“Ahoy there, Captain—“
                “Travvers, sir.” He nodded towards the man, the epitome of politeness. “I must say, it has been a good many years since I last visited, what happened to old Captain Vander?” Last time he’d passed Dawnrose had been the last time he’d visited Popping.
                “Ah, you knew my father, eh?” despite this youth’s ability in etiquette, the hint of grief on his face was not lost on Simeon. His tone however, was that of apathy. Just like his old man, until Simeon had gotten to know him a little better.
                “Aye, we met a few times. He was a good man.” And it wasn’t a lie. That was exactly why Simeon disliked him.
                “That he was. He passed away last year. But that is not why I am here. Tell me, what is your business?” Young Captain Vander leaned against the rail.
                “Care to come aboard?” Simeon offered, he saw the Captain’s eyes narrow. “We can continue this conversation in my quarters. ‘Tis far more comfortable there, with rum if you should feel a thirst.” Now the Captain smirked. He clambered over the rails and joined Simeon as they moved to his room.
                He sat at the desk, facing the door whilst Vander faced the window. He gripped the bottle of rum he’d cracked open after the first and picked out a glass he saved just for these types of meetings. The liquid amber splashed into the bottom of the glass. He loved the movement of liquids.
                Vander picked his glass and swilled it. He gave it one sniff and then a quick sip.
                “A fine beverage.” He nodded his appraisal as he moved the rum about his mouth. “A little old but otherwise very good. Our family used to have bottles of this imported from Tun’drask who got it from the Victumians. Tell me, how did you happen upon it?”
                “I’m a merchant.” Simeon smiled. This gentleman perhaps did not have the same penchant for lawfulness as his old man. “When people can’t pay via gold, they pay in other ways. It just so happens I like me some rum.” The captain laughed and set the glass down. “But I’m sure you didn’t come here for the beverages. Tell me, why are you here?”
                Vander inspected him. “Well, the King would have me say that there must be an increase in security, with the coming of his tournament. But you seem to be a shrewd man so I shall not lie to you.” He took another quick sip. “A lot of money goes in to the running of such an event. This is his way of paying it off.” Oh I know what he wants, only too well.
                “A toll to pass through to the capital, eh?”
                “Indeed.” He nodded again, and took yet another sip. “And because you are such a shrewd man, I know that if you are willing to pay, you will be responsible enough to enter the capital without the need for a thorough examination. These things can take many hours. But we can save time here.” He drained the cup and slammed it on the table. “Provided of course that you have the papers?”

The End

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