Chapter 3: Happy Smyle
The city of Grandeur had 298 registered inns, most of which barely scraped together enough coppers to survive. The Happy Smyle Inn thrived in the darkest cesspit of the city.
Like all cities, Grandeur had levels of intricacies hiding just under the surface. It was located in the southeast corner of the country of Tenland, near the borders of the four great countries. Grandeur boasted unparalleled commerce. The Merchants Order thrived, the Order of Transportation moved everywhere, and the Communications Order corresponded brilliantly; the Happy Smyle Inn was not near any of these prominent Orders.
In Grandeur, knowledge of all the Orders was a way of life. For some people, only the most secretive of Orders could help them with their problems. The Happy Smyle was located equidistant from the Thieves Order, the Wizards Order, and the Assassins Order.
Esmeralda Smyle, who owned The Happy Smyle Inn, had initially trained at the Enchanters Order. But after practicing her craft on the fringe of Grandeur for years, Esmeralda realized that she hated enchanting. She started the Happy Smyle and never looked back.
Esmeralda did, however, use her Talent to design three enchantments for her inn. The first was a spell of intent. This spell ensured that anyone within a 100 yard radius of her inn would not hurt another individual. This spell did not prevent injury from happening, it simply changed people’s minds. If someone planned to hurt someone else, the instigator would stop if they were within 100-paces of the Happy Smyle. A suspicious number of fights seemed to occur just off the property.
The second spell Esmeralda enchanted was one of privacy. She realized her clientele had a strong desire to keep their private matters private. The inn’s location between the three covert Orders in particular made for frequent visits from people who went there to partake in business, not just pleasure. The spell of privacy was set over each of the small booths around the inn. Those inside the booths were the only ones who could understand their booth-mates. The other people around the inn would hear only a babble of disconnected sounds. When sitting casually at the Happy Smyle, private business could be conducted without worrying about spies or other dangerous ears.
The third spell was one of truth. This meant that any agreement verbalized within the walls of Esmeralda’s inn would be binding. Very few people would trust the words of a thief. Fewer still would trust the words of an assassin. Nobody trusted wizards. But, when someone tried to lie about an arrangement in the Happy Smyle, only the truth came out. This made for some very awkward conversations when the Happy Smyle first opened.
Four years ago, a wizard had wanted to hire a new, unknown assassin to kill a merchant who had betrayed him. The assassin responded to this offer by saying that he would instead kill the requesting wizard and steal his money since that was easier. The wizard looked at the assassin questioningly. The assassin tried to cover his mistake by saying he did not mean to say that, but the spell was too strong, and he stated that what he meant to say was that he really could not wait to get the wizard outside so he could slit his throat. The assassin then started turning red and excused himself from the table. The wizard looked over to Esmeralda, complimented her on her spell, and left a hefty tip before he followed the assassin. No one ever saw that assassin again.
The Happy Smyle became the hangout for the most ruthless, clever, and devious individuals in Grandeur. But, with the enchantments in place, people were always on their best behavior. On top of this, only Esmeralda and her staff were immune to her enchantments. Thus, if anyone got on her wrong side, they would find themselves in a tough predicament, one where the inn’s guard could punch you but you could not punch back.
It was in one of the Happy Smyle’s private booths that three men in dark cloaks sat, drinking their ale and speaking in hushed tones. The front door opened and a surly looking tree stump of a being hobbled in, holding a metal box under one arm. It waddled over to the table where the three shaded figures sat.
“Is you the purchasers for the bozrac?” it said, while sitting in the fourth chair. Its voice sounded like broken glass and its breath smelled like rotten meat.
The three shady figures glanced at each other, clearly surprised by the appearance of the intruder. They had expected to meet a wizard, or possibly a Dark-Man, not a gnome. The creature before them was grizzled, two feet tall, unkempt, smelled of sewage, and looked most untrustworthy. Only the last was expected.
The gnome snorted. “You got my stuff or did I trundle this whole way for nothin’?” said the gnome, articulating his stance by spitting what looked like a dark brown garden slug on the ground.
The three figures glanced at one another. The gnome had a metal box with the appropriate markings on it. Who were they to deny him?
“Alright, here’s the staff, the amulet, and the gold,” said the smallest of the three men, handing over the items. The other two dark figures never made a noise. “And we have your guarantee on these?”
“I don’t makes no deals that go bad, I gotta reputation to keep. You got your doom-critter. Just don’t do nothin’ dumb for at least three days,” said the gnome, holding up two fingers. The gnome set the black box on the table, collected the items in payment, and left without saying another word or checking the authenticity of the items.
The three stared at the box, hardly believing they had done it. They had the most powerful weapon that had ever been invented. The three brutes had no idea what a bozrac actually was.
“Mrs. Crass will flip. I can’t believe we actually got it,” said the second grunt.
“Shut up!” said the third, a giant of a man, as he looked around. Every face looked shady and suspicious, but this was the norm in the Happy Smyle. The largest of the three carefully picked up the box. The thug slipped it into a nondescript satchel, and the three left the Happy Smyle to bring it to their boss. None of them noticed the low growl coming from the box.
Jayded, comes out in 2015