Chapter 33: Third party
Gilmir sat at his table, waiting for Saendar. When the old man came in, he glanced around the room before he started towards Gilmir. With deliberate steps, he navigated between tables, people and chairs. He nodded to a few of the patrons, but when his eyes found Gilmir, he raised his eyebrows.
‘I owe you an apology.’ Gilmir nodded for Saendar to sit.
‘You do?’ Saendar asked, and pulled out a chair.
‘Yes, last time we met, I had a terrible day. And I was less than gracious. I am sorry about that.’
‘As I said, I was not offended. Now, I doubt that you invited me over to say sorry. What’s on your mind, Darieth?’
Gilmir smiled. ‘I’m called Gilmir around here, and no, I did not call this meeting just to chat. I need your help.’
‘Do you, now? Do you need help from an old drunkard? One who goes around feeling sorry for himself?’
‘I said I was sorry.’
Saendar held up his hand. ‘You are right, the temptation was just too strong. It is not every day one such as you asks me for help. You look much better, by the way.’
‘Thank you.’ Gilmir glanced around the room and leaned over the table. ‘Do you know what my name means?’
‘Gilmir? Yes, I think I do. Star-jewel isn’t it?’ Saendar lowered his voice.
‘Yes, it is, and I have one for sale. Moreover, I’m acquainted with someone who may be interested.’
‘Okay, so what do you need from me?’
‘I want you to reach out and set up a meeting. You know this place and the people who live here.’
‘Meeting with whom?’
‘Two of Voan’s men. One of them is known as Dick, the other I call Shark. I expect them to be interested.’
‘What’s in it for me?’
‘If the sale goes well, no disasters occur, and we receive the money and all that, your cut is one-tenth of the deal.’
‘It is risky,’ Saendar said, stroking his hand over his bald head. ‘Doing business with Voan … If anything goes wrong, this could rebound into my face. You can always run away. I have to stay and suffer the consequences.’
‘That is why you’ll get paid.’
‘Hmm … So if I agree to this. What else? When? Where?’
‘Tomorrow is as good a day as any if you can get it done. As to where? Somewhere public but such as we can speak in private, nonetheless. And yes, you will be at the meeting as well. As the neutral third party.’
‘But if I gain one-tenth, I won’t be neutral.’
‘Even better,’ said Gilmir, smiling.
’Okay. But are you sure you want to operate so close to Voan?’
Gilmir stared at the old man, but Saendar met his gaze without wavering. What the old man knew or thought he knew was impossible to say. But one thing was sure, Gilmir did not want to discuss the matter with someone like Saendar. He was not going to confirm any suspicions the cripple might have, or inadvertently give him more information. ‘Just set up the meeting,’ Gilmir said at last, ‘and let me worry about who I do, and don’t do, business with.’
Saendar lifted his left hand to his brow in a mock salute. ‘Yes, sir!’