Tchotchke

“Come one and come all, good shoppers!” The street vendor called out. Sat cross-legged on the ground, his wares were laid out on thick, exotic looking blankets in front of him. He called to the crowd with a warm, lyrical voice. His arms beckoned and his eyes caught the attention of those around him, drawing them in with a playful wink.

“I have all manner of things for sale from across the world! Curios from Cadania! Trinkets from Treskilios! Ornaments from Olet and knick-knacks from Knadir!” He cried, gesturing to a small sample of his products. A particular couple caught his eye as they made their way down the market street.

“You there! The handsome man and pretty lady, you look well-travelled. Experienced in the wonders of the world if I may say? Care to take a tiny look at these tremendous tchotchke?” It was more the man he was calling to than the woman. Her outfit and insignia was one of the knightly orders, the Sacred Flame if his eyes were correct. His though was a costume that he had never seen in his travels, and that piqued his interest.

At the young lad’s insistence, the knight brought him over. His outfit was hard to put into words for the trader. Long trousers and a jacket adorned with an odd symbol, some form of cloth neckwear and a white, button up shirt. The style though was unlike anything he had ever come across though. Still, he flashed a grin up at the pair, offering his hands out to be shaken.

“Lady Knight, good sir, I am the merchant Zelad. I have crossed the world many times, gathering these items to sell or barter for more extraordinary doodads and keepsakes. Some of my collection have even brought the purchasers greater riches, sold on to museums and mages, clerics and collectors. Perhaps Lady Luck and the Lord of the Coin will smile on your purchases, if something catches your eye?” He waxed lyrical, working his silver tongue for all it was worth.

“It’s good to meet ya, Zelad.” The young man smiled, shaking the hand firmly. There was some form of fancy bracelet on his wrist, with numbers forming out of nothing under the very glass. “I’m Thomas, and this here is my guide and protector, Aeda.” He said with a gesture to the knight.

“And protecting him also covers his belongings.” Aeda warned, pointing to her eyes before pointing to Zelad’s. “Stop eyeing his bracelet. If it goes missing, I’ll know where to look.”

“My, such a fiery warrior you have guarding you.” Zelad laughed, holding his hands up in a beneficent gesture. “If you would permit me though, young Thomas, to take a look at your bracelet again? There is something familiar about it…”

Ignoring the slight warning look from Aeda, Thomas got down on his knees to show off his wrist watch. “I’d be surprised if you’ve seen anything like this before…”

Zelad’s eyes narrowed. “Then prepare to be surprised, my dear boy.” The merchant turned to get his lockbox, carefully working the various puzzles to open it with nimble fingers before pulling out one of his rarest treasures, a grey slate made of an odd material.

Thomas gasped. “That’s… a Game Boy. One of the original ones.” He said, taking the device in hand. Peering into the box, he pointed at a black case. “That’s the case that comes with it. And there’s Tetris in the cartridge slot…”

“Tetris? It sounds dangerous…” Aeda murmured, her hand going to her sword.

“It’s not, it’s… a game that people play for entertainment.” Thomas smiled, flicking the switch. Aeda and Thomas both looked expectantly at the device, before Zelad coughed.

“It used to work once, very briefly. The magic soon left it though.”

“Magic?” The lad blinked before laughing. “No, no, it just ran out of batte-… well, it sort of needs food to power it. A special type of food.” Removing the battery cover, he pointed at the  two metallic cylinders inside. “See? Have you come across anything like that?”

“Not in that size. I once saw something a lot larger, of a similar design. I could ask around my network of contacts and fellow traders if you would like?” Zelad offered, carefully taking the Game Boy back. “As for this and the case though… well,” he grinned wolfishly, his dark eyes coming alight with intrigue. “Shall we haggle and barter?”

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