As the donkey made the cart trundle through the wide and more narrow streets of Guillan, Skarsat spent little attention on the one barrel that had a not so harmless content, but was much more on the lookout for irregularities in the cobblestones beneath. If there was any pothole, any stone that protruded from its neighbours or any gap one of the wheel's could get stuck in suddenly, there could be trouble. He was not worried about provding as much of a comfortable ride as possible towards Neh'miah, but much more about the man banging his head against the barrel and crying out in pain. Such an unusual noise could end not only the thief's but also his very own journey much sooner than acceptable.
Skarsat felt his will to get over with this whole endeavour as efficiently as possible quite renewed given the prospect of returning to Guillan afterwards. Returning to this city meant paying the tavern another visit. Paying the tavern another visit meant quite probably bumping into a certain man. Bumping into that certain man offered the opportunity to rip him apart.
There were a few guards he and the cart passed by unharmed on their way towards the market. It seemed the barrel trick was working out nicely. If only Neh'miah would be able to hold out until the Tork had finished his business which he planned to do. If this market was as big as the whole city, then it was bound to include some goods he could use, too! Skarsat gave the donkey a gentle nudge to move just that bit further that was necessary to get the cart's cargo into the shadow cast by one of the adjacent buildings. Neh'miah moaning due to excessive heat induced by sunlight into an unventilated space was not something Skarsat was looking forward to, either.
Speaking of an unventilated space... Maybe he should have taken the time to just bash a small hole into the barrel while still at the warehouse and to turn the whole thing until it was hidden by the other barrels ? If something was built to hold a liquid, it was not only not ventilated, but outright airtight. That in turn meant he'd have to make a bit of a hurry out of his shopping tour or otherwise their ship would have a corpse on board even before departure...
Therefore, Skarsat decided to make his decision more based on his very first impression. Given this strategy there was one stand that attracted his attention more than any other... It was the large arrangement of bows and even more arrows with not only one, but two people behind the counter who, given that even the female one was rather towering over their average customer, likely were Tork. This initial characterization found confirmation as Skarsat came closer and could make out more details about their faces. Clearly Tork. What a surprise to see a couple of his countrymen and -women here!
The joy was not entirely mutual though, at least if one considered the looks on the male owner's face who darted a not so friendly look towards Skarsat. Was this guy disappointed that he was no longer the biggest bloke around here ? The woman quickly compensated for this by identifying herself as "Aniska"
while presenting a big smile. "Hello! What can we do for you ?"
she asked before putting down the arrow tip she had been working on with the grinding wheel."Do you have any good bows. For me, I mean ?"
Of course they had good bows... even they actually weren't good they'd still claim so because they were merchants who wanted to sell things. Tork were not above bantering, Skarsat knew that. He aimed his view onto the goods hanging from the ceiling and being stacked on the floor as far as he could see it, but also had to divert some observation time towards the cart. It still stood there with all barrels on board. Good...
Aniska looked at Skarsat up and down and then back up from his tremendous thighs to his more than just 'broad' shoulders, then could keep herself from grinning. She leaned against the counter with one hand and let the fist of the other one rest on her hip. "Lark ?"
she said in an almost teasing manner. "Do we still have that one thing around you did once ? That bow you couldn't sell to anyone so far?""There are many things we couldn't sell so far! Look at the goddamn cart!"
it came back from the small workbench in a quite annoyed tone and with a fingerpointing gesture towards the vehicle in question. "I told you more than once already that we shouldn't go back to this fart of a city. There are no good bowmen here!"
Aniska sighed slightly, but only so loud that Skarsat could barely hear it. This time less teasing and more demanding she restated her request: "Not now, Lark! Please! Just give me the one bow this 'fart' of a city's guard was interested in as a makeshift replacement part for one of their stationary installations. We do still have that one around, don't we ?"
A pair of prongoues and a big knife were dumped onto the workbench a little harder than would have been necessary, then Lark proceeded towards the cart while also exhaling a lot louder than necessary. There indeed were still plenty of goods laying around there and that made Lark's task not easier as the item in question appeared to be at the very bottom of the mess. The ruckus he made even made some of the passer-bys turn their heads. Then he returned with... something. Skarsat's eyes widened a bit.
Aniska however had long gotten over her initial concerns about wasting precious resources on something far too oversized for there to ever be any potential users. It had been Lark's idea and luckily he had only instantiated his madness in this way once so far, so the bow he was bringing back to her was one of a kind right now. At least as far as two humble merchants and bowmakers could say that. Having received it from her colleague, she handed it over towards Skarsat. "Draw it. If you can do that, it is yours. 13g and no shittalk around it. You will get a fresh bowstring and some basic care for the wooden parts because the thing is not new anymore, okay ?"
And Skarsat started pulling, and pulling harder,... and pulling even harder until the bowstring started to feel very, very uncomfortable in his hand without thick leather gloves protecting it. As he slowly worked his way towards success even Lark took a brief moment to watch, along with a few other people."Well, erm... I'd say give me the coin and the city guard will have to look for spare parts elsewhere. You wouldn't like to see this beauty being abused and slowly rotting away in some crude ballista on a high tower either, woud you ?"
Skarsat put the thing down and eased up his shoulders before reaching into the depths of his pockets. "Does this work for payment too ?"
and he pulled out the weird token he had been given from Vargas. The man had said it would work on the market, so hopefully that had been the truth."Erm... a crumpled piece of parchment ?"
Aniska asked, arching an eyebrow. She shifted her upper body left and right to try and look past the small document that was hiding the actual token from sight. Only then Skarsat realized that he had forgotten to remove and maybe even read that right away when he had received the whole thing. It probably was some less important thing!"Oh, now I can see! So it appears you're a special one in more than one way. Consider the bow to be yours. Give me a minute or two to make sure it's in proper order. Anything else you need ? Maybe a few arrows that don't limit the drawing weight of your new weapon by being too short ?"
Lark saw the token, too, and the moment he did his mood dramatically worsened up to the point that he took the token they had received from Skarsat and smashed it so hard onto the cobblestone beneath that it actually shattered. Skarsat started reconsidering whether he should just try and revert his decision and to just pay the coin for the Champion's bow ? Maybe Vargas was not paying the local merchants here, but only put pressure on them. Or there was outright blackmailing going on ? Unfortunately there was more than one reason why he did not have the time to dig deeper now. Not only he needed to get onto the boat quickly! And, of course, Lark's decision to break the token instead of just storing it somewhere had made any attempt to revert decisions doomed from the start.
Therefore the Tork's attempts to talk down the price his country people would take for a decent bunch of heavy arrows and a high tensile bow string as a replacement, just should the need arise, were only half-hearted. Needless to mention that while Aniska was much more understanding, Lark was not.