Author’s Note:

Damn, working and studying full time sucks.

Chapter 76- Soldier

***July 11th, 965 A.F.***
***Dwarven Capital***
***Michel Rolland***

“Arg, my head.”

          Michel slowly rose from his bed. With a throbbing hangover, he sat on the edge of his bed, reluctant to move from his spot. It has been years since Michel had a hangover. He had access could drink as much wine as he possibly could since he was the head of the Royal Winery, but Michel had always shown restraint. He drinks only to ensure product quality and at parties, where he had no choice but to entertain others.

         Last night was different, though. He had never encountered something so deliciously different from all the alcohols he had. After downing the first shot of whiskey, he went back for a second, then a third, then a forth. Before he realized what was happening, he was dead drunk, and a servant from his household came to pick him up.

*knock knock knock*

“Good morning, master. Feeling a bit better?”

          A maid came into the bedroom with a steamy towel and a cup of water. Michel replied with a sickly mutter.

“No. What time is it?”

“It’s almost noon already, sir.”

         Seeing that Michel was reluctant to move from his spot, she laid down the item she carried on his bedside.

“When you are feeling better, there are several items from the Royal Winery for you to address, sir.”

“I am not working today and just tell everyone I am sick. After working non-stop for the winery for so long, I deserve a small break.”

“I don’t know if it is a good idea, sir. There were quite a few number of orders that came in this morning. Your employees could have dealt with them if it was just the usual. But from what I was told, the order was for a new product called whiskey, or something. They don’t know how to handle the situation since we don’t have anything like that in stock.”

           Michel’s headache compounded from hearing that news. He has no idea how to get a hold of whiskeys. Now that everyone from last night’s party assumed Michel was holding the product, the problem will escalate with no solution in view.

“Oh, and one more thing. I was told to give this to you before high noon. It is crucial and time sensitive. At least that is what the messenger said to me.”

          The maid pulled out a something from her pocket and laid it beside the cup and the towel. It was an envelope given to her by Ajax yesterday. Understandably, She didn’t deliver the letter to Michel without a bribe, of course. The maid was given a few large copper coins to ensure that the letter safely arrived in Michel’s hand. If it was something that was something minor and doesn’t risk her position in the household, she had no problem making a bit of extra money on the side.

           Hearing that it was time sensitive and critical, Michel gathered up his will to fight his urge to procrastinate and stay in his bed. He hastily gulped down the water and washed his face to freshen himself before opening the letter.

To Mr. Michel Rolland of the Royal Winery:

Go to the auction house at noon. Bid for the item after the Whiskeys.

           The letter contained a few words, but it was enough to force Michel sleepy eyes wide open. Immediately, he sprung up from his bed and jet towards the door while issuing commands to his maids.

“Get the coach ready, bring a set of clothes so that I can change on the way!”

          Sensing the urgency of the situation, the maid immediately followed behind Michel out of the door.

***July 11th, 965 A.F.***
***Dwarven Capital (Auction House)***
***Michel Rolland***

           Still fidgeting with the clothes to make himself look presentable, Michel arrived in front of the auction house. Even though he had a fresh change of clothes, a faint smell of alcohol from last night’s drinking still permeated from the air around him. The coach that he arrived on drove away to the designated spot for guests of the auction house. At the entrance of the auction house, he was greeted by an employee.

“Welcome, Mr. Rolland. I am the manager of the auction house. We beginning to think that you wouldn’t come.”

“You know I was coming?”

“Of course, we were notified by… an associate that you would be coming to attend our auction.”

          The letter that he received this morning immediately came to his mind. It had to be the one who sent him the letter that told the auction house that he was coming. From the way that the manager spoke, it was apparent that person wished to remain anonymous. Still, Michel tried to push his luck to see if he can get any more information from the manager.

“Can you tell me who that person is?”

“I apologize sir, but that will have to wait. He do not wish to meet you right now. The auction has already begun. Please follow me.”

           He was used to reading between the lines to gather information since Michel has years of experience being a noble. Picking apart the conversation between him and the manager, there were a few small pieces of information that he received that wasn’t spoken by the manager. The letter sender was a male since the manager used “he” to describe him. 

          The second piece of information that he deduced was that the sender will most likely meet with him after the auction is finished. The manager didn’t tell him that the sender won’t meet with him, but he would have to wait. There was a reason why the sender won’t meet with Michel before the auction finished, but don’t have enough information to make an educated guess.

           Michel was lead through the corridors of the auction house. If he were a nobody, he would have been lead to the main entrance of the auction room. Instead, Michel was lead upstairs. He wasn’t surprised though since this wasn’t the first time he has been to the auction house. It was one of the perks of being a noble. He was given a private box on the second floor where he could bid comfortably without a crowd. Another perk that he has is having the privilege of bidding at the auction using credit. He would be given a month to pay off his debt. The last perk was waiting for in at the private box. 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Rolland. I am your personal attendant for today. Just let me know what you need, and I will accommodate to the best of my abilities.”

          When he reached the box, he was greeted by another employee, waiting to serve him personally. The manager quickly retreated from sight once his job is completed. Michel nodded in acknowledgment and sat down on the comfortable padded seats. From there, he could see that a bidding war for a pearl necklace was happening. Since the Dwarven Capital was nowhere near a sea, pearls are a bit of a rarity. Several wealthy merchants were fiercely bidding for their wife, mistress, or lover.

“50000. 42!”

“51000. 50!”

“53000. 69!”

“53000 Going once! Going twice! Sold! To number 69 for 53000 Rutes.”

          Each potential buyer was given a number on a little paddle. By raising the paddle, you were committed to bid the minimum amount which would be stated at the beginning of the bid. Of course, you can bid for more by yelling out a different number. For Michel in the seat box, all he had to do was give his attendant the nod and he would bid for him.

“Next item on the list, a new alcoholic drink called “Belhern Whiskeys.”  There are three sets up for bid tonight. Each set contains 5 barrels. The starting price is 2000 Rutes. The minimum bid is 50 Rutes.”

            It was the item he needed. With 15 barrels of whiskeys, he could buy himself some time to deal with the current situation. If he couldn’t even sell one barrel of whiskey when everyone is asking for it, his management skills would definitely be questioned. Worst case scenario, he would lose his current position as the head of the Royal Winery. He needed to win them at all cost. He gave a quick nod to his attendant.

“2000. 91!’

“2000 Going once! Going twice!”

         Everyone in the room was hesitant to bid on something they haven’t tried or know. A barrel of ale was only about 1000 Rutes. No one wants to take the risk. Just as Michel was quietly celebrating in his heart about winning the bid easily, a voice a crowd spoke up much to Michel’s dismay.

“2050. 76.”
“2100. 91”

         Michel immediately counter-attacks with another bid. His position is on the line. There was no reason for him to risk it for a couple of copper coins.

“2150. 76”

“3000. 91”

“4000. 76.”

        Michel started to become impatient. He planned to scare off his competition with a sudden jump in price. Unfortunately, his competition did not back off and retaliated by raising the price more than Michel did. The bidding war was starting to become personal.

“5000. 91.”

“5050. 85.”

         Seeing that there were bids placed, one of the merchant’s heart wavered and placed a bid. He was a bit curious since there were two other clashing for the whiskeys. 5 large silver coins were still well within the range of acceptable loss. Soon, everyone started to bid due to the herd mentality.

“5100. 43.”

“5500. 24.”

         Michel gritted his teeth as he watched the price skyrocket. He glared at the back of the man who caused this avalanche of bids. Why did bidder number 76 bid against him on an unknown item? One of the possible explanation is that number 76 was also at the party last night. He knows for a fact that the person was not a noble. If that were the case, number 76 would have been sitting in one of the private boxes. Michel needed to know who his opponent was. If he knows the name, he could get a sense of how much ammunition number 76 had. He turned to his attendant for help.

“Can you go get the information of bidder number 76?”

“Right away sir.”

          The attendant left and returned before the ferocious bid of the whiskey finished. Michel stayed quiet in the meanwhile, resisting the urge to place any bid. He did not want to raise the price of the whiskeys any further.

“Sir, I have the information you have requested. He is an old retired captain by the name of Leo Rivera. He runs an orphanage. I am sorry, but this is all in this short time.”

“No that’s fine for now.”

          Michel was baffled by the new information. He was a bit relieved, however. If Leo were only an old retired soldier, it would mean that he wouldn’t have that many funds to bid against Michel. He returned his focus back to the auction itself.


About the author


  • Slayer of Soles


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