Continued from Part IX.
Several days’ journey along the kārvān route, Jakob found his quarry. It had not been an easy search, as few wished to talk about their dealings with the man called Maxu Krin. But displays of wealth were somewhat easier to follow, as was the gossip of jealous neighbours.
Jakob saw Maxu’s face quite by chance. Outside the tents of a busy market thrown up by traders alongside the route, a man was struggling to fix a bridle to his mule. The beast was somewhat frenzied, uninterested in providing work, and had kicked its owner into the mud to suggest it be left alone. Jakob helped the man to his feet, and together they circled around the animal, keeping others clear until its temper calmed.
While the owner had his back turned, Jakob caught sight of the baskets on the back of his cart, and spied a sparkle of purple reflecting the midday sun. He peeked under the corner of the covering linen, and saw a pile of lemfasite. Jakob resisted the urge to plunder there and then, and replaced the linen before the owner turned around. Could this man he had helped be Maxu Krin? Next to the basket on the cart stood several strongboxes. Who would not put such valuable possessions under lock and key? Only one so wading in the stuff that he had ran out of secure space and had only baskets to hold the spillover of his fortune. Only one man could have such a quantity of lemfasite, and that must be the man Jakob sought.
To be continued…