March 30th, 2003
A Coin for your Kisses - By Erde
"I now call this meeting to order, blah blah blah, so on and so forth,"
I announced drolly to my rapt audience of one. "First order of business
is that we do in fact need a first order of business."
My audience nodnoded in agreement and I noted the ascent of the entire
gathering. "Well then, any suggestions?" I peered across the vast space
of our all but empty clan hall. "Yes, you there, in the front," I said
pointing at my companion.
Kylau stood and cleared his throat in an important sort of way, "What
about raising the money to do your donation deal?"
I groaned a long drawn out sort of sigh that started at my toes and
ended somewhere near the top of Mount Vryce. "For the past month," I began
in a rather overbearing way, "I have seen more trade posts, traveled
more roads, and bought more covered wagons than I care to count or
Kylau shivered and eyed me speculatively.
"And I really..." but my argument ran out of momentum and I blinked a
few times as I remembered who I was talking to. "Yes... well, hmm," was
all I could manage, "I nearly forgot your... what was it?"
"Work avoidance syndrome," he stated proudly.
"Yes that... so what do you have in mind then?"
"Well it seems to me," he started and it was my turn to shiver as I saw
the wheels begin to turn in his mind, "that it would be quite nice if
people just gave us the money."
And we were off. "Gave us... the money?" I asked hesitantly.
He nodded enthusiastically.
"I'm nearly 20 million short Kylau, you honestly expect that people
will simply give us that kind of money?"
He nodded again, his eyes sparkled in an annoyingly expectant sort of
"Without us doing anything for it in return?" I waited for a moment and
watch him consider the idea. He seemed about to say something, but I
was unceremoniously pounced upon and sent tumbling across the room before
he could begin speaking.
I landed in a heap in the far corner where I finally got a good look at
my attacker albeit a rather upside down one. "Tyraen!" I cried
"'Lo Erde," he smiled back at me. "Whatcha doin'?
"We," I announced as I attempted to regain my feet, "are having a
meeting." I conjured a duck out of the air and smiled at the satisfied thump
that it made when it connected with the back of Tyraen's head before
"Sounds fun." Tyraen grinned as he answered my duck with a well-thrown
Kylau tossed a snowball straight up into the air and laughed a bit
psychotically when it proceeded to land upon his head. "It is," he conceded
as he wiped snow off of his face. "We've started a gang, a mob of
"A mob?" Tyraen asked, his interest snared. "What sort of things do you
"Oh traffic things, kill people, a bit of this and that," I offered
vaguely as I dusted myself off.
"That so?" Tyraen murmured.
"No," Kylau smiled and I gave him the benefit of an evil glance, "at
least not yet," he grinned, ignoring me completely. "It's our first
meeting you see."
Tyraen nodded sagely. "Plenty of time for those sort of things to come
about," he offered as if he heard that sort of thing every day.
I stomped across the room and glared at Kylau from two inches away so
that he couldn't miss the subtlety of the action. He stuffed an ice cube
down my shirt. I stomped off to where I had just stomped from, crossed
my arms, and stuck out my tongue.
Kylau's eyes sparkled in an almost disturbing way and I sighed
inwardly. He slowly covered the distance of the room, buffing his nails on his
cloak as he went, until he reached Tyraen's side at the foot of the
message board. "Hey Ty," Kylau called lightly, drawing Tyraen's attention
away from the message boards, "will you give us some money?"
"Sure, what're you sellin'?" Tyraen rubbed his hands together and
prepared to do business.
"No, no, no, will you give us some money?" Kylau mimed the action with
his own coin pouch to better illustrate his point.
Tyraen's eyes narrowed as he thought about the concept. "You want me,"
he began slowly, "to give you money," Kylau nodded his encouragement,
"without getting anything in return?"
"See Erde," Kylau chided me triumphantly, "I knew my plan was
"I don't think so," Tyraen muttered, "I've worked hard for that money,
mob factions are a beast and the economy is down... you know how it
I nodded bitterly as I toed some dust on the floor. "Told you so," I
shot at Kylau.
He dropped into a heap on the floor and began a rather animated
conversation with himself in unintelligible grunts and exclamations.
"Well then," Tyraen concluded after watching the outburst for a moment
and sliding up beside me, "places to go, people to see about dogs and
morgans and the like."
I smiled at him before turning back to watch Kylau. I thought I had
heard him utter the word 'perhaps' but it was quickly lost under a
mountain of incoherent grumbling.
"Good luck with your mob!" was Tyraen's parting remark and I waved
enigmatically over my shoulder in response.
I must have dozed in the corner for some time before Kylau woke me with
the product of his hours of muddling.
"All we need," he smiled encouragingly and I didn't miss the crazed
glow that flashed across his eyes, "is something to sell!"
I tossed my head to one side and cocked one of my eyebrows at him. It
was a brilliant cross between my 'you must be crazy' and my 'huh?'
looks. "And what pray tell," I finally managed when the shock of the mere
obtuseness of the remark wore off, "do you suggest we sell?"
"Me of course!" Kylau divulged triumphantly.
"Ah," I said, because I could not directly think of anything else to
"Not all of me," he continued, "someone might actually try to get me to
work." He stopped as if the very idea deserved a moment of silence,
before finally finishing with a flourish, "My lips!"
"Ah," I said again after I had let my own moment of silence pass.
"A kissing booth!" He explained as if I was extremely dull witted, "We
shall open a kissing booth."
"Yes well you see," I explained as if he was even more extremely dull
witted, "I don't think that my husband would appreciate that too
"Not to worry," he reassured me as he hauled me up off the floor, "we
wouldn't make that much off of you anyway." I thought about making
objections, but finally decided that rolling my eyes and shaking my head in
a hopeless sort of way was the best answer. Kylau didn't seem to notice
as he continued excitedly, "The brilliance of the plan is this, once
the fair women of Medievia realize that I am selling my lips for lovely
kisses that are reasonably priced, they will flock to me. You will be
much to busy taking their money to have time to kiss any passing
gentleman who happens to wander by."
"So you will kiss them for me?" I asked innocently as he pushed me out
of the room and towards the stairs.
"Precisely," he nodded, glad that I had finally grasped the brilliance
of his plan. I counted to three silently and on my count he stopped
pushing. "No... wait a minute, that's not right....."
"I don't want to talk to it," Kylau muttered out of the side of his
"For heaven's sake!" I whispered back, "She's fresh from the New
Adventurer's Guild. She's a girl Kylau, not a dragon, she won't bite."
"You talk to her."
I sighed another of those enormous sighs and glanced around. The street
was all but deserted save a young girl and us. The girl didn't seem to
take much notice of us as she murmured to herself in a rather
discouraged way. I tiptoed up beside to her to listen in on the one sided
"Green potions... teleport? Hmm, no that's not right at all. Misty
teleport and green heal... or do they cast spells." She chewed her lip
"Novices, most dangerous creatures in Med," Kylau hissed in my ear and
I nearly jumped out of my skin as I bumped into the girl.
"Quite sorry about that," I told her as I helped her up out of the dust
and shot a look at Kylau that could have killed him if he hadn't been
looking into the window of the bakery. "Very sorry indeed." I helped
brush some of the dust off. "Oh dear, by the look of your robes Scruff has
been by recently." I stopped helping her brush herself off. She seemed
quite scared of me anyway.
I cleared my throat as I prepared to begin my announcement. "Hello!" I
said in my most cheerful voice with my most cheerful smile.
"We..." I glanced around, stormed into the bakery and out again with
Kylau in tow. "WE," I repeated with emphasis, "are raising money for 'The
She looked at us in awe.
Scruff wandered back into the room.
"So if you perhaps might be able to contribute just a little," I
continued, "any amount will help..."
"I'll give ya a kiss!" Kylau finished around a mouthful of bread.
She looked at me. She looked at Kylau. She promptly attacked Scruff and
I punched him in the shoulder. "You're hopeless."
He smiled and nodded as he rubbed his shoulder.
"No!" I insisted as I tried not to move my lips, "I talked to the last
one it's your turn."
Kylau turned his back on our next prospect so that she couldn't see our
debate. "That's totally different, that one was a neophyte, and
besides, her robes were dirty, I don't want to kiss a neophyte in dirty
"Her robes were dirty because you..." I glanced up and smiled at the
girl across the bar who was now giving us rather odd looks. "Never mind,"
I muttered. I continued under my breath as I pushed past him, "How did
I get myself talked into this mess?" It gave me the courage to cross
the room and approach yet another stranger.
"Hello!" I said in a cheery voice with an almost cheerful smile. "We
are raising money for..."
Kylau breezed past me bumping me out of the way and very nearly into a
table covered in someone's left over dinner and half-empty drinks.
"Well hello there," he said in a voice an octave lower than I was used
to, "How you doin'?"
I rolled my eyes and brushed down the front of my vest. The girl in
question looked around in a flighty sort of way.
"Can I buy you a drink?" Kylau offered, edging closer to her and
signaling the barkeep. He leaned in even closer, she pulled away, and he was
undeterred. "What's your sign?"
I slapped myself on the forehead. The bartender walked towards Kylau
and the impending disaster with the drink that Kylau had signaled for, I
took it from him and downed the lot before I drug Kylau bodily out of
the bar, much to the poor girls relief.
"You're a moron," I told him.
He smiled and nodded.
"You stay here," I said firmly as I glanced around the corner again to
make sure our quarry was still there.
"Can I..." Kylau started but I cut him off.
"No," I said it very slowly as if I was talking to a small child... or
a dog. "You stay. Right here. Don't move."
He seemed to consider the idea for a bit, I looked fretfully around the
corner. "Couldn't I..."
"No! Sit," I pushed him down on a bench, "stay!" I stormed off boldly
towards our quarry.
"Hello," I said with very little cheer and only half a smile. "We...
that is I... yes I, I am raising money for... 'The Cause,' and I was..."
"The what?" she asked a little taken aback.
I suddenly felt that the whole conversation was spiraling out of
control. "'The Cause,' well you see it's really um... well we're, or rather
I, I am asking people for money so that I might..."
"You just expect people to give you money?" She asked even more taken
"Well no... actually that was our first idea, but it didn't pan out you
see because no one wants too..."
"Well of course no one wants to just give you money." Her level of
taken-abackness astounded me.
"Yes!" I said latching onto the thought, "That's why we... or rather I
decided to start a..."
She looked at me expectantly.
I glanced about with the sudden knowledge that I couldn't run a kissing
booth on my own while only talking to women. "I'll be right back." I
flew off around the corner and stopped dead in my tracks when I found
that the alleyway was empty. "I'll kill him!" I raged as I kicked the
bench, only managing to severely injure my toe.
I glanced around the corner again to the questioning gaze of the other
woman and gave her what I hoped was a reassuring smile before limping
off down the alley muttering oaths under my breath.
"Erde!" I spun around and seethed at Kylau with my best angry eyes.
"Look what I bought!" He held up an exotic looking flower that might have
been something akin to a rose.
"I told you to not to move!" I tried to yell, but the end result held
more desperation than I'd intended.
He smelled the thing that might have been a rose and beamed a smile at
me in a way that somehow lessened my vexation. "Come on," I sighed as I
grabbed his arm and hauled him off down the ally and too the quite
rightly confused girl around the corner.
"We have started a kissing booth," I stated flatly and without
adornment, it was time for the facts.
She looked at me curiously and glanced at Kylau who seemed to be having
a rather singular conversation with his flower. I offered myself to the
gods but, much to my dismay, they declined.
I glanced at Kylau and I glanced at the poor girl that we had stumbled
upon. Her mouth hung open and I knew that no matter how hard she tried
she'd never find the words she was looking for. I dug a hand full of
gold out of my purse and dropped them into her open palm, she finally
took her eyes off of him and looked at me.
"Yeah... I just want to say sorry." I sighed.
She stared dumbly at us as I herded Kylau and his new best friend off
down the street.
"You're insane," I told him.
He smiled and nodded at me. "Thanks."
"So, you bought bread and beer and..." I glanced up at him from the
scrap of paper I was scribbling on.
"Flora," he told me matter-of-factly as he stroked the flowers
brilliant red petals, knocking half of them off.
"And how much did you pay for it?" I asked patiently.
He smiled at the flower. "Got it cheep, only a million coins."
I made a noise deep in my throat that wasn't entirely unlike a cough as
I wrote down the number and checked my purse. "So a whole day of work
and we're only out about 2 million." I moaned and let my weight fall
heavily against the wall until I sank to the ground by Kylau's side. He
fiddled about beside me and I covered my head with my arms and starred at
the ground between my feet.
A few moments passed that way and finally he reached out and gently
tapped my shoulder.
"What?" I groaned from my invented solitude.
He dropped something between my feet and I slowly sat up and reached
for the small bag.
"Why there must be a million coins in here," I said in wonder as I
opened the bag. "What's this for?" I looked at him in shock.
He smiled at me in an expectant sort of way and pursed his lips for a
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