Saturday 21 October 2023

Hex Crawl 23: Eryptos 4, Trade and Commerce

Unlike Gesshed, the business of Eryptos is not done out in the open. Indeed, there are markets for common food, common cloth, and whatever else is hawked to common people. But the business of the noble and trade class is not advertised. It takes place in shops that occupy the time-worn houses of Eryptos, and only reputation and word of mouth can direct the visitor to the finer opportunities for buying and selling.

For example, there is a district of precious goods near the streets of the Mongoose and of the Dove (as might be guessed, street names have nothing to do with the shops. Here is the high-end jeweller's establishment run by Hunca, marble-fronted, and the less prestigious gem shop of Warassa, of the red awning. Both are notable for their utmost discretion, and goods found or burgled from outside Eryptos can be passed off there in perfect confidence.

Notable also is the establishment of Lishlim, with a lapis-lazuli door lintel. Heir to a traditional business of gilding horns, patronized by the Black Gazelle legion and other status-strivers who ride around pulled by horned beasts, she has also branched out into decorative dentistry for humans and canines, and can fit you with a golden smile, or your pet wolf with a silver bite. It was in dealing with Lishlim that the Band of Bronze found out the Eryptan taboo and phobia of shapechangers, with no opportunity to explain that their sandwalker was of the good kind and merely wanted a set of silver tooth-caps for her wolf form to deal with the real, bad, werecreatures.

These shop-dealers form a kind of staid secondary society in Eryptos, their dealings sealed by family marriages. Around them in that social circle dance the more exciting and volatile travelling merchants, among whom Mery-Tina, friend to the Band of Bronze, is a rising star. The divans and salons of the shop and merchant set ape the events of the true nobility, with more high-minded exotica from the merchants' far-flung and exotic connections, and a studious avoidance of vulgarity that is, itself, a kind of vulgarity.

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