Void Baron Garbijion Ezer was sitting in his study looking out the window toward his prize domain – the elite leisure port area of Port Pentorumtak. He was not paying attention to one of his business tenants trying to negotiate a decrease in the rent she must pay to the Ezer Barony.
“Your eminence?” Jaelen Marsein trying to gain back the attention of the baron she knew was not listening.
“Yes?” Baron Ezer responded as if he was just now interrupted with an unexpected visit. The Baron is a deceivingly gentle-looking middle-aged man on the cusp of entering the last chapter in his life. His eyes are a soft blue glassed by the moisture of creeping old age. Those eyes scanned an arc from the window towards Jaelen; that gentleness quickly overpowered by harsh impatience.
Will I have to do this every few months? She asked herself. Jaelen Marsein runs a successful yacht-manufacturing company. She recently moved her headquarters from the industrial main port of Fa’ba to be closer to her rich customer base across the bay at the yacht haven of Port Pentorumtak.
“What is it my dear?” Baron Ezer asked with a slight breath of frustration at being forced to take his gaze away from his mostly yet to be developed “void space” of his newest domain. He had to work hard and bribe a few of his fellow barons to claim the extremely valuable vertical real estate above the still mainly low-rise port.
“As I just said,” she could not help showing her frustration at the Baron’s lack of respect. “I came here to ask you if you could lower the rent on my office space… just for the next couple months to give us time to settle in.” She made it a point to to emphasize the last part.
“Oh dear, Ms.?”
“Marsein, Jaelen Marsein your eminence.”
“Ms. Marsein,” the Baron said in a slow unemotional tone, “you knew the amount before you moved in. Why do you now ask for a reduction? Does not seem like good financial planning on your part.” The Baron’s voice became more lively and interested with this obvious insult.
“There were just unexpected costs in the move, that’s all. I want to assure you that the quite reasonable rent you set will be paid after a couple months. As you know, your eminence, my business is doing quite well, and the development of your barony will only bring more clients for me.” She knew how to flatter these greedy blowhards. She had extensive practice. She had to constantly stroke the ego of her previous void baron in Fa’ba, the notorious mad Baron Fhet Renninjhen. She had never met the mad baron since he was incarcerated and running his barony from the equally notorious Shedi’ shai insane asylum off the Bik coast. But she had to deal with his numerous and strangely loyal mignons.
“Very well, I’ll grant you a reprieve, but only for a month and no more.”
“Yes, your eminence.” Jaelen felt forced to agree.
“Remember, Ms. Marsein,” the Baron stretched his leathery boney pointer finger toward here, “only one month.”
I am not your teenage daughter needing a scolding you useless skeleton. “I understand your eminence. You are very generous and I appreciate this,” she said knowing exactly what to say.
“If there is nothing else, you may go.”
Jaelen lowered her eyes in respect and nodded. Without saying another word, she turned around without a sound and calmly left the Baron’s study. Her whirl spawned a perfumed breeze, which made its way to the Baron’s sensitive hooked-nose.
Ah, qesa extract; she is in no need of financial help if she is flaunting that scent, thought the Baron.
“Koren.” The Baron beckoned a tall thick-set man who was standing quietly in the sun’s blind spot next to the window and to the right of the Baron during the exchange. Obviously there to protect the Baron’s “interests”.
“Yes Baron.” The shadowed figure responded, without moving out from the protective shadow.
“Keep your eye on Ms. Marsein. She is up to something. She can pay the rent; that I am sure. Find out what she really needs the extra savings for. Oh, and if she fails to pay even a hentra of the expected rent exactly a month from now, destroy something or someone she is close to.”