A Quiet Trade
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26th Timber, 101, Late Autumn
Despite us being far from our homes in this frozen waste, it appears that not only are we crawling in traders, but they are unable to unpack their goods without setting something on fire. Imagine my surprise when I made a show of SageEthereal and myself being at the depot to greet them, only to find ourselves surrounded by flames. At first I thought the hill orcs were retaliating due to the senseless loss of their kinsfolk in the trade fire a month before, but it appears that they obtained a barrel of dragonfire—no doubt from the warlocks—and were eager to show us their wares.
Luckily, we had re-built the depot entirely from stone after last season’s incident, and since the land around is nothing but ash and snow, there was little else to catch fire. We are singed, surprised, but not harmed. It does appear that the blast melted the traders’ entire stocks of cheese. When I asked if their caused them dismay, they pretended to not know what I was talking about and say that cheese that was dripping off their cart was not theirs. I do not understand our hill orc cousins, but when I pointed out that melted cheese is delicious, and they could purchase it in exchange for some of the old chests they were carrying, they readily agreed.
Not far behind the hill orc traders are warlocks, and—thank goodness—some of our kinsfolk. I wish dearly that no mishaps will befall us while they are here, and decide that after this season we must move the trading depot across the river, and away from any flammable objects.
The trade negotiations proceed smoothly. We purchase wood, barrels, buckets, splints, and other mundane objects. We purchase a great deal of leather, as we are still in great need of armour, and our numbers are large enough that Tarkuul may take an apprentice. From the warlocks we purchase some of the exquisite animal masks that they specialise in, and from the hill orcs we purchase some animals, a few for slaughter, but there is a badgerdog and a huge mastiff that kamikaze believes can be trained. We trade mostly in melted cheese, and the hill-orc weapons and armour that survived the last great fire. Our kinsfolk bring us news of the outside world—apparently there are still a few bands of Taiga orcs left scattered amongst the wilds, and Yagratak is still Great Clanfather. They also reveal to us some of their greatest finds, a magnificent mithril axe, an ebony helm, a bloodsteel hauberk, and a small bag of finely ground mithril. We barter for some time over their worth, and agree that they are equal in trade to what remains of a fine set of Tarkuul’s lamellar armour (now damaged by the fire), a collection of hill-orc weapons, a large gem the likes of which are rarely seen, six piles of dirt, and an enormous cart of gnarled roots which refuse to burn and look unsightly in our camp. It is a hard bargain for both of us, but the deal is struck.
As we finish the negotiations, I notice a commotion from the smelters in the eastern part of our camp. I wish the traders fair tidings, and shake my head as the hill orcs enquire from the warlocks about the possibility of purchasing more dragon-fire.
It appears that the excitement from the smelters is well deserved. No-one quite knows where it came from, and the vein of iron that we have been processing is long gone, but the metal is unmistakeable. To think that the stuff of legends still exists, and may still be buried somewhere beneath our feet…
I order the ingots to be taken to the vaults, and order our armoury efforts redoubled; I’m much too aware that the traders have observed the excitement by the smelter as well, and many a tongue has been loosened with the deliciousness of melted cheese…
In other news:
Tarkuul is making masterwork lamellar armour. This is our greatest asset, but also the most likely to attract attention of our foes (due to its great value).
GnarFengYur is proving herself in the military. While she doesn’t have a great deal of experience, she makes up for it in enthusiasm.
And finally, the access-ways beneath The Circle look really pretty. Except for the central staircase, each of these leads to the private lower floor of one of our citizens.
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