Continued from Part VIII.
Jakob continued his journey up the kārvān, through the camps pitched along the route, heading for the vanguard. It was in the encampment of the large Tulven family, recently settled into a new location after three weeks in the previous, that Jakob first heard of a man selling lemfasite. The Tulven family, despite a plethora of aunts and cousins and second-this-thrice-removed and that-by-that-in-laws, remained close-knit, and thus while strangers and movers like Jakob were welcomed, they were always carefully watched. So it was, under the dulling haze of fermented fruit juice, that murmurs came from Jakob’s host about a wandering trader.
The trader’s name was Maxu Krin, he was rich and owned many mules, and he passed up and down the kārvān route selling wares. But whereas other traders sold food or essentials, distributing resources for the survival of all, Krin sold only the magical-looking purple stones that turned hearts cold and calculating and greedy. Nobody knew from where his wealth came, but few argued with its desirability, and many were willing to give Krin more than whatever he asked for in exchange for a piece. Lemfasite was a status symbol, a jewel, a store of wealth, a tool for trade with societies outside the kārvān, and when treated and heated and painted onto the blade, added a fast poisonous sting to weapons.
Maxu Krin then, was a name spoken of all along the route, but the identity of the man himself somehow obscured from common view. He was not loved, often hated, cursed and used by many as a necessary evil for the furthering of personal goals.
“This man,” thought young Jakob, “has stolen my treasure. He has built his wealth upon mine. I will find him and I will teach him a lesson.”
To be continued…