Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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“Even if I say that, I cannot accept all of your merchants. It is not a matter of me not wanting to but a matter of the King’s trust. If I just let everyone trade between our countries then there is no point in the embargo in the first place. And I do not see that changing until one side of the war looks like they are going to win.” Braydon was not about to lose the privilege that the King had bestowed upon him because of his own greed. That would only put him in a worse position than when he started.
“Of course, I understand that. I was not about to suggest that you give access to merchants related to my enemies.” Alima was failing to mention that, as the current acting monarch of Shuluk, she had the most merchants associated with her of any of the nobility.
“Even then, there are only so many that I can accept. King Aled wants to foster his own merchants and those of the newly ascended southern nobles. Those that were associated with Ryder are not all that welcome in Fiveria anymore. A huge wasted opportunity if you ask me but it is what it is.” Braydon had not been told this by the King, nor had he heard it through the rumour mill, but that did not stop him from saying it. It was not an unreasonable assumption by any stretch, which King did not want to expand their influence?
“That is fine by me, only our larger merchant fleets can even leave port these days. It would be a waste to give your seal to merchants who cannot protect themselves at sea.” She was not going to give this point up.
Which country merchants came from might not be a big deal for someone who is currently facing a civil war since any help would be welcome but that was not so true after the war ended. Once the war ended, she would have to go back to running her country and being reliant on merchants influenced by other countries was not a great strategy. Whilst it was true that merchants had their unions, a number of them acting across borders even. But even then, only the truly titanic merchants were wealthy enough to ignore an entire country. And they were as recognisable by their wealth as they were by their scarcity.
“So how many are we talking about then? What do they trade in? Their reputations?” Braydon knew that he would likely not be trading with any of them himself but that did not mean that southern lords would like him if he allowed merchants to bring in produce that they were making themselves. It was only a matter of time before some of these lords became more influential at court. The south was still rich and was spared from the civil war unlike the north.
“Each and every one of them?” Alima looked at Braydon to see if he was being serious. Even if she only had less than 20 merchants in mind, they were big time merchants in Shuluk. They traded in more than one commodity and there was no way that she kept close tabs on all of the merchants that the Ducal family worked with.
“I am more interested in two things, no iron and no gems.” Braydon would freely admit that. Iron because he did not want any competition even after the civil war ended, and gems because that was a huge part of southern Fiveria’s riches. He would piss everyone off if foreigners started selling gems because of him.
“You do realise that our greatest export is iron ore correct?” Alima asked. It was Shuluk’s main commodity with all of the iron mines in the eastern side of the brimstones. Not that they were of immediate importance considering that they were currently in rebel hands. More than fine to Braydon since that only increased the price of his own iron.
“And what does that matter to you right now? Even if you have some people on side amongst the rebels, could they even get enough for you to use? And even enough for you to start selling?” Braydon was the last person that she could trick with that since he was supplying her with iron himself. There would be no need for that if she still had access to Shuluk’s mines.
“I could ask you the same thing. If it is inconsequential then why are you specifying against it?” It was a two way street. Alima would have to admit that her merchants had no iron to sell but Braydon would also have to recognise that there was functionally no point in not allowing iron merchants to trade in Fiveria. Neither of them were going to admit that they were actually looking to the long term benefits, that would be silly.
“So you agree on not allowing Shuluki gem merchants?” Braydon tried to steer the conversation away. If he got his way with other parts of the negotiation, whether he did or did not allow iron to enter Fiveria would be irrelevant. But he hoped that Alima did not notice that until it was a bit too late.
Fine so long as I get twenty of my most important merchants on your list.” Alima was more than happy with that since as far as she was aware, Shuluk might at most have one small gemstone mine. Braydon was also happy since it would get him in the good graces of the new lords of southern Fiveria and he would still get his money from the merchants that would be allowed to trade legally.
Since they had come to an agreement on that, it was actually the first thing that they had come to an agreement on. Whilst not an agreement of the greatest importance to either side, it was good news for them coming to an accord on the things that they cared more about.