Two days after meeting with the Baron (See “Elemix Meets with the Baron Thread”), at the appointed time, Elemix met Master Stonesplitter. A tough old dwarf, he greeted Elemix at the city stables where they met. Elemix had the keys the Marshall gave him.
“You are the Magus, Elemix Dungaroon?” said the dwarf with a cheerful baritone voice.
“Indeed I am,” replied Elemix. “And you must be Master Stonesplitter. Your reputation precedes you and I am honored to meet you. I look forward to our walk through of the tower and it’s grounds. I’ll need your expert eyes and opinions so please share your thoughts with me candidly.”
Elemix turned in the direction of the keep and ushered the dwarf to ride with him.
The tower was on a spur of the ridge on the far side on the mountain Uzec sat below. In the distance, the river wound in the floodplain, with a village in the distance and far beyond the Calder Falls and the pass. Approaching the tower, Elemix could see the old outbuilding. It’s roof in need of serious repair. The tower itself was small and round, a lookout tower primarily, with four tiny floors. Unlocking it, the dwarf inspected the spiral stair, the cellar, and each floor in turn up to the trap-door on the roof. He inspected the stone, noting most all the woodwork was gone.
“This is good stone. Dwarven-cut. Likely pulled up here from the old ruins at Uzec or Derrien by the Eterians to watch the pass. There are several like it south of here as well. It needs some work just to make it habitable. A night in this tower today is the same as staying outside, save for the wind. You’ll need a full masonry review, reinforcing as necessary, windows, shutters, a better door, finishings, and furniture. I imagine as a Thalassan you’ll want a well, pipes, lighting, etc. Right? I can of course create an estimate for you, or just do it and bill you.”
Elemix watched the Dwarf as he went from room to room inspecting. He jotted notes and reviewed things on his own as well. “Yes, Elemix replied. “I will require all of that. And I should like a good strong door and shutters. As I am somewhat alone out here, I will want the tower to be relatively well defended and anything you can do to help ensure that would be well appreciated.
As for furnishings I do not require anything luxurious and I would request you work with those you would recommend to furnish the tower out per my needs.
The top floor I will use as my room. It will need a bed, book stand, table, and chest of drawers.
The third floor will be used as my alchemy lab. There I shall require several tables and shelves primarily.
The second floor will be used as servant and guest quarters. I will require several beds and night tables, chests of drawers etc – such as the space can accommodate.
The first floor will of course be the most heavily used and will require a kitchen, dining table & chairs, comfortable seating etc. The basement will be used as storage for the most part so simple shelving and a table or two would be fine there I should think.”
Elemix wrote all of it down and handed it to Master Stonesplitter.
“Nothing fancy to any of it mind you but sturdy and well built. Used is fine as well, as I must limit myself on budget for the time being.”
Elemix took a flask of ale from a pouch on his horse and then proceeded to sit down on an ancient stone next to the keep. He motioned for Master Stonesplitter to join him, and when the dwarf accommodated Elemix handed the drink to the dwarf, and continued.
“All in all the Baron estimated the cost to bring this place up to snuff to be at roughly 2000 gp. I know that is a rough number but would that be a ball park in your opinion as well? If so, I can offer you 200gp now, and the Baron will match it for an additional 200. That should be enough to get you going. When I return in a few months time, the Baron and I shall pay the balance and work out any additional details then.”
Elemix waited patiently for his companion to drink and respond in kind.
Taking a swig from the flask, the dwarf replied, “Let’s talk payment terms in a bit. First off, the Baron told me the same. Up to snuff is much different than comfortable and defensible. For 2000 you could live here, but it would be a drafty, sad way to live.”
Taking a pen and notebook from his satchel, the dwarf said, “If you want a Stonesplitter tower, one that I believe is the minimum – I say minimum – for one of your stature, then this is what you do…”
The dwarf began writing, “first we drill a well. Water table is pretty deep from here, but I think it is do-able. Run pipe up from the cellar to the kitchen, plus a pump, and a drain for waste water. Then we seal the cellar walls and add a ladder/trapdoor to access it from the kitchen. Should double as a bit of storage for wood, a larder for food, and a wine cellar area. The whole thing is only 15 feet diameter, so we will have to be clever. This will cost, say 800 gp, plus the well, which is another 200 gp.
Then we redo the stair rails, steps, and seal and plaster the interior stone, say 500 gp. We’ll need to inspect and repair the fireplace, another 50 gp. Trim, some 50 gp. Windows are expensive, but useful, say 650 gp there, plus shutters, which keep them safe, 100 gp. Front door 50 gp. Top floor, simple bed, stand, etc 200 gp. Third floor will need proper exhaust, 100 gp. Shelves, etc. another 100 gp. You will also need water on that floor if you are dong alchemy, another 150 gp to extend the pipes, waste, and add a pump. Second floor needs smaller versions of all that is on the first floor, but twice, 250 gp – no tables though. Should sleep a servant and another. Also, I’ll have to build a dividing wall and two doorways, 300 gp. First floor is slightly wider than the others, but only slightly. I can build a small kitchen and pantry, plus a sitting room. Including basic, but quality furniture, stove, drains, and fittings, you are looking at 1300 gp there. So in total, your materials and craft investment will be 4800 gp. The front door is good. Only minor repairs there, so maybe 50 gp. I’ll need workers and porters for five months work, likely 900 gp for the labor all told. Then my fee of course, which is 10% of the total or 575 gp. It will be simple, but of great, study material. Small, but cozy and warm. And with plumbing like all you Thalassans are used to, albeit simple. Also, we’ll add a privy structure accessible from the inside, but venting to the outside. The estimate given the necessary parameters is 6325gp.”
I would need ten percent down in cash, meaning 633 gp, so if you can get me 316 gp 5 sp, the Baron can match the rest of that down
payment. If you want me to actually start working so it is ready when you return and not just draw up plans while you are gone, I’ll need funds for that too. I know several lenders who would take a wizard’s promise of credit. All Lender’s Guild accredited of course.”
He took another swig and handed the flask back to Elemix.
“I’ll have them clean up the stable and add a thatch roof. Consider them a value add. If you want them redone, then we can discuss that later.”
“Do we have a deal?” asked the dwarf. “Or I can do the simple ‘up to snuff’ and you can live the hard life of an Eterian legionary instead for the 2000 gp. You deserve quality magus – and I deliver that.”
“Lets make it an even 6,000 gold and you have yourself a deal and with it work for the next several months. I shall need you to start very soon. I’ll also need to speak with the Baron prior to making anything official and obtain a loan.” Elemix looked at the tower. “I respect your judgments in this matter and look forward to working with you.”
The dwarf spit on his hand and the two shook on the deal with the understanding that nothing would start until finances were in-place.
Later that day Elemix planned to meet with the creditors Stonesplitter recommended in order to secure a loan. He knew he was somewhat out of his element so he requested Lady Rivanons assistance in the matter if she was willing. He wanted to negotiate a good deal.
“So as I understand you,” Rivanon queried when they met later, “you have gained a small fief, the old legionnaire watch post overlooking the north road and the town of Gamaché. You have made an agreement with my father for 1000 gp match on your spend – one time. Plus his supporting a simple house servant indefinately. It needs a lot of work. You have commissioned a builder to do the work. It will cost 6000 gold, so you will need around 5000 gold or so in gold via a loan. Correct?”
“Yes correct exactly,” replied Elemix. “Hopefully I didn’t inadvertently insult your father in the process. I am not that familiar with how land ownership and fiefs work etc. Well I am now anyway after these negotiations with your father.”
Rhivanon shrugged, “the Periphery only has limited democracy sadly. Out here, honor and personal loyalty count more than a constitutional charter. Anyway, I think what you are doing is risky because there is no guarantee that the aquila’s map won’t lead us to an empty grave or old ruin. It could simply be the location of Brennius’ mother’s favorite biscuit recipe. We don’t know. But assuming we get something out of it, you should mitigate your risk.”
She continued, “ideally the best place to get a loan is the Bank of Thalassa. They routinely bankroll various merchant concerns, and for reasonable rates. But we’d have to journey there and frankly they wouldn’t see this as enough to waste their time on. There are two money lenders in Uzec proper that could come up with that much coin. Either would likely charge 20-30 percent on such a risk, at least. Of course there are a few more options in Derrien and Breven. I’d be happy to negotiate with any of them”
“Or I suppose I could lend you the money – with terms of course.”
Elemix hadn’t considered a loan from Rivanon. “Are you certain your father would approve of my taking a loan from you? He has already given me a feif and wouldn’t taking a loan from you look like I was trying to go around him or worse not thankful for the opportunity he has provided me. If you don’t think it would put me at odds with your father and if you are willing, what terms would you require?”
Rivanon nodded, “I certainly understand that. I see you are thankful, for what he offered is a solid site with little responsibility on your part. But, this would not be my father’s money I would be lending you. You forget my mother was of the d’Esté family. I turned 21 a few weeks ago, while Lady d’Cerisey was in her exile with Magus Revan. This means I received full control of my mother’s estate and the fortune and investments she and my grandparents left me; while simultaneously being formalized as Lady d’Uzec d’Esté by my father, a ceremony sadly you may have to miss due to your wizard trip.”
She continued, “in short, while 5000 gp is a large amount of money, it is easily within my reach, and my father need not know, nor will he care. He would only care if some other lender was unscrupulous and used a failure of payment to manipulate you against him. Since that is impossible from me, he would have little to fear – and neither do you.”
“Magus, the terms are simple. I lend you 5000 gp and you pay that sum back within one year, plus a ten percent fee. You may pay it in small sums, bulk sums, jewels, magic items or anything we both agree is worthy of the gold. If you fail to pay the 5500 gp by the end of a year, I will be open to negotiation, but an similar additional annual fee will be assessed, plus the risk of forfeiture of your goods. I do assume it will not come to that though or I wouldn’t make the offer.” she added.
“Is this acceptable?”
“That is a most reasonable offer. Thank you. I gratefully accept.” Elemix was relieved and somewhat surprised by what had just transpired. She literally just said he was a high risk and he somewhat agreed. He was confident he would earn as much in the future but within a year he had no idea.
Elemix looked Rivanon in the eye. “I will meet your terms. Rest assured. And thank you sincerely.” He wanted her to know that she had truly helped him in this.
“It is no bother. I’m sure your grandmother or your parents would have lent you the funds. I’m just here now.” she snapped her finger and a servant girl came in with a small ledger. “Thank you Ana, please also bring me my purse.” Rivanon said. She sat down at a nearby table and wrote out a script, signed it, and then affixed her seal. “Magus, you will sign here. Feel free to read it or have an advocate review it. I assure you it is legally binding and proper. Once you sign you have your money.” Ana walked back into the room and gave a fine purse to Rivanon, “oh, thank you again.” The girl bowed and departed. Opening the purse she removed a stack of large platinum coins. “Here are twenty-five ten-platinum coins, worth 2500 gold.” She placed them in a small coin purse and placed them on the table with a weighty thunk. “That should get you started. Meanwhile, I’ll have a script in your name for the remaining 2500 gold delivered to Master Stonesplitter in the morning.”
Elemix was grateful. He had thought about that but he didn’t want to rely on his mother or grandmother. “Well thank you anyway.” He read the paperwork carefully and deciding everything was in order signed it. “Actually if you wouldn’t mind sending a writ for the full amount to Master Stonesplitter that should be fine. As he was recommended by your father I trust him to do the job. That and I would hate to risk losing some of this to bandits or who knows what on our upcoming adventure. Better to take care of it now. I know it is a humble place but I would be honored to show it to you if you would like.”
“I’ll send the writ for the full amount,” she replied. “And while I appreciate your offer, I grew up here. I know the place well. I have additional matters to attend to.”
With that she added, “however, should we survive this journey east I would be interested in seeing the final product of your endeavors.” Rivanon then excused herself and left for business with her father.