Drivena sat with her hands in her pockets and her head down, intently studying the wood grain of the table in front of her.  She had been intentionally ignoring the police officer on the other side of the table, and doing a pretty good job at it, considering she had been able to zone out literally every question he had asked since bringing her into this room.  It was a very dark room, with the only source of light being the lamp in the middle of the table where they sat.  The officer was tajkin, like her, but noticeably older and with an expression of contained exasperation.  Though the real point of interest was the wood grain.

“Alright!” shouted the police officer, breaking the silence and Drivena’s diligent wood grain studying.  “You haven’t been answering any of my questions and it’s been an hour already!”

Drivena looked up as the man dropped a heavy wooden box on the table, which landed with a thud.  He crossed his arms and grimaced.

“What is this?” he asked rhetorically.

“A box,” replied Drivena.

“You are neither witty nor clever,” said the man before sitting back down.  Drivena thought those two adjectives were roughly synonyms, but decided that she wasn’t going to bring that up in the current situation.

Sighing, the officer took a wooden rod out of the box and held it up, so it was directly illuminated by the light.

“What is this?”

Drivena beamed before plucking the rod out of his hand.

“Why, this is an authentic Dwymarian recorder, carved by the finest artisans Dwymar has to offer.”

Drivena briefly glanced at the wretched excuse for a recorder in her hands before reestablishing eye contact with the officer.  Her uncle had always told her that the trick to lying was confidence.  Or he might have said confidence wasn’t everything when it came to lying.  Drivena was bad at listening.

The officer plucked the recorder out of her hand, looking it over before scoffing.

“Fine Dwymarian recorder?  Finest artisans?”

He paused briefly.

“Carved!?  It looks like someone took a hacksaw to a plank of wood!”

Drivena looked away in a suspicious manner, sheepishly thinking back to the night before when she had sawed the recorders out of a hollow wooden tube.

“It’s supposed to look that way!” she exclaimed, moving her attention back to the man.  “It’s, finding beauty in the imperfection.  The carvers work, work with their mistakes to.”

Drivena stopped, trying to think of the best words for her lie.

“In order to create a truly unique work of art!”

The officer barely waited for her to finish her sentence before responding.

“The finger hole thingies don’t even go deep enough into the recorder for air to get out!”

Drivena recoiled backwards slightly as he pushed the recorder towards her face.

“But that creates a truly unique sound!”

The man was starting to turn a deeper shade of blue in frustration, but took a deep breath and regained some of his composure, before bringing the instrument to his lips.  He blew into it, and out came the sound of someone blowing air and spittle through a hole.  He tossed it aside and slammed both hands onto the table.

“Now you listen here!  You better start cooperating, because, because”

Instead of continuing speaking the police officer sputtered and muttered to himself, before pulling out his badge and tossing it onto the table.  Drivena looked at it for a few seconds, confused.

“I, I already know you’re a cop.  I figured that out when you said I was under arrest and brought me into a police station.”

The man turned away, exhaling in a particularly violent manner, and Drivena pocketed his badge.

“Can I go now?”

The man swung back around to face her.

“No you cannot.”

He ran his finger inside of the box, and sprinkled some dust from it onto the table.

“If these recorders were hand carved far away in Dwymar, why are they covered in saw dust?”

“Shipping.”

“Shipping!”

The police officer threw his hands up.

“You’re telling me that these “finely carved” recorders were shipped to you directly, a girl who looks like she’s only 15 years old, in order to distribute them!?”

“Yes.”

The man looked like he was about to blow a gasket when the door to the room opened.

“Sorry,” said a younger officer.  “This man claims to be the girl’s uncle.”

“Thank god,” the older officer said hoarsely, rubbing his temples.  “Let him in.”

“Hello,” Drivena’s uncle said as he entered.  He was wearing simple trousers and a tunic, but had a brown sports jacket over it, buttoned in the middle.  “My name is Milvatedyn.  I was told my niece is in trouble for “hawking forgeries”?”

“Yes,” replied the officer, pulling one of the recorders from the box.  “She claimed that these were carved by professional artisans in Dwymar.”

Milvatedyn took the piece of wood from the officer’s hand and looked it over.

“And you’re telling me they aren’t?”

The officer’s spirits plummeted.

“Not you too.”

Milvatedyn looked over at Drivena, who gave a guilty smile.

“You know,” Milvatedyn said, switching tack. “If these are in fact fakes, I’m sure that the Musicians’ Guild will want to have the chance to look into it.”

The police officer put his face in his hands.

“Not the guilds.”

“The guilds most certainly!” Milvatedyn retorted.  “I know people in the Musicians’ Guild, and they will not be happy to hear if this case was handled without their professional insight!”

“Alright, alright!  I get it!  Look, your niece committed a crime, but it’s not that serious.  The consequences won’t be that bad.  But she did commit a crime, and she has to be held accountable.”

“Oh I agree!” replied Milvatedyn, crossing his arms.  “Which is why I will be in close contact with the Musicians’ Guild, who have an ordinance from the county lord to investigate these matters.”

“Alright!” shouted the officer, whose face was once again turning a deep shade of blue.  “I get it!  I get it!  She can go!”

Not needing to be told twice, Drivena hopped out of the chair and ran out.

“Have a good day,” said Milvatedyn before leaving.

The officer performed a rude gesture.


The sun was starting to set as Drivena and Milvatedyn walked home, already having left the sight of the police station.

“You really got me out of that one,” said Drivena.

“It never hurts to know people in the local guilds,” replied Milvatedyn, with a smirk on his face.  “People hate bureaucracy, and guilds bring bureaucracy with them wherever they go.”

“I guess they wouldn’t really have cared that much about my recorders though, right?”

“Oh no,” Milvatedyn said, shaking his head.  “You would have been in much more trouble.  The local Musicians’ Guild is filled with nutjobs.  But I could tell that man’s patience had already been exhausted, and that there was no way he was going to put up with a guild’s shenanigans.  Conning and scamming is all about risk assessment.  Confidence can only get you so far.”

Milvatedyn looked at Drivena and smiled.

“You are very bad at grifting.  You should stick to what you’re good at.”

Drivena nodded.

“Petty thievery.”

“Sure.”

Drivena briefly glanced around, and then pulled out a badge.

“Look!” she whispered.  “I swiped this from that guy who was interrogating me!  I figured I might be able to fence this for a pretty penny.”

Milvatedyn’s eyes widened for the briefest of moments, but he quickly assumed a neutral expression.

“Oh no.  It’s worthless now.  As soon as the department realizes a badge is missing, they’ll take steps to make sure it can’t be used to fool anyone.”

“Oh.  Really?”

“Yeah,” said Milvatedyn, taking the badge from her.  “Don’t worry.  I’ll take care of it.”

Drivena walked ahead a ways, and Milvatedyn held the badge up, it’s reflection catching the sunset.  It would fetch a nice price.


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