The building appeared to be deserted. There were a few windows up at the top of the warehouse, and they were dark. No sound escaped through the cracks in the walls. But Djarina could smell the faint, tangy scent of magic in the air. This was the place alright.
She knocked on a door at the side of the building- 4 quick taps, then 3 slow ones. It wasn't a heavily guarded secret, and if an Enforcer or anyone wished to find it out they wouldn't have too hard a time, but it was more than nothing. As well as that, she knew that watching her in the Darkness were bound to have been lookouts, children keeping an eye out, or people who needed to be kept busy.
The door was opened by a large, brawny man. He held an huge ax, it rested on his shoulder like a feather. In his shadow a small, scrawny man with spectacles talked frantically into a Portone- a portable phone. He seemed distracted as he waved at her to halt, but she didn't stop to listen to the urgent words that either of them spoke. She was already running late, what with the Enforcers slowing down her journey and the hold up with that man. As soon as she was in, she was off like a bullet. Neither of them tried to stop her, they were busy: another person was coming in the door, and the intimidating man was being assaulted with a complaint from a self-assured old lady who was dressed in an outfit of bright, bright orange.
The air was filled with the clattering activity of the hundreds gathered there. No one worried about the noise, because a few amateur magicians had perfected a concealment spell which wrapped the whole building in a cloak of security. There were rows and rows of stalls, and it was so bright inside that it could have been the middle of the day. There was colour, shape and noise everywhere. The air was filled with a multitude of different scents, mixing and merging to form that individual Moving Market smell. It was comfortable and familiar to Djarina, who took a deep breath as she set out, navigating between the children who lunged about underfoot and warding off the shouted offers.
"Buy one get one free! Everything must go! Quickly!"
"Come on, come on pretty lady, I have just what you're looking for. Company for the night? Some one to escort you someplace? I have it here."
"Get your charms here, magic charms. Protection! In this day and age, you need it as much as you can get. Charms! Magic charms!"
"All clothes guaranteed to last! Cheap! Cheap clothes! Good quality!"
"A picture! A picture of you! Beautiful madame, it will stay on the glass, magice sealing, 100% top quality, let me take your photo-!"
The promises were never-ending.
The place wasn't laid out very well, except in its shape. The products and services were shouted so loudly that it became impossible to find anything, and the crowds of people everywhere made the challenge even harder. There was such a variety in dress that the place looked like something out of a chaotic dream, and the accents and the banter, and the strange, unrecognizable appliances on sale all combined to create a unique and brilliant atmosphere.
But tonight something was off about the place. There was a slight tension in the air, nothing obvious. Perhaps people moved a little faster, talked a little quieter (or louder, as the case might be), smiled a little wider, a little brighter. If you looked carefully into the eyes of certain strangers, it could be thought that they glowed a bit too much, and if you could look into their mind, you would see that their thoughts were jumbled up, jubilant and scared and excited and wary. Their faces and voices displayed a manic, panicked realization of what reality meant. Knowledge can be terrifying, when you know your whole life will be turned upside down.
But Djarina had no time to notice these things. She was looking for a place to swap her MindLines, and that required some one with discretion, some one with contacts. Some one like... Damsel Darial. There she was, behind her velvet and silk stall, surrounded by tacky crystal balls and cheap pendants, promising you everything you never dreamed of.
"Hello deary" She croaked out, with a knowing look. "What have you got for me this time?"
Djarina was good at "acquiring" things, and she was familiar to Damsel Darial. What she did not know was that Damsel Darial was familiar to Scathe, who had been having a hard time keeping track of Djarina. He caught sight of her just as he noticed that the stall was familiar to him... The "entrepreneur" who owned it had tried to sell him a fake magical item, and he didn't trust her. Unfortunately, it looked like he would have to intervene. He couldn't let the girl be taken advantage of.