Riovynn left Jasper in the tunnel, making more effort than usual to blend in with his surroundings. He hoped it unnerved the man.
Riovynn had been given a short break from work as Erik finished touching up a few pieces of his own collection. The assassin had taken the opportunity to explore the caves that made up his new home. Already he was forming a mental map; noting areas where he could hide, forming escape routes, and keeping an eye out for easily defensible sections of the tunnels.
Just before he found Jasper, he had discovered what he believed to be a separate training room. Perhaps the same one that Zane and Layla used. He made plans to take Tanya there this evening and continue her training there. Since they had arrived, training in secret had been a very hard task. They would often have to sneak out of the camp to train in the woods where no one would come across them. People were already curious enough about Tanya's display on the day of their arrival, and she had been holding back. Riovynn didn't want to think about the questions they'd be asked if someone happened upon them during a training session.
Which is why anybody who walked in them in the middle of a bout, would have a drop in life expectancy.
Riovynn hoped people were wise enough to mind their own business.
He had actually been on his way back to the forge when Jasper approached him with his favor, so delivering the message would not have been an inconvenience, not that Jasper needed to know that. He was not a messenger boy for anyone, least of all the sour guard, but Jasper's request had piqued the attention of the ambassador within him. Back in the empire, Riovynn had done ambassadorial work. It was simple really, there were only two rules.
1. Make sure both parties benefit.
2. Make sure your party benefits more.
As Riovynn entered the blacksmith's tent, his thoughts were on how he could apply those rules to this situation.
"Ah Durn! Are you ready to continue?"
Durn turned his attention to the man, and smiled.
"Yes. Thank you for the break. Let's move on."
Riovynn was appreciative of the work that the blacksmith gave him. Not only did it earn trust, earn money, and earn a potentially useful skill. It had been been building upon Riovynn's already toned body. He had to work hard at his own training, to ensure that the added muscle did not throw off his agility, speed, and reaction time. The assassin was noticing a small decrease, but it was insignificant when compared to the raw power that Riovynn was able to call on in the middle of a fight.
After a couple more hours of physical labor, Erik decided to call it a night and close down the forge. After the fires had been doused, the aprons hung, and the tools replaced, both men exited the tent. Riovynn saw an opportunity.
"So Erik, I was wondering if I could consult on yet another project."
"Of course my friend. You have more than earned any help that I could give."
"What do you know about armor?"
"Quite a bit actually. Although I imagine you have something other than a long lecture on the properties and uses of armor in mind?"
Riovynn forced a small chuckle, "Yes, actually I do. I'm looking for a lightweight armor that could be worn underneath my regular clothes. Something flexible yet still strong enough to stop a sword blow. Would you know of anything like that?"
The smith's eyebrows furrowed in thought.
"Oooh... let me see. I think I do know of something that might suit your fancy, but it's something I've never tried. Doubtless I'd need your help to attempt such a piece if you're willing to chip in."
"Well then I'll look into it. Something like that would take a fair amount of time to make I imagine. I'll have more specifics for you by the end of the week ok?" asked Erik as he stuck out a hand.
Riovynn smiled and clasped it in agreement.
"That sounds fine with me."
The two men parted, and as Riovynn walked back to his quarters, he couldn't help but think about how perfect the situation was. He would know as much as he chose to tell Jasper, he would become very acquainted with the armor's strengths and weaknesses, and he was very sure that he could build in a few weaknesses of his own on Jasper's set.
They might accredit Riovynn's victory to the unfortunate shortcomings of Jasper's suit... and if that were the case then Riovynn would have done a poor job...
If anyone knew it was Riovynn's victory, he would have done a very poor job indeed.