Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Red As Any Blood--Part 7

"So," said the Prince's Man, regarding Bald Ben Braddock critically, "what brings you to Tintagel?"

"Trade mostly," said the mercenary captain.  He glanced around nervously.  "Well, that and the madness that's going down in the cities..."  He shuddered. 

The Prince's Man gave a sympathetic glance.  "I hear the Nightfolk are flocking to the cities like... roaches."

"They are everywhere," muttered Braddock grimly.  "We were fortunate to get out of there intact."

"I can imagine," said the Prince's Man.

"No," said Braddock.  "You can't.  So don't even try."

The Prince's Man nodded.  "You're probably right."  He gave an awkward cough.  "Now, certain questions have to be asked about your cargo..."

Braddock sighed.  "It's been a hard voyage, sir.  Very hard.  And if I have to answer certain questions about... say, the wine I'm bringing in... questions that resulted in my having to pay full duties..."  He raised a purse and gave a regretful jingle.  "There goes all hope of profit here."

The Prince's Man chuckled.  "Indeed.  It's a hard path you merchants trod, especially in times like this."  He smiled at Braddock.  "Now... what was this I heard about wine?"

"Fine Cazlonian white," said Braddock.  He rolled his eyes and gave a great sigh. "Something I will like as not drink again for many years, once this lot is gone."

"Me as well," said the Prince's Man.  "Perhaps you could bring up a cask, and we could drink it together, as we come to some arrangement on this difficult matter."

Braddock smiled.  "Why, sir!  It is such a pleasure to an encounter a man of taste and reason to deal with in... affairs like this."  He clapped his hands together.  "I'll have them send up two casks.  One to drink, and one a... gift.  For your personal use."  The Prince's Man's eyes glittered so brightly that Braddock knew he had him.

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