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Helping Hands

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The Papurakian Empire; spoken of by many as a bastion of civilization of Sirillon, where anyone could become anything and there was hope for the future of any man. People came from far and wide to Papurakia in order to achieve their wildest dreams. Some fail miserably while others manage to push their above the rabble despite the worst of odds. In the Southeastern most city of Sandieque the latter were often to be found at job boards, perusing the opportunities at hand in hopes of building that better life.

For a twelve year old boy like Nilan these opportunities were scarce. His brown eyes scanned the job board up and down early in the morning, his brown tunic and tanned skin stood out from the rest of the rest of the job hunters like a sore thumb. He brushed a hand through his medium length dark brown hair in frustration.

But only sigh escaped his lips. Despite his efforts, none of the postings seemed like work he could do; everyone needed a blacksmith, a fletcher, a bodyguard, or even an adventurer. The boy only knew how to fend for himself or tend to a farm - there was no way anyone would consider him for any of these skilled jobs. His eyes cast downwards at his dirty sandaled feet only to notice a torn scrap of paper stuck to the underside of it, between him and the cobbled roadway. He picked it up and turn it over in his hands.

~WANTED:

Hired hand to accompany world-renowned adventurer Lady Vicori. I will take anyone who can cook or carry things at this point. Pays well - inquire at Redwood Estate for further details.~

Nilan looked around cautiously at the other men who were reading over the billboard before stuffing the paper into his satchel and turning around to make his way down the road. What luck, he thought to himself, he hoped no one had seen the posting before he did. Cooking and carrying were two things he could sort of do with some measure of competency, so maybe this was exactly the opportunity he was looking for!

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The boy arrived at Redwood Estate; an estate home in the more well-off district of Sandieque. True to its name Redwood Estate loomed over the over houses surrounding it, with large willow trees in its yard and walls made from clean red mahogany and portals bordered with white trim. He fondled the paper in his hands, reading it over once more before walking up the brick path to the front door of the house and knocking on its brass knocker. He could feel his knees trembling, but he worked through the anxiety - he hadn't come all the way from Themeto just to get scared now!

After several moments passed the door opened and the boy couldn't help but be surprised at what he saw.

A finely dressed dark elf woman stood before him! She had pale white hair cut into an asymmetrical bob and piercing crimson eyes which seemed to pierce straight into the boy's soul. Her skin was a charcoal black and as smooth as could be, her rather curvaceous body was draped behind a elegant blue and gold dress which clung to her form, particularly around her ample bosom. While Nilan had absolutely no clue how elves aged if he had to guess she was a bit past middle age - for an elf that is.

The woman stared into him silently for a moment before speaking up. "Yes?", she said to him coldly.

Nilan stood only at 5'0'' tall the dark elf loomed over him and his gaze only came to eye-level with her chest, something which he tried desperately to avoid looking at.

"L-Lady Vicori?", he asked cautiously as he held the paper out to her, "I-I'm Nilan. I was following up on this posting I saw at the job board a-and was just wondering if it was still open?".

The woman took the paper in her hands and looked it over before returning her gaze to the boy. After a brief scoff she handed it back to him with a nod, "It is indeed. Come inside", she said as she attempted an awkward looking smile across her red lips and allowed him room to enter the door.

Lady Vicori's estate looked somewhat like Nilan would imagine any rich person's home to be - full of fine decor and all manner of pleasantry he'd little experience with. Yet as she guided him into the sitting room he noticed its quirkiness; the walls were lined with old looking artifacts, weapons and armours of all kinds. Everything in the room alone seemed like it was hundreds of years older than he was - and perhaps ten thousands of gold more valuable.

Lady Vicori sat herself carefully upon a chair and gestured for Nilan to follow suit, which he did so, careful not to touch anything for fear of breaking something. He had never quite spoken to a dark elf before but knew well of their untrustworthy and evil reputation, so Nilan maintained his guard as best he could.

"As I am sure you can tell, I used to be something of an adventurer", she began speaking, her voice trailing in ways which seemed to him as though she had an accent which was cold and somewhat abrasive, "Recently, I have had urges to plan another outing just like the old days, but many of my former companions are...well, dead". A servant entered the room, bringing with her a glass of wine which Vicori reached over to and took a sip from.

"Not surprising, since many of them were short lives such as yourself", she said, laying the glass down to rest upon her knee which was concealed by her dress. "Horrible bigots, your kind. Many passed up my offer for work when they learned I was a dark elf; some even went so far as to inform the authorities as if I had committed some sort of crime".

Vicori scoffed once more.

"At this point in time I understand I must make sacrifices in my labour, so I supposed you will do", she continued as her red glare affixed to him. "I do not intend to tell you where we shall be going, but I can make promise of 150 gold coins as your payment should you survive, to be paid to you irregardless of my well being when we are finished".

She leaned forward slightly towards Nilan, allowing her deep cleavage some breathing room beyond her dress, "You can cook?", she asked him.

Nilan nodded firmly, struggling to take his eyes from hers, "A-As well as anyone else! I've been cooking f-for myself for some time now...".

Vicori smiled, "You can carry my things?"

Nilan nodded fervently, "Y-Yes! I used to work on a farm so I'm used to carrying things around!".

The dark woman nodded, sitting upright once more. "Then we have an agreement. I expect you outside the front gate of the city at 5 a.m. tomorrow. If you fail to comply with any of my orders, then you can count our agreement annulled". She stood up and offered a bow to the boy once again, "I look forward to doing business with you, Master Nilan".

Before Nilan knew it he was standing at the end of the path leading from Redwood Estate, the paper still in his trembling hands as he looked blankly out on the road ahead of him. Did he just...get a job?

His heart still racing he threw his hands up in the air, tossing the paper above him as he jumped for joy. "Yahoo!!", he cried out as a group of noble women eyed his outburst with great scrutiny on the road nearby.