The Fellowship of Phoenix Flame
Part IV: Deadly Distractions and Dividends
Back at the guild headquarters all is not well. Politics is ever present in most walks of life. Finally the guild treasurer arrives and Axelrod has to deal with her, while his guild has fun and works towards the relief efforts at large.
Kayna brushed past a lumbering brute of a dragon and that new Ranger, Terius. Neither moved to let her pass - how very uncouth. They were likely going out to kill some of the area's wildlife and call it an adventure. This guild needed to learn some manners and protocol when dealing with a fiendish woman for her caliber.
Xarfax had landed on her roof in Kirasanct and sat there breathing heavily, like a cat drooling over a mouse. It was quite unsettling. Eventually, when she addressed the great beast, the message was delivered that Axelrod would like to see her about guild finances.
Message Delivered, Xarfax had left as silently as he had come. Now she was here in the Fellowship's hall. Still, seeing Axelrod was always nice. He was easy on the eyes and often just did as he was told like a good, obedient male. If only he could get his mind off of Darla she might be able to replace her in the guild, further cementing her usefulness.
"Kayna, you’re here! Good to see you. How goes?" Axelrod was always the ladies' man. His behavior, harmless as it usually was, included subtle flirting to obvious attentions. This behavior did not lend itself to keeping a monogamous relationship in good health and is likely why he and Darla hadn’t worked out. Pity, he liked them fiery. This one, however, was cool and collected, not his type but very pretty. She seemed to have a mind to use him and his guild. He could play that game too. It did not please him to play politics usually, but such games are all part and parcel to his position as guild master.
"Ax, you know I don’t mix business with pleasure. I’m fine. Though, if you’d like to come back to Kirasanct and discuss this over a fine vintage of blackberry mead, it would be another story," she replied coolly with a somewhat sinister smile. Kayna liked to have control. She was part of this guild only to make money, but she wasn’t fool enough to let others know that. This brute seemed to be interested in her and her ways with money. She could use that to her advantage.
"I’m afraid not my dear. There's far too many things going on at present. Though you know, if a rain check were possible…"
"Perhaps… Now, what were you needing of me?"
"I need to know our current liquid assets. I need to know how much money we can afford to donate to the IRF. I also want your advice on what would look best, coin donations, labor, or volunteer militia."
"Professionally, I'd say that given the guild’s current assets, four hundred fifty gold coins, with some extraneous silver and copper in the treasury, and I’d estimate close to that in personal assets, you can donate several hundred gold to the cause. I would advise the amount of two hundred fifty gold coins. It is a very large sum. It will be sure to turn heads. However, I think man power would be a greater asset to them. Thus donate half of your crafters and one quarter of your combatants to the cause. A small to medium percentage of them should be veterans."
"So manpower would be of more use?"
"Drop the coin total to two hundred gold coins and I’ll donate my entire guild’s time to this until the contest ends then. I like to win." Axelrod asserted his leadership this time, he knew this would throw her off guard. To be sure he added one of his heart melting smiles.
"All of the guild’s manpower? You won’t be making any profit during that time," stammered Kayna. "You surely don’t need to devote the entire guild to this task. Not me at the least."
"Of course not, I plan on having you take the donation to Tazoon and help recruit new members in New Trismus. Surely you can handle that. It is for the good of the Empire as well as the guild after all. You and I are two peas in a pod; we do whatever it takes for our guild to triumph. Oh, I forget myself. This isn’t a tyranny. Anyone have a problem with my decree? …Didn’t think so." Axelrod was a confident man. His decrees weren't the end all, nor did he want it to be. He simply liked the illusion that he was in charge and unquestioned. He liked the image he portrayed, therefore he wore the mask of an egotistical tyrant almost entirely in jest.
"It would be my pleasure to aid you in anyway possible."
"I’m certain of that Kayna. I know I can count on you." He bent, kissed her on the brow and went to check on Flintstahl in the kitchen.
Kayna saw herself out. She silently fumed at how any man, especially a human, could resist her obvious charms and wiles. Perhaps her wiles worked fine, maybe he was just a quality man himself, possessing untold willpower. One wouldn’t know it to look at the oaf. It was of no consequence at the moment, for she had a job to do. After a quick gate to Kirasanct to collect the requisite funds and put her feet up, Kayna left for the scorching desert of Tazoon.
On the trip she pondered. 'How could he be donating all of the guild’s time and effort?' Yes, the Empire is the main reason all the races work together and trade flows so nicely, but this was down right inconvenient and not very conducive to her plans. She marched up to the new building in the west side of the city and fixed her demeanor immediately. Kayna signed up the entire guild for their assigned duties. It surprised her how well she knew these people despite not caring about them. In a sense they were the closest thing she had to family. She shook this frivolous thought from her head. Kayna donated the large sum of gold as decided upon by her guild master and went to find the nearest travel gate to New Trismus.
Changing into standard Kirsanct wear usually turned a few heads and Kayna didn’t mind. If people would join the guild and pay more guild dues in hopes of chasing her, finding that she has a twin sister, or friends, more power to them. She only cared about filling the guild coffers and in turn her own. Right? Over time had she perhaps realized she served something greater. May Moraven knife her in the back! That lummox of a guild master perhaps grew on her a bit too. Of course, she couldn’t let anyone learn of this. She passed out guild pamphlets hoping to gain a few potential hopefuls to join the Fellowship. She happened upon a trio of what appeared to be friends fresh from the Spirit Isles. The satyr, elf and dryad all looked haggard from their travels. Although it almost hurt, Kayna bought them each a chocolate gruok tail from Geoff. She chatted with them about the Imperial relief efforts and asked them if they had considered a guild yet. The satyr was immediately distrustful. Seeing that perhaps a fiend was not the best candidate to win people’s hearts, she tried appealing to their logic.
"Perhaps my guild is not for you three, but be sure to keep guilds in mind. I made some of the greatest friends I ever may find in mine."
"Really? A fiend has friends?" All three made mention of something akin to this but she wasn’t sure which stung more.
"This one does, even if sometimes she doesn’t realize it. Look, maybe guilds aren’t for you three malcontents. However, the Empire deigns to help people like you and if I were you, I’d choose to be a part of something bigger than yourselves. The Empire has all of its citizens trying to do what they can to help displaced Gifted and normal folks alike. Perhaps it is time you set a path early unlike so much other rabble around here, hmmm?" With those stinging remarks she left. Recruitment wasn’t a task she was suited to unless it was a dull witted male chasing her tail. She had tried and she’d return to Axelrod empty handed. No, not empty handed, not entirely. She had a guild and knowledge deep down that she would never be alone if she didn’t want to be.