New Business - Jasper and Ravan

New Business - Jasper and Ravan

Jasper's reflection in the mirror made him pull up and blink at himself. Something was different, though what it was escaped him. He was getting silver in his hair, but that'd been happening for a while now, and there wasn't more than there should be. It was a trick used, sometimes - slip in a few magically augmented silver hairs into a man's head and you could do all manner of things to him.

There were circles underneath his eyes and he scowled at those, but it couldn't be helped. One restless night's sleep and they all came back. Well, that's what he got for letting Ruve drag him all the way out here. Conner wasn't worth his spit, much less all this time and fuss.

He ran his fingers through his hair and that's when he saw it - a little spot where his hair had been snipped shorter. Blinking, he leaned in and craned, trying to see it better. Damn, right out of view. Almost like it was intentional, planned. Gritting his teeth, he twisted his fingers and yanked a few strands out for a better look. They were uneven, which either meant the snipper had been clever, or it hadn't been done with scissors.

Rats would leave a mark like this. Had he passed out in that shed that deeply? It was insulting either way - something had chewed at his hair. The nerve.

Thoroughly disgusted with himself, Jasper grabbed his pack and headed out of the house. He'd already sneaked a peak at Ruve and Aurelia and was rather busy not thinking about it. Neither was dead - that was the important part. Now, whether Ravan knew it, they were going to have a chat. There was money between them, and a woman who now had his name.

It didn't take too long to get to the house that had put Ravan up - it'd been last minute, but the islanders seemed quite hospitable, especially where friends of Selarenia were concerned (how they put up with Conner was beyond him, but he wasn't going to judge simple friendliness) - and he didn't bother knocking. Instead, he just slipped the lock and went on in.

The small kitchen was empty, so he lit the fire and started brewing some strong coffee. If Ravan was anything like he expected, he'd welcome the drink. A little touch of home should never be underestimated.


Ravan was in the kitchen before Jasper had even finished putting the coffee on - and though he wasn't too overt about it, he was wearing his weapons, and his arcane abilities were at full readiness when he came down. A little healthy paranoia ensured that he stayed healthy. He nodded to Jasper gratefully at the sight of the coffee, relaxing a little. He spoke in a quiet voice, so as not to wake his hosts.

"Good morning." The Jamean said, pleseantly enough. "How did the interrogation go?"

"As well as can be expected," Jasper said, deciding that cheerfulness wasn't the proper emotion to be using, so he just went with quiet satisfaction. "She's mine, the spook. She'll be coming with me and is under my supervision." He glanced over at Ravan, quirking an eyebrow. "That gonna be enough for ya?"


Ravan looked at Jasper for a long moment, his expression bland. "I'm afraid not. This case is my obligation - I am bound by duty to ensure that the young woman is properly restrained, and moreover that the incident is not repeated again. And quite frankly, I need to know how she got past all of the house protections - for the security of my family if nothing else. I think you can agree that I have been patient, especially given the reputation of a Jamean noble-born and that of my order - but this is something that I have to see to personally." Ravan didn't bother giving Jasper assurances that he trusted him. As a matter of fact, Ravan did - but saying "I trust you" was the surest way to convince someone that you didn't.

"Well, normally we'd have a problem, wouldn't we?" Jasper replied cheerfully, carefully pouring the coffee in the way he knew Ravan preferred it. Turning, he offered the cup out, that in of itself a sign of trust. "Turns out, I'm gonna be goin' with Ruve n' some others to take a job of sorts. The Spook is gonna be coming with us and, I think, your skills will be rather useful. Let me hire you and, if at the end of the job you're not convinced of the way of things, we'll talk again about how to settle the pesky matters of debt and honor. Sound fair?"


Ravan gave Jasper a small, cynical smile as he took the coffee cup. "I can't actually accept payment - that's the official line, anyway. Our order is both religious and sponsored by the state, and we have to avoid the appearance of unseemly commercial entanglement." He snorted. "Of course the reality of the situation is that we never have enough gold, and everyone keeps a slush funds for bribes, informants and other necessities of the job. If it means not having to pry more money from my brother's fingers, then all to the good. My beloved elder sibling has been known to make the gilded faces scream - and there are times I am convinced that is not just a figure of speech."

He resumed a sober demeanour. "However, before you make any final decision in that vein, I should warn you that such payment will not influence any decisions I may make in service to my vocation, nor will it persuade me to risk the security of House or nation. I think you have already guessed that, but some things must be said for the form of the thing." Ravan paused to let that sink in, sipping the coffee with a barely-audible sigh of pleasure. "If those terms are amenable, please give me the details of what you propose."

Jasper didn't bat an eye. It wasn't his first time contracting into the massive tangle of Jamean paperwork. He let Ravan say his piece, then hopped up on the counter to drink his own mug. It was overly sweet with honey and he sighed happily. "This'll all go on my Name n' on my head, as far as the Empire is concerned. I run an up n' up business, one that doesn't dilly dally with dangerous stuff.

"Besides, hard to get a more justifiable target. We're going after Dravin, Prince of the Demons. He was the one responsible for that headache up in Katar last year. Somehow, he got away, so we're going to hunt him down and make sure he stays dead this time. There's a bit of other stuff, and some secrets that you'll need to take a few standard vows as usual to know, but that's the jist of it. Sound like fun?"


Ravan actually laughed at that. "The sane members of my order would be headed for the nearest horizon if you asked them to take on a demon-prince. The career-minded would start drooling at the thoughts of prestige, wealth, and eternal glory in the annals of the Denavashor such a victory would accrue. As for myself..." Ravan shrugged. "It sounds like you are asking me to do my job. How could I refuse?" Ravan fiddled with the ring on his left hand - the unique sigil and seal of his office. 'Dravin, eh? I look forward to such a test, though I admit a certain degree of trepidation. I have had my share of encounters with the minions of Hell and the Abyss, but taking down such a major player - and more, making sure he remains dead - is beyond the scope of even my experiences. Still... thank you for the opportunity." Ravan looked reflective. "I always prefer hunting down the real monsters. With humans, there's always a shade of ambiguity, no matter how damned and blackened the soul. With demons... it's so much simpler."

"Can't disagree with ya there," Jasper said, swinging his feet a little bit. "Back when I was a hatchling, I thought that at least men you'd know what was coming. Now, I know different. Damn buggers are always changing what they're capable of. With demons, ya know they wanna tear your face off. Makes it simplier. Well, you've already met most of the team. Later today, I'll introduce ya to those you haven't formally met n' we'll get any objections out of the way. Any questions?"


Ravan nodded soberly. "Yes. That's one of the first lessons we struggle to grind into new recruits. Of course, they think they know everything about demons and men alike. Myself included." He shook his head. "As with every Jamean institution, most of the candidates we get are too eager for station without an understanding of responsibility. Human nature, I suppose. I like to flatter myself that I was just arrogant, rather than arrogant and greedy. Perhaps that's why I've managed to advance." He grinned suddenly "Perhaps I should have let the more ambitious candidates have a chance at my position. They would have deserved it." He sniggered rather nastily for a moment before resuming his stolid face. with a nod "Perfectly acceptable."

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