A Merchant from Tsuranuanni

EVENTS NEWS #19
Date: 1/17/2013 at 7:52
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: A Merchant from Tsuranuanni

"Miri, if you stay, what I earn on the barbarian world will ensure that you live in luxury. While I am gone you can entertain suitors, perhaps even the sons of a great Houses..." seeing that his words were doing nothing to affect the defiant expression on his daughter's face, Turakala trailed off, resigned.

Mirinisini pouted - she had a lifetime's experience of twisting Turakala to her will - and cut in, "Father, I'll not let you go alone, I simply won't. I will help you run your store in the Kingdom, and we will make our fortune together. There will be suitors for me when we return."

With a sigh, Turakala gestured his submission, and Miri rushed into his arms, beaming. Turakala reflected that while it was not what he wanted for his daughter, he would greatly enjoy her presence on the cold barbarian world. It had cost him most of his fortune, and no small amount of blackmail and favors, to arrange for permission to move to the Kingdom and trade directly with the barbarians. Even with the Empire's strict laws governing the flow of metals through the rift, he knew he would need only a few years of modest trade in the Kingdom to be able to retire to a life of opulent comfort in the Empire.

Turakala shook his head to dispel his momentary reverie. "Come, then. The Kingdom is a cold land, and we will need to purchase some warm clothing for you."

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"So close," muttered Turakala under his breath. He had decided to set up shop in LaMut, where a son of House Shinzawai ruled with many of his countrymen. Turakala knew that his Tsurani imports would be warmly received there, and would be a fine base from which to sell his goods across the Kingdom. But, as a seemingly endless flood of bandits poured from the woods surrounding his wagon and small band of mercenary guards, he knew he would not live to see the city, or make his fortune, or return to the Empire to see his daughter married into nobility.

Turakala straightened and looked at the onrushing raiders with what he hoped was a suitably impassive expression. He was no soldier, but he was Tsurani, and he intended to die well. A raider pointed a crossbow at him, and an instant later pain lanced through his abdomen. Turakala looked down to see a small quarrel embedded in his gut, and, as a bandit approached him, sword and dagger in hand, a disconnected portion of Turakala's mind wondered if his next life on the Wheel would be here, on the barbarian world, or on his native Kelewan.

The bandit sneered at him as he slashed Turakala across the chest. Turakala felt his ribs yielding to the force of the blow, and stared in detached fascination as a crimson arc sprayed from the wound. With darkness rushing up to take him, Mirinisini's screams rang in Turakala's ears.

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Mirinisini sat before the fire in the Blue Wheel Inn, reflecting on the events of the past weeks. When all had seemed lost, her screams had brought her salvation. She thought again of Raelyr, the brooding Kingdom lord with Tsurani blood, and of Naftali, the tall, polite soldier with the odd ears. They had lead the group that cut down the bandits who had lingered for her, tracked down those that had fled with their leader, and returned her father's promissory notes to her. With them, Mirinisini had known she could hold the Tsurani merchants through the rift to the terms they had negotiated with her father.

Mirinisini glanced up and smiled across the common room of the inn at Sumani, who had been so kind to her. With her father's wagon raided, she had had no means to raise the funds to open a new shop. Sumani had offered to allow her to sell her wares out of his inn for a pittance of her profits. Mirinisini had agreed at once.

At the thought of her father, Mirinisini felt the grief that had been roiling in her stomach since his death threaten to wash over her again. As she swallowed the lump in her throat and raised a finger to wipe a tear from her eye, the door to the inn opened, and a LaMutian soldier strode in with a confident gait and an easy smile. Mirinisini's grief was joined by giddy elation at the sight of him, and she forced herself to take several deep breaths to try and compose herself before he reached her.

Tasiro knelt next to her, and the affection and understanding in his eyes melted Mirinisini. She smiled softly at him as he took her hand. "I thought you were on duty, Tasiro."

"I am, Miri, but the captain let me come tell you that a shipment of your goods has made it here." Tasiro returned her smile and squeezed her hand, as relief washed through Mirinisini. She had taken out a large loan to ensure that this shipment was well-guarded, and she feared she would be ruined before she began if more bandits attacked. Standing, she replied, "Wonderful! Please, take me there at once. I have gifts to send to my saviors, and debts to repay."

As Tasiro escorted her from the inn, Mirinisini wondered if her father would be disappointed to know that she would not return to the Empire. For, as she glanced sidelong at Tasiro, she knew she would find no greater happiness than at his side.

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Desmond smirked as Freddy pushed his way across the tavern. The two had been companions once, and while Freddy was a craven lout, Desmond had played to his avaricious nature when he had happened to come to the tavern a week prior. Freddy's concerns over Caes, the big Moredhel who owned this place, had evaporated when Desmond described the caches of coin he had hidden in the southern hills of the Grey Towers, before his capture. Still, Freddy had been cautious in the timing of his move: neither Caes nor his usual companions were in sight, and only a motley group of sailors, pirates, and whores populated the tavern.

Freddy crossed to the bar and gruffly ordered a drink from Desmond. When he reached over to pay, he placed a small stoppered vial next to the coin. Desmond swept it into his palm and surreptitiously glanced around to see if anyone had noticed the exchange. Confident that he was undiscovered, he nodded to Freddy, who turned and crossed to the center of the tavern, picked a grubby-looking sailor seemingly at random, and struck him hard across the jaw. As chaos erupted in the tavern, Desmond knelt and poured the contents of the vial into the heavy iron lock on the shackles at his feet. A moment later he was rewarded with a soft, high-pitched hissing sound, shortly followed by a sharp, acrid aroma. A moment more, and Desmond tore open the lock and freed his legs.

Stepping around the bar and casually walking to the exit, Desmond's lips split into a crooked grin. He had fallen far in recent times - his crew butchered, and he himself forced into slavery. Desmond recalled the tall elf offering him a choice between "honest employment" and death. Disgusted at the memory, he turned and spat onto the floor. He had no intention of spending his days sweeping floors and pouring drinks. He would make his way as he always had, by taking what he wanted from the weak and stupid.

Still, Desmond reflected that he did have enough coin to make his way for awhile, even after paying Freddy. He couldn't take vengeance on the elf, his Tsurani friend, or the waif-like Sheriff of Krondor, Nemi, who had traveled to the Grey Towers to see him punished. The girl, though, that he had told his men to kill ... with a bit of work, she could be reached.

As Desmond walked into the night sky, and freedom, dark plans began to take shape in his mind, and he began to hum a jaunty, nameless tune.

Penned by my hand on the 2nd of Natinica, in the year 41.