"I thought you monks didn't drink!" Gam the barman idly mopped the bar top in front of the crumpled, vaguely manshaped thing that sat before him, trying to make light conversation.
"Aye, 'tis true." From under a thick hood bloodshot eyes tried to focus on the glass of twice watered wine, "But I am weak.". Another gulp and the glass was empty, "Much like this wine."
Gam smiled wryly and tapped his knuckles on the sign hung over the bar. Second barrel wine, one copper buys all night. "well, I wouldn't be complain' if I was you, knowin' as coin is hard to come by for an acolyte such as yerself". He could almost sense a smile on the thin wine blooded lips hidden in the shadows of the grimy hood. "Unlucky Arch is lucky for you tonight, eh, preist? Its not always bin kind t' priests, ya know".
He pushed his glass towards Gam. "Best make my meagre copper worth it then, barkeep, Ive been months on this dusty road and the grit still stings my throat."
Gam filled the glass, well almost filled it, pour six, save one as his old mother used to say. He pushed it back across the bartop towards accepting fingers.
"So tell me then, what happened to the other one?"
"Other one? Oh! the unlucky priest, well there's a tale with a twist if ever I told one....."
A cleansing rain washed the summer dirt from the sunbaked streets of Solis, city and Father of Sin. It soaked the long line of shambling forms as they made their way slowly along Penitence Street, up towards the shrine where Irvin, Priest designate of the First Order promised them a similar cleansing, but of the soul. And it would only cost a few coin; not long now and the coffers would be full again.
Pugh dropped several coppers into the heavy oak bound collecting box. "Another tile for the temple roof, thats at least a dozen with my name on, Reverent Irvin, not that I'm counting, like" The Very Reverend Irvin, dressed in rich satin and wearing fine blackened boots, smiled and nodded to Pugh "A little goes a long way, my son, and I did notice just how little that was, small tiles no doubt, small ones."
Stung by the remark, Pugh reached into his purse, picked out another coin and hurridly pushed it into the smooth, well worn slot.
Irvins eyes widened. "Well, Mr Pugh, I didn't know you were so generous, a gold coin indead! and you just a lowly teacher of animal husbandry!"
Horror washed accross Pughs pock marked face. A gold? Did he say gold? His mouth was suddenly dry. "Oh, Father" words faltered "I don't think," his mind raced as a cold sweat beaded his rapidly pailing brow "Er, I'm not sure," oh gods, a weeks wage in that damned collecting bucket "I been saving that for me wife" wringing hands reached for the iron padlock that secured the shrines redevelopment fund "er, how does this come open, then?"
"Open, Pugh? you know we're not opening it till it wont take another coin, till theres enough for the roof and the re-plastering and that patch of floor thats in need of reinforcement" Irvin pulled at Pughs grasping hands, "No, cant be opened escept with a smiths cold chisel, no key, you see, for safety against pilfering and thievery" but Pugh ignored his admonishmnets and continued to pull at the substantial looking clasp.
"Me gold, thats me gold in there, cant be leaving that, need it, like" fervently Pugh continued to pull and yank at the box which moved ever so slightly on its pedastool.
"yes, all safe and secure, I'm... I mean we... are very greatful for your generous offering, we might even get you a plaque or something, now let" he pulled at Pughs arms "go" twisted his hands in Pughs jerkin "the" heaved at him bodily "bloody" and sent him flying backwards "BOX!"
But Pugh didnt let go the box, and the whole thing began to overbalance, "I dont want a plaque Reverent, I just want me gold coin back"
With a splintering crack the box hit the ground and burst open sending its contents skittering accross the tiled floor. Irvins face paled as his blood drained from his cheeks and pooled in his brand new boots. A few of todays new coins and more than a hundred pebbles, perfectly round and grey in colour, not gold or copper or even tin, most definatley stoney, pebbley grey bounced and chattered in all directions.
The gathered worshipers stood in a collective gasp, all eyes slowly rising towards the Very Reverend, and now very worried, Irvin, Priest of the First Order. "Oh... I..... Err... "
Gam near filled the adepts glass a third time. "Yes, and they chased Lucky Irvin, once the most succesful conman in all of Solis, all the way down Penitence street, him in all his ill gained finery, till they caught up with him outside this very establishment. Well, I guess old Irvins luck had run out, 'caus they realised he'd spent all their donations on fine wine and expensive doxies, they hung him, off that old arch out the back, till he was right dead. And to this day folk will walk round rather than under that arch, for fear of takin on some of that bad luck."
Gam smiled at the adept. "Nope, not the luckiest of places for Priests, this!"