“You aren’t going to disappear on me like you did yesterday, are you?” asked Mercer. “I embarrassed myself by asking for help looking for you. To think you’d left without me.”

Nicyes looked at him with a mixture of annoyance and surprise — as though he’d forgotten Mercer was walking with him. “What are you talking about?”

“Eh,” said Mercer. “Never mind.”

“Don’t waste my time,” said Nicyes. “You carry on about your feelings like a woman. If you have something to say, say it.”

Mercer muttered under his breath, and Nicyes waved a dismissive hand. “Harpies and whores, Mercer. And one’s not so different from the other.”

“When an amazon force-feeds you your own sword,” said Mercer, “I hope I’m there to see it.”

Nicyes glanced back over his shoulder. “If one does, it’ll be while I’m asleep — there’s no other way they could catch me with my guard down.” Nicyes waved his hand again, as though to shoo the conversation. “That, and she’ll have been the one to start it. I’m not the instigating type.”

They crossed the threshold of the temple together, and Nicyes turned to Mercer. “Alright, you talk to your girlie, I’m off.”

“You’re what? I thought we–”

Nicyes interrupted him. “I’ve other business to attend to, so you’re on your own. I can meet you back here when you’re done, if you need me to. I figured you’d want some alone-time with that woman priest.”

Mercer huffed, and started to say something, but Nicyes had already turned and begun to walk away. Mercer was left standing by himself.

Nicyes waited until all the priests were occupied with other tasks, then cautiously slipped into a side passage, and when he was sure he was free of watchful eyes, strode purposefully down the corridor.

He hadn’t far to go — while expansive for a temple, the town this particular temple was situated in was neither large, nor especially important, and thus there wasn’t an accumulation of wealth to justify the same sprawling complexes he’d explored in more civilized parts of the world.

Within a few minutes, he’d found what he was looking for — a secluded courtyard, hidden behind a cloister and walled off from the rest of the town. There were a dozen finely-dressed individuals lounging and chatting amongst themselves. Nicyes singled out an older man with a wispy beard, whose eyes seemed open a little too wide, and lacked the glimmer of actually seeing.

He turned his head slowly, following Nicyes’s movement just a little too slowly, and greeted him. “Have you considered my proposal? As I am unable to leave this place–”

Nicyes interrupted the older man. “Yes, and yes. Now, let’s discuss payment.”