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Velindrel

The Old Smith...

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(Contact me first conditionally open to first taker)

It was an olde art.

Handed down from his family for generations.  He was making an attempt to fuse it with the new magitech style with some degree of success.

Rahnar Estate was a mansion outside of Casper.

One portion of it was open to the general public, The Old Smith's Shop.

He'd developed a fine reputation of being a highly skilled Casper Smith and businessman.

He wore his work clothing that day and was toiling away at the smith.  Some folks who worked in his staff were visible with him too.

The forge was hot with a combination of spirit energy and magitech science.

Velindrel was skilled with manipulating his own natural energies to augment this or that piece he was working on at that point in time.

The chapter of Rahnar's smith was highly skilled at that point.

They manufactured gear for the local militiamen and royalty at points.

Velndrel was a burly old Elf at that point in his life.  He'd experienced the long life of turmoil, labor and lost past failures.

He forged his own destiny free from the olde Guilds of his early youth and their constant bickering and bullshit.

He had light skin, and was built extremely muscular for an Elf.

He had the tell tale birth signs of his people with long pointy Elven ears.

He had green eyes and his hair and beard were platinum coloured at that point.

In his estate lived and worked a few hundred Casper citizens of excellent skill level.  They were all under the employ of the old smith.

The recent visitor he'd had to his estate was that woman...she was on his mind.

The swords, they held a familiar craftsmanship to it, quality, he'd seen the like at least once in his life but could not quite place it.  His life had been long and hard and some of the memories were getting twisted and out of reach for him.

She'd also been able to pay with a sizable portion of pure Rhodium...that had caught his attention immediately.

He'd hope to service her equipment again someday.

One of the acolytes in his employ approached him and nodded.  "Sir, we have a new order."  She said calmly.

He nods calmly in response.  "Aye lass, send them in."  He says in that burly Casper accent.

(^Enter here)

Edited by Velindrel

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It wasn't often that Phoebe waited, but she still had a talent for it-- a way about her that said she wasn't anything and that no one should pay much attention to her, at least when it suited her to do so.  This close to Casper, even if she was technically outside of its limits, she was wary of triggering the arcana-phobic police force.  In her trade, she relied on anonymity; while she was certainly Wanted, she was not Known, and continued to be another nameless face in a sea of nameless faces.

Normalcy was the name of the game today; in Casper, there was nothing more normal than sailors, and so Phoebe was a sailor-- heavy, water-shedding pants that hung from her hips like a tossed deck-hand from the railing and a tight sleeveless shirt that showed off the rope-and-anchor tattoos which peeked out from behind her shoulders and lashed down her thin muscles like the bolt rope around a sail.  Her hair was bound back in a thick, messy braid, mussed with strands blown free by headwinds, that hung to her mid-shoulder until it was tied off with a bit of leather.

Empty-handed, she entered when gestured to, accompanied only by the jingle of something metallic from the pouch at her waist and the soft thud of her heavy boots as they clunked across the wide footboards.

A sharp, green gaze swept across the shop as she crossed the threshold, and finding the shop empty beyond its smith, she raised a rakish grin and strode to the counter, setting her elbows on its edge as she leaned forward.  "You Velndrel?" she wondered, in a foreign drawl that found its home far, far from here, over on the shores of Joran with the fleets that sailed with the blood winds.  

"Maybe I got a job, if you're looking and want to chat hypotheticals."

Edited by Noko

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Now there was a good a line as any...

That one word caught the old smith's attention.  Hypotheticals....  In Casper they were in the business of making shit happen.

Velindrel raised an eye brow at that point looking at that handsome specimen.

The accent was a little difficult to place, but he was a tad rusty on accents because of his time in Casper.

Though a seaport city, he chose to live away from the sprawl of the seaport and his mansion estate was a ways off from Casper itself.

He looks at the woman once more.  "Aye lass.  I be Velindrel."  He says with his thick Casper accent.

He nods at her once more.  "What sorts of...Hypotheticals... art ye speaking of lassy?" He asks calmly.  His eyebrow raised, in his trade those type of business ventures often proved to be the most profitable.  His eyes had a shine to them at that point.

The olde Elf considers the situation at hand and watches her for a long moment.  His business sometimes attracted scrupulous individuals but he was the type that always put want of financial gain and business first.  He waits for her response.

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The tips of her fingers thrummed like piano keys in sequence, rapping squared off nails against the counter's polished surface and clacking the many simple, hammered silver rings she wore.  Velindrel had come recommended, but not for this - for simple work, for reliable and dependable work, and for not being particularly curious about a job when the price was right.  That made him just about perfect, as far as she was concerned; now capable, that was an open question and it was one she intended to have answered before extending her trust much beyond the single piece of metal that appeared as she unfurled her palm.

The piece was small, barely palm-sized, and charred, its once gleaming surface marred as if it had been through a war.  In reality it had, for this was a piece of Biazo's once-famed bell, destroyed in an attack on the island years ago, and thought to be lost to dust and the winds of time.  Even for such a small piece, it radiated power; to one with vision beyond the pale, the metal all but glowed with ancient holy sigils and invocations lain atop each other so thick that they would need to be deciphered piece by piece to be understood, and still it would take enormous effort.  In its whole form, it had repelled undead and demonic beings for miles; even this small fragment still did, but on a much smaller scale.

"This is an opening bid," the woman stated as she held her hand out for Velindrel to study the relic fragment, "I want to know if you can amplify the power in this artifact-- be it through clever use of arcana, or runes, or some long-lost metal working that has escaped the recollections of humanity.  The methods aren't important to me; the result is.  If you can avoid destroying it.." Her words trailed like the ghost of an evening wind while her empty hand drifted upward, a lazy wave shunting concerns off to the side as she continued, "..but if it has to be sacrificed for the greater return, so be it.  I want to know everything about it- including if its magic can be duplicated- and I want to understand what can be done with it.

If you need an artificer or mage to work through the arcana, I'll send one to you.

Questions?"

As she spoke, her words thrown through that curt Joran accent, it became harder and harder to accept the assumption that this wind-swept woman was a sailor-- this was by design.  Phoebe's ability to don faces and personas was legendary, and a large reason why she was Wanted but not Known and while her skill here hadn't diminished, her purpose was changed. 

Hints fell from her words like dollops of chum behind a fishing boat.  The well-educated words, her assurity of self, the resources she offered and the way she held his gaze as she spoke-- they all intruded on the assumption, disrupting how easily it was accepted.  She didn't sway like land didn't love her, and the smell of salt was undercut by something sharp and earthy.  There were bits that didn't make sense and those fractures in her persona could be gathered, aggregated into suspicion, which Velindrel could parse and act on as he pleased. 

That was the second half of her purpose today, to determine what the Smith would pick up, how he curious he would be about it, and what he would do with that curiosity.

 All this, as a background to the negotiations at hand.

Edited by Noko

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He listened to her proposal...her...Hypotheticals...as she called it.

The lass was agreeable.  Velindrel nods he saw the artifact's property and it worked with his own knowledge of elemental energies and such artifacts of olde.

He considers her proposal.  "Bring out it's potential ye say?" He whistled at that point.  It was an agreeable offer.

He taps the counter that sat between them for a moment...pity she would likely be agreeable in the bedroom.

He considers for a moment.  "Give me a month this will be delicate work lass.  Such artifacts have dormant secrets laying within them."  He says with a learned response and assessment of the situation.  "Such an interesting relic of the past must be treated with utmost care ye see."

Velindrel considers the rest of her proposition.  "Lass ye worry not.  I have the capacity on hand to find out what ye need."  He looks at the relic once more for a moment, analyzing mentally various aspects of the metal...there was a familiar aspect of it to his wizened olde mind.

"I can complete ye's task lass."  He confirms.  "I shalt see to it myself."  He grins accepting the woman's offer.  It was a bold proposal and Vel often liked bold people...

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The woman nodded as Velindrel spoke, diffusely attentive as she looked up, her elbows still planted on the flat of the counter as the Smith spoke.  Inwardly, she wondered how smart of an idea this was - but the bell was so old, and its magics so primal, that the R&D department the Dead employed had recommended that she look for someone more experienced in the ancient ways, which is how she ended up here.  

She knew she was taking a chance on the old elf, and it showed.

"I'll leave you a comm unit you can use to contact me, just in case.  How do you want to be paid?" wondered the woman as she inverted her palm and dropped the metal fragment on the counter between them.  It bounced once, settling with a clink as she stood and rolled her shoulders, stretching out the tension that seemed to perpetually gather there.

Edited by Noko

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Velindrel of House Rahnar was a Casper businessman.  The woman's question lingered between the two of them for a moment or two.

"We art business folks."  Vel begins calmly.  His eyes have a twinkle, a shine at that point.  "When the task is complete we can properly barter in traditional ways after I contact you.  I intend to make sure the lass's proposal is completed up to ye's technical standards.  We canst negotiate after..."  Vel promises.  And then places the strange metal in his hand for a moment.

***

Time passes Velindrel had never worked on such a specimen before.

It has some familiar metallurgy components that reminded him of things from his past...but the substance itself was unique.  Flavored much like a dance with a lover one takes to their bedroom to spend many nights with.

The bio chemical compounds had a property he'd never seen before.  From his knowledge of metallurgy it was far different from the substances he knew were native to The Empire.

As he works, he has the mechanical portions of his forge working with the metal directly.  Vel has opted to use tremendous amounts of his own spiritual energy into the component.

As a blacksmith, he was an artist in his own rights.

He'd broken down the sub molecular components of the metal into workable properties, and placed them encoded into a very powerful and potent augmentation chip.  This chip he fashioned into a device that could be worn, on say, an arm.

He completes the device and its initial properties go online.  Its a simple bracer one wears with the capacity to read undead signature on an led crystal display screen.

Vel got a chance to work with the potent metal.  There was enough of the substance to power two such devices for the lass.

On the last night he calls the woman with the comm device she gave him.  "Aye lass, tis finish.  Come pick up your product.  Well discuss prices when you arrive....after all lassy Haggling is an art form."  He chuckles and hangs up the comm device.  He waits for the cordial woman to show up again.  He thinks again...she'd be agreeable in the bedroom.  The gauntlets augmented with the scanner lay out are ready.

Edited by Velindrel

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Time passes.

When Velindrel contacts her again, she is Michelle in a green dress, bringing victory with a pen and a broad and flourishing signature from Seraphim, nestled in Last Chance, and the insistent blink of the communicator drags her attention from the mergers and acquisitions documents on her desk.  After a glance at her heavy, closed office door, she answers as Marina, suddenly and jarringly Michelle-the-Sailor, and coordinates a day and time to meet with the old Smith.

The journey passes in the literal blink of an eye-- not Faux-ton, but a portal the First left scrawled in black-tar beneath a waterproof tarp the dock-hands throw their catch on; a tarp that was empty when she left the rune and definitively not right now.  The sigil shoves Marina through space, twisting and warping like water down a storm drain, and when it has finally had enough and throws her out it leaves standing her knee-high in a pile of dead carp.

For her, crime is always profitable- but it not always sexy.

With a twist to her pretty lips and disgust cast down at the sick, wet snapping sound her boots provoke as she tromps out of the fish pile, she sets off toward Velindrel's Smithy in much the same appearance as before: dark, messy braid, a pair of heavy boots and water-shedding pants, and a sleeveless top that most women would consider an undershirt.  She's well tanned, reddish-brown on the rounded muscle of her shoulders, where the same rope and anchor tattoos snake down her arms to the blue-black nets inked into the back of her hands.

The walk to Velindrel's Smithy was lengthy, but it at least gave the wind time to rip most of the fish-smell from her heavy pants and leave the scales and gore in the dust behind her.  She arrived much the same way as before, long-limbs claiming space as she palmed her way through the door, and curling a grin as she lifted one tattooed palm toward the old Smith.

"Almost to the day," she drawled, "It's good, reliability is essential- so, what did you learn?  There's a shocking amount of undead fish flopping around that the boys need to start handling, so I'm excited to get things moving.."

Undead fish? 

A euphemism, maybe?

Edited by Noko
Stray comma.

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As per the technical specifications of the two devices, Vel had comprised a set of manual notes.  Written in perfect common penmanship, the hand writing was entirely legible and written as meticulously as the man who'd created the devices.  He hands the girl the notes with a small bow.  "I hath learned a great deal lassy."  He begins.

"Augmented with my own...talents shalt we say...the substances I was able to break down into an extremely potent chip set."

He continues.  "The control is simple with the LED crystal display and can harmoniously synch up with the User's bio electric field."  He pauses a moment.  Not sure how receptive the lass, and glad that she'd shown up again.  He'd rather found her quite handsome.  They were well met to old, experienced eyes.  "I was able to implement several modes, a shield against the Undead bastards, a sort of knock back pulse effect and as well as the lass's scanning capacity which includes general DNA information of the target specimens in question."  He explained carefully.

"Each feature is implemented by a simple command on the LED display."  He says calmly.

"Now lass, the issue of payment."  He looked away for a brief moment.  His eyes twinkling with that interest...he was a Casper businessman of course.  "I'm an extremely flexible person and I am wiling to negotiate a fair deal with whatever the lass is working with financially wise.  I can tell you folks are into...dealings let's just say.  That are not for the eyes of the law.  These matters shall be respected by my benefactors at Lancey Inc.  The guild I am a part of...if the lassy needs to keep...matters secret they will be kept secret.  As long as proper payments are exchanged of course."  The old man was a business minded person and willing to turn a blind eye to...less than benevolent dealings.  He keeps a sly grin on his face the whole time.  He had a reputation and business etiquette to upkeep after all.  She would notice at that particular day of the dealings, they were completely alone.  Not a single pair of prying eyes...the old Smith didn't like too much attention from the law either.  

Edited by Velindrel

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"Talents, hmm?"

Marina teased as she took the bundled collection of notes in her palm, glancing at the precise, meticulous folds, then set them down with a faint nod and a smile.  The Smith went on and Marina leaned forward and set her tanned forearms on the counter, stretching her back, and then returning her full attention to Velindrel.  

"Each feature is implemented by a simple command on the LED display."

"Can I see it?" she wondered as she glanced up, viewing the old Elf's aged expression through her lashes dark slats.  Given the device, she turned it over in her hands, casting a studious look over the joints, pressing the buttons, and running her thumbs over the edges.  Marina didn't know smithing - couldn't tell you how to peign or draw to save her life - but she appreciated and recognized good construction, having worked on enough projects to spot sloppiness and inattention from a mile away.  There was none of that here, though.

The old Elf was fastidious; his craftmanship a very high caliber and the ways that he was able to expand the fragment's capabilities and coax evolution out of the impressive but static metal spoke volumes.  

"Now lass, the issue of payment." He was saying, and setting the device to the side Marina rejoined the conversation.  

"I'm an extremely flexible person and I am wiling to negotiate a fair deal with whatever the lass is working with financially wise. I can tell you folks are into...dealings let's just say. That are not for the eyes of the law. These matters shall be respected by my benefactors at Lancey Inc. The guild I am a part of...if the lassy needs to keep...matters secret they will be kept secret. As long as proper payments are exchanged of course."

"Aren't we all?  Into dealings, that is.. "  Her smile spread naturally, accepting as she was called out, and offered a soft laugh in response.  "It's the only way anyone gets ahead anymore, but I don't have dealings of any sort between friends, and we're friends - aren't we?"  Marina's smile was brilliant and easy to fall into; the allure and charm that wafted around her was natural, and easy, as comfortable as a nap beneath a summer tree.

"As long as I can count on your workmanship and confidence, you can count on my payment.  For this, I'll give you a choice- I can, of course, pay you in the Empire's currency, or in gems, or metals, it really makes no difference to me."

Must be nice.

"However," she went on, a glint of excitement sparkling as she watched the elf's expression, "If you want, and if you're patient, I can deliver you a red valiras crystal in about a month.  In return though, I would want that payment to cover this and one future endeavor- we can haggle about how much of the new job will be covered once I sort out the details and you get your crystal."

It's an intriguing offer; valiras is new to the Empire, largely relegated to rumors that started flowing when the recently emerged Kingdom of Hasturia began trading with the Empire.  If rumors are true, red valiras are the rarest crystal available and can store and release one type of magic at a time-- having it could potentially allow Velindrel to store, and therefore work with, more magic, creating more intricate and powerful items than he can currently.

It was certainly an over-payment, but he would have to wait.. and there was definitely an element of trust involved.

Edited by Noko

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He listens to her well placed offer.  He raises his eyebrow at that point and the offer lingers in the air between them for a moment or two.

Vel comes up with a suitable response.  He'd originally hailed from Genesaris once upon a time and his knowledge of such matters...was extensive.

He nods about a minute later.  "Lass.  I know what crystals of which ye speaks of.  Save it for future endeavors between us.  If ye could supply metals to my operation here that would more than suffice for the projects and future projects ye will supply."  He smiles at that point.  "Consider me interested in your proposal.  If ye can supply steady work that would be far more beneficial."

"My benefactors at Lancey Inc.  relish steady profit.  Ye seems capable of providin' that lassy."

He continues.  "Ye art always welcome here at my estate we canst conduct business as ye see fit."  He keeps his smile on his face.  Again, the lassy was agreeable he wonder how she would be in the bedroom once more.  Who said it was bad to mix business with pleasure? He thought at that point.  Exchange of large sums of money was always a welcome bed partner...

He adds one more point.  "The metals ye will provide art fine.  I can work them into steady products for ye lassy."  He says finally and folds his arm across his chest.  He smiles again at that point considering the situation at hand.  She had made his day much brighter with the talk of profit...

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Above moss green eyes, Marina's sculpted brows arch like leaping dolphins as Velindrel professes knowledge of the Valiras and then turns it down.  She turns introspective for a moment, her fingertips thrum a thought out on the countertop before she shrugs and returns the old Elf's smile with an easy one of her own.  Maybe he has his own reasons to decline the Valiras, maybe it won't be as in demand as she hoped, or maybe its reputation simply isn't built up enough yet; this early in its roll-out, she can manage all of those risks, and the Dead's bottom line won't see an impact.

"Steady work isn't an issue- the ship's got a lot of moving parts, and hands moving those parts, and jobs that need doing," she answered.

"My benefactors at Lancey Inc. relish steady profit. Ye seems capable of providin' that lassy," spoke Velindrel, prompting a soft chuckle from the woman.  

"Oh, I'm capable of quite a bit," she answered with a roguish grin.  Stretching to the side, Marina took the liberty of pressing her fingertips atop Velindrel's notebook and dragging it over toward her, then pivoting it smoothly so it faced the man.  "Why don't you write down your preference in metals, and I'll come back tomorrow with what we've got.  Oh, and one more thing..."  Bending her arm, she unfurled her fingers and set her chin in her palm, smiling as she looked up at him once again.

"Might be that, from time to time, we pick up objects here and there that have worth but that we don't need..."  She left the sentence hanging like a thief; the Elf could take it as he wanted, and there were several ways to do so, but several of them could be described as potentially fencing stolen goods, melting them down for components, or other 'grey area' acts.  

"We could talk percentages later, if you were interested."

How he answered, what he chose to fill in her blank with, would tell her a lot about their future relationship-- which, of course, was why she had asked.

Edited by Noko

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He wanted to test her...connections.

She seemed like she was well informed and deep into dealings that didn't warrant public attention.

He writes a single word in common scribing.  On the notebook.  Vakar...  He needed a steady supply of it for his operation....

The acquisition of it didn't matter.

However...he needed a steady supply.  He was ready for her arrival the next day.

Again...they were completely alone.

Vel knew how to deal with....unscrupulous acts of this sort.  No eyes would be upon them on his watch...

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Pressing the paper down against the counter, Marina slowly spun the notebook back around to face her and let her gaze drop to the Smith's precise lettering.

Vakar.

Well, that was handy.

The menacing crimson metal was a major export of Last Chance's, which at least made things easier-- but not easy, and the difference between easier and easy was sometimes cavernous.  Vakar was highly controlled, strictly black-market, and rare since the Terran military kept an imperialistic stranglehold on production to equip the Wastelands Border Patrol in their battle for dominance of those hostile lands.

"You just want to see if I can actually get this.." noted the woman, chuckling as she set her tattooed hands flat on the countertop and pushed herself straight.  "It's a fair ask for new friends.  I'll bring it tomorrow, but I hope you understand that for a job this size, given how.."

Oh, what word to use..

"..controlled Vakar is, and the risk involved in getting it here, that the quantity will not be significant."

It would be fair, though.

They haggled a bit-- would the amount be his palm-size or hers and, in the end, they split the difference like all good barterers do.  It helped that Marina wasn't here to make a profit, but a relationship, and it seemed that the Smith understood and agreed that they were each feeling the other out - seeing what they could get, what it would cost, would it be a good long-term investment.

After they agreed, she departed and returned the next day with an easy laugh and a hitch in her step-- a recent injury, maybe, or a slip in the shower if one wove a story that also explained why her dark hair was wet, still dripping tiny droplets on Velindrel's floor, and smelling of flowers.

The quick return in itself was impressive-- and intended to be so.  Marina could have said it would take a week, or a month, to retrieve the vakar;  even a month would have been a reasonable timeline, but she said a day, and she said a day to make it clear just how capable she was.

"I need you to start thinking about something," she said as she entered, casually depositing the blood-colored metal on Velindrel's counter as the Smith turned his attention her way, "How can we chain together bits of the metal I brought you to protect a large area-- like a fence, or a force shield, or something.  It'd be nice if the solution were portable and if it cast out psychic interference, all the better.  

We don't have much of the metal left, so you'll need to use some other arcana to act as a conduit and carry its holy properties from point to point," she explained, then slapped her hand flat on the counter and grinned.

"I need it drop-dead in a month-- can you do it?"

Edited by Noko

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Her request was not unusual.

Some of the guards in Casper used such mechanics...sans the Vakar part of it.

He nods to her, driven by lust or perhaps some other form of hunger.  He didn't mind that she was wet, and left very little the imagination.  He grinned at that.  There was an adequate level of trust and she'd passed the unspoken test.

He looks at the piece of Vakar ore.  He whistles at that point and raises an eyebrow he nods calmly after a moment.

"The lassy is quite well connected."  He begins as he considers schematics and plans.  "Aye.  A month's time ye shalt have yer shield completely constructed."  Reverse engineering of the Vakar Ore was entirely possible, he'd managed to work on the ore a few times in his life through other...completely legitimate means and practices.  He chuckles a moment as the thought crosses his mind.

"This all being said...return in a month I shalt have the lass's shield ready by then."  He promised her, he liked her, there was something sincere about her.

****

That immediate night.  He begins to work in an isolated part of the huge forge.  He instructs his allies to...conveniently shut off all security footage as per Lancy Inc rules on...black listed material and contraband.

The old smith goes to work showing his expertise on such matters.

 He knows Rhodium buys a certain amount of protection and favours.

As suspected when he starts to go to work, there is no recorded footage whatsoever of what he was doing in that particular room he ordered that on purpose.

There would be no visual evidence of Vakar ever being in his possession.

He goes to work.

He takes off his shirt and begins to carefully construct the shield to her exact specifications...he was driven by his admitted desire for her, but a chance to work Vakar was too good to pass up.

He decides the best way to project the shield she required was some form a precious pendant or amulet that could be easily reproduced to those who knew how.

The amulet would serve as the basic control mechanism.

He uses his knowledge of engineering and the olde arts to create the shield to her exact specifications.

Very few people knew how his power actually worked...he was essentially giving up some Chi, or spirit energy to make the device for her.  He did not mind, the reward of the lass's allegiance was well worth all of it.

The last week of dedicated work, the olde smith was ready and prepared the device, a labor of love, for the woman.

He'd worked non stop the entire time to create the device.  He tested it, and ensured the shielding properties would be exact.

They were.

The last day of the month, the Olde Smith is up early almost as if he were to be reunited with an old lover.  He didn't care he wanted to impress her.

Further...As per his employer's rules there would be no video recorded footage of what took place, ever....

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