Chapter I (1/3) "Their Beginning - The Merchant's Beginning"
On the road that day, only a single kind of sound was heard. It was the sound that came from the rolling wheel of the horse driven wagons. Since the dirt road condition was far from the smoothness of the well-paved city road, the sound was louder than usual. Regardless of the condition, it was the most used road by the merchant due to the relatively safe condition of the surrounding. The route was longer than the other alternative, but it was located in a vast grassy plain, far from the dense forest that raised the chance of an ambush from dangerous bandit and thieves. Even when night fall, the route was still relatively safe. Apart from grass as long as the eye can see, only a handful of tree is found every now and then.
"No matter what, I'm still getting tired travelling from town to town."
A young man with a short light violet hair sat on the front of the wagon next to the driver said that with a rather tired tone as he tightened his cloak again. The rugged brown cloak suggested that it has been in his possession for quite some time.
"Ah, but you mustn't hate it, Delriyar. This is, after all, our livelihood," said the driver to him.
"It's not that I hate it. I'm just tired. That's all."
"Then why don't you take a rest for a while in the back? I can manage this by myself."
"No, I want to see the surrounding. I like watching the scenery from here. Besides, what would the other say if they see me sleeping in the back of the wagon while my brother is busy driving in the front?" said the young man with teasingly.
"Hahaha…" The driver laughed at his comment.
True, their clan was a little strict about it. They said that everyone of their clan has been traveling between cities to trade since early childhood. Delriyar never hate the thought of that, in fact he also felt a satisfying feeling when he was able to make a good deal just like everyone of his clan member. But sometimes he just needed to relax and forget about work. He was after all, still an ordinary human being.
Delriyar and his brother were currently travelling with their clan to Trintus, the capital city of the Terranul Kingdom, the biggest kingdom in Essalda. It is a crowded city that lies in the center of a profitable trade route. The city had gain such an amazing profit from their market because of the trade route.
"Hey, brother. How long will it takes until we reach Trintus?"
"If there is nothing wrong with the road, we will reach it this noon. That reminds me, this is your second time visiting Trintus, right?"
"Yes, the first time is when I was still very small, so I barely remember it."
The first time Delriyar came to Trintus was when he was five. He was travelling with his family and his clan to trade fur and spices. They spent no more than a week in Trintus because at that time they didn't bring large amount of merchandise and they left as soon as they ran out of things to sell.
"But this is the first time we go to Trintus without our parents."
"Yes, you're right."
"But that doesn't mean you can neglect your work, Delriyar."
"Yes, yes. I know. I'll help you, okay. Besides, who would help you count all of that money?" said Delriyar teasingly at his older brother.
"Whatever you say. If you're doing your work, I'm satisfied enough." His brother ignored Delriyar attempt to tease him. Delriyar was a serious guy, but his brother was a much more serious person than him.
Their parent was on another trade route. It was the Essailet clan tradition to make their older son take their parent's trade route as soon as they reach adulthood. This was to ensure that the same trade route will not get too crowded and at the same time their clan can still expand their trade network. Even though this tradition was a bit too cruel to some people, the member of the Essailet clan view this as an honor to their own clan well being. Since Delriyar was still young, he had the option of travelling with his own family member. His parent trusted him with his brother, Ansavar Reynaud, since their own trade route was much more dangerous and they wanted to make sure of their own son's safety.
The two brothers were raised to be a merchant, but they have very different talent. Ansavar was a natural talker, able to persuade his customer to buy more than their usual amount. He was also able to attract customer easily to his stall to make them browse through his merchandise or even make them buy them even if they didn't need to buy anything from him. His skill in negotiating was a proud talent every member of the clan would like to have.
His brother, Delriyar, had another talent. His speed in counting money was second to none. He was also a good learner. The first time he try to man a stall, he only managed to sell two pieces of fur for a single day. But after a while, he could sell two pieces of fur every single hour. He learned his trading skill first from his parents and then from his brother. Now the two of them were a team of merchant that had the ability to attract and sell their merchandise at a lightning speed. But the clan leader still thought that they still have much to learn. They were still young and they need to get much more experience if they want to become a renowned merchant in Essalda.
"Work together with your brother. You can learn a thing or two from him."
That was what Delriyar's parents told him before they part way.
Even though Delriyar was no longer a child, the thought of living away from his parents still sadden him in his heart. But he knew very well that his older brother would be more than enough to fill the role of a guardian, a teacher, and a family. He held his brother in a high respect, not just because he is older than him, but because he saw a burning desire deep within his brother eyes. Delriyar wanted to learn this desire that he saw inside his brother and it seems like his brother was willing to share his desire with his own younger brother.
The trail of wagons was riding uphill. The horse could be heard neighing because of the heavy load they must pull and the steep terrain they must go through. Usually when a merchant wagon was expected to carry a heavy load or a going a rough terrain, a pair of ox was used instead of horse. But this time, the merchant caravan was expected to prioritize speed for now. The merchant wagons are lead by Ansavar. This was because Ansavar was considered to be one of the recent merchant that was raised into the rank of senior merchant, thus making him qualified to lead a newly created trade caravan. The caravan itself consisted of five wagons, including Ansavar's own wagon that leads them. All of them were junior merchant of the Essailet clan. Delriyar was also one of the junior merchant of the Essailet clan. He was only a step away from joining the rank of senior merchant. He was a promising merchant, able to catch up with his other merchant relatively quick.
The wagons go up into the hill.
A sound came from in front of their wagon. Hearing that, the whole wagons started to slow down.
A man holding a spear and dresses in leather armor stopped them. Beside him was another man dressed in the same way, but instead of holding a spear, he carried a bow on his back and a quiver on his belt. The only visible feature of their face that was left visible was their eyes. Delriyar wondered how they can breathe normally under a helmet that looked to be so tight. The thought of wearing a helmet that tight was enough to suffocate him.
"Yes, what's the matter?" Ansavar asked to the man in a polite manner.
"May I ask you where you are going?" asked the man holding the spear.
"We are going to Trintus, we are merchants," he replied with a calm voice.
"I see. Would you mind if we take a look inside your wagons?"
"Yes, I'll tell the other first. Please excuse me." Ansavar hopped down the wagon and then he goes to the back of the wagon and gathered the wagon drivers. Delriyar hopped down but he stayed near the wagon.
After a while, Ansavar came back and discussed the result of his short meeting with the other merchant to the man in leather armor.
"It's okay, you may check all of the wagons but please don't damage the merchandise."
"Thank you, sir. We will be careful." The man in leather armor gave a slight nod and then his companion followed him. They started to check one wagon after another.
"How many of them, Delriyar?" Ansavar whispered to his little brother.
"Three. One is on top of the tree in the left, one is under it. The other one is on the tree on the right. They surround us."
"I see. But thankfully they are the Treesword Knight. If we met a bandit here, I doubt we can survive."
"Treesword Knight? You mean the royal guard?" Hearing the slightly familiar term, the young merchant asked his brother.
"Yes. See that? That's their signature earring." Ansavar pointed to the bow carrying knight. He was indeed wearing an earring on his right ear. It was an emerald earring.
"I see. You're quite sharp, brother."
"As you are too, my brother. " Ansavar tapped his brother's shoulder as he said that.
After a while, the knights came back. The search was done very quickly thanks to the other cooperation.
"Thank you, sir. Please give this to the gate guard." The knight handed him a red badge with a little cross in the middle.
"What's this?" Ansavar asked him.
"Let's just say that that is a little reward, Mr. Merchant of Esailet."
The knight smiled at him and then bowed. He then left the area with his companion.
"What's that, brother?" Delriyar looked at the object in his brother hand.
"I don't know. He said it is a reward."
"So from your looks I suppose you didn't receive this thing the last time you get into Trintus."
"No, I haven't. The sight of a Treesword Knight patrolling the vicinity of Trintus is also a rare sight. I wonder what's going on."
"Well, let's think about that later. We should get going, right?"
"Yes, we should." Ansavar put the badge into his pocket.
"You didn't meet them the last time, right?" Delriyar asked with curiosity in his voice.
"Because they know we are from the Essailet clan."
"Oh, that's because he saw that the member of our caravan is a lot younger than the usual merchant's caravan."
"Oh I see. That's why."
He then shouted to the other wagon driver to get ready. He then jumped into the driver seats and got the horse moving.
"Delriyar, could you get into the back of the wagon and count the fur? I just want to make sure they don't take anything."
"Sure thing. Never believe the authority, right?"
"Yes, I have bad experience with them," said Ansavar while keeping his view forward.
Delriyar hopped to the back of the wagon and started counting their merchandise.
While he is counting, the sight of the great capital city Trintus is getting near them. It is a feast for the eyes, and also an opportunity for any merchant, including them, to earn a hefty profit.
After counting the fur and the bag of spice, Delriyar returned to the front seat, joining his brother once again.
"Anything's missing, Delriyar?" The black hair merchant asked his little brother without moving his gaze.
"Nope, but they did make a mess. I have to put the spice bags in their own groups. Good thing they didn't spill any of the spices." Delriyar voice contained a bit of irritation due to the knight's so called inspection.
"Well, that's good to hear. At least now you aren't that bored, right?" His brother laughed.
"Well, I'm not exactly bored before. I'm just a little tired. By the way, why did the royal guard is all the way there?"
"I don't know. Maybe it's because of the incoming festival. They may need to increase the security, even outside of the city."
"Is it really that necessary?"
"We can never know. There may always be people that have bad intention, you know?"
"Well, whatever happens, we are only doing our job as the merchant of Essailet, right?"
"Yes. Buy low, sell high."
"Look for the opportunity when it's arises."
"And bring prosperity and wealth to the clan. The three principles of Essailet. Did you memorize it already?" asked Ansavar to his brother.
"Of course, I have. At first, I thought it would be difficult to memorize the principles, but after you do it every day, it comes naturally."
"Yes, that's why you ha– woooo!" Ansavar suddenly stopped his horses.
Delriyar almost fell forward because of the sudden stop of the wagon.
"Halt! Halt your horses!" Delriyar shouted to the other drivers behind them after balancing regaining his balance.
Horses neigh could be heard along the way because of the sudden halt of the caravan.
"What happened, brother? It's dangerous to stop suddenly like that." Delriyar fix his sitting posture as he asked his brother.
"I know that. But look at that." Ansavar pointed to the roadside.
Delriyar looked to the place his brother pointed at and he saw a person lying there.
"Delriyar, sense anything strange?" Ansavar asked his brother with the lowest voice he could manage.
He needed to confirm that it was not an ambush. Even though they've met the royal guard that never meant that it is completely safe. The danger of being ambush can never be absolutely gone. The least they could do was to minimize the risk.
Delriyar looked around silently, avoiding attracting unwanted attention.
"No, there is no one around here. Silent and normal." Delriyar reported his surveillance with the same low voice as his brother.
"I see. Then, shall we take a look at the poor man?" Ansavar grabbed his swords and put it on his belt. He was a dual sword wielder.
"Very well. I hope there is nothing wrong." Delriyar also grabbed his sword. Delriyar was still a single sword user, unlike his brother.
A merchant life is never a safe life. They are in constant danger of being rob or attacked while travelling. Even while they are in a city, their safety is never guaranteed thanks to their job. Because of this, the Esailet clan requires their member to practice art of fighting for their own defenses.
Delriyar's family usually practiced swordsmanship. Delriyar chose a single sword, while his brother, Ansavar, chose a dual wield sword.
Delriyar was the one who jumps down the wagon first. He quickly calmed down the horses. Usually after stopping suddenly like that, the horses became restless, that's why Delriyar tried to calm them down.
"Wait here, I'll ask one of them from the back to guard our wagon." Ansavar then ran to the back of the wagon. As the leader of the caravan, it was his responsibilities to maintain the caravan's safety. So in the worst case, there would be someone to look after the wagon in front and alert the other if they're being attacked.
Delriyar waited for his brother. Then after his brother joins him, they walked to the man.
As they arrived near the man location, the two of them surveyed the location once again. One could never be too careful in their line of job.
The man's clothes were in tatter, but he didn't seem to be injured. His downy grey hair was a mess. He looked like to be unconscious. He was wearing a grey cloak that was covered with leafs. He was wearing a riding boot and there is a hat lay down near him.
"It seems like he fell down from his horse." Ansavar stated his theory.
"And it seems you're right, brother." Delriyar gestured to the horse track near them.
"Let's see if he's injured." Ansavar examined the man's condition.
After a while, it seemed like he is fine. He is just fainted because of the shock of falling down from the horse.
"So, what are we going to do then?" Ansavar asked his little brother.
"We can't leave him like this. Besides, the second rule of the three principles." Delriyar grinned to his brother.
For a while, Ansavar didn't really get what his brother trying to say. Then after a while, he laughed. He finally understood what his brother was talking about.
"You're a fast learner, I give you that." He said as he patted his little brother's back.
"I have a good teacher." Delriyar grinned back at his brother again.
They carry the man into the wagon together. They put him in the back of the wagon, together with the merchandise. Since the man was uninjured, they didn't need to apply any bandage whatsoever.
Ansavar then gets into the front seat after asking his replacement to assisted him in front of the wagon because Delriyar needed to be in the back of the wagon, looking after the man. Then they once again ride to Trintus.
Next Chapter Preview :
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A/N : Thank you for reading.
See you and, once again, please give review, point my mistake, etc because as they say, "Review is an author's fuel".