Monday, June 6, 2011

Fiction - Merchant Adventures (part 1)

Annabelle Evarion trudged up the path towards the little village she’d heard about over a game of cards. The village wasn’t well known but what she’d heard was that therein lived a simple wainwright that built the sturdiest wagons within 500 leagues. She’d spent the last of her inheritance here in a grand investment plan. She had to get rich, or she’d be in trouble, especially if her father found out that she’d taken her inheritance before he was actually in the grave.

She lifted her skirts to keep them out of the mud. She probably shouldn’t have spent a little extra on the dress, but the fabric was just divine. The boots were still functional too, despite them being made in the most current fashion. It was almost a shame she’d talked the cobbler down from his usual price for such a nice piece of custom work. Almost.

Luckily the mud didn’t extend into the quaint little group of homes. A pity the same couldn’t be said for the smell that lingered there. She approached the wainwright’s shoppe (more of a rickety barn, really) and gently knocked on the door. The little old man she had commissioned some weeks before answered with a timid “Yes?”

“Hello, Gaspar, it’s Annabelle. I placed an order with you some weeks ago. Is it ready?” she asked.

The old man squinted up at the merchant. “Ah. Yes. I remember you. Yes mum, come into the workshop.” He turned and led the way through a small living area into the cramped barn. A pig rooted through some straw in a corner. Annabelle produced her fan from a sleeve to try and help with the smell.

Annabelle looked up at the … thing before her. It was a wagon true enough, but somewhat larger than anything she’d ever seen. Nearly the size of a small house, yet built to her specifications, if only slightly enlarged.

“Ma'am said she wanted something grand…” the wainwright pushed his dirty glasses back up his nose.
“Yes, it is definitely grand.”

Annabelle sighed inwardly. She hadn’t the time to have another wagon commissioned, she had other plans that were in motion already. She put on her best smile for the elderly man and thanked him. “Did you arrange for the horses to pull it as I asked?”


The next evening found her pulling back into the little town of Sliphill. The horses the wainwright had found for her were good quality, she was content. Sliphill was one she had visited in the past, but she had not been here since the festival half a year ago. She had been trying to sell some exotic fabrics at that time and had barely broken even. After securing her wagon and horses at the stable, she made her way to the inn and secured a room, making sure that a warm bath would be drawn for her. Refreshed, she lingered a bit in front of the mirror then went across the street to the Glass Dagger tavern. The food there wasn’t particularly outstanding, but she wasn’t returning for the cuisine. She took a seat and in a few moments a small black haired came over, smiling widely.

“Hi Annabelle! I haven’t seen you here in some time! How do you fare and what can I get you?”

She returned the girl’s smile. “Hi Sarah, it’s good to see you again. I’m doing quite well and I just want a bottle of the Red right now, but bring two glasses please.”

Sarah returned, setting the items on the table. “Expecting someone are we?” she inquired with that infectious smile.

“Actually no. Please sit Sarah, I have a proposition for you.” Annabelle poured two glasses as Sarah sat, after first looking to see if the only other customer needed anything. Annabelle continued, “I was here for the festival some months back. I saw you compete in the archery tournament. I was very impressed!”

“Yep! I won second prize! ”

“Yes you did! It so happens that I am in need of good archers. I’d like you to join me in my journey. There’s money to be made and fun to be had. Interested?”

“Really? Me? Yes! Oh Yes!”

“Well I will let you finish your shift and we can discuss particulars after. Can you be ready to go in two days?”

Sarah didn’t even hesitate before replying “Yes!”

“Well done. I have a room at the inn. I have some other details to take care of, but come see me two days hence and we can be off.” Annabelle pressed a few coins into Sarah’s hand, picked up her bottle and made her way out.

On the agreed morning, the porter was loading the last of the merchant’s things into the wagon, Sarah hurried up with a pack and her trademark smile. “Oh thank the gods! I was worried you’d leave without me! Say, what’s with all the horses?”

Annabelle nodded to the porter, who packed Sarah’s pack as well and helped her onto the wagon. “Of course not dear. I knew you’d be along shortly.” She looked back at the eight stout horses tied behind the wagon. “It’s my investment. I got these horses at a very good price and we’re off to sell them where we can. Is there anything else you need, or shall we go?”

Sarah smiled and nodded and hopped into the seat next to Annabelle, who took up the reins and off they went, to find adventure and best of all, fortune.

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