The Duchess played hardball; but in the end, Arlago’s greatest diplomatic team played an even harder ball, and was able to convince Talia to stay for roundtable discussions. Upon a small celebration after exiting Talia’s quarters, Yasu had to return to get his “wallet”; unbeknownst to his companions, Yasu had brutally murdered the Duke the night before- at the behest of none other than the Duchess!
Yasu, hoping to remain in the good graces of Lisette, had convinced Ladliss and Semaj to join him in hearing the details of her business proposal. Despite the seemingly absurd amount of money offered for the simple purchase of a book, and the manner in which Lisette dodged their questions, the party accepted the offer, and agreed to meet Bartholomew that night at the university. Yasu was hoping to use his negotiating skills, coupled with Semaj’s similar prowess, to increase their pay for the operation. They employed their new two-pronged approach to negotiating, playing hard balls, but Bartholomew seemed immune to their tactics. After essentially agreeing to give the party 1500 gp and access to his personal library, the motley crew set off towards the docks.
Bartholomew’s nervousness was extremely evident, as the closer they approached the poorer sections of the city, the more he began babbling. A migraine, a stern talking to, and a vision of seppuku later, the party arrived at their destination. They were cheerily welcomed, and quickly escorted into the establishment. They were led by a heavily armed dwarven woman, through an opium den/bar into a warehouse; there was an animal-esque stench in the air, and an arena-like pit that really tied the room together. As Bartholomew already had an appointment, the party sat back and let him take care of his business. Little did they know, however, that Bartholomew wasn’t immune to their negotiating tricks earlier because of some sort of business savvy, but because he was immune to the entire concept of the exchange of goods, especially when it involved money.
Bartholomew blew his load prematurely, and after serious consideration of throwing themselves into the pit and ending their misery, our heroes stepped in. They attempted to haggle the seller down to a price that could be affordable to Bartholomew, even offering to chip in out of their own pay for the mission. Unfortunately, Mr. Douchebag of the Docks was also immune to many concepts of negotiation, particularly how haggling and supply and demand works. As the chances of buying the book became grim, Bartholomew made a mad dash with the book towards the door. He was intercepted by the party, who wanted no part in any unjust conflict. At this point, the frustrated companions were ready to admit defeat, and retreated towards the exit; when all seemed lost, however, Bartholomew made one last effort, ejaculating that he would pay the asked price for the book. Of course, he ignored the fact that he would be virtually unable to pay his bodyguards, but who gives a f*@# about them anyways?