Monday, January 31, 2011

The wind has a bite as we move from the car to the tavern and I am forced to lower my head against its chill. My cape flaps like a great wing until we push the door open and step into light and warmth.

There is a sudden hush when some recognize me - there always is - then the nervousness shatters like fine glass and all things are as they were. I turn to Silk. "Pay my respects to Pandora and your cousin and tell them I will be up presently. If you will bring that matter we spoke of earlier to Obsidian's attention - I think he may take it better coming from you than from myself. Be certain that he knows that the choice lies with him and with Lady Pandora, and we will speak further when I arrive. I would have words with Tourmaline - if I can find her in this crowd… Ah! There she is!"

The lady in question stands with a group of shifters, and even as I watch, she is borne away by one of them, laughing, in what appears to me to be an unnecessarily complicated dance. I kiss Silk's fingers - "I will join you presently." - then set off in pursuit, attempting to anticipate where the couple will next arrive. They lead me a merry chase, but at last I am successful and - "May I cut in?" He cedes to the lady to my grasp and I lock my eyes on his. "Do you mark where we end, young man, and I will return the lady to you when we have spoken." Then I dance her away in a simple waltz, my voice apologetic. "I fear that old joints like mine are but ill suited to modern dance. If you can endure until we reach a private booth - " She laughs and presses herself the more tightly into my arms. "First, you're not that bad; second, how many women can say they danced with The Right Hand of Death and lived to tell it?" I wince when I hear the sobriquet used again and she laughs again. "There's a booth to our right. Follow my lead for a moment, and I'll get us there."

I cede control to the lady and she brings us to the booth as promised. She settles back into the booth with a twinkle in her eye. "Whoo! You're quite the - uh - vigorous dancer, Magnus. When can I have an encore?"

"Given my skill on the dance floor, Milady, it would be perhaps better termed a rematch."

She smiles. "So - what's this 'proposition' you have for me?"

"It is this." Now the banter drops away and I am again all business. "Exton is not a large city, but it is too large for one man to know all that may be happening. I receive information from various sources, yet oftentimes I have not the time to correlate it all and thus use it to the best advantage. I'm told you are quite the - you will pardon me, I believe the term is either 'cybergeek' or 'technogeek'."

She laughs. "Guilty as charged."

"I need someone who will serve as a central repository for incoming information - someone who can perceive patterns and tie apparently unrelated events together - and then funnel that information back to me as a coherent whole. Information may come from a variety of sources - telephone, text, email or an occasional personal visit. Do not assume that all the information is accurate or trustworthy; but it may all prove to be useful at some point. I ask you to consider this position carefully, Tourmaline; it is certain to occupy much of your time, and the rewards are dubious, though I will insure that you do not lose financially from the bargain."

I stand. "You have my cell number and my email, and you may tell me of your decision in either way. Now, I believe there is a young man who wishes to dance with you - shall we get you back to him?"

I offer her my arm and dance her back to her admirer.

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