Keressa was almost enraged with annoyance, the other rooftop specters giving her a wide birth, wider than normal as the idiot ambassador scoured his war chest for his flight of fancy. Sure Yitael was an attractive prospect for a slave, especially seeing his defiance against castration that had him in a specialized collar. He was a capable warlock who curried favor with a foreign god who now treated him to powers that were only just dampened in rate of mana use as he had access to millennia of expertise. But the noblemen wanted him as a glorified dominatrix.
The man who started the Styx quakes.
Who fired the glass of the obsidian sea.
She paced. This idiot noble was buying the most dangerous toy on the planet and he was gonna have it humping him. She knew, KNEW his proclivities, he loved being dominated and he'd be doing his best to egg on the warlock. She pinched her nose, she wanted to punch something, tear at something, but nothing was available to destroy. Something would be soon, that sum of money would attract thieves from all over the city to try and take it.
She looked down the street where the caravan of one clerk, a slave and a grinning guard walked. The guards had done their best to make the warlock look like a new addition with a fresh cut or maybe a chomp. The bits of flesh between the guards teeth looked like a point to say 'new boy' but it wouldn't fool anyone if not for the ragged cloak drawn over the man. Appearing like this was a bit of subterfuge she knew, it'd be hard for anyone to get a good enough look at the slave to know who he was but the embassy would blow that cover, the trip back would be treacherous without more tricks or...
Keressa felt a wide grin spread over her human features, the moon wasn't out to betray her nocturnal side and she needed an outlet. Making her way down as the trio rounded the corner the noble was talking to the guards, practically bouncing as the bag of holding was loaded with the pins.
Tokime thought on the strange currency of the dessert, they were quarts spears of various colors, there was a weave of net most people never used to hold large bundles. The diamond pattern with wide knots let one stick some pins threw in a row then fold it back over the row of pins twice for a snug fit. Each one almost the length of his forearm with different colors for value bit all had the same curves and ridges of compressed quartz with a point at either end. Not fit for cutting but really hard to dislodge from anything they got stuck down into it was easy to see how the net and name came along. With the quantities he was dealing with the pins had been woven with the green 50s first then blue 10s, gold 5s and milky 1s in a long sheet that went down 4 before going up 2 and back down again.
It was satisfying work that distracted him for only so long then he started talking up his purchase to the guards. Describing how fit and well groomed he was, his sandy brown coat with an almost white underbelly, ranting about the build of this fox being subtly different from other foxes.
The guards looked down the road at the two different uniforms and one sad looking cloak, the weird lycanthrope coming out of a nearby alley. They were exasperated, they didn't care what kind bottle the beastman could fit in his sheath, nor what the idiot Tokime wanted to use it for in this sandy hell. The uniforms eyed the lycanthrope before a flash of recognition and a bow, but before anyone could speak the Idiot himself was on the case.
“Magnificent, since he has a defiant streak I would ask one of you come with me and help acclimate him proper” Tokime's words made the clerk protest the guard grim more the shade sigh and the guards regret taking this option over execution.
“I really must deny this request unless another city guard of equal or higher rank steps up to fill my wingman's place” Before he could finish or the lycanthrope could speak up the waxed steel plates of the Embassy's guards clattered from their raising hands.
“Us we volunteer, we will happily fill any post you require of us” they spoke in almost unison, shocking all but the ambidastor.
“No it won't do for foreign forces to escort the money they payed back to a depository” Ever the voice of why not the clerk delivered his words with a quiet understanding.
Just as the goblin looked as down as the guards Keressa spoke up
“Shade Keressa here willing to exchange positions with the assigned guard to allow him to fill his more specialized duties without delaying the escort” Equally sighs of relief and exasperation filed the air as the clerk nodded and retrieved the bag of holding from the ambassador, turning to trade one colleague for another as the collateral was delivered on the back of the warlock slave, making him look hunched under the cloak.
Keressa clapped the clerk on the shoulder and walked with him, he looked to her eye a lot more rugged than the standard elf but she wasn't gonna strike up the conversation till the embassy was well out of earshot. The bag of holding stowed in the jacket of the elf as he walked like he was loaded down in plate armor.
“Something weighing you down?” she asked
“What do you mean” he looked at her
“You seem heavy on your feet, tired, depressed, overfed?”
“No, no I just wear concealed armor, plates on my thighs and forearms concealed while the ones on my chest, shoulders and shins are shown.” He explained while gesturing, “The layered textile pad on my torso may make me look more like a heavy rogue than a proper paladin.”
“A paladin guarding the transactions of slaves? That's an unusual one” she remarked as the light caught his turquoise complexion in a way that made him almost look a deep green of a forest goblin.
“We have an unusual way of gathering and distributing slaves, some come here to specifically become slaves. Gods look on this place with curiosity and caution.”
“Thus a paladin as a slave driver” she scoffs
“It's more complicated than that,” he retorts before going on, “for one I am a clerk, I must keep track of who goes to who for how long and whether or not their payment is up to date, I must make sure abuse isn't happening to our workforce for rent and I have to make sure they are ready to leave when the time comes.”
“I know the general duties but why you?” she asks as they pass a storefront, nearing a small warehouse.
“Well I'm only half elf” he says like it explains all.
“No really, I Believe you” she put some extra emphasis there
“Okay listen, I'm part goblin”
“My ass” She blurted out, making him pout at her for a few paces. After enough time to call the silence awkward she rubbed between his shoulders, “Listen, I'm sorry but that seems so...”
“Antithetical? As similar as nature dwelling goblins and nature loving elves are they seem to arbor a lot of hate towards one another, so interbreeding is rarer than epic loot in the first floor of a dungeon. I get that but there's a story to my parents” He looked back to the shade and saw her watching with wrapped attention.
She had taken note of how his face was slightly more elongated than a normal elf's, how when he spoke the teeth around his canines were a little longer and more pointed than an elf's would be. Goblins in contrast to their more uncivilized gobite and hobgoblin forms had their sinuses actually inside their heads, giving them slightly extended faces that were otherwise normal looking. This required more jaw strength and thus more biting and tearing teeth to capitalize on the additional jaw bone strength and bite force. Bulking up their neck was the natural response to getting their face stuck in things and came with the upgrading of the rest of their spine, allowing more twisting force to apply threw it. Abdominal muscles became optimized for this twisting and so goblins had an impressively firm single sheet of muscle and a very built backside. So long as one had a heavy enough stick it could swing it was a threat, and near immune to auditory attack with their ears being big cartage scoops on the back of their heads capable of turning away and blunting all sounds not literally explosions. Where his ears were, how they twitched, his jaw, where the muscles for it were, him not being 6'5” like most elves but was closer to the maximum of where goblins got. The more she looked the more Keressa saw the goblin in him, meaning his skin was part forest green and moonlight blue.
“My dad was a pillager goblin of some moral character and his tribe was wanting to raid a nearby elf village for the medicine because some of the tribe were ill with summer fever, they were mustering and scouting when bandits attacked and came in force to grab what they needed. The bandits did the bandit thing to do and burned everything while taking nothing that was nailed down, they were busy raping villagers and when my dad saw this he flew into a rage. He put out the fires with bandit blood and ate their meat raw, the surviving villagers who'd been struggling to hold out had nothing to combat the goblins left and well, me and my half siblings happened. When the army came to track down who done it they found the village folk mostly fine, at least physically, and a small contingent of goblins. They tracked down where the village my dad had come from was and found one pillager class goblin left after a bloody battle from when the bandits raided then just before the main force got back.”
The clerk looked straight forward as he told the story, the shock still weighing on him as he spoke. Keressa clapped a hand on his jacketed shoulder, feeling the linen sandwiched mail underneath the newt skin of the jacket, the torchlight making the yellow orange stripes light up underneath. Tough leather with tougher fabric straps making a fancy “official” looking jacket that squealed bait to her and an exhausted, understanding smile that said “I can handle it”
Before the silence could extend much further a rogue jumped at Keressa from an alley. Not expecting eyes in the back of her head as a spectral arm flowed into the thief's lungs and solidified there. Ripping it out with a few chunks of gristle clinging to her arm Keressa looked back over to where a confusing sight greeted her.
The clerk's coat flowed in the air like it was made of silk as fist and leg met with the flesh of rogues and fighters who thought themselves out of the league of the two. Spinning on his toes he punched one and kicked out at another. Staying in place as both fell away and an assassin was caught out approaching from behind. A grip and twist as he lunged and the arm of the would be was twisted too far with a snap, followed by a sidestep and backhand that sent a great sword wielder spinning. Wiping his lip with a hand the swordsmen recovered with a glint in his eyes and the clerk pounded a fist into a palm.
Keressa covered his rear while the elongated glint of sword steel and an absolute blur of a man clashed with growing frequency. Then when she dark wizard a well deserved gut punch for attempting to subjugate her the swordsmen resorted to a grapple, sending the clerk head first into the ground. Only to himself be sent into some crates of nothing apparently, startling a gobit that was snoozing in the one as they all shattered. The swordsman slumped as the clerk settled himself with a deep breath and gesture, no more thieves running toward them. No archers or casters with weapons drawn, spells prepared or anything else aimed at them.
“They'd hate you with a bow staff” Keressa said with a cheery tone. She was happy to have competent coworkers.