|3 Heroes||DEF +25
|3 Elite+ Heroes||ATK +150
|3 Legendary+ Heroes||HP +2000|
It's sometime since I left the Imperial City. Everything's been so much tougher than I imagined it would be.
I was known as "Rowan, son of Reginald", associated almost ubiquitously in the Lightbearer realm with riches and wealth. People bustled in and out of Mithril Commerce Chamber carrying gold day in and day out, even a dog chained to the spot could make money!
But now, after getting away from that 'prestigious' name, I'm just an ordinary merchant. I need money for purchasing goods, partnerships with folks that are mindful of your reputation, and there's even a chance of getting run down and robbed by thieves on the road... I'm so tired, I just want to go home...
But my father made it through these same hardships, and if HE can do it, so can I! I'm not going to give up, I'm going to be a great merchant, even greater than him!
This little duckie has been my erstwhile companion this whole time, and his gold eggs have made a pretty penny! Yes, yes, I know the duck's a boy, I sell painted eggs but I don't see that as cheating anyone. The myth of the Golden Egg is a product of every merchant's desire for an answer in their search of wealth, it's a psychological yearning, but I sell them a tangible answer.
Rigby was unreliable. So unreliable, in fact, that he woke up dazed and confused almost daily, he was so confused he couldn't even remember what day it was. I gave him a stern talking-to about his drinking habits, I was even prepared to throw him out! But Rigby is a sturdy fella with strong looking arms, and when a guy like that is drunk and looking ready for a fight, everyone just sits down and tries to talk it out reasonably. Thanks to Lorsan stepping in, Rigby's been much more affable since, definitely a good thing.
It was pure happenstance that I bumped into the rabbit, Lorsan. He was just on the street, just having been scammed out of money, but he didn't seem at all upset. In fact, he seemed to be taking it all in stride, enjoying it, even! He didn't have an ounce of resentment in his body for the scammers. He seemed just like a calm monk.
This unique aura about him piqued my interest. Ritual, feelings, culture... these can all be commodified and sold, but that aura is something special. I can use it to create another kind of 'golden egg' dependent entirely on what the customer requires. I just need to come up with a suitable story.
Well anyway, that's for another time. Right now I'm going to this little town to check out another merchant, Ebenezer. Apparently my father came here once and nearly lost all his gold in a trade war, he was utterly confounded. My father never told me anything about the trade war when I asked, and I'm not keen to simply ask Ebenezer, either.
I will be victorious in trade war! Just you watch me, Ebenezer! I'll prove I'm tougher than my father!
To my darling daughter, Dolly,
I haven't written to you for a goodly long while. I'm too lazy.
You know me well enough, my hands are better suited to holding beer glasses and throwing punches than scrawling with pens. I start to write and realize... damnit, I forgot how to spell those words.
Anyway, there's something going on here and I've not been able to drink, so I decided that whilst my head is clear, I'd write to you. Read it if you want to, but you don't have to.
You know Rowan, that Reginald family's boy? He talks so much he could win a trophy. Well, I'm traveling with him now, heaven knows why, I was drunk when I agreed to it. But the lad is fun to wander with, he's got guts, and plenty of wacky ideas that keep me on my toes. But the shorty's got issues that make you hold your nose; he's arrogant and full of himself, he never listens to others and his temper is a powder-keg waiting to go off! I can't really tell if he thinks me a friend of subordinate, but I'm having fun toying with that bird of his so I don't s'pose it matters. We have our spats but we've not yet parted ways.
The last few days, he's been acting a bit out of character, looking for this fella called... someone or other, a merchant. I get the feeling he's fighting with himself, a state I've seen many a man in at The Noble Tavern, my eyes can spot it a mile off.
We're also traveling with a Wilder rabbit, lad called Lorsan. He's a nuisance, too! It's not that he's a problem, he doesn't have any issues with people, in fact he's very nice! Kind, friendly, always thinking about others, he's got fine traits for a friend... But that's why he's a nuisance! He thinks of others TOO MUCH!
Everyday he meditates cross-legged, then gathers ingredients all by himself to make a light breakfast, saying that a light diet was the secret to his teacher's longevity; he uses all sorts of methods to discourage me from drinking, saying that hangovers hurt and other such codswallop; he even cleans everyone's room each day, forcing me to shower and do laundry... Your grandma never even bothered me like that!
I'd rather a short life of debauchery and suddenly dropping dead with a miserable hangover than live a long life with such compromise! If it wasn't for the fact this Lorsan fella has such a pure and innocent face, I wouldn't be able to resist punching him!
I only said I'd rather drop dead in the heat of the moment, I don't truly mean it, darling! I don't want you to fret, now... I'll write you again next year just like I write you here and now.
My dearest Kaz,
I'm sorry that it's been so long since I wrote to you, truly I'm at fault. I'm so used to using the wind to pass on my messages, that using the pen and paper of humans still feels quite alien.
At present, I am traveling in the company of two companions, one of whom is called Rigby. Mr. Rigby has quite the interesting mannerisms: he is so unkempt that he has no problem going for a month or more without bathing, and returning home blackout drunk on a daily basis; yet, he is incredibly optimistic and always joyful, he has a happiness about him that he brings to all things. As much as I dislike his habits, I must admit that he is truly an unbound man, living his fullest life.
My other companion, Mr. Rowan, is a far more complex individual: as the second son of Master Reginald of the Mithril Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Rowan has not only been blessed to inherit his father's business head, but his long exposure to it has also given him a vision and boldness far beyond that of his peers. So much so, in fact, that his words and actions are rather precocious. Suffice it to say, that he is one of the most ingenious and daring thinkers I have ever met. Coincidentally, I also believe that being raised in such a mercantile family environment has doubtlessly placed enormous pressure on Mr. Rowan. He must feel he needs to prove his abilities and achievements are borne of his own labor, and not courtesy of his family ties. This is surely the greatest flaw in Mr. Rowan's personality.
Most of the time, journeying with these two fellows has been quite enjoyable, but recent events have vexed me somewhat... even made me... angry.
The source of this matter rests with a merchant named Ebenezer. He lives in a town where the main crop is a garlic-like root plant, the skin of which is so fragile, the entire plant could be destroyed if the harvest was not carried with due care. The locals thus used wooden spoon-like tools to assist in the harvesting, whilst the production and sale of such tools was this Ebenezer fellow's primary business.
Frankly, I find this whole affair unremarkable. Boring, even. But Rowan showed so much interest in Ebenezer that he immediately launched into a trade war with him. Totally hot-headed, he dove into it without even a whiff of the true situation, not a glance.
The trade war revolved around the use of farming equipment for the town's unique crops, which was of course of no use outside the town, with zero scope for business development. The aim of the war was to put each other out of business, becoming the town's sole harvesting equipment supplier. The competition was not so much fierce as it was ugly.
The two merchants began reducing their tool prices in order to seize the market, but the workers making the tools bore the brunt of the reduction and changes to profit: both merchants reduced the wages they paid out almost simultaneously to cope with the fall in income. The workers' displeasure following the drop in pay led to a marked decline in quality of the tools produced. They became so fragile and breakable that the farmers had to buy three times the number of tools they'd ordinarily buy to just have as spares on hand. This constant failure of farming tools led directly to massive crop failures!
Almost two months passed by, and Rowan and Ebenezer had brought the town to its knees. The farmers and workers were utterly exhausted. Everyone was competing in vain for this single aim, and absolutely nothing was improving for it.
The situation has Rowan on the ropes. He's like a different person. Not that he's ever been a paragon of virtue, but in the past he would not have been so reckless.
My patience is near exhausted, and Mr. Rigby seems rather disgruntled, too, so we have agreed to speak with Rowan about this tomorrow and depart the town.
Truly yours, Lorsan.
To my darling daughter, Dolly,
It seems it hasn't been long since my last letter, but it's not that I have much to say, rather it's that there's some things that just can't be held in.
Today, Lorsan and Rowan and I had a tremendous falling out, and I realized the rabbit, Lorsan, is actually terrifyingly scary when he gets angry; he almost swept the house away in a gale! And that shorty Rowan didn't back down an inch, he just struck right back at him. Anyway, my point is the three of us had a huge fight and were ready to go our separate ways.
But before Lorsan and I could leave, we had an unexpected guest drop in on us, that fella Ebenezer! He'd come to surrender!
Admitting his defeat to Rowan, he said he couldn't bear the strain of this mutual consumption any longer and decided to sell his entire estate to Rowan on the cheap to be rid of this relentless torture once and for all! Of course he didn't provide a way out for his miserable workers, and all those poor bewildered folks were driven back onto the streets to fend for themselves after two months of suffering.
I should've strangled the scumbag then and there!
Afterwards Ebenezer was smiling, and I have to say, he was even more disgusting with that 'smile' on his face, and told us that Rowan looked a lot like a merchant he'd met many years ago, although Rowan was much tougher than that merchant. Back then, that merchant had been crushed at the first price reduction because he couldn't bear to cut his workers' pay. After losing his meager financial capital, he left the town in shambles.
Then, as if possessed, Rowan leapt up and grabbed Ebenezer's collar with both his hands, screaming at him like a lunatic, "What did you say! What did that merchant do?" After being flung to the ground, Rowan kept mumbling, "Did I win? Did I lose?"
For the next few hours he just sat there, paralyzed, repeating those words over and over. No matter how much we shouted at him, he wouldn't respond. The exact moment I was about to go and call a priest to exorcise Rowan, he stood up and apologized to Lorsan and I, totally in earnest, saying he hoped we could help him to find new jobs for those workers cast out onto the street.
Honestly, I'm moved! This shorty's brain must've been short-circuited. My darling girl, how's business at the Tavern? Do you think there's anything you can do for these folks?
Hey pops, I don't have anything else to say in writing this letter to you. Do you remember that jerk Ebenezer, the guy who beat the stuffing out of you in a trade war decades ago?
Have I got news for you! I've kicked both your butts!
It's way too complicated to explain properly, so if there's names you don't recognize or holes in the story that make it hard to figure out what happened, then I'm sorry, but I really don't care!
You and Ebenezer think too one-dimensionally. Sure, people made those spoon-shaped tools to harvest crops. However, why something is invented and how it is used are not necessarily the same thing. It can be a spoon-shaped farming tool, or it can be a headdress with a unique meaning, do you see what I'm saying?
I weaved a fantastic tale in which Lorsan is a cultivator of immortality, making exotically crafted hairpins day in and day out just so he can meet his deceased lover again. Combined with this legend, the price of these little farming tools, or hairpins, I should say, has multiplied manifold! Because, you see, what I'm selling is far more valuable than a mere hairpin... It's people's desire for love! I've created a new, golden-egg laying duck!
The sale of these hair pins now brings in enough money to feed the homeless workers, and as the legend spreads, it might eventually feed the entire town. This plan's success relied greatly on my companions. They provided the key elements needed to craft this tale and spread it. But of course, I was the real Mastermind.
How much older were you than me when you met Ebenezer? Did you think of any other way at the time? I'll be staying in this town for a while, so write back soon.
And, one more thing... You really are tougher than I thought, father.
Young Master Rowan:
During secret talks with the Imperial Treasurer recently, His Lordship was murdered by a traitorous Royal Guard. However, this is something amiss, so I am covertly looking into it. The Imperial City is not safe, do not return! Take care out there!