Here we go with the next installment of the story The Black Medallion. This is going to be a long one so as always I will have links to the story below in story order.
Little light shone out from the inside of the pub. Shaper stones lined the walls in regular intervals to keep the world inside separate from the outside. As Tisdan looked up and down the street, he saw little more than typical day traffic for midtown. Most spent their time around the shops further down the road. The pub didn’t advertise and you wouldn’t find anyone loitering around the outside for long. Arnessa’s was popular, for reasons beyond its ability to pull in street traffic.
He turned back to the pub entrance, pushed the door open, and slipped through. A large metallic arm barred him from stepping beyond the entryway.
M Ton, the gate keeper, was always on duty and never missed a mark. He held the post well, could not be bribed, and few were willing to try their hand at taking him down. The metal man felt nothing but the dedication to his job. He towered over Tisdan, and stood twice as wide.
Tisdan pulled at the chain around his neck to flash the bauble dangling at its end. He looked at the behemoth expectantly without saying a word.
Copper, lidless eyes flashed with an electric spark at the sight of the bauble. M Ton lowered its arm. “Mind yourself.” The voice, a dull echo.
The lighting inside wasn’t the best, enough to know what was set in front of you when your food was delivered. In another setting, it could be called mood lighting. In Arnessa’s the sparse lighting spread ominous shadows across the tables. Booths along both walls were dark rich woods and leather. Tables were placed intermittently through the center of the room before the bar along the back wall.
Mr. Swintle held his own private booth to the right of the bar; a walled booth which afforded the most privacy available in the entire bar. He had no guards. Weapons were not allowed in Arnessa’s, M Ton made sure of it.
Swintle kept odd hours, but he was one of the few fences that Tisdan could count on to know the random odd, like the medallion. He didn’t expect much but anything was better than nothing.
Tisdan stepped up to the bar and placed a coin down. Without looking directly at him, one of the faucet jockeys pulled a pint and set it in front of him. He was not even halfway through Arnessa’s cheap when he felt the compulsion for the booth.
He crossed the barrier, and stepped into a different world. Crushed red velvet and soft oak stood in stark contrast to the dark leather and deeply stained woods in the pub proper. But that wasn’t the part that stood out. He had stepped into a pocket dimension, a place created through the aether. The wooden barrier was the doorway to Swintle’s home.
Dressed in a bright silk robe with extensive embroidery, Swintle lounged on large pillows. A girl in little more than a sirik, a chain that hobbled her ankles to her wrists, kneeled beside him pouring red liquid from a decanter into the goblet in his hand.
“I had a feeling I would see you soon.” He held out his hand, palm at the ready. “Hand it here.”
“Wh..what?” Tisdan had caught the eye of the girl, only briefly. She quickly turned away, a part of the background.
“Let me see it,” Swintle had an edge to his voice. “I have little time for foolishness.”
He pulled the amulet from his belt, glanced at it then placed it into Swintle’s hand. Hefting the weight of the amulet, he turned it casually back and forth. As he flipped it over his eyebrow lifted, his face opened in awe. With his free hand he traced the lettering on the back side. “Where did you get this?”
“It was in a purse earlier today.”
“I can’t help you.”
“What do you mean?”
Swintle’s voice changed slightly just a bit higher and more harried than it had been a moment ago. “Take it and go.”
Tisdan hadn’t heard the footsteps behind him until it was too late. A strong fist at the back of his shirt lifted him from the floor. As he Struggled to turn he saw the rest of M Ton lift him back into the bar. “Why?” No reply was offered. The entrance had closed in mist. M Ton threw him into the street, then turned back to the pub, and shut the door behind him.
Tisdan picked himself up and stepped briskly out of the way of an approaching carriage. After he dusted himself off he examined the amulet. It looked different than it had earlier. The amulet was the same one but something about it wasn’t quite the same as it was before going into the pub. This would take a bit more to figure out than he originally thought.
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