Spin Offs, Master Merchant Roburns Part a

Spin Offs, Master Merchant Roburns Part a

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Master Merchant Roburns


Master Merchant Temoth Roburns, of the Roburns Trading Company, sat at his large desk, in his large office, in the city’s largest warehouse complex. Before him, spread across the surface of the desk, were the finalized plans for the company’s new GreensBridge administrative building.

The new building would be built up off the dock area, overlooking the warehouse from the corner of NorthWater Street and Reserve Boulevard. It would be an impressive structure, towering over any of the other nearby buildings. Meant to demonstrate wealth and inspire confidence in the company’s capabilities, the new structure would have the best and latest innovations of the age.

Temoth was pleased with himself, very happy that the winter had been as profitable as he had planned. Now, he was looking forward to spring and the start of the new trade season. As far as he was concerned, there were two seasons in the year, winter and trade. The winters were cold and snowy, often slowing the ancient city to a near standstill for weeks at a time. Some years the winter and associated rainy periods, on either end, could last up to seven months. Other years, when the weather was more cooperative, winter was as short as five months. That two month period could mean the difference of making a modest profit or making record levels of profit.

With the trade season all the caravans and barges would move between the various great cities across the continent and so many points between. GreensBridge was at the centre of trade for the eastern half of the continent, the hub that connected Rogh Mohk Talh, Swampdon, as well, most of the great river cities including West Port and the rest of Maldorn. From Maldorn trade came in from Elquin and the Principalities.

A bit over a decade ago, the Maldorn Airforce had made the decision to sell its older airships to any Maldorn citizen who could afford the price. Around the same time a few enterprising citizens had started to build transport and leisure craft to a growing civilian market. Temoth had been one of the first to take advantage of such options, mostly for shipping luxury goods. That decision had made the GreensBridge branch of the company the most profitable foreign office. It had also given him a lot of pull with the GreensBridge council, the nobility and many of the city’s other merchant houses.

Temoth checked his pocket watch, then cleaned up the files and building plans from his desk. Once they were safely put away he took the time to set the stage for his last meeting of the day. Councillor Corvern Bane, a long time detractor, had requested a meeting with Temoth. If a deal could be worked out with Bane, it would be the gem of Temoth’s already profitable winter season and would truly make it the banner year of the nearly two decades of operations under his administration.

Eulla, his new office supervisor, knocked and opened the door to his office, “Sir, Councillor Bane has arrived for his appointment.”

“Excellent, give me a few minutes, then send him in.”

“As you say, sir.”

Temoth gave his office a critical once over, shifted a few things around and then put a couple of crystal tumblers and a nearly priceless bottle of dwarven whisky on top of the small office bar cabinet. Then he sat in his large chair and relaxed.

There was a knock on the door, Eulla waited until he had told her to enter and then showed the councillor in.

Temoth stood and came around his desk, he took the councillor’s offered hand and said, “Corvern, good of you to come see me on such short notice.”

“Thank you, for the meeting, Temoth.”

“Can I offer you a drink?”


Temoth looked to Eulla, gestured her to the bar and returned to his seat. She was a beautiful woman whose presence filled a room. Bane was certainly aware of her, he smiled and thanked her when she offered the drink. After she had placed Temoth’s drink on the desk, he dismissed her, advising that she could send most of the scribes home early today. She departed, giving the councillor a pleasant smile as she passed by.

When the two of them were alone Temoth raised his glass, “Here’s to better relations between the two of us, Councillor Bane. May we find an equitable understanding.”

Corvern nodded and took a sip, “I certainly hope we can come to an understanding.”

“So, let’s get to it then, what can I do for you?”

Covern started with an explanation of the planned spring conscription and what the implications would be to industries reliant on large labour forces. Temoth heard him out, asked a few pertinent questions and listened carefully. He had already looked into the matter in detail, and already knew what the councillor was going to propose.

After giving the impression of considering Bane’s words carefully, Temoth said, “So, you are proposing that I should use my airships to transport unemployed miners from High Fort to GreensBridge, to fill the expected shortage of labourers that you think the conscription will cause?”

“Yes, that is my proposal. I’ve a few additional suggestions as well, but we can consider those after we see what sort of deal can be worked out…”

Temoth took a deep breath and let it out slowly, giving the impression he was considering something he was clearly unsure of. He let the silence drag out for a while, then said, “So, I’m assuming you don’t expect me to do this out of the goodness of my heart. Or, more to the point, I hope you don’t expect me to do this at anything less than a profit. Keeping in mind that each airship coming this way with labourers, is an airship coming this way without resalable cargo.”

“Well I’m assuming this will be somewhat of a logistical strain on your resources and certainly don’t expect you to do this at a loss. I would like to point out though, the East Docks handles around seventy percent of the food coming into the city. If we do wind up in a siege situation, then there will be rationing, which will only get worse if the siege is protracted.”

“That does make sense, but I’m not hearing an offer in that statement.”

There was the briefest flash of anger in Bane’s eyes, there one moment, gone the next. He took a sip of whisky then continued, “Let’s negotiate then. I’m willing to pay one silver weight per labourer and the cost of shipping them from Maldorn. On top of that I will pay five percent on any reasonable, standard manifest that did not get shipped as a result of giving priority to the labour situation. Additionally, I will guarantee your company a three year contract on all bulk food purchases going through the East Docks, at the present rates. Lastly, I will offer you, unofficially, that I, or a proxy of my choosing, will have a motion put before council to rescind the Foreign Agencies Tax Measure.”

It was music to Temoth’s ears, the Foreign Agencies Tax Measure had cut deeply into his profits over the past seven years. Getting rid of it would, especially before his planned expansions, in and of itself, be worth committing to the suggested endeavour. However, that was not the way business was done, “I’d suggest two silver weight per worker, twenty-five percent on all manifests for delayed shipments from Maldorn and a ten year contract for the food at the present rates. I certainly accept your unofficial offer to remove the F.A.T.M., however, until that is a reality it is but a promise on the wind.”

While Bane was likely operating with significantly less information than he was, Temoth was impressed with his negotiation skills and could see how he had risen to his present position at such a young age. In the end they agreed on one and a quarter silver weight per imported labourer, a twelve percent payout on lost or delayed cargo from Maldorn, both to be paid out in copper bars. Additionally, they agreed to a five year contract on the price freeze for bulk food purchased from the East Docks. In return, Roburns Shipping would bring in five thousand labourers to help mitigate the expected shortage.

“Now that we’ve worked out the details, let’s take the time to draw up the official contracts and meet back here in four days?”

Bane stood, “That sounds reasonable.”

Temoth stood and came around the desk, they shook hands. “Let me walk you out, Councillor.”

“As to our other business, things will start happening during the next General Council Meeting, this coming month.”

“Good to hear. As soon as that starts rolling forward let me know and I’ll talk to my friend at SkadWind about some of their recent acquisitions in the East District.”

“Oh? That sounds interesting.”

They paused at the door, Bane raised a hand and in a low voice said, “A bit of information for you.”

Temoth raised an eyebrow, “Yes?”

“There is a motion before council that will be passed next meeting. The council will be issuing an edict to authorize the Count to secure the Tannican District. I’d expect the deed to be done no later than the end of next month, likely sooner.”

“Ah, that is good information. I’ll certainly remember where it came from.” He opened the door and followed Bane out into the main office. Surprisingly Addath was there, talking with Eulla. All but three of the clerks had already gone home.

“Over here Councillor, this door will take you right out to the carriage yard. Watch the steps though, they’re pretty steep.”

“Thank you, Master Merchant Roburns. I look forward to working with you and your company in the future.”

“I, as well, look forward to our future endeavours. Now, if you will excuse me I have some work that needs my attention.”

“Of course, there’s always work to be done.”

“The day I don’t have more work to do is the day I’m dead.”

With a smile and a nod, Bane left via the back entry.


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