On the road, part five

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"It's beautiful!"

"Now, do you believe me?"

"Of course. I've seen its like in Verd, but do you think there's enough to warrant a caravan?"

"Gods! Arthur, Erkateren is famous for its furniture, famous for most everything that can be made out of wood."

Arthur caressed the smooth, hard surface, adoring the gorgeous sheen and inlaid details. He stooped to examine the other chairs on display.

"Damn! They're almost identical all of them!"

Harbend smiled. "And each a masterpiece."

Arthur looked at the chairs again. They were perfect.

"I don't understand. The skill needed. How can there be so many carpenters here who can do it?"

"We are not in Keen any longer."

Arthur didn't understand and fell silent.

"Many artisans here are magecrafters. Limited in their knowledge, but magecrafters nonetheless," Harbend explained.

"You mean they use magic?"

"They do, but they only know how to work wood. Still, it enables them to remove flaws and change the wood to their needs. I fail to fully understand how, but the best furniture I have ever seen is made here."

Arthur didn't know what to say. Partially he'd been expecting magic, but thus far he'd seen nothing but alternatives to common engineering. Where was the real magic?

"How much do you think they have to sell?" he asked after a while.

"I hope some traders will join the caravan, but there should still be enough to fill eight or ten wagons. Add another twenty wagon's worth of items of somewhat lower quality. More than we can load anyway."

"I can see why you wanted to come here. This is what we should buy for the metal we sell here. You can't imagine what people back on Earth would pay."

"We?"

"Eh, traders from Earth."

"Sounds like an interesting market," Harbend said, a mixture of greed and thoughtfulness marking his voice. "Talking of which, I shall be needed for some interviews."

Arthur smiled and watched Harbend leave.

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