RP:Hiring the Digger

From HollowWiki

Part of the Arctic Construction Arc


Chapter Eleven of Arctic Construction

Start of the Vaults

The tunnel from above descends into an expansive cavern carved straight into the permafrost of Frostmaw's foundation. The air is chill and moist with a stale flavor to it, but the workers don't seem to object, too focused on their given tasks. This cavern, destined to be home to the bank's vaults, is in a constant state of expansion, with smaller 'caves' being hewn out of its sides to begin the formation of the collection of security cells. Craftsman gather at a central worktable--laden with blueprints, a lantern, and a variety of measuring and writing instruments, and hold discussion over the exact details of every step of the construction. Further into the cavern, the metallic clicks of shovels and picks upon stone can be heard, and the stale odor seems thickest from that direction. What could be over there?

Diggson had forgotten how he had come to be here, the arguous journey to such an unwelcoming place lost to him. It had been pushed out of his mind when he came to be in such a place as this tunnel. Where most would have found the dimness of the lighting difficult on their eyes, Diggson could see better than he ever did on the surface. While many would find the closeness of the walls constricting, Diggson felt as if he were being held in a loving embrace. And even the staleness of the air was like tasting a fine wine upon his lips. This was the man's natural enviroment. This was where Diggson was most at home. As he walked he had placed a single hand upon the wall at his right, eyes fluttering as if he were struggling to stay awake. He could feel the earth, comprehend its existence more fully down here than ever he could while walking on its surface. This sense was all encompassing to him, distracting him from paying any attention to where he was going...

Satoshi has her nose almost literately buried in a small pile of violet fluorite collected upon a worktable as she excitedly picks through the crystals, murmuring in delight. Such a subtle shade of royal purple~! The magus has never seen fluorspar quite like this before and she can feel her magic humming through her veins in response to the natural mana of the gemstones, the result of the affinity between the fox and translucent crystals. "This is per-" Whatever else Satoshi's going to say is cut short as she's abruptly knocked into the table by a passing individual. "Oi!" the kit coughs weakly, winded by the meeting of ribs to table edge. "Stop paying the permafrost so much mind or, " cough cough, "I'll make you part of it." Not the most threatening words, but when one's flustered and distracted, it's the best they can manage on the spot.

Diggson paused only when he heard the objecting voice, having been so engulfed in the sensations coursing from his hand to arm to mind. The subtle vibrations of the earth's every shift had been like a drug to him and this was one particular drug that the digger would not turn his nose up to. Before he would acknowledge the girl's complaint and threat, Diggson would first bring that hand away from the wall and rub his fingers together close to his nose so that he could smell the dirt that had settled against his flesh. Only then would he turn around to look at the creature through mirrored lenses, head tilted ever so slightly off to the left. "Terribly sorry, ma'am. I was studying this tu-" He then paused in the midst of that sentence as his eyes settle upon the purple stone that the girl had been working with. "Ah, I've not..." Whatever he was going to say was lost to the recesses of his thoughts as he moved to pick up a single fragment of the fluorspar, twirling it in his fingers as he stared intently at it. "Ah, excellent. Very good, very good. Nearly flawless. Well, damaged there. How unfortunate. Seems whoever excavated this had not been too much of an expert on digging, too much force applied when unearthing it. Still though, excellent specimen." He seemed to be talking more to himself than to anyone around him, completely enthralled by Satoshi's stone.

Satoshi might have voiced a few more objections and half-hearted threats of death--most especially for the stranger daring to snatch up one of the crystal--were it not for the way he spoke. Clearly, this one knows what he's talking about--or is very good at pretending as much. Satoshi blinks, an almost sheepish expression finding its way onto her face. "Er. Well, the one who found it was just supposed to be digging a hole. He was going to throw out the fluorite, actually..." There's just the faintest hint of disgust in the fox's voice at the thought. Throwing away perfectly good fluorite is like tossing a spellbook on the fire. At least, in her eyes. This might just be her magical alignment with the stone talking. "Ah. But, what exactly were you doing with that wall. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were petting it et whispering sweet nothings..."

Diggson offered Satoshi only the faintest of smiles as she explained the origins of the fluorite, masking his own disgust that someone would let someone wield a shovel when they were so inexperienced as to not know the difference between empty dirt and dirt that held hidden prizes. But perhaps this was simply him being a bit of a digging elitist and given that distinct possibility, diggson was prepared to forgive the offender for their gross miscalculation. He cleared his throat though nothing was obstructing it before continuing to address the girl in front of him. "Ah, well I suppose that is a suprisingly accurate description of what I was doing even if not entirely true. In layman's terms, I was feeling the earth. Not to sound too terribly uppity but I wouldn't expect someone who isn't versed in terramancy to quite understand the finer points of it." At that, he offered Satoshi a very sincere smile. He was only trying to explain, not offend or come off as at all belittling.

Satoshi is the opposite of offended. In fact, the growing sense of offense at his pompous tone is put to rest with the simple explanation of 'terramancer'. "Ah~. A dirt-mage~? I know whatcha mean, then. I do the same, but with ice." Glancing sidelong at the wall, Satoshi lifts a brow and grins. "Dirt's never called to me, but snow certainly has. It's always singing in the back of my mind." Hesitantly, the minstrel offers her hand in that almost required form of greeting--reluctant though she is to press icy flesh to a living being. "Satoshi Azakhaer, or Lady Frostmaw, when I'm here. You're not a familiar face. I take it you've just happened upon the site recently? Else we'd be nearly done, if a dirt-mage was helping us dig~."

Diggson looked about the tunnels in a somewhat passive manner, as if entirely unimpressed by the work that he could only assume had been done primarily by a group of bumbling giants. His opinion of giants was not a good one at the best of times, relatively dumb creatures with no finesse. But when anyone inexperienced was trying their hand at his profession, it did make him feel a little insulted as would anyone who saw someone performing badly at their area of expertise. But such was the way of the world and he was prepared to shrug it off as something that he could not alter, not by himself anyhow. "Yes, I imagine that is true. You'd probably have acquired at least a near perfect sample of fluorite as well. Quite a lovely stone, that. I used it nearly every day back when I was a...well, that part is unimportant now." He allowed himself a lighthearted laugh that was quickly interupted by a series of rather unpleasant and painful sounding coughs...

Satoshi's ears press back as she instinctively recoils from the violent coughs. "Too much dust there, monsieur..?" she's careful to keep her tone lighthearted and almost playful, if only to put at ease the minds of those close enough to hear both coughs and words. The last thing she needs are her diggers bolting in fear that a toxic gas has been struck below ground. A quick dig through her satchel results in a retrieved handkerchief, dampened slightly with a whistled spell before offered to the coughing mage.

Diggson shook his head even as he was accepting the dampened bit of cloth from Satoshi, pressing it gently against his lips so as to filter the air and allow it to moisten before it when down his throat. It was soothing for the now sore muscles of his asophogus but nothing could ever truely soothe the source of the problem. "Oh no, not at all. Dust I can hand and I can even manage poisonous vapors, though to a lesser degree. You see, in my younger years, I was a bit too fond of mana rejuvinating objects and my folly was believing that if I could make sure I never ran out of mana then I could always use magic with little consequence." He explained as he shifted his head slightly upward to examine the ceiling and take a few mental notes on its current state. "I believe the healer assigned to me by...well, by my superiors called it Manablight because she had nothing else to call it. Such phrases as new disease and unprecidented sickness came up in conversation. I have a hard time believing I am the only one suffering from this illness though but I digress. The point is, there is no cure and I will likely die young but such is life."

Satoshi nods faintly, not showing the slightest bit of alarm or suprise--a few of her diggers still seem jumpy, judging by the wary glances they've been throwing her and the coughing stranger. "Magic-borne illnesses... aren't terribly common, but I've heard of a few varieties. I mean, technically, I've one of my own," here the kit flashes a grin of wicked fangs, "but this one keeps me from death by letting me exist between it and life. Ehe~. But, I'm curious, what effect does yours have upon your magic?" There's a scholarly light in Satoshi's amber-flecked eyes at the promise of learning new information about magic and its pros and cons.

Diggson seemed to be idly admiring his dirt-encrusted palm with a mild amount of scrutiny. He never looked away from this hand even as he began responding to Satoshi, as if there was something terribly interesting upon his pain. "Nothing too hindering. Mild discomfort if I use to much of my magic, a bad allergy to most mana rejuvinating objects. Really everything about my sickness is like a cancer. As best I can tell, it is and will slowly become more and more painful to even exist and then I will die. My death will not be pleasant either, I imagine. By all accounts, it is probably going to be a messy affair." And with that he pinched the air in front of his hand with the other and slowly pulled it away, using this as a focal point for the flow of his mana. The dirt and dust clinging to his hand would then quite obediently pull away from one hand to form itself into a compact clod in the other.

Satoshi said to Diggson, "Well, perhaps I can make you an offer." The fox smiles crookedly as she idly toys with a fragment of fluorite, letting her magic lace through it and illuminate it faintly from within. "As you can tell, the folks I have working for me are not masters with earth. I need one who -es-, to either teach them or move the construction along swifter. I pay well, and..." The glowing crystal is held up then, "you can have a large share of any gems dug up. I know this soil is at least rich in fluorite, and it is the only one I have an interest in. The rest... would be yours."

Diggson passively let the hand that had held that clod of dirt wave away so that the clod would fall to the ground but rather than descend as a solid mass, it disintegrated into dust long before it hit the ground. Either purposefully or otherwise, he had revealed that the dirt had been held in that tight compression through only the focus of his mana alone. "I see. Well, I suppose I can see what I can do about the skill of your workers though I make no promises on that front. As for speeding up the process of your work, that is one of my best tricks. Though I would like a day or two to study your digsite in full." He paused for a moment to look around the portion of the tunnel that they were currently in, grimacing some at the state of things that were probably not actually visible to the eye. "I worry that this tunnel may not be entirely sound..."

Satoshi instinctively looks toward the earthen ceiling in alarm, as if expecting it to come crashing down now merely because of the terramancer's words. "You don't think so...? I'd imagine permafrost is more sturdy than just plain dirt. But I'm also no dwarf or badger. Is there.." the minstrel trails off long enough to lower her voice carefully, "a way to make it more sound? We can't move this site. It's a safe zone from... some particularly nasty underground predators. They don't like something in this area. I'm beginning to think it's the deposit of fluorite. The ruins we've found are made of the stone, and likewise untouched by them."

Diggson offered Satoshi a very confident smile, rubbing his hands together thoughtfully as he contemplated various scenarios that may or may not require fixing. "I wont know what, if anything, needs amending until I am given the opportunity to explore and meet with your current crew to see how inexperienced or experienced they may be." He paused and tapped his hand against his lips, still considering what situations may need to be dealt in at least a semi-hastily matter. "Understand that if I feel they are a hinderance to the stability of your endeavor here, I may remove them from this project." Though the man was speaking of the building process the way he spoke had the sound of an advisor, like a person who had been a leader before.

Satoshi nods vaguely, lost in thought and speaking slowly when she replies, "We can work with that. Survey the site. Let me know what you think, what needs repairing, and who needs reassigning. It'll have to be discussed, of course, but... well, I'm teaching these people a thing or two about flexibility. It'll be a good lesson for them, along with learning construction skills." If the foxkin has any misgivings or suspicions about this, she's hiding it behind an amiable smile and absentminded nature.

Diggson nodded along to Satoshi's words without hesitance, his obedience to the person paying him a virtue that Diggson tended to be able to never shed from himself. "Of course, you'd have the final say in all that I do being that you are the one funding this endeavor and presumable the one who will be lining my pockets with some gold." He then casually approached the wall to his left, placing both palms on it and pushing lightly. "All in all, it all seems very well-built. Perhaps certain spots could be a little sturdier in places, but that is easily rectified. As I said, I'll study all of this in detail and you should have my first situational report by the end of the week." Again, that strange tone of leadership in his voice came forth.

Satoshi watches the stranger a moment longer before it hits her. This man she's just hired... still a -stranger-. "Aha. Erm. If I'm going to be hiring you, I do believe I need to know your name, monsieur Mole." Not that his name is really going to be of much use now, with her already labeling him with one of her strange nicknames. "It makes all the paperwork easier, y'know? And the scribes are so very obsessive about correct paperwork." Satoshi's dry tone suggests she's not nearly as fond of red tape as her clerks are.

Diggson did not even glance over his shoulder, unwilling to look away from his work of feeling up the wall for even a slight moment. "Yes, yes. Good foundation, air pocket there. That'll need to be dug out, a new room maybe? Hmmm, we'll see. My name is Diggson Grayves. Aaaah, gems. Can't tell what kind..." And so the babbling continued.

Satoshi decides to let Diggson have his alone time with the wall then, bowing to the mage despite his eyes turned away from her. As she leaves, she whispers quietly to one of the supervisors, who looks toward the terramancer and nods once in understanding.