Forbidden Gems
The Enclave > Known Roads > Three Stones > Local Color

By the fires! That is a true gem, by the yellow and glint of it, not of Enclave soil, no. There are those who would ask sharp questions of commonfolk from the City Without upon seeing such in their possession, sharp questions and at the point of spear and blade, mark me. You hold worth without measure in your palm, and a struggle it is to turn the immeasurable into coin for the counting. How would Arith have found better from the Emerald, green from the old Ammand, than to shatter it to thirty slivers with one deft blow? No gold could match the first thirty of the Company she drew about her, thirty green-gemmed broaches still kept with a memory of greatness in the heart.

It has a look to it, a Burning, as do you, who came to our Library and paid the red gate toll from coin best used for hunger. You Seek, or I would give you the words of the wisest of sages, hidden in their Black Tower; to put fresh soil atop the gem in a far place and forget of it, lest it bring greater misery that you might imagine. But let me tell a tale instead, and leave you to Truth and the choosing of roads.

There was a time, when the Council of Traders was young and the Lady Verden spoke with true noble blood, that there were three gemcutters who plied their trade on the Great Way - but their coin came from noble manses, and yet more from the weight their words bore on the Council. Just as now, not a gem was hefted from left hand to right without coins to the Council - and few gems these seasons with there but one aged gemcutter in all Three Stones ... under Council eyes, mark me, and I need not say more to one from the City Without. Radelan has three long generations of what noble folk call wisdom; the holding of his own, and the path of hired spear and blade from his eyes to yours were your true gem to come into the light of day, by the Temple Fires!

In that past generation, Radelan's predecessors - the whole city, by the words of The Raft of the Black Tower - were set upon their heads by a Reddened Visitor. He who brought a bottomless sack of true gems, yellow and perfect from the Farthest Market, just as that which you hold in your hand. Fifty he traded hither and thither for the works of commonfolk, come through the red gate to the Grand Market and gifted with untold wealth. Gifted too with the wrath of gemcutters and the Council of Traders, and soon enough by Guard spears at the calling of nobles. The Reddened Visitor was chased from the City Within to the Farthest, so The Raft tells, or locked away to waste to bones - though this was long before Watch and Temple turned bitter to Visitors and dared the worst from the Beautiful Stranger.

So it was that true gems from the Reddened Visitor came by trade and left at the points of spears; some to nobles, some lost, some to those of the City Without - to those who take with greatest skill and forcefulness. Thief's Favors, they are, to mark those tasks and debts that must be marked most deeply - what better use for wealth beyond measure, wealth beyond coin, wealth forbidden by the Council of Traders?

[ Posted by Reason on January 12, 2006 ]