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  #1  
Unread 19th of July, 2013, 11:56
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Ch. 0: The Negotiation

Emen Teller sat nervously (though he'd never show it) before the merchant nobleman Rikard Jameson, having just finished laying out his general proposition for the 10th time this month. Rejection after rejection starts to sting after a while, but Jameson has a reputation for taking extreme risks, especially when the games are involved. Emen had heard he has money to spare and based on his manse, he appears to spend lavishly.

"So, Mr. Teller, I've heard your proposition, and I must say, I'm somewhat impressed you had the stones to come here for funding without even having any gladiators recruited yet. Luckily for you, I like you, and I like your dream. I'll agree to fund you, but I'm not entirely sure how much I'm willing to invest yet. Let's discuss details, and why don't you bring in your companions, I'd like to meet them."

Jameson rings a bell at his desk, and two servants enter the room.

"Please show Mr. Teller's companions into my office."

Yarik Bladestorm, Giz-Giz, and Sivek the Red were in the outer waiting room, enjoying some dates and red wine of an old vintage when the servants enter.

"The Master would like you to join him in his study. Please follow us."

The three companions find their negotiator sitting easy in a chair with a smile on his face engaging in financial chit-chat with the nobleman, when he holds up his hand to Emen, and nods to the new entrants.

"Thank you for joining us, please sit. Now, I'd like to know from each of you, all four of you of course, why it is that you intend to lead a school. What is your motivation?"
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Unread 20th of July, 2013, 01:31
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Yarik began to run his hand across his bald head, the gesture as much a remnant of his past as the faint scars which replaced the hair he had once run his fingers through with the gesture. Such scars were rare on a gladiator, for even the worst wounds obtained in the Arena could be sealed entirely with healing magic. Those scars obtained by a youth, desperate enough to fight in unregulated arenas deep in the ghetto, however, lasted forever - a reminder of how far The Path had taken him from those days.

Yarik stopped himself midgesture. Nerves were natural before any conflict, but The Path was more than merely the mastery of cold steel, it was also The Path to personal perfection. Yarik looked to either side of him, looking to see if Giz-Giz or Sivek the Red would speak up. Emen had warned them it was unlikely this particular investor would be satisfied speaking only to the 'Face' of their school.

"The Games are about Glory." Yarik spoke slowly, as if he weren't eager to be done with these interminable meetings with investors. Nothing was further from the truth.

"So, too, is the Path. They are like rivers, sourced in the same mountain range, and ending in the same ocean, but taking different paths along the way."

"It need not be so - where people seek the same goals by the same means, why must they take divergent paths, where both routes may be improved by working jointly? Just as two rivers may join into a mightier river, so must the Path and the Games join. Those who follow the Path may find in the Games, as I have, worthy competition sufficient to test one's progression towards the perfection of self. Those who compete in the Games will find their skills improved, and thereby, achieve even more Glory."

"There is much Glory in walking The Path while participating in the Games individually - but there is more in bringing others to The Path through the Games. A great warrior may be remembered for generations, but great leaders echo through centuries. That is the Glory I seek, and the Glory this venture may bring me. With my comrades, here, alongside me, success is as certain as anything in the future may be."

"Such is my motivation."

Last edited by Krypton; 23rd of July, 2013 at 23:09.
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Unread 20th of July, 2013, 11:29
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Giz-Giz, who had been quietly reading a book while the group ate the dates and drank the wine, neither of which he was fond of, looked up at the human servants when they entered. He slid down from the chair and followed as they bid never once removing his eyes from the page he was on and followed still reading the book.

He read as they were scrutinized by the potential investor.

He read through the Human warrior’s speech.

In fact he was reading even as he responded to the man’s question of motivation “Xorvintaal” Giz-Giz said simply. When his response was met only with silence he finally looked up from his text subconsciously noting the exact place he had left off. “Xorvintaal is a game that we dragons often take part in. It involves the gathering of a gigantic horde and copious amounts of underlings. The point of this game is to utilize your servants to steal the horde of other dragons involved in the game. I believe there is a similar game that the Gnomes play involving a flag and two teams who compete to capture said flag. In short your arena games are a much faster paced version of the Great Game; where the Great Game can take decades and centuries to make a single move your version is completed within hours. I feel that this increase in speed will present a challenge for the strategic parts of my intellect in my leisure time.”

He made a move to return to his book but hesitated and added “Also, it might be fun.”
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Unread 23rd of July, 2013, 23:23
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Sivek smiled widely, and ran his fingers through his long red hair (clearly his namesake), winking at Yarik as he did. "Sir Jameson. Emen. We have a saying in my country. Nothing so exotic or hard on the tongue as Xorv-what-have-you, mind, but one that I have shaped my life around. 'Friends, wine, struggle, glory.' Eh, it sounds more eloquent and hefty in the native, but the sentiment is the same. I am not a strong man, nor a fast one. I have not the prowess of good Yarik, or the ... heritage of Giz-giz. So while wine is my constant companion, my friends, my struggle, and my glory come in less traditional ways. Years ago I learned that the staunchest, fastest friends were often those that were found in the deserts, the forests, the wilds. The bear, the lion, creatures more exotic, these friends demand far less of my wine, listen to far more of my stories, and demand far less in the struggle. The small fact that they bring deadly claws, ferocious teeth, and an impressive stature is of no small import either, I admit."

He finishes his wine glass, brought in from the other room. "There are few places for struggle, for both man and beast, that do not end in cages, torches, or frantic running. The Games are the best of such places."

He grins, raising his empty glass. "And I have heard that women, they find gladiators appealing. Perhaps that will benefit me as well."

Last edited by Ergonomic Cat; 25th of July, 2013 at 05:59.
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Unread 24th of July, 2013, 01:30
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Emen Teller listened to the responses of his companions, before responding to Jameson's question.

"Being that I'm not what you might call a strong person, my skill-sets are very much the opposite of the usual gladiator. That said, I am no less ambitious in my goals to comfort, wealth, and fame that seem to be the long-term aims of most intelligent creatures. Since I can't win that with strength of arms or with the skills of artisans, I am left to use my personal strengths where they lie--communication and information. Since schools need fixers and recruiters, that's where I fit, and with a popular and successful school, the mouth for that school will be similarly popular and successful."
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Unread 24th of July, 2013, 09:09
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"I see, your motivations are interesting. Let's discuss terms then shall we? I'm willing to fund your school 5,000 gold to get you started, but I'm going to expect a return on my investment. I expect 5% of your earnings every month to be paid to me to cover this loan until the entirety of it is paid off. You'll be accumulating 3% interest on the loan, interest that will be capitalized. Interest will be compounded monthly. If this is acceptable to all four of you, I can have the documents drawn up in short order."
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Unread 25th of July, 2013, 05:03
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"That sounds like a very fair offer, but I'd like to see if we can bring down that interest a little. The percentage seems fairly low, but a monthly compounding ramps it up a little too high for my tastes. If you could see fit to push the compounding out to, say, every six months, I think I could accept that rate without question."

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Unread 25th of July, 2013, 09:15
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"Your basic terms seem negotiable. There are some additional details that we will need to fill in before I can issue a verbal commitment to the contract. For example: compound interest versus simple, ability to renegotiate, deferment options, et cetera."
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Unread 25th of July, 2013, 23:55
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Emen's negotiating skills seem to be serving him well. He can't get a read on the merchant, but his counter offer certainly got a reaction.

"I think I could pull back a bit on the interest I suppose, but every six months is far too long. Instead, let's just lower the rate a little, shall we? Let's drop it down to a 2% interest rate, rest of the terms still apply. The monthly interest is non-negotiable I'm afraid, although you are able to pay off more than the minimum each month if you desire, and you could pay it off fairly quickly. And if your school is good, it should hardly take you any time at all. I must, after all, profit from this venture."

Jameson looks deep in thought for a moment, then speaks again, his tone suggestive.

"On second thought, I can see a few other ways I can profit from this. How about this: I'm your senior partner, you sign with my house sigil for all of your school's official documents in addition to your school's sigil, and you advertise for me on a regular basis, and we can forget the interest entirely. You've won me over. I would still expect a repayment on my investment however."
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Unread 26th of July, 2013, 03:24
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"That, my good sir, sounds perfect. I think I can speak for all of us assembled that we thank you very much for your generous patronage, and will do everything we can to ensure that you are at least as successful as we are sure to be."
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Unread 26th of July, 2013, 10:47
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Sivek laughs. "You have made the best decision of your life, Mr. Jameson. You will not regret this, I promise you."
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Unread 29th of July, 2013, 08:37
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"Very well, I'll have the contract drawn up then. In the meantime, while it is being prepared, I would like you to meet my business associate Hanneson, a mage of some minor power who assists me in my endeavors. He is expecting you in his office, please head down the hallway back towards the way you came, but take a left turn instead of a right, and go to the end of that hallway. His office should be... obvious. He has some details to discuss with you all."
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Unread 29th of July, 2013, 09:15
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Giz-Giz, who had returned to his reading, snapped his head up at the mention of another Wizard. No sooner were the directions to the office out of the merchants mouth than the little dragon was headed for the door and trying to not head into a dead bolt down the hall to Hanneson's.

Thoughts raced through Giz-Giz's mind. Would the Mage let him look at his books? Would he want to make a trade of spells? What magic did he specialize in? Giz-Giz had never seen the merit on restricting which spells he would study down to one category like so many others of a similar passion seemed to do and the prospect of meeting one who was a potentially vast array of books excited the kobold to levels he had not been to in many years.
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Unread 29th of July, 2013, 09:19
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"Our tiny dragon man seems to be a touch excited to meet your mage. I hope that his books are drool proof."

Sivek looks around the room for another bottle of wine, to refill his glass, before heading off after the wee beastie. "Mayhap your mage has learned a silence spell. Elsewise, he's going to wish he had, I suspect." He sweeps a bow to Mr. Jameson, tips his hat, and saunters out of the room, following Giz Giz curiously.

"I must admit, the arcane arts have interested me from time to time as well. It's not the pure rush of opening yourself up to the Green, I can't imagine, but I sometimes wonder what it's like...."
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Unread 31st of July, 2013, 02:54
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Emen nodded at the businessman's words and stood up to leave. "I hope we never give you cause to regret this, Mr. Jameson. Your support will be the foundation upon which we build the best school in the realm." He smiled genially as he followed his companions and silently added to himself, Or else the noose we hang ourselves with.
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Unread 31st of July, 2013, 04:27
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Yarik, too, made his farewells and humble thanks to Lord Jameson, their new patron. His mind was already off on what sorts of gladiators the school could sign with such a gracious loan, and the training necessary for them to truly achieve the Glory which The Path promised.

He'd gotten lost in his brain during all that talk of interest and compounding, such things were not of The Path. He was grateful he'd met Emen, who seemed to be as natural with such things of civilization as Yarik was in the arena.

Yarik followed Emen out the door, excited that their school was, finally, off to a promising start.
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Unread 31st of July, 2013, 06:59
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The group find themselves at the entrance to a large library of locked bookcases filled with tomes and other assorted books, scrolls, and papers. Inside is a marble floor with a circle inscription upon it in the center of the floor, perfectly clean and unmarked. Towards the back is a large desk where upon a hawkish man wearing robes sat writing with a large quill, papers stacked neatly besides him.

The man glances up as Emen leads his companions in, and nods briefly in the direction of some chairs set up to the side, as he continues to write.

His voice monotone and dull, "I'll be with you in a moment, I need to finish this documentation. Please don't touch anything."

He continues to write in solemn silence for a few minutes, the only sound the scratching of his quill upon the pages, when he finally puts it down.

"Very well then, I am Fourth Circle Conjuror Hanneson, of the Zerun, and I work for Mr. Jameson. I am given to understand that you are going to be entering into contract with him?"

The question is obviously rhetorical, as he continues speaking without a pause for anyone to answer. His speech is completely uninterested and flat, with little variance or emphasis on words. It's as if it's a speech he's had memorized and is simply reciting it.

"You have been sent to me to establish a line of communication, so that Mr. Jameson can keep in contact with you at all times, and also so that I may provide you with required information. First and foremost, be aware that I am also an accountant for Mr. Jameson, and I represent his financial interests. I generally warn him against investing in you new schools, but he shirks my advice on such matters, so be aware that I understand the risks involved quite well and I'll be keeping a sharp eye on you. I will receive a copy of the contract, and will review the terms in detail. In the time being, be aware that Mr. Jameson makes use of the Crossroads Bank, which has offices in nearly every major city on Harnsul. You can make any payments you owe at any of these offices at any time during their operating hours. You can pick up the sum of money he is loaning or granting you at the nearby office after you have your signed copy of the contract. Now, for communication, I've got several rings made of my own invention, already assembled. I'm going to gift one to one of you, whichever one who will be responsible for communication on behalf of your school. I'll need a drop of your blood in order to attune the ring, and it will allow you to contact me directly across any distance, so long as you remain on Harnsul. Unless there is an emergency, I expect you to only make use of it during ordinary operating hours, I don't desire to be woken at night or bothered during dinner. Whomever shall receive the ring, please step up to the chalice on the endtable to your right and use the needle there to place a drop of blood in the chalice."
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Unread 31st of July, 2013, 10:31
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"Giz-giz, this sounds like it's something right in your wheelhouse, eh? Exciting new experiences, new magical items, and a mystical connection to a Fourth Circle Conjuror...."

He glances around the room, examining the inscribe circle curiously.
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Unread 4th of August, 2013, 07:14
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Hanneson nods as Emen moves to the chalice and pricks his finger, dropping a couple drops of blood into the chalice indicated.

"Very well, I'll have the ring delivered to you, I believe Mr. Jameson has your contract ready, he's usually fairly quick about such things, so leave your local contact address with him when you sign the contract and I'll make sure you get it. Now, I've got other work to attend to, so if you'll excuse me, please go see Mr. Jameson again."
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Unread 4th of August, 2013, 08:20
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Giz-Giz had hoped to be the one who the ring was bonded to but Emen was too fast for him and offered his blood before the kobold could even peel his eyes from the locked shelf of books. "What spells do you use in the ring making? Can I watch? Can you conjure many things? Was it hard to become fourth circle? Why does your order only allow specialists into it?" Giz-Giz asked the mage in an onslaught of questions.
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Unread 5th of August, 2013, 04:34
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"Yes, sir. I was under the impression that there'd be more to it than that. But if that is all, I thank you for the quick words and the support you show your employer. I assure you that we will not take Mr. Jameson's support lightly, and I sincerely hope that our successes will do much to mollify your suspicions, which I'm sure have been more than warranted to date. Rest comfortably in the knowledge that we are not the same sorts of ruffians and pie-in-the-sky gamblers that seem to represent more than their fair share of gladiator schools."
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Unread 8th of August, 2013, 03:03
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The group trudges back into Lord Jameson's office once more, only to find him smiling with a document upon his desk.

"Welcome back, I trust my secretary wasn't too banal today. The contract is drawn, I simply require each of your signatures."

Emen steps up to read it, to ensure there is nothing out of the ordinary.

Gladiatorial Contract

I, Lord Rikard Jameson, hereby authorize a loan of a sum amounting to no more than 5,000 gold coins or other coins of equivalent value to the gladiatorial school of Emen Teller, Sivek the Red, Giz-Giz, and Yarik Bladestorm, under the terms to be agreed to as follows:

The sum of the loan is to be repaid in full in a reasonable amount of time, as determined by the repayment structure below. Interest upon the loan is 0%. The funds may be used to purchase any good, service, or product of any kind so long as it's primary function is to benefit the school. The school is to bear the sigil of Lord Rikard Jameson upon all official documents pertaining to the school, until such a time as their relationship ends. Lord Rikard Jameson is to be treated to as a senior partner, as defined below. The school in question is to introduce itself in all cases as being sponsored by Lord Rikard Jameson, until such a time as their relationship with Lord Jameson ends.

Repayment Structure: The loan is to be repaid at a minimum rate of 250 gold pieces or accepted currency of equivalent value per month. The school is permitted to repay the loan at an accelerated rate if they so choose. Payments are to be made at the Crossroads Bank, and are due on the final day of each month.

Senior Partnership Terms: A senior partner receives optimal preference in any situation in which a decision of some kind must be made. In the case of a financial problem or risk, the senior partner's funds must be given top priority. A senior partner must be kept abreast of important or relevant information relating to his investment.

End of Contract: This contract expires when all funds are repaid to Lord Rikard Jameson. Lord Rikard Jameson reserves the right to order a stop to all uses of his name and sigil should he decide it is necessary or the school is underperforming, but he may not alter the repayment plan or renege on his responsibilities.

Signed,
Lord Rikard Jameson
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Unread 8th of August, 2013, 08:30
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Sivek glances at the contract for a short moment, then signs. His signature is ornate and ostentatious, and seems to contain far more names than simply Sivek the Red, but they're all unreadable.

"Do you perhaps have a few local friends that could assist me in making purchases, Mr. Jameson? I know a few local hostlers, but I'm looking for somewhere that has a bit more exotic and esoteric fare...."
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Unread 8th of August, 2013, 10:03
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Loathe to be the last to sign the contract, Giz-Giz takes the pen after Sivek. His signature is as short as Sivek's is long since Draconic runes can encompass whole words in a single, stark character. He did not, however, use his personal rune for this particular document as those were reserved for only matters of true importance.
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Unread 10th of August, 2013, 00:26
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Yarik's letters are neat, small, and finely crafted - the type of letters you'd expect from a scholar or scribe, not from a Gladiator. His signature is quick and practiced, years of providing it by the score to clamoring children necessitating mastery of this method.
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