With a final, longing look at the cord under the counter, Kez advanced slowly towards his irate customer. An anxious moment passed as the two regarded each other, each taking the measure of the man he faced; calculating, scheming.
A heartbeat. Two.
Kez looked the man in the eye, and stood his ground. "Well, now. We appear to be at an impasse." He paused, dramatically. "However, I may have a solution to our conundrum."
The man's steely gaze didn't shift from Kez's. "You've got quite the pair on you, mate. Most wouldn't tempt fate by refusing me... else they'd be well on their way for a quick visit with the Gods by now. What exactly did you have in mind?"
"A job," Kez breathed, mindful of his volume. This was not something to be discussed in proximity of... well, anyone else. Particularly, loose-lipped, cheaply-hired thugs who may or may not be conscious only a room away. The ever-sodden "Rusty" was also due to make an appearance shortly, likely expecting his meager pay for a few hours' work earlier in the week. "One you seem well-suited for, given your talents. And I'd be willing to compensate you handsomely for your efforts."
"I'm listening." The mercenary put a gloved hand down on the counter, palm down, the other still holding fast to his wound. The blood around it seemed to be coagulating; the man was healing quickly; faster than ought to be considered normal. He leaned on the counter heavily, but Kez wondered how much the man actually needed the physical support.
Kez chose his words carefully. "I thought as much. Men in your line of work are generally excellent listeners when an... attractive business proposition comes their way. But not here... Meet me two hours past nightfall at Ivor's. Do you know it?" Surely the fellow did, but he had to be certain.
"Of course I know it. Most men of substance ply their trade at Ivor's. I am no exception." A sidelong glance out the window, as if anticipating company.
"Enter, walk up to the bar, and tell Ivor that you're seeking the merchant; he'll know where to find me."
The man considered this briefly. "How can I trust you? You owe me the price of a rapier, as it is. I could take your scalp right now and be done with you."
Expecting this, Kez reached below his counter with his left hand, raising the other hand in the air purposefully, dissuading any further action in the heat of the moment. He pulled at a small purse, lifted it to the counter, and placed it in front of his future hire. The moment of truth beckoned.
"A token of my appreciation. This should suffice as a retainer — and refund — for the time being. Not a word to anyone of where it came from, mind you."
"Aye." The man looked at him curiously, weighing and silently pocketing the purse. "I'm interested in hearing what exactly you'd have me do, but I'm a patient man. Wouldn't survive long in this business if I wasn't. I'll find you this evening."
"And by what name might I call you, sir?"
"In my homeland, they call me Werner." He pronounced the word with a hard V, and a guttural finish. The fellow was obviously not local, but his speech was without trace of an accent. Impressive, considering the complexity of their tongue. Also, quite useful for the task at hand.
"Well met, Werner," Kez stated with finality. "I'll see you tonight."