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(Archive) Talking in whispers

Tags: Ban,  Brev

Short Summary: The library is the setting for an impromptu business meeting. Why so hush-hush?
Date (real-life): 2013-01-20
Scene Location: Esgaroth: Library
Date (in-game): December 3057
Time of Day: Evening

  Large oak bookcases cover the walls of this room and several wooden tables and chairs are neatly arranged in the middle of the room. Along the south wall is a table with several large rolled maps stacked neatly to one side. The other walls have several illustrations of the different scenes of Esgaroth. To your left you see an elderly librarian sitting behind a small simple desk.

Obvious exits:
 Out leads to The Town Hall.


Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service

Real Time: Sun Jan 20 15:08:20 2013 MST

Dale-Lands Time:
Monday, late night on a clear winter's night, December 27 of 3057


The sun sets early this far north in winter, and its last rays are extinguished by the time afternoon blends softly casual into evening. The scholars are leaving, save those who remain with their books and scrolls, and those who come to the library after their day-work is complete trickle in. Else it's all the same to the library, where there are no windows. Light makes pages fade.

Ban's black-gloved finger tracks a path across the bound volumes, moving from one title to the next as he slowly paces his aisle. The slight man with a scar on his cheek walks slowly, his pale eyes following his finger's movements. He stops, tugging out the book and cradling it in his hands. The title indicates it is a language and mathematics primer. He flips it open to the middle, skimming it slowly.

One of those moving against the tide is the tall grey-cloaked figure of Brev. He eases the door open gently and then pauses a moment to let his eyes adjust to the dimness before glancing over to see which librarian is on duty. He gives the scholar a polite nod, but the astute would note the slightly disappointed downturn to his mouth as he turns away. A one-shouldered shrug and he moves off along one of the aisles, only to halt midway at the sight of Ban. "Master Rhinvan!" Surprise echoes in the singsong tones, dutifully hushed though they may be. "I had not thought to see you here. Good day to you." Another of those polite nods.

Looking up from his book with an unusually sharp gaze, Ban meets Brev's gaze. "Master Brev," he answers. "Likewise. I was just reminded of you, in fact." He holds up the book for the craftsman to inspect, finger tapping at the title.

Brev turns his head to squint at the title. "Numbers," he says succinctly. "Does it tell you why the bloody things have to be entered at least twice in every ledger? If money's gone then it's hardly still there to be spent." He snorts dismissively (earning him a warning look from the librarian) - clearly he's not overly appreciative of accounts, however necessary they may be.

A pause, then he enquires casually, "Do I take it you're resuming some of your former business interests?" His features are carefully bland, giving little away.

Ban lets out a snort of his own. "That is a matter for my profession. Other books explain that, but they are perhaps even more dry." He jerks his head towards a table, atop of which his elaborately-carved walking stick rests, then walks over to pull out a chair at the table. Talking over his shoulder in a soft voice, he says, "All of them, yes." There is something coy in his tone - a private amusement or a knowing laugh wrapped up in speech to be kept out of plain sight.

One dark brow arches up at that statement, the suggestion of a private joke not lost on Brev. "I'm not interested in all of them," he states rather primly, conveying for a moment a hint of disapproval - Brev? The man whose first 'friend' in Laketown was Scampre? Apparently so. "I /am/ interested in how they affect matters under my jurisdiction. "Such as the infirmary. Time was you had some ideas for the place, Master Rhinvan."

"I still do," says the moneylender, sliding into the chair he just pulled out. Ban gestures at another chair at the table, pointing with his gloved hand. "Sit," he says in a stage-whisper. "Let us murmur of business in this silent place." He removes his walking stick from the top of the table and leans it against it. The primer, he rests on the table as well - its edges perfectly parallel to the sides of the table, after some minor adjustment.

Brev's lips twitch at that. "None so silent - even scholars speak sometimes, you know." A smile flickers at one side of his mouth and is gone.

He does, however, keep his voice down. He takes the chair across from Ban, leaning forward as he does to enquire, "Is there any reason to keep it private?" Such an innocent question - but he gives the moneylender a shrewd, assessing look."

"Perhaps; perhaps not," comes the noncommittal response. "But speaking of private, I may have found private investors to help defray the costs still further. Costs always exceed expectations, I find." Ban rests his cheek on his gloved fist, looking at Brev sideways. "I assume you have no objections if more gold finds its way into the project?"

Brev appears to be giving the matter careful consideration: once again one dark brow arches up, and he regards Ban in silence for some long moments. Eventually he shrugs. "If money's being offered to help folk, I don't generally enquire too much into its source." Briefly, one side of his mouth lifts up in a little half-smile. That fades as he adds with emphasis, "I do, however, prefer to be sure that money's not like to be snatched away again."

"Of course." Ban covers his mouth as a small chuckle escapes. "This is not the sort of investment that pays dividends in gold." He sits back up and crosses his arms behind his head, interlacing his fingers and stretching his arms up until there is a pop. He sighs contentedly, then lowers his hands and holds up one finger. "That-" he extends his thumb towards himself, "-is why I intend to act as treasurer, handling the donations and the like towards the new construction - not to intrude," he adds, "on the work done by your apprentice clerks, but the scale of this demands something more, I feel. Don't you?"

"I see." Those words fall oddly flat from Brev's lips; almost, one might fancy that the shadow on his swarthy features is disappointment. He composes his expression back to polite neutrality, then states, "I rather think, Master Rhinvan, that your noble sponsors will prefer the finances for your expansion project - it is expansion, is it? - to be handled by committee. After all, you've hardly proven reliable in the past year." He's straightened in his seat now, his own posture as stiff as Ban's is relaxed.

[Bernar(#16896)]  "Expansion and renovation, yes. Yes, well." Ban doesn't argue with the assesment, nor does he appear offended. Rather, he smiles. "They may well. But in any event, I will be handling the private donors' contributions. They have a confidence in my discretion and sympathy for the the plight of the Underdecks." The words sound almost rehearsed. His voice softens still further: "And an equal distrust that the Houses will prove interested in the project in the long run."

Brev snorts. "They damn well won't if you fleece them out of as much as a penny," he mutters. His own tones may be kept low but there's an edge to them that was not there before. "Which of course, would affect the Infirmary's donations too. While you were ... absent, I raised contributions from all four Houses for the place's upkeep," he gives a tight little smile, "but they won't last forever."

He's silent a while, then shrugs. "The Infirmary staff - myself or Ailith - will, of course, be involved in these ... expansion and renovation plans?" It's phrased as a query, but this time the arched brow seems to convey doubt.

The moneylender looks flummoxed. "Why, I believed we had the plans largely finished and in your hands before I left. The time for numbers was past, words still had to happen, and carpentry could make it a reality."

"It's *your* Infirmary, Master Brev. And perhaps," he adds offhandedly, "House Taurdain's, now."

Brev blinks. "No plans were presented to me. I seem to recall that at our last meeting in House Taurdain you were ready to storm out until Lady Isobel persuaded you otherwise. Then all communication from you ceased." A shrug. "So what exactly /is/ it you plan to do with larger premises now, Master Rhinvan?"

The final words set him chuckling, earning a glare from the librarian. He presses his lips together to muffle the sound, then composes himself enough to remark. "Mine? Hardly. Going by donations, the place was always Taurdain's - theirs and Girion's. Now, perhaps, Karath and Arathmor can lay claim to it also." There's a brief twitch at one side of his mouth at that last name.

The belated realization comes over Ban, and he leans forward, hissing at Brev, "You got gold out of House /Arathmor/?" He stares. "I thought there was no blood coming from that stone." He has the mien of a man staring into an infinite abyss.

Then he is present once more. "Forgive me, I was thinking of our preliminary discussion of the two buildings I acquired. You believed only part of the space would be useful for an infirmary, and the Lady Isobel, I believe, suggested a soup kitchen for the other building." He shrugs slightly. "You would know better than I whether the buildings need renovation or to be torn down and rebuilt entirely; you are there nearly every day, it seems. I have the deeds, and you have my authorization to reshape them as you wish whenever you see fit." Once upon a time he was deeply concerned about the details. No longer, it would seem.

At Ban's hiss Brev's cheek twitches, though there's a flicker of amusement in his eyes. "In a manner of speaking," he murmurs in answer. "Members from all four Houses have contributed to the project now."

The rest of the moneylender's speech has him frowning. "Perhaps you ought to be concerned about how the money's being disposed of?" he suggests. "Otherwise those ... potential donors might take fright."

 A pause, then he stands. "If," he emphasizes the word, "that is indeed the proposed use, I believe I can assist. I can draw up plans, get you a costing and when the time's right assemble a team to do the work. Sometimes it's handy to have two trades." He smiles, but it does not reach his eyes. "I could even source you some interior furnishings. But we'll see. Such matters can wait - if you'll excuse me, I've other things to take care of? I'm glad matters have been clarified, at least."

Ban doesn't rise with the carpenter. "Good to see you, Master Brev. I look forward to your estimates," he says loud enough that the librarian frowns at him, and he holds up his hands to her placatingly before his eyes descend to the primer - and then they follow Brev to the door. He's still looking that way, looking slightly lost, until Brev leaves, at which point he swallows convulsively, rubs at his eyes with his gloved hand, and then scowls at the glove itself.

Date added: 2014-11-28 09:39:44    Hits: 68
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