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A Fool's Bucket - Ch. 10.3

by ExOmelas

He thundered up to the market and clambered up the hill beside the hollow, laying down on his belly in the freezing cold damp mud. He wriggled forward, peering over the edge of the back wall of the hollow. Below, Ikilyn was in the process of closing up the weekly market, until he noticed Raddig standing at the entrance. Ikilyn gave up his fight with a particularly stiff joint on a fold-down stall, and went over to greet him.

With a deep breath to calm his nerves, Buck settled down to watch what happened. Then he'd know if there was a pattern. He didn't want to confront Raddig yet, not tonight, but if he got confirmation of his suspicions then he was going to have to do so, and soon.

"Ikilyn, wait, I've got something," Raddig said, himself also slightly bent over to catch his breath.

"You're becoming my top supplier, you are. Where do you get these things?" Ikilyn asked.

Raddig lifted up the tunic to show him. "You ask all your customers where they get their wares from?"

Ikilyn chuckled, brushing his hand along the fabric. "What, ask Holyon which of his mother's wheels he made his pottery on?"

"Let's just say I have a contact," Raddig said.

Buck scrunched up some grass between his fingers and tried to hold in a frustrated growl. It made it out, but just as a small pained squeak. He held his breath, eyes pinned on Raddig and Ikilyn, but if he'd been heard, neither of them acknowledged it.

"Well this is beautiful," Ikilyn said, his voice so hushed Buck could only hear because of the echo of the hollow.

"How much, Ikilyn?" Raddig barked.

"I mean this is easily the most splendid thing you've brought me yet," Ikilyn said. "I'll give you double what I gave for the bracelet."

"Brilliant, thank you," Raddig said, with less harshness than before.

Ikilyn took the tunic and placed it in a large dresser on wheels, then reached into a pouch strapped over his shoulder and produced a large bag of coins, followed by a smaller one. He emptied a handful of small silver coins out of the large bag, and picked a few large gold ones out of the smaller. These he deposited into a sack Raddig was holding out.

"Getting there," Raddig said, smiling slightly.

Ikilyn seemed to have learned his lesson because he didn't ask Raddig what he meant. Instead he pulled the strings of his pouches tight, and slung them back over his shoulder.

"Well, is that you done then?" Ikilyn asked.

"For tonight, yes," Raddig said. "But I'm sure I'll be seeing you again next week. Don't think my supply is going to dry up any time soon."

Buck swore. Loudly. At Raddig. As Raddig and Ikilyn peered up in his direction, the tension that had been building in his fingers and toes caused his joints to seize up. He found himself unable to move. He couldn't even bring himself to shut his eyes in case the movement gave him away.

It turned out not to matter, however, because Ikilyn tilted his head to the side and said, "What in the great bowl are you doing up there, young man? You can come down and peruse my finest merchandise again if you like."

Buck wriggled into a kneeling position, racking his brain for something to say. “I, uh, I didn’t want to interrupt but I need to talk to-” Who was more plausible? – “Raddig. The queen needs something. Early tomorrow.”

Ikilyn shrugged and went back to moving his market stall out of the hollow. Raddig stood there staring at Buck, which Buck would have expected to seem weird to Ikilyn, but maybe Ikilyn just wanted to get home. When his stalls were all collapsed and lying flat on top of each other in a very big cart, he glanced once at each of them, then shrugged again and headed off.

“We should talk,” Raddig called up.

“Yes!” Buck shouted back. “Whatever you’re doing to you-know-who I think it’s really crappy!”

“I’m coming up there,” Raddig growled. “Or you down here. Whatever. But this is stupid.”

Buck stumbled down the hill, falling a few times and having to clutch the stones that ringed the top of the hollow. When he got to the bottom, he ran up to Raddig. He assumed he would think of something to say when he got there. He didn’t, but something came out anyway.

“Are you stringing him along? You know what he’s risking for you! How could you just toss off his tokens of love?” Buck’s arms flailed as the questions flew from his mouth.

Raddig folded his arms. “And how do you think you know from where I procure my wares?”

“Because I saw him give it to you!” Buck exclaimed.

“You’ve been watching me? Following me?”

“Yes, clearly! But I’ll stop if you explain yourself. Otherwise, I’ll tell Erson everything I saw tonight.” Buck grasped at the air for answers but this was the best he could come up with.

Raddig scoffed. “Like he’ll believe you. The idiot could see how little I cared for him with his own eyes if he wanted to. I learned a long time ago that I don’t even have to try.”

“Well, I’ll bother you in some other way,” Buck said, though his heart was busy breaking for Erson. “You don’t want to test me. I bet I can get you fired. I’ve gotten Lords de-landed, Dukes disgraced!”

“Oh my Gods, shut up!” Raddig snapped. “Fine. Whatever. Like I say, he wouldn’t believe you anyway. If the truth will shut you up, you can have it.”

Buck raised his chin. “Tell me.”

“You’re right. I don’t love him. I don’t even, y’know, love men. I told you when you first came here that men don’t dance with other men up here. What I love is the sea,” Raddig said.

Buck’s chin dropped and his hands stopped moving around in the air. “You what?”

“I have always wanted to sail beyond the reaches of this kingdom,” Raddig said, looking off towards the horizon even though it was pitch black. “North, east, west, south… I don’t care. I just want to sail uncountable leagues in any direction… The enormity of that? Of that travel, of the sea? That staggers me.”

The decrease in likelihood that Raddig was going to beat him up, combined with the oddly poetic flourish Raddig’s language had taken on, helped to calm Buck’s heart rate. He sighed as he realised what Raddig’s “getting there” had been about. “Ah, so you need money.”

“For a ship,” Raddig said. “A ship of my own.”

“So you’re selling Erson’s gifts. Wow, you’re an ass,” Buck said, more as a realisation than an insult. He’d known Raddig was rude, and somewhat cold. But this was a step way above that.

“And Erson’s a moron with more money than he knows what to do with. I do wish he was less of a bore though. Every moment with him grinds at my soul and makes me want to run away all the faster.”

Maybe it was all this talk of money, but Buck noticed very clearly something bumping against the outside of his thigh. He reached into his lower coat pocket and pulled out Pires’s gold.

Buck sighed. The bag felt heavier as it took on the solemnity of what he was about to do. “So, if you got a windfall now, you’d be out of here? You’d leave Erson alone?” he asked.

“Where in the world did you get that?” Raddig raised both eyebrows.

Buck glared at him. “Let’s just say I have a contact.”

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Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:16 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...


Also hello, I am back and hoping to catch up this week and oh my god I picked an awful time to take a break because DUDE


*SCREECH* okay so omg hearing the exchange between Ikilyn and Raddig first was really good insight into the relationship that they have. We find out right away that Ikilyn is in the dark about everything as well and is simply a bystander in Raddig's own plans. We really can't blame the guy for doing his job.

Plus Ikilyn is still a fun merchant character who really only has his business in mind, and I love that. I kinda hope we see more of him (and I have a feeling we will). I wonder what makes the shirt so much more valuable than the bracelet. This would get into economics that would most likely veer off topic for your novel, but it's simply one that struck my curiosity. Usually jewelry made of very fine and rare metals/gems would easily rack up the price, so the shirt must be sewn with even more valuable materials (or plenty of the same materials).

I expected more negotiation, to be honest. Raddig seemed like a critical enough character that he'd want to try and pinch some more money out of Ikilyn despite what retail value may suggest. However, this could also mean that Raddig is actually much softer than we originally supposed because he simply wants to raise money without raising a fuss about it. Then again, cheating the prince like this is definitely a fuss, so it's a very strange bag of tricks he's playing with. So if he's going through all this trouble to make money for his own ship, I think he'd also be willing to negotiate the price a bit more as well. This would also show he has some understanding of the real world in general to back up the idea that he understands what it takes to manage his own ship and how to handle his own travels.

Buck's courage shines so bright here. He's got the same energy that we know he has, he jumps into things without even thinking, and he's speaking with his heart here. It's revealing a lot about Buck when he's thrust into such a difficult situation. I can't help but cheer him on either as he was saying ALL the right things attempting to keep Raddig in check. I feel like Raddig is at least a little worried about Buck knowing his secret still, and I also worry about Buck not telling Erson the truth either. This is a kind of secret that can create huge conflict for a noveL SO THE DRAMA IS REAL HERE OMG.

AND I JUST LOVE how you tie this all up with Buck saying he also has a contact. That is so beautifully written and I'm so happy for it. Plus GOSH I am worried about Buck using Pires' money for this, but it absolutely would be a justified use as it would help square away a marriage between her and Erson, which was her plan. But gosh, is Raddig really going to no longer be a threat after this? It just seems too easy. I CAN'T HELP BUT WORRY ABOUT BUCK AND ERSON.

And later on if Erson ever finds out the truth... ogod. I can see him be upset with Buck for holding the secret back, maybe even throwing the price in gold to repay Buck/Pires for the trouble. ogod i can cry I AM SO SCARED.

ExOmelas says...

whoops I did that thing where I say things that sound good without thinking about what they actually mean for the world. It is a super amazing rare fabric I guess haha. Will probably tone that back at some point :P Can put in more negotiation too was just - well you can imagine how long I've been waiting to write the rest of the chapter xD

Question: if Raddig *does* go away but Erson *potentially* finds out about everything that happened in the future... would that be okay jeopardy? I kind of just want to never write Raddig again because he is the WORST but I do need to figure out a few complications for the next phase since I only have one main thing planned for it. That's actually how all my chapters get planned - Myal only existed on a whim haha.

Do keep me posted about whether it seems to easy, especially after a thing that happens at the end of... probably around chapter 12 I think? You'll know it when you see it :P

Welcome back friend and I hope you're doing okay <3

JabberHut says...

Yes! I think it would be fine if Raddig never appeared again. Raddig was really a huge point in Erson's and Buck's development, so the memory and events of Raddig won't ever go away. But the character himself can go away because I hate him and he's mean and badlfkajsdflasdlfajsdf

But this is obviously leading into something else or something even bigger so yeah, Raddig himself might not have significance to the main plot, but he was significant in not only Erson's development but also Buck. They're learning something from this situation that will affect their decisions later on, so it's definitely part of the journey.

Also, thank you! I'm feeling better nowadays anyway, so I'm capitalizing on the renewed energy. :D

ExOmelas says...

yaaaaay you have gained energy and lost Raddig - that's a pretty good day :P

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Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:21 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...

Hello my fellow Ravenclaw and happy review day!

I think I've caught a few previous chapters you've written for this particular novel, and I really enjoy the style and flow you have going. I'm already invested in the characters and keen to keep reading, so great job there :)

Just a couple of comments

Raddig stood there staring at Buck, which Buck would have expected to seem weird to Ikilyn, but maybe Ikilyn just wanted to get home.

Why would this seem weird to Ikilyn? To me, it just seems like Raddig is waiting for Buck to speak, considering he's apparently come with a message from the Queen.

“And Erson’s a moron with more money than he knows what to do with. I do wish he was less of a bore though. Every moment with him grinds at my soul and makes me want to run away all the faster.”

I wonder if here, Raddig could mention something about how maybe he feels like he's earned all these gifts by putting up with him? Just a thought.

Buck glared at him. “Let’s just say I have a contact.”

I love the way you've turned this back around! Really great way to end a chapter.

Not sure there was much constructive help in here, but I really enjoyed this so kept getting distracted and forgetting I was supposed to be critiquing!


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