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Mashdara Girin (played by Ihsan997)

Somewhere on a plane of existence other than yours...

Through the cramped market stalls of the partially open-air bazaar, a berobed women strolled through the grain-strewn aisles in between tents of gemstones, spices, and various otherworldly items stored in jars. Incense smoke filling the area with alien aromas wafted around her as she made her way around shoppers from every nation in the world as well as many nations from worlds beyond, almost tempting her to slow down and haggle with the colorful hawkers of questionable origins and even more questionable business ethics. All along her walk among the carts and stands offering exotic items she’d Member even heard of, however, she didn’t slow down her pace as she approached one particular stall laden with her accessories of choice.

The proprietor of the tent in question, a jolly little buck-toothed man who seemed to be human, or mostly human, adjusted his checkered beret as the quiet young lady approached. Before she’d even come within listening distance, the jolly proprietor had removed a patchwork quilt which covered much of the main display rack under the tent awning and began dusting off a varied collection of arcane focuses. “Welcome welcome!” the humanoid salesman said heartily as the woman with chestnut eyes and skin almost as dark stepped beneath the awning to inspect the weirdo’s weird wares. “Take a look.”

That she did, running her fingers just above the various crystal balls and enchanted rods in display, taking care not to actually make physical contact with the goods. A white light emitted from her fingertips as she did, emanating an elementary form of divination as she made a game of identifying the purpose of each item. The jolly salesman maintained a respectful quiet, allowing her to sense for herself the nature of each focus before jumping in with the pitch for each. Very briefly, the reserved mage paused in her efforts, feeling the pinpricks of excess mana entering the plane somewhere in the vicinity, or at least on the same continent, as a foreign entity popped into existence. The occurrence was so far away, though, or so subdued, that the feeling quickly disappeared, and she continued on her unplanned shopping foray.
Xavier's arrival, while typically extravagant, was much more straightforward and versatile than usual. Near the forest line that sat outside of the city, a small magical gate would form between two tree's enveloping branches. With the careful guidance of the magic flow, the branches would interlock for just long enough to allow what would be seen by the naked eye, a pulsating blue collection of symbols form in the empty air in-between. These symbols would quickly connect like dots as moments later; the magic would project outwards from the center before promptly falling back in place and opening up the shimmering portal. The branches that held the spell in place would take on a green glow along with the trees that offered their use.

Moments later, a man would step out of average height and body weight. His eyes glistened like the blue sky with intelligence and curiosity as he looked around at the surroundings. He wore the most basic of clothing with a gray tunic and pants to match. His boots were relatively worn, and he seemed to keep a hooded clock to his back. It seemed that staying under the radar when it came to appearance was something he was keen to do. While his clothing was bare, he managed to keep his brownish-looking beard well maintained along with his hair, with bangs that rested to his head's right side. Xavier turned his head towards the portal and raised an eyebrow at his own creation. Raising his hand and placing it on the portal branches, he uttered a few words under his breath that fell on deaf ears.

The branches themselves acknowledged whatever the man had spoken as the portal would quickly dissipate, and the trees formed back to normal. Xavier turned on his heels as he began making his way to the city. It took him only a few minutes to get to the main gate as the treelines were already relatively close to the town itself. He'd walk in with no conflict or general suspicion giving the guards a respectful through passing. He did have a bit of preference for this town because of it's known magical merchants and the trade district being instantly through the gate. This exact notion would only answer his thoughts and preferences as the bazaar could be seen from the gate's entrance.

Casually he would wander into the entrance of the Bazaar, scanning stalls but not stopping. Of course, until he came to the stand of ever so jolly salesman. Leaning forward to get a closer look at the items, he would eye the woman next to him, giving a small smirk though not saying anything. Xavier would look utterly out of place at a magical stall as directly it would seem he had no magic power coming off of him nor did he look the part. Without warning Xavier spoke, his voice smooth and his words enunciated. "Tell me, good sir, what would you say...is the most powerful thing you have at this table?" He'd raise himself from gazing at the goods to challenge the man's eye contact for an answer, hands clasped behind his back now.
Mashdara Girin (played by Ihsan997) Topic Starter

For a few moments, the cloaked young woman tried to ignore the throngs of colorful people speaking a plethora of languages, doing her best to focus on the focuses (no pun intended). The sounds of various musical instruments, live animals, and a few choruses of laughter mixed in with the wafting smoke trails of incense - some of it from offworld - to provide ample distraction to any shopper who simply wanted to find the right purchase for the day. Thus, when a plainly-dressed man who appeared as casual as he was unassuming arrived at the stall, Mash didn’t yet notice, nor did she associate him with the previous temporal shift within the plane.

Although his mannerisms and demeanor didn’t stand out as peculiar or unusual, his statement most certainly caught her attention. “Tell me, good sir, what would you say...is the most powerful thing you have at this table?" he asked, his hands clasped behind his back.

Mash’s eyebrows shot up, but she retained the composure to keep her face hidden by her cloak’s hood for a moment. As good as her relations with most of the merchants in that particular bazaar were, she knew their behavior with strangers to the area. Remaining still, she watched as the little proprietor’s expression broke out into a smile like a prospector who’d struck a vein of gold ore. Flashing his buck teeth, the human or human-like merchant couldn’t conceal his giddy delight. “The most powerful thing available is *behind* this table, my good man!” the little merchant said, and without even explaining what it was, he began shuffling in between two stacks of crates in his cramped market tent. “Give me one minute, I’ll bring you what you need!” With that, the near-human proprietor scurried away and began moving around what sounded like boxes in a frantic fashion, flicking the length of fabric in between his storage and his display area with amorphous pokes and prods into the material.

As soon as he disappeared, Mash pulled her hood back to reveal a worried look on her face; her concern wasn’t deep or urgent, but more of the sort a decent person showed toward a stranger who was about to be swindled. “Excise me, sir,” she said in a low tone of voice while waving her hand in the newcomer’s field of vision to grab his attention. “Charhoon here is a kind man, when you get to know him, but I believe he’s about to pitch the most expensive thing here to you. I can show you what might actually suit your needs if you tell me...you only have a few seconds before he returns if you want me to, though.”
Xavier's face cracked into a smile as he watched the merchant scurry off into the back. Though he has dealt with many merchants like this before, the chance of them bringing back something interesting kept him prodding. His attention fell to the woman who showed concern about his wallet and what she viewed as ignorance. It was enough for him to give a warm smile in her direction and a respectful nod at the comment of what he might need. A random stranger proposing such things interested him even more than a swindling merchant as he'd gesture for her to show what she had in mind. "You have my attention, undoubtedly, miss." Though interested, his voice also marked a sense of caution as this female was an unknown entity to him.

The market around them bustled loudly as this quiet engagement happened. Even as they talked, a small boy slammed into Xavier as what could be presumed an accident. Though anyone with any city sense could instantly tell, it was more than that. A bustling market with ease to snag things on the perceptually inept individual. Xavier was not one of those people at the end of it, though.

"Oh, sorry, Mr!" The boy would say as he attempted to blend back into the crowd. Unfortunately for the boy himself, though, he'd already have been caught by Xavier's right hand. Though attention was still relatively on the woman, he'd calmly speak down towards the boy as he'd open palm his free hand. "Lad, my money pouch in your right-hand pocket, please. You can keep one of the gold pieces for getting it in the first place, though." Xavier cared little for monetary possessions, but in a merchant bazaar, it was necessary. The boy, now chastened, wouldn't even bother grabbing the gold coin as he dropped the pouch back into Xavier's palm. Shrugging indifferently, his hand released the boy as he bolted swiftly into the crowd. Unfortunately, the event had caused the merchant to be walking out with an item behind the back, and with Xavier holding the bag of money ready in hand. Letting out a low laugh at the missed opportunity, he'd turn around again first towards the woman, "I am still interested." Once those words where spoken, he would finish the turning motion towards the market stall again. "I hope I can afford such a thing, my good sir, let us see what this is all about first!"
Mashdara Girin (played by Ihsan997) Topic Starter

The chain of events which intervened in the following few moments - the merchant’s exit, the pickpocket’s intrusion, and the polite stranger’s comment - had occurred so fast that Mashdara nearly lost track. It was the kind of everyday occurrence which one may not have expected but shouldn’t be surprised by. Regardless, she was a little surprised, especially by the stranger’s alertness contrasted with the apparent lack of urgency about possible being ripped off. Seconds were ticking by, however, and the little merchant named Charhoon emerged with his hands full just in time to see the polite stranger (heretofore unnamed) holding a bag of coins in his.

Those buck teeth, which would have been endearing in a cartoonish way had the situation been different, flashed upon sight of the coin purse. Mash frowned in slight disapproval upon sight of the merchant’s grin, but she pulled her hood forward on her head to avoid displaying that toward the little humanoid; the plainly-dressed stranger may have noticed, given his situational awareness, though Mash couldn’t be sure.

"I hope I can afford such a thing, my good sir,“ said the stranger. “Let us see what this is all about first!"

Proudly raising up a decrepit object in his hands, Charhoon showed off what appeared to be a plucked farm fowl preserve by taxidermy and encrusted with geode-like growths, all of it supported by a metal pole mounted on a circular wooden stand. “This, my friend, is real ultimate power!” Charhoon crooned while holding the foul object far forward enough for Mash to cringe away from the avian’s googley eyes. “The Ghardanian-Kuroti Ashbird of Fortune! Just place this in any room in which magical experimentation takes place, and your wildest dreams will reveal themselves in test results!”

Mash was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She didn’t want to harm the merchant’s business, but she didn’t want to see a person who was polite to strangers lose money either. In an attempt to distract attention from the absurd atrocity of an artifact, she reached forward and channeled a small tad of energy for her fingertips to glow a light blue color near a less expensive - yet likely more reliable - artifact in the form of a crystal ball floating above the display table. “I sure wish I had something as powerful as this!” she said in a tone of voice which was just a little too obvious as she tried to politely interrupt what she’d thought was a one-sided business deal.
Xavier's face struggled not to laugh as he stared with faked interest at the man's most "powerful" object. Once the merchant finished his grand explanation of it Xavier himself took a step back in acted shock. As if this poorly constructed object was precisely what he had always been looking for. "My gosh, I can genuinely tell that is something to behold, my good sir!" Xavier took a step closer, a grin so broad that it could be plastered on the merchant stand behind them. "Well, look at those geodes! I can tell they help contain the magic power and serve for a conduit to pull if needed! Such a marvelous creation you have here I am most impressed." It was apparent from an actual magic user's standpoint that Xavier knew better, but he definitely could play the game just as well as the merchant could.

Of course, as Xavier played along, the woman next to him had plans to divert away from the somewhat unimpressive..thing? Xavier's eyes instantly landed on where her finger was glowing and the crystal ball itself. "Oh, now that though, I think that might be exactly what I am looking for!" His right finger got close to the crystal ball as well, causing the same blue energy to surround his. He understood what the woman was doing, and it was the perfect distraction to get away from whatever the man was trying to pawn off. "Now look at this good sir! It practically is calling for me to buy it; my glow is even stronger than the women here." Giving an expected look towards the merchant and a shrug as the table slowly turned on what would be a deal to his advantage. He had no interest in whatever this was and could tell it was nothing but a focus tool Xavier would give to an apprentice. That mattered not in the end, as playing with magical merchants like this was always an enjoyable pastime.

Pulling his finger away while causing the magical energy to dissipate, he'd give another longing look at the crystal ball. "Honestly, even though I would love to buy it, I don't know if I can afford it. Such a fine piece of magic there could be out of my reach, what would you say it costs though?" Xavier's fingers rested calmly on his chin in thought, before pointing them slightly in the merchant's direction in question. A very casual wink would be barely noticeable at the woman, but she'd pick it up if her observational skills were keen. He had every intention of disengaging from here relatively soon, as she seemed to be a fascinating individual to talk with at least for a passing a hour or two.
Mashdara Girin (played by Ihsan997) Topic Starter

Charhoon, the merchant, flashed a buck toothed grin in response to the stranger’s praise for his decrepit, preserved arcane chicken and its bulging eyes. When Mashdara intervened and attempted to draw attention to the crystal ball, the little humanoid’s eyebrows knitted into a confused frown, initially thrown off by the unrelated topics. Xavier’s sudden interest in the second item eventually distracted Charhoon enough to push the little man toward another potential sale, though, spurring a new sales pitch for the new item.

Mashdara was also confused, though for different reasons, especially when she noticed the slight exaggeration in the stranger’s reaction to first the overpriced abomination and then to the rather standard beginner’s focus. The man was too well-spoken, and too well-presented, to be swindled so easily. Though she couldn’t tell, she began to wonder if he was trying to swindle Charhoon right back - a not entirely undeserved reaction, though one which she didn’t expect to succeed. Curiosity compelled her to continue watching, however, in addition to an interventionist desire not to see anybody lose their whole wallet (again).

Lavish praise upon the crystal ball energized Charhoon, worrying Mashdara that such a scenario was about to occur. “Indeed, this is the finest piece of magic you’ll find on the continent!” the little humanesque man chimed proudly while obtusely handling the crystal ball. “But there’s no need to worry about pricing in my emporium, no no! For I offer the best of discounts. For this marvelous wonder, on its own, the normal price is-“

“Sixty-three gold pieces!” Mashdara blurted out, repeating the market price plus a minuscule markup. Charhoon blanked out and turned towards her, unsure of how to respond to the local who knew prices and maintained a superb expression of innocence (she wasn’t lying, after all). “I mean, this premium piece goes for sixty-three, right?”

Flummoxed and unsuspecting due to her regularity in the bazaar, the little man struggled to recover from the interruption. “I...no, no, that’s for the quartz ball, not such a fine crystal ball as this! For the low-low price of five-hundred, a discriminating customer can walk away with both items!” he replied, holding the crystal ball in one hand and the weird chicken thing in the other.

Mashdara’s jaw dropped at the unfair price, though the merchant misread her reaction as one of awestruck admiration, and he grinned wide with those buck teeth again while pumping his fists up and down with both arcane foci.

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