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Blacksmiths and barters


Azarion
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Early April, 74CE

It was a sign of trust from the master that he let Azarion go into the city at all. Of course even he was not naive or stupid enough to hand money to the boy with the FVG brand and set him free into the wind - no, Azarion was accompanied by other, more trustworthy slaves of the household, all with their own assignments and purchases to make, in addition to keeping a close eye on the stable boy. But Azarion did get to go, in the end, and even Alucio's stern face did not hide the fact that he was taking a liking to the little shit. At least enough to trust his good sense when it came to buying supplies for the stables. Azarion, working with the well bred and high maintenance horses his master owned, knew best. He knew that he knew best.

Unfortunately, the blacksmith didn't. 

The other slaves were moving around the market, buying things they had been told to buy. They took turns watching Azarion, but right now, they all had more important things to do, and shopping at the blacksmith's stall looked like it will take a while. Mostly because Azarion could not talk or write, and the blacksmith was getting increasingly frustrated with him. 

This bit looks like shit, and it will cut the horse's mouth, you moron, Azarion thought as he was pointing at the metal piece, trying to signal by putting his fingers on it that it was not filed down properly, and there was no way in Tartarus he was going to give money for it. The man needed to show a better one, or he would go somewhere else to buy what he needed. 

"Look, I don't know what you want from me!" the blacksmith growled "It is made of good iron, and I am not going to lower the price for you, whatever your master said."

Azaion huffed and groaned, shaking his head. Gods, this was not going anywhere...

@Atrice

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Cynane needed new small bits and pieces for her clothing – the simple armor she wore as a palace guard, who was at the same time a slave and a showpiece. She needed a new buckle for her belt, among other things, and she had been given a purse with coin to purchase what she needed. That meant a little bit of time off and time away from the palace. She left the leather vest at home, but still wore her light blue tunica with the knee-long breeches. There was a simple, brown leather belt tied around her waist – the one needing a buckle was in a bag made of cloth, that she held in her hand. Her hair was more simple than usual, since she didn’t have to look impressive for shopping. One thick, long braid, starting from the top of her head, hang down her back.

 People still glared at her, for being tall and blonde and wearing a tunica and not a chiton or something like that. She still looked odd to most Romans, but by now, she didn’t care. She made her way to the market and found the blacksmith stall here. There was another standing there, a boy, looking through some pieces that appeared to be for horses.

 Cynane stopped at the other end of the stall, as the blacksmith in the stall tried to deal with the boy. The boy wasn’t talking and the blacksmith was apparently frustrated with him. Cynane gave the boy another look; he appeared to be a slave, also sent to the market for shopping, but all alone? No one here to help him out?

 She looked up at the blacksmith, who now finally noticed her and arched a brow before he approached her, “I need a new buckle. For this.” She opened the bag and showed him the belt and the broken buckle. The blacksmith didn’t look at it, but kept looking at her, “Is something wrong?” Was he having a bad day or something? The blacksmith narrowed his eyes.

 Now I know who you are!” The blacksmith finally said after being silent for too many moments, “You’re the gladiatrix! I’ve seen you! I thought you died!” He looked her over, “You were quite… pleasing, to look at.” He said with a little smile and Cynane inhaled a breath and rolled her eyes, tried to ignore his hungry gaze and words. She was no longer a gladiatrix and thank the gods for that! She did not need to be reminded and she did not need people to think she was still for sale like that, “Are you going to help me with this buckle or what?” She said and felt she actually grew a little bit annoyed now, “And that boy, he wants to purchase something too. Instead you yell at him.”

@Chevi

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Azarion was very close to throwing the bit in the blacksmith's face, just to make him see where exactly it was not filed down well enough. Then again, a slave assaulting a freeborn man could not expect much good after the fact. He would have done such a thing to protect the horses, but not to get a good market deal for his master. So, he huffed and fumed. And then someone else walked right up next to him. As if queues did not exist.

“I need a new buckle. For this. Is something wrong?” 

Azarion wanted to glare at the woman... but once he turned towards her, his eyes widened instead. She was... tall. And strong. And wearing distinctly barbarian clothing, not unlike the women of Sarmatia used to wear. The slave boy was apparently not the only one who was taken aback by her appearance.

 “Now I know who you are! You’re the gladiatrix! I’ve seen you! I thought you died! You were quite… pleasing, to look at.”

Gladiatrix?... This woman used to fight in the arena? Azarion had not been to the infamous amphitheater yet, but he heard stories. He'd heard them before he'd ever crossed into Italia. The Romans loved their bloody fights... apparently even more when 'pleasing' barbarian women fought them. How did she live to tell the tale?...

"Are you going to help me with this buckle or what? And that boy, he wants to purchase something too. Instead you yell at him.”

"Well, he is wasting my time!" the blacksmith huffed, rummaging around for a buckle that would fit the belt "He is mute as a fish, and seems to think my merchandise is not good enough. What am I s'posed to do with that?"

Make better merchandise, you moron!, Azarion noted silently, while making a determined gesture at the bit he was not willing to buy.

@Atrice

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Cynane just dressed the way she did, because it was comfortable and convenient and it was honestly sometimes a bit irritating that people would stare at her that way. Perhaps she should learn how to wear a dress… but it would just be in the way. She liked her breeches and the tunica compared to skirts getting in the way. So she ignored how the young slaveboy also stared at her.

The blacksmith in his stall more than just stared though, he knew who she was and definitely knew he liked to look at her. Cynane just rolled her eyes though, she was here to shop, not to submit to some common Roman blacksmith. So she wondered if he’d help her and then pointed out that the slaveboy also seemed to want something. The blacksmith was annoyed though, said the boy was mute and that the boy was displeased with the merchandise.

That wasn’t very useful at all and Cynane was in the mood for debating right now, on behalf of the mute boy. He might be a slave, but he was still a person and he was here to buy. And the blacksmith didn’t want to sell? That was his problem, wasn’t it?

“In case you were not aware, that’s one very good way to lose customers. What if he lets his friends and his superior know? Or don’t you want to help him because he’s a slave and a boy?” She looked at the kid, “Maybe you can find better merchandise elsewhere?” She suggested with a wink to the slaveboy, loud enough so that the blacksmith might hear it. Cynane could be very formal and strict at certain times, but she also disliked seeing her equals being stepped upon. Who knew what the boy’s story was and why he was here? Maybe it was important? Besides, the blacksmith was still stupid for not helping.

@Chevi

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The woman did not look like she was going to let the matter go. She had the look of a warrior. Azarion had seen female warriors back home, it was nothing out of the ordinary, although she did look very much out of place in the middle of Rome. She gave the blacksmith a look that made him shrink back.

“In case you were not aware, that’s one very good way to lose customers. What if he lets his friends and his superior know? Or don’t you want to help him because he’s a slave and a boy?”

The blacksmith opened his mouth, and Azarion was sure he was going to point out once again that he was mute. Which, honestly, was kind of the point - Azarion had trouble letting his master know things, given that he also couldn't write. But the woman was gearing up for a fight, and Azarion was glad to have someone on his side.

"No, it's..."

“Maybe you can find better merchandise elsewhere?” 

She winked at him. Azarion got the message, and nodded, tossing the bit back onto the table.

"Alright, alright, wait!" the blacksmith rolled his eyes "Fine. I'll get you the buckle first, and then I'll deal with the kid. Maybe you could help me figure out what he actually wants?"

@Atrice

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Cynane had decided to debate this matter with the mute slaveboy and if she decided to fight for something… well she’d not give up until she won. Now this was not a physical fight, but it could be just as tough. Not that she thought it would take much to break that blacksmith; he was just a salesman too, after all, and she imagined he did want to sell his goods. Better gain coin than not, right? She wondered then why the man would not help the boy… and the blacksmith opened his mouth, but too late. Cynane had already suggested the boy found better merchandise elsewhere.

And as she imagined, that worked. The slaveboy tossed the bit back on the table as if he was ready to leave, but then the blacksmith woke up! He agreed to help them both and Cynane nodded.

“Of course.” She replied with a little smile, pleased with her small victory here. While the blacksmith would look for a buckle for her, she looked at the slaveboy. So he was displeased with that bit. She picked it up and turned it, looked at it. It had been a long time since she last worked with horses, but the blacksmiths back in Britannia had been quite skilled too. And she could tell this wasn’t the best bit you’d ever find. It was too sharp.

“I see why you don’t want this.” She said to the boy and leaned closer, so she could speak in a lower voice, “But I’m sure it can be fixed.”

@Chevi

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Once the money was about to walk away from his table, the blacksmith did change his tune. Azarion rolled his eyes as he agreed to serve the woman with a belt buckle. That was the easy part, really, and he left it up to the woman to try to understand what Azarion wanted exactly. She seemed up for the challenge. She picked the bit up and examined it. Azarion watched with his eyes narrowed. Did she know the first thing about horses? She looked like a Northerner. 

“I see why you don’t want this. But I’m sure it can be fixed.”

Well, at least she now knew what his problem was. Azarion nodded at the first part. It was bad craftsmanship. The second part, though? He arched an eyebrow at that.

Then make him fix it, he gestured widely at the blacksmith who had his back turned to them. Azarion tapped the sign around his neck that marked him as a slave, I'm not going home to my master with something that needs fixing.

@Atrice

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It was obvious to Cynane why the bit wasn’t good, but now the question was how to convince the blacksmith about it. And this wasn’t exactly his working space, this was just where he showed off the goods and sold them. The boy nodded when she commented on what was wrong; so she had it right, that was good at least. Then the boy arched a brow and gestured to the blacksmith and he tapped his slave-collar then.  Cynane thought she understood - he was a slave and this was his job. He just wanted to do it the best he could.

“Hey!” She called out for the blacksmith, “I see why he didn’t want it. It’s too sharp. But I don’t imagine you can fix it now. Do you have a better bit hidden in your stash?” She asked and the blacksmith picked it up, while Cynane kept her eyes fixed on him. She’d made up her mind about helping the boy and she was not stepping down; that’s not what she was like. She was a slave too, but that didn’t mean she was very submissive. It had made her a good gladiatrix and warrior, so they’d let her keep that trait. They hadn’t tried to break her too much, back when she first arrived in Rome.

“I’ll take a look.” He said with a sigh, “See if you like this.” He handed her a new buckle for the belt and went to check in another chest he had in the back. He was moving quickly though and his body language told Cynane he was very annoyed. Meanwhile though, she also looked at the buckle and it looked fine enough.

“It would be so much easier if you could communicate though, wouldn’t it? I don’t imagine you know how to write.” Cynane said to the boy, “If your master is smart, he’ll make sure you learn. But I imagine he’s not.” She added with a small smile, she did not have too high thoughts about most Romans – at least not the wealthy ones.

@Chevi

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Well, at least the tall women understood what he was trying to say. Azarion glanced around, but the other slaves were still very much occupied with getting their own shopping done. His unlikely ally was the only one that could help figure out the mess with the unfriendly blacksmith.

“Hey! I see why he didn’t want it. It’s too sharp. But I don’t imagine you can fix it now. Do you have a better bit hidden in your stash?” 

“I’ll take a look. See if you like this.” 

Azarion nodded to the woman, making a grateful gesture. At least, if the blacksmith produced no other piece, he would know he was not being swindled. He would rather make extra rounds to find the right one than return to his master with something that would hurt the horses. None of the horses deserved that kind of treatment. 

“It would be so much easier if you could communicate though, wouldn’t it? I don’t imagine you know how to write. If your master is smart, he’ll make sure you learn. But I imagine he’s not.” 

Azarion shrugged. Yes, it would be easier. It wasn't even that his master didn't want him to learn, it was just... he could talk back less as a mute, and no one really wanted to hear his opinions anyway. He shook his head, signaling that he did not know how to write, then gestured at the bit and made some cleaning motions to show that he worked in the stables. Not much need for scholars there. Tilting his head, he looked at her, making another gesture - could she write? Did they teach her, or was she not that kind of a slave either?

@Atrice

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She didn’t know why he couldn’t talk and she did her best to try and understand him – at least that’s more than what the blacksmith did, before she arrived. Cynane apparently had a soft spot for people in need of her help and aid and this boy here, he was certainly in need of it. And while trying to find out what was wrong with the bit he picked up before, she also gained her new belt buckle, which she was satisfied with.

The boy made a grateful gesture towards her after she put the blacksmith to work, and then she mused about how it would be easier if the boy could write or something like it. The boy shrugged and then shook his head, he didn’t know how to write then. She didn’t imagine so, or else he could have used such a skill in this situation right now. He made some motions to show what he did; cleaning, it seemed. After that, he looked at her as if curious about something and she tilted her head too for some reason, trying to figure out what he wanted probably. She wasn’t sure what he was asking, but it had to have something to do with what they just… discussed… without words from him. Maybe he wondered what she did as a slave?

“I’m a personal bodyguard for my mistress. So don’t feel bad about not knowing how to write. I don’t know either, don’t have much use for it.” She explained to him and then the blacksmith showed up again, looking at her, not the boy.

“You need to pay for that buckle. And I don’t have any other bit here right now. So I can’t help the boy anyway.” He said, still sounding annoyed.

“Thanks for looking anyway.” She said, trying to sound formal, and then she found her purse and produced a coin for the buckle, “You can also keep the old one. Maybe you can melt it and create something new out of it. I hope that’ll be enough payment.” Cynane said and he looked at the coin and decided it was good enough. And he kept the buckle. Thank the gods, now they could escape this grumpy Roman. Perhaps he agreed to the deal to also get rid of them? She turned away from the shop and motioned for the boy to come with her.

“Do you want to look elsewhere for a bit? Maybe I can help you. I’m not in a rush yet. I’m Cynane, by the way.” Not that he could use her name, if he couldn’t talk, but at least now he knew.

@Chevi

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“I’m a personal bodyguard for my mistress. So don’t feel bad about not knowing how to write. I don’t know either, don’t have much use for it.” 

Well, that was not very useful, then. The woman did not know how to write either, so even if Azarion could jot down his thoughts, she would not be able to read it. Whether the blacksmith could read or not did not matter, since Azarion would not have trusted him anyway. He seemed done with the whole interaction, handing the woman her belt back. She paid him, and they both agreed that the blacksmith was not going to sell anything to Azarion today. Nothing of quality, anyway, so nothing really lost.

“Do you want to look elsewhere for a bit? Maybe I can help you. I’m not in a rush yet. I’m Cynane, by the way.”

Azarion nodded hesitantly as he followed her. He could not introduce himself, really, but he waved a hand in official greeting, since she told him her name. She was much taller than him, and probably a lot stronger, too. It was strange, walking at the side of a woman like that. No wonder she was a bodyguard. Azarion looked around, hoping to find another smith that could sell what he was looking for.

@Atrice

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Cynane had some more time on her hands and she’d be glad to help the young man – he appeared to be in need of help, after all. And it felt kind of nice walking next to him – if you didn’t know any better, you could think those were just two slaves that were maybe related. If she had a child at a young age, it could even be this age. So it didn’t look all that strange… to her.

 The young man nodded when she introduced herself, and then he waved his hand in a greeting and Cynane had to smile at his sweet action.

 “It is a pleasure to meet you too… I just wish I knew what to call you…” She said thoughtfully, “I once knew a gladiator named Arion. He was good with horses and named after an immortal horse fathered by the god Poseidon. At least that’s what he told me. Arion might suit you well too.” Cynane said and looked at him, hoping he didn’t mind the name she just gave him. He already seemed to be looking for another smith and she kept an eye open for those too.

@Chevi

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“It is a pleasure to meet you too… I just wish I knew what to call you…”

Azarion shrugged, and raised a hand to snap his fingers with a smirk. His master usually called him like that, maybe with an additional 'hey, you', but really, snapping was enough to get his attention. Slaves did not really need names, did they? He'd managed to get all the way to Rome without anyone giving a shit.

“I once knew a gladiator named Arion. He was good with horses and named after an immortal horse fathered by the god Poseidon. At least that’s what he told me. Arion might suit you well too.” 

Azarion blinked. That was... a part of his name? She'd just happened to think of a name that was half right, and had something to do with horses none the less? He shook his head in surprise as he followed along. Maybe the gods were playing some kind of a trick on him. He made some cutting motions and some frowns, mimicking a gladiator fight. Did the guy with the divine Poseidon-related name die in the arena? Did she kill him?

@Atrice

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Knowing the name of someone made them feel more like a person than a thing – and that was important, when it came to slaves especially! Their owners made them feel like things, like they didn’t matter much, just like an animal… but give them a good name and it was different. Now the young man here was certainly no gladiator and no god, but she thought the name she picked for him would suit him well – since it would appear the youth here worked with horses.  

The young man looked at her and shook his head, seeming surprised, but she didn’t know why, “Well it’s true. If you’re good with horses, that’s a good name for you.” Cynane just said, assuming he wasn’t sure about the name. Then he continued his strange way of talking, it looked almost amusing, but she tried to figure out what he was doing. Was he fighting? And focused? What did he mean? Something about fighting… perhaps because she mentioned a gladiator?

 “I just knew the gladiator. I didn’t fight with him, if that’s what you ask. A gladiatrix is more for… the men’s pleasure than anything else.” She imagined they had some hot fantasies about the women fighting each other, because then they could bed the women later… but that life was luckily in her past now, “It’s a long time ago now though.” She added thoughtfully and glanced up at the sky to see where the sun was. She should probably get home soon, but she had a little more time to spend with Arion here, “Did you see any other blacksmith shop?”

@Chevi

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“Well it’s true. If you’re good with horses, that’s a good name for you.” 

Azarion smirked. He was good with horses. He was born into it, like all of his people, because the gods of the free plains blessed them with the speed of the wind. It was only a part of his name, but he'd take it, for now, from the gladiator lady.

 “I just knew the gladiator. I didn’t fight with him, if that’s what you ask. A gladiatrix is more for… the men’s pleasure than anything else. It’s a long time ago now though.”

It was what he had been trying to ask, but the response was a little disappointing. Romans only had women fight other women? What, did they think she could not win against a man? Azarion's people had women fight as well as men, just like Cynane's. It was just a better way to survive. He made a face and rolled his eyes when she mentioned pleasure. Romans were strange.

“Did you see any other blacksmith shop?”

Azarion nodded, pointing down the street where he had passed another stall. It was smaller than the one they had just tried, but maybe it was a worthy second best option.

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She saw how the young slave smirked at her words concerning the name she picked for him. He must agree then, that it was a good name. Arion. She certainly wouldn’t forget about him anytime soon. He wasn’t speaking, but he could still use his body language and he was sweet in his own way. Poor boy. How did he lose his ability to talk, she wondered…

But she also kept talking, explaining about the gladiator with the same name as she just gave this slaveboy. The gladiatrixes would often fight each other and the men watching might pay to have them alone afterwards. Some of those days were better than others. But still she was expected to train and keep her ability to fight, so she had. And now it had come handy, for real – being a bodyguard mattered more than being a gladiatrix. The youth made a face when she spoke about the pleasure, but she said no more of it. Then she wondered if he’d seen any other blacksmith shop, and he had.

“Alright, we’ll go there then. It can’t be worse than the last place.” She said with a smile and motioned in the right direction, but she’d let him walk first, because he was the one who might be the actual buyer.

@Chevi

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They both headed for the other blacksmith shop. The woman was not very chatty, which fit Azarion just fine. He could deal with two kinds of people: the ones that did not talk all that much, and the ones that talked enough that he did not have to make an effort next to them. The ones in the middle, the ones that asked questions and tried to have long conversations - those were the annoying ones. Luckily, not many of them ever visited the stables.

The other shop was smaller, with less wares on display, but the tall, wiry man working in it looked less hostile than the other one. Azarion nodded in greeting, and glanced at Cynane, waiting for her to explain what they were looking for.

@Atrice

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Silently they headed for the next blacksmith shop, which was smaller than the first one, but the man working there also seemed a little bit older and maybe more experienced than the first. That was always a good thing. Being young was not always an advantage, when it came to people who could work with their hands. Arion greeted the blacksmith first.

“Greetings… this young man here is looking for a good bit – he works with horses. Do you have one?” She asked and then smiled, deciding to add a little bit to make the blacksmith want to prove himself, “The last blacksmith didn’t have a good one. We’re hoping your wares are better.” She said. The man looked them both over, seeming a little surprised by their appearance. The boy was clearly many years younger than the woman, and the woman looked a bit strange to him.

But then he smiled, eager to please and prove that he sold better goods than the other they'd been to, “I’ll see what I have.”

@Chevi

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There was not much for Azarion to do, other than allow Cynane to talk, and try to explain what he needed. She was a capable woman, and hopefully this blacksmith was better at his job than the last one, and was not trying to sell unusable items.

“Greetings… this young man here is looking for a good bit – he works with horses. Do you have one? The last blacksmith didn’t have a good one. We’re hoping your wares are better.”  

Clever. Competition was good for trade, and no one hated each other more than craftsman selling at the same market. Azarion smirked as the man seemed to perk up at the challenge.

“I’ll see what I have.”

Azarion glanced at the woman and gave her an appreciative nod while the man's back was turned. When the blacksmith emerged again, he placed a bit on the table. Azarion leaned over it, examining it from various angles, running his fingers along the edges to make sure it was well made. After long moments he nodded, and held up a hand, making the universal gesture for money. How much?

"Thirty denarii."

Azarion's eyes went wide, and he threw his hands up into the air. What was this, a fucking robbery?!

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Arion stood quietly beside her, as she spoke with the blacksmith in the little shop. She hoped that adding the story about them already visiting another blacksmith might help this one; it would make him want to prove he was better. And then he promised to see what he had. Cynane looked at Arion, who so far seemed Arion.

But then the blacksmith returned and showed a quite fine bit to Arion. The young slave looked it over and didn’t appear displeased this time. And then he quietly asked for the prince. Cynane too looked up at him with wide eyes. Thirty… she had no such amount of coin on her and she was certain the young man didn’t either. But this was the market…

“One moment…” She said to the blacksmith and then put a hand on Arion’s shoulder, urging him a bit away so that they could talk. Or she could talk. Arion didn’t say much, after all…

“You don’t have that kind of money, do you?” She asked him and leaned a bit closer; she’d been at the market before and she’d seen how others did it sometimes… “We could haggle for a better price. How much do you have?” He seemed to know numbers, after all, so he probably knew what he had… and she wouldn’t like for Arion to return to his master empty-handed, in case his master was one of those who’d be upset over a small thing like that.

@Chevi

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Before Azarion could use some extremely rude hand gestures to let the blacksmith know exactly where he could insert a bit for that amount of money, Cynane pulled him aside by the shoulder. She either knew what was going to happen in advance, or she just wanted to have a discussion. Either way, Azarion shot a dark look at the man (who probably knew perfectly where how ridiculous his price was), and followed along.

“You don’t have that kind of money, do you?”

Azarion shook his head in a definite no. And even if he did...

“We could haggle for a better price. How much do you have?” 

Azarion looked at his purse than furrowed his brow, thinking. How much money he had was one thing, how much he was willing to pay was another... he considered the question, then held up his hands. Ten denarri. Let the bargaining begin.

@Atrice

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As Cynane expected, the young slave did not bring 30 denarii with him. He had far less than that. He shook his head when she asked and then she wondered how much he had. He seemed thoughtful, before he held up his hands. Was that how much he had? Well, it was worth a try at least. Although she wondered if ten was what he had or just the lowest price he'd set right now and if he had more. Often you'd end up somewhere in between what the different parts in the haggling wanted.

She went back to the blacksmith, "Thirty is too much for that piece. But he might be willing to buy it anyway..." She explained and would then let Arion explain with his hands how much he wanted to pay. She would do the talking for him, but there were things you could do without talking and haggling should be possible. It wasn't like Arion was a young boy - he didn't need Cynane to mother him too much.

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"Thirty is too much for that piece. But he might be willing to buy it anyway..."

Cynane did not start haggling in Azarion's name. That was interesting. Most people did not give a shit about him in general, and the few that did sometimes overdid the whole thing, assuming he was dumb in addition to being mute. Cynane did neither. Azarion smirked, and turned to the blacksmith, holding up his fingers.

"Ten denarii? What, why don't you just rob me blind?! I would be losing money already if I gave it to you for twenty-five!"

Azarion furrowed his brow and held up ten fingers again. He was not gonna give in that easy.

"What, are you deaf as well as mute?! This bit is excellent work, not the kind of garbage they sell at the other table. Twenty-five is already a bargain!"

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With a smirk, Arion the young slave-boy turned to the blacksmith and held up his fingers, showing the man what he was willing to pay for the bit. It was a good start, Cynane thought. The blacksmith had wanted thirty and Arion offered ten, so now they had a good beginning. Of course the blacksmith was outraged by the idea of such a price, but see, he went down from thirty to twenty-five despite that. The boy kept on with his ten denarii.

Cynane leaned closer to him, maybe he was not used to haggling, “If you don’t have any more than that… it’s a pity. But try and go a tiny bit higher if you can.” She said with a low voice to the boy and gave the blacksmith a smile and let them continue. It was interesting to watch and she could definitely also see it from the blacksmith’s perspective. But she had made a new friend and there was no way she was not going to be on Arion’s side. If only she was good at stealing, she could have taken it for him, but Cynane was no thief and wouldn’t risk it. Instead she would let them haggle and try and help Arion if she could.

@Chevi

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The blacksmith knew how to play this game. So did Azarion. It was generally considered beneath him, back when he used to be a chief's son, but being bought and sold himself multiple times since then, he was getting the hang of it. In addition, people found it unnerving to haggle with someone who did not make a sound, or talk melodramatically about losing his family's livelihood. He stuck to his numbers, and allowed the process to run its course.

“If you don’t have any more than that… it’s a pity. But try and go a tiny bit higher if you can.” 

Alright, so the giant woman did not know how to haggle. Figured. She was probably some noble warrior type who looked down on merchants. No bother; all she had to do was stand there and look impressive. No one had to know they had just met a few minutes before.

Eventually, they began to move towards a compromise. He went from ten to fifteen, and the merchant came down to twenty, although not before accusing Azarion of trying to have his family starve. Eventually, they settled on seventeen, which Azarion promptly paid. It was a good deal, or at least as good as they were going to reach, and the bit was decent work. Azarion put it in his bag, and tilted his head up to Cynane, giving her a smirk and a wink. Now what?

@Atrice

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