235 The Letters*
*Eldovian Year 1713, 5th day of the 8th month*
Ishta watched the street below with impatience. How long could it possibly take for her to report back? He'd already given her a path to the Craftsman, yet the deliveries had continued on schedule without even the slightest bit of delay. And in addition, he had heard nothing from his well-trained spy. He'd even begun to wonder if she had betrayed him. But that couldn't possibly be true, despite Illai's failures, she was absolutely loyal to him. He had yet to produce another subordinate as obedient and powerful as she.
Still, that didn't mean that he couldn't do it again if she failed him this time as well.
A knock on his office door disturbed his thoughts and he allowed the invader entrance.
"A message from the Inktress, master," the servant stated, handing over the letter to Ishta.
Finally. Ishta waved the servant away as he opened the letter and began to appraise the contents.
I have followed your instructions and reported to the Star Pavilion. After many days of observation however, I could find no way in that I wasn't thwarted or spotted. It was almost as if they knew exactly where I would be. Following this I observed more, only to notice a flaw in the information received about the Charms. They come out once a week in a caravan of well protected carts, but there is never any Evanine nor Charms going in. I was forced to conclude that as such, unless the Pavilion is sitting on an Evanine Mine or at least a large stockpile, it is likely that the Pavilion is only being used as a way station between where the Craftsman are and the Ports. I have since surveyed the surrounding area for hidden entrances and found several, though again my entrance was thwarted through them. I will continue to attempt entry and find the way to the Craftsman.
Ishta scrunched the letter in his fist. His spies had found the Pavilion over a year ago, yet none of them had thought about the fact that no Evanine was ferried inside? He would have the incompetent fools whipped.
Ishta threw the letter into a metal dish and used a match to light it. Perhaps Illai would not prove to be entirely useless this time.
Iah sat down at the table opposite Falla and Layn as they laid their paperwork side by side and prepared to discuss business. It was a monthly meeting that they held to ensure that the Charm Business was running as smoothly as possible and there weren't any improvements to be made. Still, despite it being a routine thing, Iah couldn't seem to keep her mind completely focused on the task at hand. Her thoughts straying to the envelope she knew she would have present to Falla during this meeting. The envelope that held something life changing. Whether that change was going to be good or bad had yet to be seen.
"Then to business," Falla started, unaware of Iah's distraction, "Everything seems to be running smoothly on my end, the mine is operating in secret still. Deliveries seem to be on schedule with no apparent disruption. The Pavilion has met with some trouble thanks to the Inktress but so far the Captain has been able to handle the situation and she has yet to gain access. I trust Kit and Olly have been made aware?"
She would have communicated with Olly herself seeing as he was contracted with her company and he was only receiving training from Kit, however, sending him letters seemed to prove useless considering any reply he thought worth his time was communicated through Kit. In the end, Falla had given up on her attempts. If she could go back now, she likely wouldn't have chosen Olly as the signer of that contract. He was clearly not allied with Falla and had no incentive to return and train anyone she wanted when the contract was dissolved. The only thing she now held was access to the Evanine Mine. She knew Iah could get her hands on everything else easily.
"Yes, I sent the letter some time ago…"
Falla looked up at Iah, sensing the hesitation.
"And?" she urged.
Iah's eyes flicked to Falla, "He acknowledged the danger, but Olly didn't seem concerned, so they will continue business as usual".
"So he is confident that the Inktress will not find them," Falla mused, a slight bit of confidence in her own voice, "Let's hope we can keep it that way".
Iah took a note from her pile of paperwork and offered it to Falla, "He talked to the craftsman as well, this is the renewed estimate for that order".
Falla's eyes brightened as she took the note which listed the material requirements and the associated price, "62,840 gold, quite the price".
"It is, but the craftsman are good workers, there shouldn't be much room for error," said Iah.
Falla nodded, "I'll pass it along then".
Iah gave a half smile, looking away again.
"Is something wrong?" asked Falla, "Surely you are happy to receive nearly an entire week's worth of profits in one order?"
"It's not that," said Iah, "Though perhaps you should hold off on sending the quoted reply".
Falla frowned, "Is something wrong?"
Iah lifted the letter from her lap and held it in her hands before her, "The letter about Olly's lack of concern was accompanied by another letter, this one far more urgent".
"What's happened?" asked Falla.
Iah handed over the letter to Falla, but continued speaking even as Falla took out the note.
"It seems Olly received some kind of advice from the Mist and the both of them decided to go to the Star Pavilion," Iah stated, "They would have arrived 2 weeks ago".
"What? No!" said Falla in shock, "It's far to dangerous there even if Lync has the situation with the Inktress under control".
"I'm afraid that's just it," said Iah, "They're likely already there seeing as they left the mine the same time the letter did. They probably went with it to the Pavilion".
Falla's eyes scanned the words in the letter, "This can't be right…they're confronting her? Kit barely stood a chance last time".
Iah nodded gravely, "With both of them there, and seemingly determined to face her, its not just their lives on the line, but the entire business".
"If we lose the craftsman…"
"We lose any way of making the charms," Iah finished, and their meeting fell into a sombre silence.
Iah of course cared about Kit and Olly outside of their ability to create the charms, but the business they had built had hundreds of lives attached to it, not just theirs. If Moonshadow lost their signature and only product, it was essentially the end of the newly established Charm Street.
"Gods," said Falla, "We can only pray to the Gods that they're be okay".
Iah was in no position to refute such a claim.