January 11, 2011

The World Market

Filed under: Places,Stories — anteolsson @ 12:12
Tags: , , , ,

“Place your goods in the box here, please” a stern and experienced hand showed Dolores where to put her goods, her trading goods. She de-shelved her backpack and started to unload her planed tradeables. It was a figurine she had found in the woods nearby. It had now value to her, not functional nor sentimental. Perhaps it held a trading value which was a lottery for her which is why she had also brought some raw materials, she knew would fetch some good few coins to trade for. “In here madame” the hand pointed instructionally again. “Your name here, please” a finger directed at a line on a paper tag. She signed in clear letters, as far as her ability to print would allow he, and finally flipped it into the container. Dolores noted, as she had previously done, that the goods guard spoke one language with his hands and another with his face. His eyes went in the opposite direction keeping a suspicious look at whoever might be moving too fast or looking too anxious. The expression he displayed was also of a different language, that of an ingrown scholar with an attention almost broadcasted. “Step forward, please” he instructed further pointing his hand in an angle for Dolores to move forward in the line.


The goods were to be taken to the inspection house. A set of veteran traders, or lore masters as they would refer to themselves as, would now inspect the goods. A price would be set and Dolores would be handed a proportionate amount of coins. Coins she later would be able to trade for, goods that would be either or both functional or sentimental.


In her place waiting, a man at last came out with a purse of coins. She received it and opened it. Heavier than she thought, she found herself surprised. Positively surprised. She counted ten times the coins that she expected. The figurine was obviously more valuable than she thought. She has no memory of how it looked and would not be able to give any record of it from memory alone. Her curiosity disappeared.


Her soul was revived, as it always is when work actually pays off for profit. She immediately hoped on the greenhorn recurve bow she for long had yearned for. Yearned was accurate in the context, the item had indeed emanated an emotional bond between them. If Tormu was in a good mood she might afford some of his arrows to go with it. She did almost not dare to think the coming thought, but it was unstoppable. She might persuade him to learn her the craft and skills to produce the arrows herself. He had on no prior account revealed the materials of the arrows and on her mentioning the arrow head he had instantly, almost anticipatingly, switched subjects. At their next meeting he had allowed her to try the bow And the arrow. He produced a target putting it in medium range from the trading counter, lent her the bow and unwrapped one of the mysterious arrows and delivered it to her with both his hands. Her heart was in trance but as soon as she gripped the bow and had drawn the string she transferred the trance to her mind instead. With focused attention she softly let go of the bow string, breathing out the little air she had left, cocked her head and strained the arrow. She thought she could hear a note, perhaps several notes at once; a chord, as soon as she lay the arrow in its position. She drew the bow string to maximum force, quick enough for her to not produce fatigue in her physique. Eyes around her saw, not recognised, an artfully skilled draw and a coordination few are born with or can attain. She aimed for a second, no longer than a second and a half and she let go. The arrow produced the chord again, she thought, but then it went silent and her gaze became a cone with the arrows flight in the center. “Thump!”. The red dot on the target was pierced and the arrow was nowhere to be seen. Tormu ran past the target and came quickly back with the same arrow, wrapped it with care and put it away. He looked anticipatingly at Dolores who uttered “Straight through!”. Tormu nodded and reached for the bow. Dolores complied and handed it over, without hesitation. She had still a feeling that this bow and arrow was not for her, yet. She needed to earn it, she thought. A projectile set like this, finds its owner when it is ready. The owner was at that time not ready.


This day, at which she had traded for the figurine, she felt different. She was worth the bow now. She had earned it. Not because of the coinage she had obtained, but because of the sustenance her soul had been fortuned with through her own adventures, her own living. As a lonesome nomadic ranger, she had had to be autonomous. “Proper autonomy” she told herself, but immediately refused the thought as she remembered what she had been taught when she was still dependant on her tribe.


“Acknowledge the world,

remember the nature,

be true to the trees,

respect the wolves,

be careful of the wind and protect from the sun when she’s in good spirits,

tread cautiously in the soil and smell even the clearest water before you taste it.

Complete independence is betrayal.”


The assurance of her worth was renewed after citing her peoples poem. She had still not betrayed herself and hubris was at bay, she in the desert.


With slightly increased pace her feet took her to Tormu. He was there and from the current distance he looked to be in a good mood. Her heart raced again. “Can I have a look at The bow again” she readily said with an excitement she was not able to hide. She had to stop trying to hide it, her excitement was too overpowering “Alright, I am overly excited today” She informed Tormu “I have more coins today” “I am sorry Dolores. No bow. Sold it last week!” her face lost all colour and her body obtained posture similar to that of a dying animal. “Just kidding! I have it right here” Tormu quickly responded. Dolores shone up again and a second after her eyes could have shot fire, if she would have such an ability. That passed as well and she retrieved the bow from Tormu’s hands. “You’ve got the Arrows as well?” She attempted to fake her angry eyes but failed and instead the two of them broke out in laughter. He unwrapped an arrow for her and guiltily handed it to her. “The target is up. Take your shot”. This time without testing the bow she placed the arrow, aimed and released. The shot was true. “Still 10 coins for the bow?” she asked keeping her look fixed at the bow limbs. “Still ten, and I give you an arrow with it. Just for you Dolores” She could hear the guilt in his voice being still there. Without her not having to do anything, the bad joke had played in her favour. She would now get the bow And an arrow. She managed to resist asking to be taught how to make them, she could not risk pushing her luck at this point. The bow and one arrow for 10 coins was a once in a life time opportunity and she would have to take it. “Deal” she affirmed and Tormu handed her the arrow in its wrappings while she handed him the 10 coins. “A pleasure to finally do business with you, Tormu” “It is mutual, Dolores” was the reply. Dolores carefully opened the arrows wrapping and found a folded note. Before she could inquire what the note was, she found, by unfolding, that it was a “recipe” for the singing arrows. She felt a kind of love towards Tormu. A love cousin to the loves she had felt before.


The World Market is a restricted and heavily guarded area where merchants of the world sell exotic goods. It is usually unique items they sell and the buyers are constantly there to see what is new on the market. The market is inconveniently located in the Yellow desert, above an underground sweet water lake.Participants who whish to buy need to bring items that are tradeable on the market, which can be seasonal and always occacional. The items brought are then exchanged for coins, World Market Coins, which can only be used inside the restricted area. This is due to that at exit from the area each contender need to be thoroughly examined and all left-over coins need to be returned.


Blog at