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Page 2 "Deal of a lifetime"

Before, he wouldn't have cared about such tittle-tattle, but since he left home, his highest priority became security. And it hinged now on three woolly creatures vulnerable to any incursion from the outside. He spontaneously bought them at the flea market beneath the citadel. Within three minutes of conversation with a crafty trader, he let himself be convinced that it was the best opportunity one could imagine for a start. Especially now, with winter approaching, the highest quality wool in the whole Terrmenia will be in demand. 'They will bring you a handsome return!' the trader swiftly cut off his last doubts. He then wandered around with three unruly sheep, seeking to pawn them off to the community of merchants, handworkers, and shepherds. Finally, in one of the last farms situated higher up on the hillside, a certain Lark reluctantly agreed to take in four refugees.

He came across the host, as the sun reminded of itself only with an orange glow above the flattened ridge of the massif. Lark was just standing on the wall, tinkering with a dimmed lantern, its fancy appearance contrasting with the simplicity of his stone hut. The street lanterns of Holmen de Kolmen, fueled by oil with holkon sand, reached even to such a remote place, resembling guardians of morality. Suddenly, a loud sizzling noise emerged from the lamp interior, as if someone had liberally sprinkled bacon onto a heated pan. After a moment, the lamp lit up with a pale blue light, and Lark recoiled as if scalded, cursing under his breath. He jumped down and, pressing his open palm against the cold wall, measured the newcomers with a cool gaze. 'A nakker terrsk? My name is Hanor,' the newcomer broke the awkward silence, not able to withstand his intense stare. He decided not to offer his hand, seeing his suffering. 'What are you seeking here?' Lark grumbled and began wrapping his scalded hand in some beige cloth. 'Where did you get them?' he added immediately, indicating with a meaningful gesture the animals nervously circling behind him. Hanor presented his situation, dramatizing it to the extent that anybody would sympathize with him. However, Lark, despite his unusually fair complexion, revealed himself to be a man of a dark nature. He knew that as a newcomer, he didn't have much choice. 'Sheep in exchange for a place to sleep and food. I give you a month,' Lark's eyes became wider. Well, another deal of a lifetime in the span of a single day, but at least it was like a cheap inn in extravagant city of Holmen de Kolmen.