Corentin, a young foreign trader of the House Pelan arrives in the uncertain lands of Droma, tasked to deliver a mysterious chest to a far-away sage in a remote corner of the kingdom. Accompanied by his mercenary bodyguard, a young local priest, and their native scout, he sets out on a journey that will change his life forever.
A Merchant’s Tale is the second installment in The Matter of Manred, a new cycle of medieval romances, action adventures, heroic fantasies, mysterious priests, and their dark and forgetful gods, brought to you from the fiction workshop of Michael E. Dellert.
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The Merchant's Prologue
“Now,” said their host, “Merchant, as the Gods may you bless, since you know so much of that land of Iathrann, full heartily I pray you tell us part.”
“Gladly,” said he, “For I myself have just come from there. Many good Aukrian and Narician folk have long desired a wayfarer’s practical guide to Droma. It’s a small but savage backwater of twisted family alliances and feuds, one of the most troublesome of the hedge-kingdoms along the High-King’s Road. And it’s known far and wide for both its beauty and for the dangers that lurk in its forests and fields.
“Eowain son of Findtan, Chief of the Donnghaile, King of the Droma, reigned over those lands. His armies raged across the hills, annihilating every savage holdout in their path.
“His cousin, Tnúthgal, had raised a legal challenge to Eowain’s succession to the throne of Droma, and was sharking up an army of lawless, dispossessed resolutes from the hinterlands of the kingdom to decide the matter by force of arms and terror.
“On the fifteenth day of the month of Fearn, Teilmon being the day of the week, our caravan, honest traders from Aukriath, ventured into the heart of the great Eowain’s war-torn kingdom.”
“Alas, I must regrettably lay aside many of the more colorful minstrel’s tales in favor of features likely to be of interest or useful to the traveler—or that should bear warnings or might best be avoided. Many isolated hamlets, walled estates, ruins, and private keeps I shall not sing of, but remain for you, my friends, to discover. Changes are sweeping that land, and danger lurks around every bend.”
“I pray to all the gods who may be disposed to smile upon such efforts that your ears find favor with this tale, and that it lead you safely through those perilous lands as you travel south...”
Droma and the Surrounding Lands
A map of Droma and the Surrounding Lands.
Designed by Cornelia Yoder. Copyright Michael E. Dellert.