Arrival, part five

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Harbend watched the queue where traders were paired two and two. They were already exchanging news and gossip with each other, a guffaw interjected from time to time to reward an especially juicy piece of information, but the man he'd been assigned seemed aloof.

At least most of this batch have been here before.

Each time an outworlder trader returned a little bit of color would be added to his or her garb, and those who'd been trading here for five years or more often wore clothes tailored in Verd and could easily have been mistaken for a local had it not been for the shiny information devices looking like decorated mirrors they all carried on their arms. And being a head taller than the rest of us, he added as an afterthought.

This time the sky ship had brought only two newcomers apart from Arthur. Their gray matching open jackets and narrow trousers were supposed to be very elegant attire where they came from, but when they finally arrived in Verd they would learn that only servants wore those colors. Well, that also left the question of Arthur. The man simply couldn't have been here before, but he could of course have learned how one was supposed to dress here. From there he must have proceeded to get it all horribly wrong.

Harbend kept his silence and watched the familiar process of Inquisition troops playing the part of customs officers, being just a little bit too arrogant in their attempts to humiliate the outworlder traders.

Grow up! We are the same all over the world, all over two worlds it would seem, he realized with amusement. As long as traders made money the treatment by lowly officials mattered little. Besides, all insults had to be translated and probably lost most in the process. Harbend wasn't sure all outworlder traders were even aware there had ever been an attempt at humiliation by someone they considered being beneath them anyway. He chuckled and stepped in line with Arthur.

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