Someone knocks on the door, I look up from my papers that normally require nothing more than my signature though I still need to read them in case someone tries to rip me off in of our trades. To be disturbed during such a boring work results mostly in lashes with a sturdy whip, most of my servants know that.
“Who could that be? I said to my servants that I don’t want to be disturbed for the next hours.”
Soon after a sturdy man enters. He wears, under a plain mantle, fine leather clothes that are crested with fine golden ornaments and the accessories look no less expensive, making it even more impressive. Even though it was only a travel clothing, it left no doubt that this man had more gold than a commoner would earn in his entire lifetime.
A small grin appears after I recognized the man under the hood.
“Ruck, what brings you here today? I thought the emperor called his chancellor back to his site at Caer Arin?”
Ruck Fiven was one of the five chancellors that served under Elaith, the emperor of Escos.
Some wrinkles showed in the face of the man. Knowing his old friend, it wasn't something pleasant.
“I was on the way when I got the message that the meeting was postponed. That little bitch of a princess had another of her great ideas and you know how much her father spoils her. And how do you even know about that? It was supposed to be a secret meeting.”
Feeling the subtle anger in his friend’s voice, he tried to shift the course a bit.
“Calm down for now. I guess I have to thank the nuisance of a princess for her idea since it brought you here today. And the palace has enough foul mouths that are happy to talk in exchange for some coins. I have my sources. Come and drink something with we, like in the good old times.”
He pointed to the armchair and the chimney, where a little fire was still warming up the room.
Rather roughly, he fell into the armchair and let out a long sigh.
“It's not even past midday and you want to drink? It will be your downfall sooner or later.”
“Bah, I will rather die from a present that comes from an unhappy buyer. Also I wandered long enough on this continent. I remember that you saved me one or two times back in our wild days from some very unfriendly beasts, am I wrong?”
He ringed a small bell and soon after a servant came with a serving plate, glasses on top and some expensive looking booze.
The servant placed it between the two armchairs on a small table and left promptly after.
After the door was closed Ruck spoke up again, still standing near the entrance.
“To make me, a loyal servant of his majesty, drink before fall should be considered a crime. Maybe I should have left you to the beasts back then”, he says with a grumpy voice.
“Maybe? Who knows, but what would have done without my backing several years ago when that asshole had you cornered?”, he asked with a sly and humorous voice
Ruck’s eyes pinpointed him, impaling him with his gaze.
“Haha, don't look at me like that, I never wanted something back from you nor did I raise my hand against you when I had you in my palm.”
“You know that this is what worries me, right? No one, even the poorest commoner would do something for free. Especially you, a merchant and trader. Normally you turn a coin around two times just to make sure it isn’t counterfeited.”
“Nah nah, let the past be past. Now come and join me or else all the booze will be gone. And when we are finished I'll show you something you will surely enjoy”
After a last sigh he joined his friend, the chimney was taking cold fast and he hoped the drink would warm him up a bit after his journey.