Storytime with Stidmama

Chapter 115

Journal Entries March 2, 2008

Tor sat up after Jane finally went to her room, looking at the yards of fine silvery lace she had made while she listened and talked. She was a truly remarkable woman, more than he had known. Her suggestions were sound, and Tor would bring them up with Ysbel and Carlota over breakfast. For now, the journal Jane had handed him beckoned. He glanced one more time at the lonely, empty library, the coals that still glowed faintly from the stove, the bright lamp he had kept burning to keep him company.

Yurgen's handwriting was strong and neat. If he hadn't been a merchant, Tor mused, he could have been a passable scribe. He turned to the first entry, a list of contacts in various cities, and amounts owed. A typical merchant's journal -- item, amount, initial cost, what it sold for (and to whom), and in Yurgen's peculiar fashion, a final count of profit.

A few pages in, comments began in the margins:
The textile markets are late in opening up this year. I will have to travel further, I think to get the red stuff she wants, as it is not yet available here.
This client has been late in payment three deliveries in a row. I will ask for payment in advance in the future.
Jane has asked me to find more soie gris, both fiber and cloth, for a new dress for the annual ball. It may be available in the High Town at the edge of the plateau. Will see if I can trade some of her lace for a dozen yards and ten spools.
I am running low on work-dress yardage and dungaree materials. This provisioner is also low on stock and will pay cost plus 20% for anything I can spare on my return.
Mattias tells me that there have been raiders between this merchant and High Town, he recommends a good set of strongmen to assist on this trip.
Three new orders today, for expensive soie materials. I don't know if I can fill them all, will check with them about colors before I leave.
Will leave at the next new moon, so I reach the plateau when there will be little dark to hide raiders. Jane will likely read this after I have left, so should know that I expect my preparations to be sufficient for this trip if she follows my instructions about the servants.
Have hired three strongmen for the journey, on Mattias' recommendation. They are well known here, so I should be safe with them. They will receive a quarter share of profits to share among themselves on my successful return home.
Tor scratched at his beard. The names were familiar to him, too. He leaned back in the chair, thinking about Ysbel's running narrative about some of her clients at the library. He would ask her if she knew the names, or thought they might be connected.

But what had been Yurgen's instructions to Jane about the servants? He set the journal aside. Dry reading, but informative. Yurgen was likely not in trouble -- yet. But it seemed Jane might need help as much as Ysbel and Carlota.

Tor was slumped askew in the chair when Jane rose early in the morning to open the shades and help Cook in the kitchen. She quietly covered him with a blanket, and noted the page he had marked in the journal.

He had found the same peculiarities, it seemed.