Chapter 2: The prince by gold and the prince by blood

Kalliste will wait until the meal is over to walk the man to his room. After all, it is her parma that is protecting him and hopefully to have a few brief words in private. She is not one to overlook potential information souces, agents and profits. Meanwhile at dinner, she has a different view, "I like the things you are proposing. Obviously I can see the potential for us to both benefit. you can supply things we need, perhaps at lower cost than if we were to do business with one of your rivals?"

Romolo can find the merchant with ease.

Checo di Dardo replies to Kalliste. I can give you fair prices as the goods I am offering travel here with the normal shipping routes. The goods are expensive but that is what you’ll get with the quality I am offering. So yes I can offer a better price than my rivals but even more important is that I can offer, if you agree to my offer, a steady supply so that your craft is not interrupted by a late delivery. Is there any other items that you my Lady needs? (di Dardo is likely to mention that he knows some very good clothiers and jewellery makers if Kalliste seems like someone who might use such items)

We can take Kallistes coversation with Di Dardo later. How will the magi vote regarding the deal with the Di Dardo guild. Polycarpus will vote yes to co-operation with the venetians.

"Good clothing and Jewelry is nice for certain circumstances but what is more valuable is information. The more we know about the news from your travels and those of your companions, the better? There is also questions of would you be demanding we limited who can come to our port. I am not sure that we want to talk any kind of exclusive usage." Kalliste says. The venetian could be good or he could be trouble and she is going to find out what she can.

Di Dardo: We will negotiate terms when the council decides to meet with me but I don’t expect to be alone here. Regarding information I can only tell you that of course we bring news of the outside world.

We move onto the council meeting. What is the councils decision?

Nestor asks the Venetian to wait in his rooms for the final council debate. After the Venetian has left, he says:

"I am strictly against this venture - and I want my objections to be part of this council's protocol.
Firstly, I think by inviting the Venetians in, other power factions that have so far ignored and tolerated us might consider us their enemies - nobody here has forgotten 1204, I assume.
Secondly, being drawn into a trade war for glass beads and bits of gleaming metal - it sounds like meddling with mundanes - and thirdly the rewards are trifles.
Another point is that the Venetians' presence might endanger our aura - offsetting any benefits their glass might bring.
Have you even thought of what contact to a Venetian trade post would do to our defenses and to the morale of our men? They will wander off lured away by tales of gold and adventure, away from the unpleantness of having to live among magi.

Most importantly though, a contract with Venice can't be kept secret so the quaesitores will come swarming like horse flies smelling shit. They will interrupt our studies even if the new dock turns out to be a heaven of peace and quiet. They will turn my lab upside down because of the House I am a member of, and they will stick their noses into our necromancer's affairs."

For all these reasons I implore you to close your ears to his honeyed tongue and politely decline this business."

"I am cautiously for it as long as the Venetian understands that we are not giving exclusive access. We should have one in the village act as our representative to deal with him but the steady supply of lab equipment and goods is important. In time, this venetian could become our outlet for selling select potions and and other magical goods to bring us additional resources. If they are coming here, perhaps their rivals will as well and we can become a trade hub for information and such without having to deal with the mundanes themselves. Let them trade with each other while we garner profits and collect information." Kalliste then gets much more serious and brings up the downside of saying no, "More importantly, I don't want to trigger the price of NOT cooperating with them. They sacked a city that wouldn't deal with them as they wish."

Nestor looks at her sadly:
"So he is offering us to join or die?!"

"I don't know but keep your friends close and enemies closer. He says he is a friend but I fear what he might do if we don't accept his friendship." Kalliste is every wary of undercurrents. "They want the port, we don't know what extent he is willing to go. He has already said he is coming here because of low or no tariffs or fees. All he is offering is that he will have the goods we most likely to buy available to sell. No mention of good deals on the goods, no mention of what happens if we say no, no mention of anything else. Only that we can buy from him if he comes here."

Nestor nods unhappily and sighs.

Polycarpus: Personally I vote for co-operation with the venetians. If they bring more trouble than they are worth than we can always throw them out. If things become hostile we can defend our island and no one can claim that we do something wrong. What does the rest of the council thinks?

Romolo nods from underneath his hood "Sounds logic Magus, I vote yes as well."

"I believe I have demonstrated the logic that we need to say yes for now." Kalliste is more than willing to accept for now for the good and to forestall the various bad options. She carefully looks over her sodales. "He doesn't think much of women though if he thought that pretty clothes and jewelry is the most that I would have interest in. We will have to use that against him."

Nestor looks at her again, a smile replacing his despondent mien.

Polycarpus: Then we have agreed on letting the Venetian set up his storehouse here. We should agree on what terms we set for his business venture. This is my suggestion. We take half the toll of a normal port, they are required to maintain the docks, they are not allowed to expand beyond the area we give them, instead of paying us in silver then can provide laboratory material for us and we can at will expel them from our land. Does this seem reasonable? Or do you have any other suggestions?

"What about hostages - I mean the offer to have our scribes educate one of his sons or daughters?"

"I would say that three in four should be in laboratory equipment and the last quarter in silver. Silver can be used to get that which the merchant can't provide." Kalliste is being practical and a source of silver is sometimes needed.

Polycarpus: Are you sure my soldae that we should ask for a hostage? This is a minor deal for a merchant house. Don’t we risk to insult him? I think that silver is good enough and or laboratory equipment. Is there anything else we must discus otherwise I just go and inform our guest of our decision and terms.

"I do not see the need for a hostage and more over, accepting one means we are responsible for him or her and we have a spy planted in our midst. It is one thing if it was a potential apprentice but otherwise, too much work. We want to tread carefully." Kalliste is actually more respectful of the venetian merchants than the church. The Venetians are the one that totally derailed a crusade to their personal profit.

Nestor admits that the hostage idea wasn't too clever.