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The Lady Agate

Writers: Yvonne
Date Posted: 30th August 2019

Characters: Taril, Garik (NPC)
Description: Taril goes to visit Captain Garik - the man he'd been on his way to visit when Vinalee attacked him
Location: Sunstone Seahold
Date: month 11, day 3 of Turn 9
Notes: Follows SSH: Reasons. Late because I moved

The next day dawned bright and clear. Taril made his way to the docks to where the Lady Agate was berthed soon after the tide turned, and was quite happy to make it all the way to where the ship was berthed without anyone jumping out of the shadows to stab him. The Lady Agate was a fat-bellied with two masts, the fore mast square-rigged. Her figurehead was a bare-breasted older woman winking saucily at the sea. Taril nodded respectfully to the carving before yelling up to the ship, “Good morning, Lady Agate!”

Moments later a curly-haired lad popped his head over the railing. “Hullo! What can I do you for, sir?”

“I’m here to see Captain Garik,” Taril said. “Tell him Taril’s here. I’ve got some goods I want to discuss with him.”

The ship’s boy nodded and disappeared. Taril shifted uncomfortably on the dock as he waited. His stump of a leg was being rubbed raw with all this too-and-fro’ing across the dockyards, and he wished for his crutch. But a man with a crutch was at more of a disadvantage than a man on two legs, even if one of them was wooden. After being attacked by Vinalee, Taril thought a few blisters was worth it.

The boy was soon back and unfurled a ladder that reached from the ship to the dock. Taril shimmied up it quickly. As soon as he was on deck, he followed the boy to the captain’s quarters at the aft of the ship. The door was plain but little leaping fish were carved across the lintel in an unexpected touch of whimsy. Garik was waiting for him and stood from his table when the merchant entered. “Morning, Taril. I trust all’s right with you?”

Taril nodded. “Yes. It was touch and go for a while, but my wife will be home soon enough.” He hoped. The merchant cleared his throat. “My apologies for the abrupt departure when we last met.”

Garik shrugged and gestured for Taril to sit. “I’m glad to hear it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you move so fast.”

The merchant grimaced. “I hope I never again have to.” He paused. “I don’t suppose you noticed if anyone else was lingering around my office when you left?”

Garik paused to think, then shook his head. “Just a few of my lads. Maybe another man… I don’t know many faces around here so I can’t give you names. Neither does my crew. They’re all from around Topaz Seahold.”

That aligned with what Arnolt and Mulich had told him. Taril eyed the Captain, wishing he knew him well enough to tell if he was lying. Garik was only at Sunstone Seahold a few times a Turn. He didn’t gamble and didn’t come to the boxing matches at the docks. He didn’t owe Taril marks or favours. The man sailed, traded, and left as quietly as he came.

But until he could figure out how to Garik about the ledger, Taril had some trading to do. “You still have room in the Lady Agate for a few goods?”

“Aye. Not much, but some.” Garik laced his fingers together and leaned back in his chair. “I’m full up on citrus and salt, and I’m looking for finished goods.”

“I have four crates of nails to get used before they go rusty. I hear that some of the river boat captains are looking for nails if they’re heading up into the old River Bluff territories, to sell to the new Weyr. Interested?”

“Maybe.” Garik grinned and they settled down to bargaining. Eventually Garik bought the nails, two barrels of vegetable oil for cooking and a barrel of salted oily fish for a reasonable sum. The men shook hands and Taril turned to go, then hesitated. “Do you ever deal with a merchant named Mulich? He’s got a couple bales of rawhide that should be easy to move, if you’re interested.”

“I know Mulich, and know someone who could use some rawhide,” Captain Garik said thoughtfully. “I’ll send him a note.”

“Let him know that I sent you,” Taril said. He nodded his head once, then left.

If Garik knew Mulich, he would have seen the other merchant waiting by his office the day that Humari was hurt. But why on Pern didn’t Garik mention seeing him there that day? He didn’t strike Taril as the sort of man who would have overlooked another merchant to negotiate with if his deal with the first abruptly fell through.

Something felt odd. Garik had the opportunity to take his book, but no motivation. He was never _at_ Sunstone Seahold long enough to benefit from the debts and secrets written in the book, but Taril’s gut told him that Garik wasn’t being entirely truthful, either.

As Taril alighted on the dock, he looked up at the carved figurehead of the Lady Agate. She winked back and kept her secrets to herself.

Last updated on the September 9th 2019

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