Ertle

If you were in Saj-graf, at the Jit tower and looked out you could see for miles from each direction.  Jit tower is the highest point in the city and mandated that no other structure can be taller than half of its height.  Watchmen are forever at the top of the tower looking out in each direction for whatever approaches whether man made or not.  Looking to the west you would see desert.  If you watched the desert long enough you would see the sand flowing in currents with the wind.  Observing to the North you would see the ocean crashing upon the shore, rocking boats in all directions.  To the south lays the tall grasses, waist high in the summer and cut short in the fall.  They ebb and flow with the changing seasons.  To the east you would see the snowcapped mountains, in late spring you could see the flow of ice changing to water until summer when the rivulets become streams leading to flooded the rivers.  Looking up at the skies was a constant scape of clouds, thick in the winter and wisps in the spring.

 

These surrounding had led many to name the city Saj-graf the city of the five seas.  To a merchant however there was a sixth sea, fueled with the flow of commerce.  Many a trade house flourished with the season and the changes in the kingdom’s politics. The master of the sixth sea was the Merchants guild and the leader of this guild was Ertle, bastard son of King Vincent VII.  Ertle had the respect of the peers he could not keep company with and had power over those that chose not to keep his company.  With large sums of money it was easy for him to make others see his point of view.  For those pious enough to be immune to such charms, the law was willing to step in on his behalf.  If perhaps one was both above the law and just that pious then they were of no concern to Ertle.

 

But for every merchant of Saj-Graf, Ertle was of concern.  He was able to hold up farmers at the town gate if he did not feel their produce was good enough for the town.  If iron was in short supply, one could count on Ertle to have a stash large enough to sate everyone’s need.  If a caravan leaving town needed guards, Ertle knew who to ask to get a fair price. He was no lord and did not require that level of respect.  And he did not wield his power merely to settle a grudge.  His goal in life was profit with a good story.  This was his weakness, and the one reason he funded even the most bizarre of expeditions into the hills or catacombs.  Ertle accepted failure in many of these endeavors, and what he did not accept were thieves.

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