Tag Archives: theft

Life Along The Kārvān, Part XI

Continued from Part X. Start at Part I.

Jakob backed away from the cart quickly before Krin saw him and became suspicious. The donkey was calmer now, and this gave Jakob a chance to look at the man’s face. A beard, a scar, flecks of grey and a few wrinkles. Eyes that were perhaps a little dull, but then what did a thief look like anyway?

“Thank you for the help, boy,” said Krin. “I bought this mule from a seller just an hour ago to replace one stolen far down-route. The seller promised a docile and pliant creature, I should not have believed her.”

Such two-facedness, thought Jakob. “A miserable though unsurprising tale,” he replied. “What miscreant would steal a mule from a hard-working tradesman? Is this what our people have come to? With our city destroyed we now simply loot from each other?”

The jibe had no apparent on Krin, who merely nodded in agreement.

I will kill him. The thought came to Jakob suddenly, riding on the back of his rising anger. The treasure had been his. He would have been a rich man, now this immoral opportunist had come and taken that dream for his own. Why should he be allowed to benefit? Who had found the lemfasite in the first place? Nobody knew what Krin looked like. Jakob could simply do away with him and take his place, notoriety doing the rest.

Jakob stared at Hexa, who stood some distance away, wagging her tail. Can’t do it here, too busy, he thought. Out on the road. When he sets off, when there is nobody to see, I will leap out and cut him down, and claim his cargo as rightfully mine. With the plan loudest and foremost in his mind, clouding out all other judgment, Jakob headed away from the camp, Hexa following, seeking hiding places along the route.

To be continued…


Life Along The Kārvān, Part IX

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…

Life Along The Kārvān, Part VII

Continued from Part VI.

“You didn’t barter or haggle for that mule,” Mallos shouted. “You stole it. You stole! Like you stole my gold coins!”

Vinsent could not look at him. He turned his head and gazed across the field.

“Admit it!” cried Mallos.

Vinsent hung his head. “Yes,” he said. “I was desperate. My mother turned me out to seek my uncle at the rearguard. I was frightened. I wanted you to take me on, I had no other chance.”

“So you took from our own,” snarled Mallos.

“How else will I make it?” said Vinsent, tears in his eyes. “I often heard my mother talking. I know how bad things are.”

“How did we survive that encounter?” said Mallos, stabbing his finger in the direction the guardsman had ridden. “How are we not now under arrest? How are we not bound at the point of his sword? Because he know of me. He knew my reputation, he knew I am trusted. What that be so if I was a profit-taker? If I gouged the poor, took advantage of their desperation as you propose?”

Vinsent said nothing, just stared at Mallos, eyes wide.

“Take care of your community,” said Mallos. “So that they can take care of you.” He grabbed the cord to his mule and began to walk on down the road. “Community,” he repeated. “Let that be your first lesson.”

To be continued…

Life Along The Kārvān, Part VI

Continued from Part V.

Vinsent shook his head. “What about our survival?” he said. “There are too many people. If the land cannot support them all then we should look out for ourselves.”

Mallos turned his head as they heard a thundering of hooves approaching from behind them. A guardsman, dressed in muddy red stripes, riding a tired-looking horse, trotted towards them.

“Hail, Mallos the Trader,” said the guardsman. “And son, is it?”

“He’s my apprentice,” said Mallos. “From the middle parties.”

The guardsman looked Vinsent over carefully, a stern expression knitting his eyebrows. “I have come from uproute,” he said. “There was a report of a mule going missing four camps up. Hane Aratt says he suspects thievery.” The guardsman paused, glancing at the two mules that pulled Mallos’s cart and carried Vinsent’s panniers.

Mallos stood still, heart beating loudly, trying not to glare in Vinsent’s direction. “I am well known along the kārvān,” he said. “My reputation does proceed me. I am not a man who stands on the backs of others.”

“True enough, Mallos,” said the guardsman. “I apologise for the inference. If you do see anything, alert the guard, would you? Good day.” The guardsman tugged the reins of his steed, and headed off down the path.

Mallos could not bring himself to move until the guardsman had disappeared from sight. He turned to the boy, face red, hands shaking.

To be continued…