Ludo moved his horse closer to hear what was going on. He sensed no danger from Ahiktos, and could see that he wanted to strike a bargain and do some horse trading. From Ludo’s point of view, he would be glad to get rid of them. They were on a more important mission, and these white horses were like a huge target that a blind beggar could not miss. It would have been far better to strike more inland away from the Duke’s Road and proceed onto Threshold to keep any enemies guessing as to their destination. So, as far as Ludo was concerned, the sooner the horses were sold, the better. But Stephen was the only one who could make this decision.
Feldard chuckled. “If the decision were mine, I’d have been rid of them by now. But to my knowledge they are bound to a particular market. You are however welcome to discuss the matter with my employer.” Feldard nodded towards Stephen briefly. “The right amount of money might convince him to reconsider our market.”
Mikos edged next to Stephan. He whispered quietly eying the merchant, “Stephan, I come from the House of Dostevar, a great trading house, whose name in honored and trusted. This man will not offer you what Pyotr wants for your horses, we are in the middle of a road not a trading house. These are fine steeds and would fetch a high price in Riff-” he caught himself, “Kelvin. If he is keen he might pay two hundred gold per head. But I doubt it.”
Upon seeing the gaudy merchant, Stephan immediately put on his haggling airs—chiefly manifested as a still, emotionless face. He maintained eye contact with the Ahiktos as his companions deferred to him on the matter of selling the horses. He was relieved when Maruc deftly changed the subject and although maintaining a stony countenance, he was eager to hear the man’s response.
After listening to Ahiktos’s response concerning Golthar, Stephan noted in a decisive tone, “Ah, well, regarding these mounts, you are indeed correct they are prized and we have buyers arranged. I’m not about to make any sale here on the open road.”
After hearing Stephens comments, Ludo sighed. Another day avoiding horse droppings lay in front of him.
The priest nudged his horse forward. “Apologies if I am interrupting your haggling, but could you tell us of the road ahead?” Maruc thought for a moment, it was a longshot but…“And might you have heard tell of a yellowed robed man by the name of Golthar?”
The merchant shrewdly took in all that he had heard, and then responded.
“I am disappointed that it seems that we will not be able to make terms on your fine horses, but I suspect that you have your very good reasons. It is interesting that you should ask if I had heard of such a man. I will tell you now that I have most certainly heard about the likes of you in my visit to the barony. I am certain that I have information that you will find most interesting. For a mere 90 crona, I would be pleased to share it with you.”