They were on the road again and making good headway. Since they could reasonably expect to reach Danzig well before nightfall, they were not in such a great hurry as on the first day of their journey. The trip in the warm sunlight, between the trees adorned with golden autumn leaves, could almost have been enjoyable if not for the occasional wisps of smoke in the distance, which could hardly originate from campfires.

The raiders had been very active last night.

Yet to Harun’s great relieve, they saw nothing of the begetters of these fires.

They reached the gates of the city just before sunset. Wenzel had given his leather coat to Edith somewhere along the way. Whether this had simply been intended to protect her from the cold, or whether the guard had shown enough foresight to divine that a female figure dressed only in a castle curtain might cause some comments among the gate guards, perhaps even prompt them to give the cart a more thorough inspection than the usual glance, Harun did not know. But it was a good Idea and he let it pass without comment – the same treatment which the castle guards afforded to the wagon.

“What now?” Edith asked, as they were safely inside. “Shouldn’t I go and see somebody, to report of the raiders?”

“I do not think that will be necessary,” Harun said. “To our lord Sir Christian, certainly. He lives isolated and must be warned of the raids, so you must come with us. But Danzig is a big city, the only safe haven for all those who have escaped with their lives from these series of forays. Here they are certain to have heard of the raids by now.”

“Right, if you say so.”

Harun climbed down from the cart.

“It would be best if you waited with Wenzel at the cart. He should stay too, to guard the cart, isn’t that right, Wenzel?”

“What? Oh, Aye, of course.”

“What’s there to guard?” asked Gundolf, grinning. “We’re here to sell the whole kit and caboodle, ain’t we?”

“He guards it because he’s a guard,” Harun overruled the objection. “And now, you must excuse me. I have to refresh my ink supply.”

“Righto. I’ll see you later on the market. Jan, help me lift down these sacks, will you?”

Harun turned and made his way between the burgher’s houses towards the marketplace of the city. His depressed mood from the early morning had passed long since. Now, it was time for a visit to an old friend.


Otto’s round, bearded face lit up as he saw Harun approaching. “Finally! I wondered when you were going to show up again.”

“Why this sudden interest in my presence?” asked Harun. “Have you found no one to sell your bible to?”

“There’s no need to be sarcastic.”

“No, there’s no need, I just like it.”

Otto grinned, ruefully. “Me too. But don’t tell him over there.” He pointed to an upright figure striding away from the market, a book under its arm.

“Why not?”

“Curiosity is a sin, my friend. He bought the aforementioned bible. And a packet he paid for it, too. May God bless all religious men – and my skills to act like one when I'm selling.”

Harun surveyed the board in the stall behind the merchant. No longer did it hold only rolls of parchment and bottles of ink, quills and some cheap printed pictures on it, but several books had joined the merchant’s store.

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