The streets bustled with people, the sun was high in the sky, the birds were singing in the trees and fishing boats lined the peer, gathering their riches from this morning’s fishing trip. It was a normal, yet beautiful summer day in town. And like any other day, its fair share of traders were visiting on their way to either Reme or Bard’s Gate.
This day was special in one way, though. Today one of the traders was part of a group, commissioned to establish a caravan trading route between the major cities after the war.
The cities had crafters, but the prices were too high and the turn around too slow. The leaders of the merchant guilds from both cities could not agree on who would have the caravan’s responsibility and competing artisans did not want to share caravan room, so they decided that crafters from outside the city would build the convoy’s carts and equipment and the route will be owned by the Grand Duchy as a sign of goodwill towards the larger powers.
Thus it was decided that specialists from each city will form a group and search the region for craftsmen and artisans.
Today they were on the shore of beautiful lake Crimmormere. One of the traders from the group, a man called Karo, was a big fan of the silver cod, a fish found in this lake only and he insisted that the group start its search in the small town near lake Crimmormere. They’ve wandered the town for a few days, looking at a few artisans. Nothing was impressive enough.
That is until they met him. A young half-elf working in a blacksmith’s shop was kind enough to show them around his master’s workplace. At one point during his walk around, noticing his passion for the trade, Karo asked him:
- Boy, what is your name?
- Stipish, sir, the young boy replied.
- And you do understand we are here for barding and carts for a convoy in the dozens?
- What I’m saying boy, is that we don’t really need weapons and shields, the shops are filled in Bard’s Gate with such steelworks. We need wheels, carts, horse barding, leather straps, the whole package destined to travel between the great two cities that line our frontier. We need carts that can haul as much as two horses can pull, and wheels that can pass through even the muddiest passage in the rainiest days of Stoneheart’s woods. Can your master do that?
After a few second of staring like a blind man, Stipish replied:
- No sir, my master is no cartmaker…
- Sorry to have wasted your time, son, replied Karo a bit disappointed, since this was the last shop on their list. As he turned around to face the gates to the blacksmith’s yard he heard Stipish say:
- But I am!
- What? Karo turned again, intrigued by the young man’s boldness.
- I am sir… I am a cartmaker. I don’t have a shop, but I can show you some of my work at home. I’ve mostly done repairs, but I can build, sir, if you give me tools and gold for a few men. I can make what you asked for, before the new moon.
Karo started laughing with his booming voice.
- My boy, I appreciate your courage, but you still don’t realize what we’re asking for…
- I most certainly realize. You need twelve carts, sturdy body, but light in weight. Treated wood preferably, wide as half the road and long as a boat. You need strong wheels, reinforced with steel, since the distance is long and you need then to be sturdy, yet easy to replace. You need light barding for the horses yet you need them protected, in case of battle. Am I on the right track?
- I see you understand our needs, yes, but again I do not understand how are you going to make all of these… What workers do you have? What skills do those workers have? You are but one blacksmith’s apprentice. You’re smart and bold, I’ll give you that, but what about the labor?
- Give me 4 workers of my choice, paid 1 gold piece per day and you will have what you need.
Again Karo laughs… He stops abruptly when he realizes that the boy is as serious as he can be. Stipish means business.
- Alright son. Lead us to your home, we’ll see what you have and then we’ll discuss your plans…
To be continued…