139 A Need for an Ally*
By the fourth day of the Festival, Rassa had managed to help assemble the first floor of The Ruin again. His ability to control shadow allowed him to not only store a bulk of materials, but also help to shape them and put them in place. Despite it being an Island, it was actually quite easy to find building materials, and the outer walls of the building were constructed from various pale coloured stones.
The front room, which would eventually be for a shop were sectioned off from the back rooms by a thinner stone hallway that ran the width of the house with two smaller rooms at either end for staff use. In the centre, another hallway met it in a T shape and ran all the way to a large, open area at the back of the warehouse that would eventually be filled with multiple desks for work. The rooms down either side of the hallway were private offices and meeting rooms.
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Finally, in a move which no one had expected and which Rassa had completed rather quickly, he'd constructed an underground floor which he lined with metal and called his 'vault'. Most that knew of it figured that was something that only appeared in banks, and Rassa admitted that until he had the time and proper materials his would be a rather crude version to store the crystals and any immediate funds in. After construction was completed on the first floor, Rassa was convinced that Kit had learned enough from watching and working with Rassa to be able to help with the second floor on his own. He at least was at a point where he could help hold objects in place with a solid shadow now, though he could not take as much weight as Rassa could.
Rassa then helped Aegin move the crystals from the Volcano cave into the vault, and handed a copy of the key to Sharli, promising to return over the next ten days at random intervals to check and see if they needed help.
Thanks to Ebony's work with the crystals, they had just over 1500 of Jeremiah's half of the crystals left to sell. Rassa had started moving Ebony to the other port cities as well, to make sure than not too many customers swarmed in one spot. It would do no good for her to be overwhelmed despite the limited amount she was to sell every day. She was doing well though. Out of the gold that was being made for their own profits, Rassa opened an account under the name Moonshadow at a bank in Port Lace and placed half of their profits inside it. He kept ten gold each out of each days profits for immediate use by Ebony, Aegin and himself, then handed the rest to keep in the vault he'd made at The Ruin. He informed only Sharli how much money was actually in there, and instructed her to set aside one gold coin per person per week for those that were living at the ruin. At this stage, he had no idea how long he would be gone when he left, but if they kept up their profits and kept to the amount Rassa had designated, they would be able to live without working for more coin for at least a couple of years. He didn't intend to be gone for that long, but to be honest he could not predict for sure when he would be back. This was part of the reason why he was teaching Kit how to mark the Crystals. Rassa had already put runes on about half of those he had in stock, not just protective runes either, but a few truth runes and other types as well.
When Rassa returned at the end of the first week of the festival to see the progress of the second floor, now half done thanks to Kit's help, it was to discuss the charms and base prices to sell them at should they need more money. He also discussed the possibility of purchasing more Crystals, but Sharli was not an expert in business, none of them were, and she knew that even if she looked the part of a merchant it was unlikely she would be taken seriously given her lack of education.
From this, Rassa encountered his first problem. Ideally he'd want Ebony to stay behind, but knowing her, that wasn't an option. Ebony enjoyed being useful of course, but she didn't want to be left behind anymore than Rassa did.
At the end of the first week of the festival, the Rouke Island Theatre was opened up for that evening's special event. There were several theatres across the island that would be open to all people, but the main stage, for theh main traders, was held at the Trader's Council in the centre of the Island. Rassa had not been invited initially, but Jeremiah had insisted that he attend alongside Ebony as representatives of those making the astounding Protective Charms. In short, Jeremiah wanted to show them off.
Rassa had initially refused, thinking it best that Ebony just attend in his place, but after realising that he needed to find an ally, one that would help in his new business ventures, Rassa decided that it was probably best that he show up.
So, during the afternoon, he and Ebony shopped for appropriate attire for such a formal event, and Rassa had Ebony talk with him about any Corporations and figures that had made her offers.
"In short, most of them want nearly the entirety of our profits and the method for production," Ebony finished as she twirled in front of a mirror in the shop where they currently were, "The few that take us seriously are minor traders, and likely could not provide what we need in terms of materials".
"So are there any candidates that come to mind that might actually work with us?" asked Rassa.
Ebony paused for a moment, looking at Rassa as he exited the changing rooms to look at the mirror beside her. She suddenly understood then, why it was the dressmakers around her had been whispering and cutting glances at the changing rooms ever so often. She was honestly so used to seeing Rassa with his hood up that aside from that first moment when she'd seen him surrounded by moonlight and covered in blood, she'd never really thought of him as attractive. Even now, as soon as she pictured him covered in blood she couldn't help but turn away. He was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect hunter. Literally built to attract his prey. Considering the looks of the women around her - even some of the men - he was doing a fine good job of attracting.
The black suit he wore with a charcoal grey waistcoat fit him perfectly, so much so that the tailor to the side who was standing by for last minute alterations looked stumped that he didn't have any work to do. He awkwardly hovered to the side, pins poised to poke at material had been left in thin air.
Rassa's dark hair hadn't been styled yet but it seemed to fall perfectly anyway, his dark eyes assessing his looks in the mirror. The high collar of the shirt and the silk tie concealed his Life Lines affectively, that seemed to be the only part of the clothing that concerned him, and after gazing at himself for a moment he turned to look at Ebony.
"How do I look?" he asked.
Ebony rolled her eyes, "I hate you".
Rassa snorted awkwardly at the seriousness in her tone, "What?"
"To answer your question, there are only two that I'm sure we can work with cofidently, one we were already working with and you have already attempted to sever ties," Ebony stated as she looked at the goose egg grey dress she'd chosen for herself. She disliked colours that made her stand out, but now that she realise she somewhat matched Rassa a part of her wanted a brighter colour just so she could be distinguished from him.
"Oh, and who is the other?" asked Rassa.
"Don't know for sure," Ebony replied, "Remember the Apple Star woman that gave me that coin?"
"Ah, the coin," Rassa replied, "Well, if she's our only option I suppose we could see what she wishes to offer. You'll have to point her out if you see her tonight".
"Of course," Ebony replied, turning to one of the dressmakers, "Do you have any shawls?"
The dressmaker snapped out of her enthrallment and nodded hurriedly, "Of course Miss, I'll be right back".
Rassa nodded and turned to go back to the dressing room, once he disappeared, one of the girls spoke up to Ebony, "If I might say Miss, you are quite lucky to have that young man in your company. He might be one of the handsomest men I've ever seen".
Ebony couldn't help but snort, which surprised those around her, "Lucky is not necessarily a word I'd use to describe being in his company. But I get by".