Here is another episode in Welsan's Story, courtesy of another Write For Ten prompt.
Today's prompt is the word: clay
I was pleased to find this prompt today, as it allows me to go back to one of the original scenes that first draws Welsan into the intrigue of the Vassal of Ochre. What a mercy I made the tea set in Episode 4 a clay one...
As a potter, I absolutely adore this teapot. Just sayin'.
Welsan took up his teacup and rolled it lightly, watching the tea leaves swirl through the bottom of the cup.
“More tea?” The merchant’s hands were already on the fat-bellied teapot before Welsan could say anything, so he gladly held out his cup for more. He watched as the merchant poured out the tea – much stronger by now, as it had been sitting so long – and then handed round the coriander and sugar, each in their own snug jar. Both jars, like the teapot and cups, were a dull reddish-brown, unmarked and unpainted, with a natural sheen that reflected light with a soft, burnished glow.
Welsan said nothing, but spiced his tea slowly as he turned all the little details of his visit over in his mind. Across the table, the merchant watched him steadily, waiting for further comment, either on beserker glasses or the Vassal of Ochre, but the silence stretched so long he grew restless and said:
“Something troubles you, my friend. Have I been too forward in our conversation? I have heard that men like you prefer more…delicate negotiations.”
“Men like me?” Welsan sipped from his clay cup again, winced, added more sugar. “The Guild does not usually hire men like me. In that we are alike – both content in our solitude and the darker trades in which we find ourselves.”
The merchant waved a broad hand at the words, and gave a wry smile.
“But you have chosen your solitude – no, do not deny it; I see it in your eyes. You are not the first Mori I have dealt with; but you are the strangest. Where are you from?”
Welsan held up his teacup. “Where did you get these dishes?” he asked. “This is a curious tea set for a man of your position.”
The merchant sat back, affronted both by the question asked, and the question left unanswered. His eyes narrowed.
“It is a plain enough set,” he said. “Plain dishes for a plain man.” He spread his hands wide, as though to show he was hiding nothing. “Plain clay for living clay. What does it matter where I got them?”
“It matters a great deal, if you own anything made of blood-kiln clay,” said Welsan. “Several of my Mori brothers work the wild borderlands, and with the potters there. Potters that make dishes with curious…properties.” His eyes flashed to the merchant’s face, now fish-white and bordering on terror. A little more pricking, and I will know some things.
He dropped his eyes to his cup again, and took a swig of tea. “What else do you trade for in Ochre?” he pressed. “Not spices and tea only, I’d wager.”
Intrigued? If you liked this episode of Welsan's odyssey, you may visit his page to read more.
Questions? Comments? Let me know in the comments below!
And as always - thanks for reading!!