I did some replotting at the beginning of the year (not enough, but hey) as to where I would send Anagallus, since we might need him in the future. In addition, if he was going to seek shelter from prosecution with someone only Marcus knew, it would be clear as day that Marcus helped him out.
Marcus's family is high up in trade, and he can reach out to many people. But I have made a small edit in chapter 19, which you'll find below.
Basically, he proposed a trade deal to Cornelis. Not with an anonymous family friend (as I first intended), but with someone Marcus, Phyllis, Anagallus and Pimpernella will meet in 'Mesmer'. I have left 'Mesmer' right at the point before that happens, so don't go looking for it! I plan to continue this story after I finish writing 'Cornelis'
I made the edit in Chapter 19, because Phyllis questions Marcus about the deal, and it would be strange for Marcus not to tell her who it was with. Basically, Marcus is sulking because Cornelis has made the assessment that they won't need to strike a deal if his tribe can cover taxes by their collaboration with Mesmer (building the greenhouses).
"It was meant to permanently get them out of trouble. To pick up the metal works again. To not have to worry over bad harvests" he told her, and he heard the disappointment seep through in his voice.
"Would it get you in trouble if they didn't send their harvest to your contact?" Phyllis asked, and she fixed her eyes on him like she always did when she wanted to read the answer before he had opened his mouth.
"Of course not," he said, leaning back from her. "Not at all." When her stare remained intense, he added: "Petronius is my contact."
Phyllis grinned. They had met Gaius Petronius on their very first healing mission together, and while they had to permanently cripple the man to save his life, and the entire mission had been far too dangerous for her at barely fourteen years old, there was no denying they had been a great team from the start.
Cornelis knew Phelan was angry with him. And so he threw a few more logs onto the fire, which encouraged everyone to stay gathered around it and occupy each other's minds with stories not their own.
He coaxed Phyllis into showing the kids their riding trick, which she wasn't able to resist either. She earned delighted hoots and he was saved from having to return to the conversation around the fire for at least an hour by letting the most avid young riders among their village try to copy her move. None of them managed, but Cornelis knew that at least half of them would by the time she had to leave for Mesmer again.
Phyllis watched from the side lines, screaming instructions and whistling at brave attempts.
When they finally returned, numbers had dwindled sufficiently for Anagallus to drop his merchant act. Apart from their druid, only Connor and a few of the village's elders remained, hunched close to the fading embers.
Raghnall and him had made the decision not to reveal Anagallus was a deserted soldier until he had left the village. Phyllis's presence created in some of the villagers a boldness that was premature and could endanger their safety. Cornelis didn't need Marcus's threats to see that, and Raghnall hadn't needed to hear his entire recount of the past few weeks either.
Phelan had fleshed out Marcus's rudimentary overviews of their trade ware and ended up convincing the rest of the council they should go for the deal. Even Nara. And Raghnall. Which made Anagallus's passing-by a formality his former ties to the Legion would only complicate.
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Mesmer series - book two "When war has left scars too deep to heal, can love still blossom upon it's ruins?" When Cornelis meets Phyllis and Marcus, he sees a young Wicca in the grasp of a Roman Optio, and he'll stop at nothing to set her free. Even...