Ragnok did not tarry long as he quickly burst in holding the door open and bowed to the figure that rapidly followed him. Old, but with sharp eyes, the elder goblin stepped inside followed by two attendants and two guards. The two goblins instantly sprang to their feet and bowed to the old goblin as he held up a wrinkled, long-nailed hand for them to have a seat again. The two goblins instantly did as they were instructed as the old goblin took the seat in the middle, where Ragnok would have sat. However, Ragnok did not mind as he hurried over to sit on the other side of Gornuk.
The two lavishly dressed attendants wisely remain standing behind the old goblin, while the two goblin guards strictly remain guarding the door with sharp, trained spears in hand. The elderly goblin is quiet for a moment as he studies the child before him, before finally saying, "I have been informed that you, Miss Prince, wish to have Gringotts handle the auction of this magnificent heirloom. May I inquire as on to how you managed to acquire such an heirloom of such magnitude?"
"It was in the family attic transfigured by an ancestor no doubt long ago to be saved for a rainy day," Rowan lied with a straight poker face.
The elder goblin pursed his lips but did not further pry anymore into the origin of the heirloom. Instantly changing his demeanor into much a friendlier tone, he says, "Now where are my manners? Allow me to introduce myself, I am Grok Gringotts, the present head of Gringotts."
Rowan's eyes don't even flicker at having guessed as much. This was no doubt in her mind that this was actual owner of Gringotts and the actual descendant of the first Gringotts; which didn't necessarily bode well for her. But fair was fair and if he was going to use his identity to intimidate her, then she would use her age as well.
"It is an honor and pleasure to meet you, Grok Gringotts," Rowan said in Gobbledegook.
Causing some of the goblins to visibly blink in surprise as Grok Gringotts merely narrowed his eyes at her. "It would seem that you have been taught some of our language by whom?"
"Professor Flitwick," Rowan said with a faint grin.
"Ah," Grok unhappily murmured, before quickly changing the subject. "Well, for an item of this magnitude it will take us several months to send out the appropriate invitations to ministries and potion guilds from all over the world. Naturally, the fee is included in the cost. Shall we say, 25% commission of the final sale?"
"10% and not one percent more," Rowan flatly countered back.
Grok seems a bit taken back not having expected such a firm response. "20%, I cannot go any lower!"
"The potions guild would not charge me more than 15%."
"The potions guild does not have the resources that we have to offer," Grok smugly said.
"No, but I certainly wouldn't have to wait for such a long period before seeing a return," Rowan sharply retorted back.
Grok purses his lips as he says, "Very well then, 16%."
"I may be a child, but even I know when I am being cheated. 12% and only if, I am allowed to a copy of the final sales ledger with the client's names and their purchases from the auction ."
"For such a request, the transaction can be no lower than 18%!"
"However, I am a child that is negotiating her first contract. And though I might be cheated, fair is fair. I will not be overcut! 14% and that is final!
Grok Gringotts frowns as he weighs the pros and cons in his mind. "Agreed, but if the entire sale passes the two million galleon mark, we want one more percent!"
"Then we have a deal?" Rowan said with satisfaction at having successfully negotiated her bottom line.
"Deal," Grok Gringotts said as he rose to his feet.
Rising to her feet, Rowan spat into her hand and said, "Should this deal be broken, may my gold wither away."
Grok startles at the old goblin vow, before staring at the glistening hand outstretched by the child before him. For a second he hesitates before spitting into his hand and waits for the child's reaction. No disgust nor revulsion flashed across the child's face as she patiently waited for her hand to be shaken.
Firmly clasping the child's hand, Grok swears, "Should this deal be broken, may my gold wither away."
Rowan nods in satisfaction as they both withdraw their hands and dry them on their clothes. And though, yes, a tad unsanitary, it would guarantee that the Goblins would hold their end of the bargain. As very few wizards were ever willing to swear such an oath and as such was seen by the goblins as a very serious matter.
Sitting back down, they waited for the goblin lawyer, Dulag to finish writing up the contract. Under such pressure, it is amazing how fast one can write. And Dulag's hand practically flew over the parchment as if under an enchantment. With a tired sigh, Dulag proudly held out the written contract for Grok to first read.
Grok carefully reads all the contract and clauses, before nodding in satisfaction. Handing the contract over to one his aides, the aides quickly run the contract over to Rowan sitting on the other side of the table.
Gingerly accepting the contract, Rowan begins to read every single word and phrase. After a moment, she frowns, "Why am I being held liable for any incident or event that occurs to Gringotts that results in damage or any loss of finances? I am not the proprietor of Gringotts. This needs to be rewritten and stricken from the contract."
Rowan rolled the contract back up and tossed it back across the table. Grok wolfishly grins as Dulag in embarrassment crosses out that portion and rewrites it again. "I thought you'd miss that little clause," Grok said with some satisfaction and disappointment.
"Our final practical exam for Gobbledegook was negotiations," Rowan wryly stated.
Grok chuckled out loud, "And as it should be. We goblins are rather good at stating exactly what we intend to do."
Rowan doesn't respond as the contract is once more handed over back to her. She once more starts from the beginning to ensure that nothing else was added, when it was rewritten. Satisfied that the previous clause had been fixed she moved onwards.
"Nor will I pay for the festivities that will be held afterwards nor the hosting of any sort of exclusive party or that of any other festivity during the event. Gringotts will solely bear the cost as part of the contract as Gringotts is hosting the event on the premise!" Rowan hurled the contract back as Dulag flushed again at having been caught.
Grok snickers and says, "Most wizards and witches skip reading that clause."
"I can imagine," Rowan growled as she shuddered to imagine the final cost. This continued for some time as she kept spotting tiny clauses like these over and over throughout the entire contract. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the contract was to her satisfaction.
Both arose to sign the contract, Grok signed first followed by Rowan and lastly by the two witnesses. Satisfied, Rowan watches Dulag roll up the contract and says, "I'd very much like a copy of that."
Dulag sheepishly mumbles something under his breath as Grok lets out a sharp bark of laughter.
"You would be amazed by how many wizards and witches forget to ask exactly for that," Grok said with some pleasure. "It was most enjoyable to meet you, Rowan Prince. I hope I have the sincere pleasure of meeting you again."
"Likewise, Grok Gringotts," Rowan said with a sincere bow. "Thank you and may your gold always multiply."
Grok offers a rare smile and says, "May your gold always multiply, child." It was a rather fond statement coming from a goblin especially that of Grok Gringotts. Gesturing to his entourage to follow him out as Grok leaves with his head held high.
Having finished making a copy, Dulag hands over the contract to Rowan, who rechecks it to his utter embarrassment. "Lawyers," Rowan huffs under her breath causing Dulag to flush that much brighter.
"Thank you, Miss Prince," Ragnok said as he stepped forward to guide her back out into the main hall. "It was an honor to witness such a transaction."
"Likewise," Gornuk said as he bowed to her at the door leading back outside into the great hall. Dulag wisely kept his eyes to himself as Rowan was tempted to punch the slimy, clever bastard! If not for Professor Flitwick's class and having the words engraved into her mind to read every single clause she would have fallen into countless pitfalls! No wonder, negotiations was seen as a life lesson by the purebloods. Even the proudest of foes would come out of that sorely beaten with their pride in tatters in the wind!