++Froggy Went a'Courting ++

“These are excellent quality,” said the orc trader, weighing one of the ingots in her hand. “Very pure, very fine. If all the rest are of similar quality then you can be sure I will be back next season.”

Francine di Temeschwar wanted to punch the air, but restrained herself - just. “It’s the Assayer’s Guild,” she said offhandedly. “They set the bar high.”

The orcs passed the ingot back and forth. One of their number, who had not spoken yet, tapped it with a tiny chisel and hammer, peered at it closely, and then a wide grin split his tattooed face. Francine idly wondered who he was - his skin was marked with tiny black Wintermark runes, as were his midnight-blue robes, as were the wide orichalcum bracers he wore on each wrist.

Bokka leant forward across the table, then. The bonesetter opened the weirwood chest to reveal the carefully arranged rows of green iron within.

“As you can see, there is plenty more where that came from. Are we agreed then?”

The Thule merchant looked to her companions, who each nodded in turn. One handed her a reindeer hide sack, and she upended it. A stream of glittering crystal spilled forth, bouncing on the table.

“We are agreed. You will find everything in order, but I understand if you wish to count it.”

She extended her hand first to Bokka, then to Francine. Her grip was firm as she shook hands with both of them briskly. The bonesetter pushed the chest of iron ingots across the table, and two of the Thule upended it into the now empty sack. Bokka reclaimed the empty chest and quickly began to fill it with crystal mana - counting quietly as she did so. The Thule seemed well pleased with the trade.

“Actually, I’m a little surprised that you are trading mana,” said Francine as if she had only just thought of it.

The Thule merchant shrugged.

“Why wouldn’t we? The dragons have plenty of crystal to spare, and your merchandise is extremely good. Our artisans will be able to forge many wonderful… things… with it.”

“I meant, with the peace treaty coming to an end. Are you not worried that we will use the crystal against you?”

The orc across the table blinked and shot a concerned glance at her three companions.

“No,” she said firmly. “No we are not. I have every confidence the Empire will be sensible, and the dragons will be magnanimous.”

She paused for a moment before continuing as if contemplating something unsavoury.

“And if the Empire is not sensible? Then the materials you have been selling us will ensure we win the coming war, and then the dragons will not be so magnanimous.”

The second half of the trade winds update, really. This Wind of Fortune deals with three of the orc tribes - two nations and a band of refugees.

You can read it here → https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Froggy_went_a’courting

It also mentions three delegations, one of which has the time listed as “TBC” as I am currently having some mild problems getting the timing right. Watch this space (and that WoF page) and with any luck a correct time will appear before the weekend.

Today I’ve been detoured into creating a Great Forest orcs page that collects together all the information about the GFO which you can find here → https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Great_Forest_Orcs

Officially there are three more WoF to go, for people counting at home, and only ‘‘one’’ of them has some additional commissions in it :wink:

#ThiswasnearlycalledWhatwouldyougiveinexchangeforyoursoul, #RiversoflifeinaterritorywithavallornwhileSpringisbeingfeistywithmyreputation?, #Grendelsnarkisthebestsnark

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