelbrot she may have actually told her son to do just that.
"She requested i rip his head of actually." He says Chagrined.
" Iffin i may ask, why were they so concerned as to send ye... how did you get in here?" Paddy asks.
" Walked through the wall." He answers nonchalantly. " As to why they knew who that was and thought he was going to do something terrible to you, his family is rich but not liked and even feared in the upper city."
" Who is he." Paddy asks.
" was he." the chubby mage says.
" What are you getting at lad?" paddy asks.
" He came here to become someone else, he did that, i think he hasn't wanted to be who he was for a long time now."
" Are you gonna be all cryptic and wizardy or ye gonna tell me who that was." Paddy says impatiently this man may be able to walk through walls and command forces paddy couldn't understand but he had also known him since he was stumbling around drooling as he learned to walk.
" You will find out who that was tomorrow when we take his clothes back to the address specified, and yes we, that family is ruthless enough to just kill you and take the clothing back no matter what that letter says. So having a mage along will be way safer. Especially me," He pauses and a look passes over his fat face and those yellow eye become almost luminous " That family knows well what i am capable of."
" Iffin ya say so, me old bones need some sleep." Paddy says as he gathers up the expensive clothes and stows them neatly.
" I will show myself out, i will come at 7 to acompany you up to the upper city, i will knock at the door and not just come in as i did when i was a kid"
" At least you learned some manners at that school." Paddy laughed. He climbed the stairs to his bedroom as he saw the astonishingly large figure fade and ripple into nothingness as his large, or nothing paddy could see, from what the boy had told him he entered a place that was near to the sate normal things lived in but different, when he did this he could walk through most solid barriers and move as if he were made of wind. Paddy didn't remember the magical name the boy had told him for the place but it sounded like somewhere most regular folks wouldn't like to go. In fact he remembered Mrs.Hvjelbrot telling him one time that most mages didn't like the place either, and for he son to get training in his talents he had to go far inland to even find a teacher who knew about it. He undressed and got in bed.
Paddy Brincon used to not like magic, had been always sliightly afraid of the Hvjelbrot boy when he had shown a talent for it. He had heard of people reduciing others to puddles of rotted mush with a look, and angry wizards bring whole castles down in their fury.
But tonight he had seen a different side of magic. As he started to drift off to sleep he begun singing the lullaby that he had sung so often to his sun. Tonight his son using a stranger's body and sung it to him before finally saying good bye after being dead 16 years. A mysterious force had seen fit to grant him peace while felt it wanted him to help bring the same closure someone else. Any force that could do that couldn't be as bad as he thought. Maybe magic could be as wondrous and beneficial as it could be scary. he thought as he began to drift to sleep. A last final thought entered his mind.
Just like people could.