Ivaris - Chapter 6 by Jennifer Raney

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Rook rhymes with book, and books contain what else? Information. These code phrases didn't have to be particularly secretive as to their meaning, merely had to serve their purpose in the right place at the right time for the right ears. I took this as my cue to excuse myself from the conversation, as I had no part in it anyway.

I listened absently to Seroan gradually reveal who had sent us and whom we wish to see while I wandered about the store. I love trinkets and trinket shops, and this place had some fairly interesting pieces, mostly furniture, but some jewelry and children's toys, and in the back an entire section of books.

It soon became obvious to me that the owners of this shop knew very little about antiques. I found several pieces of enchanted jewelry that had been grossly under priced, and tossed in randomly with other items. I resolved not to let these treasures go unused. I also found a couple spell books I thought were interesting, and tucked them under my arm to purchase (Rory and Mordre had supplied us with a generous amount of cash in several forms).

I'd had a good wander round the store by the time the woman returned to the counter with a message for Seroan, who had been waiting patiently. She glanced at me, and said privately, "She'll see you now."

Seroan nodded to me, and I asked to purchase my few items first. When I had my bag of goodies, the woman motioned for us to take ourselves up the steep spiral staircase behind the counter.

The stairwell was dusty and dim, like the rest of the store, and at the top there was a tiny landing and another rickety looking wooden door with no knob. Seroan knocked gently and it opened. The study was crowded with books and shelves and papers, but was not dusty, and amazingly it somehow did not appear disorganized.

From behind a wall of papers and boxes we heard the woman say, "Do come in, Mr. Pron'tesh, Ms. Soulspan." As we entered Rikash's invisibility was removed, and I noticed an advanced stealth enchantment on the floor. I silently kicked myself for not looking for one, but it was too late.

"And your companion can wait outside," she added tersely. I patted Rikash's head apologetically, and she went back downstairs.

There were sounds of someone rising from a chair, and we found the owner of the voice leaning against the windowsill behind a desk. She was my height, about five foot six, and in her late forties, I guessed. Her reading glasses sat far down on her nose, and she looked at us over them, "You're Rory's god son, then?"

Seroan nodded, "Yes, ma'am," he answered.

"And that thing I sent away, what was that for?" she asked accusingly. She was a bit chubby, and when she scowled her forehead showed a great many lines.

I stepped forward, "Forgive us, ma'am, she was for our protection, we didn't mean to intrude."

She shot me a critical look, but seemed satisfied with the answer, "So? What can I do for you?"

"We're looking into a theft from the Enoran Army, a set of stones.

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