Home is Where the Herb Is

Shade was casing out the store with the titular name. "What a corny name," whispers Shade. He was casing this joint just like any other dame.

In his mind, a tale plays out. It's of any number of failed relationships, "Shade! I saw you at the bar last night. Your hiding sucks. Stop following me!"

Then out loud, Shade says, "Fuck you," matter of factly, to no one.

Finally, the head herb arrives. Now Shade can pitch his idea. Eventually, he wants to know enough about herbalism to not make the same mistake that Kravitz made back at the Hermitage.

Shade pushes his cart up to the front of Home Is Where the Herb Is. He locks up the cart and enters. He buys some basic healing herbs and chats with the woman about more exotic herbs. 

Once he gets her confidence, he asks to speak with the proprietor about an offer that he can't refuse.

The owner comes over and listens. Shade says, "I am an explorer of sorts and second rate adventurer. What I am proposing is of little cost to you. I find you herbs. You educate me on their nature and possibly graduating to...recipes. I travel along the coast, in fields, jungle of course and some rocky areas".

----------added to by Mark------------

Mervis Tote straightened the little spectacles that pinched his nose.  "Um...an adventurer eh?  Explorer of sorts?"  He looked to the older woman who was helping Shade.  "Gerlda...what's this one been taking?  He didn't...."

The old woman answered immediately.  "No...no...just buying some of the healing juice.  I think he's serious, Mervis."

Mervis picked up one of the small glass vials Shade was purchasing.  He popped off the stopper and sniffed.  "Ahhh...Jewel of the River.  The sweetest smell...makes you feel like mother's love...or perhaps that first innocent kiss.  Helps with the healing process of course.  The fishermen are my main customers.  All those cuts they get cleaning the fish...and an occasional hook in the hand."  Mervis' eyes drifted to the hook-encrusted net sticking up out of Shade's backpack.  "Do you do some fishing, now and again?"

Shade looked over his shoulder at the net protruding out of his pack.  "Um...in a sense....how'd you put it?  Now and again."  Shade cleared his throat.  "What I'm proposing is a business arrangement of sorts.  I acquire things for you that are difficult for you to acquire.  Herbs and ingredients that you have had trouble getting...and in return, you could help in my learning.  I'm very interested in herbalism...and the wonders of natural cures, and balms."

Mervis looked Shade up and down.  "Well, I don't know you, young man.  I don't know you at all.  But, if you were to procure me some Archmage's Whiskers...that might go a long way toward us starting up an arrangement between us."

Shade thought long and hard.  Archmage's Whiskers?  He had heard of this shrub...delicate, with leaves that were electric deep blue.  It was said they glowed slightly at night.  "Mervis, if that's the price of friendship, I'll march right into those woods and get you some!"

Terror entered Mervis' eyes.  "No...no...no...not here.  Not these woods.  The Fey will get you...you'll never make it out.  On your travels, I meant.  You said you were an explorer.  I can't go in the woods here, but you...traveling afar, could go into the forest somewhere else and get me the Archmage's Whiskers.  Now, don't speak of foolish things."

Shade nodded.  He didn't want to tell Mervis he was planning to go into the Fey forest around Darkhold with his companions in short order.  He wasn't sure the older gentleman could take it.  "Right.  On my journeys I'll find you some.  Until we meet again." 

Shade picked up his three vials of healing elixir, and said his goodbyes.