Two Men, a Mule, and a Cart

In the early days of The Vale when Iskar Aaton saw a youthful face reflected in the calm waters of Lake Ios, trouble scarcely laid its eyes on the peaceful people who lived here. But trouble befell two men one day, and the young Iskar stepped in to save them. Jeorlis and Tribald Fairmane travled northeast from the kingdom of Aeith. It’s king had recently gifted this large lay of land to Iskar Aaton and bid his people freely settle there as they saw fit. The Fairmane brothers took this opportunity and packed up all of their worldly possessions, sold a few, bought a mule, and took off.

Lake Ios, calm and deadly, lacked the traffic and hundreds of years of fishing it has now and odd beasts swam in its depths. The Fairmane brothers had stopped at the area where the lake narrowed to form the Ios River. There they filled their waterskins, watered their mule, and rinsed off the dust of their travels.

As the brothers prepared to finish their journey north to the fledgling city of Aatondale, the waters swelled and surged. Something large approached the shores and pushed angry ripples toward the land. Jeorlis slapped the mule ushering a bray and a bolt away from the water and Tribald drew his sword as he backed away from the threat.

“What is it, Tribby?” Jeorlis asked.

“I don’t know, brother, and I’m not certain that I want to wait to find out.”

The beast’s back crested the water, it’s long, leathery body waddled ashore hefted by four pairs of stubby legs. A wide and stocky mouth revealed rows of short, jagged teeth and the water spilled off of its back, washing toward Jeorlis and Tribald.

“Jeorlis, run!” Tribald shouted without effect as Jeorlis’ third sprinted step had already fallen and another followed just behind it.

A thunderous crack slapped the surface of the water and a charcoal bolt of lightning leapt at the beast, opening a large wound in its side. It bellowed in pain and retreated under the water as quickly as it had surfaced.

The brothers stood stunned as they noticed a tall, thin man atop a fine, black steed.

“Greetings travelers.” He said. “I am Iskar Aaton, governor of Aatondale and of this vale. You’ll best choose to check the waters this far south before you fill up next time. It’s crawling with those things.”

Jeorlis dropped to a knee and his brother followed. “Thank you, Lord Aaton.” Jeorlis said, hesitating on the honorific.

“Yes, Lord Aaton. We are in your debt. How can we repay you?” Tribald asked.

“Are you brothers? You look as though you are related.” Aaton asked.

“We are, lord.” Tribald answered.

“And are those wares yours?”

Tribald replied again, “They are, lord.”

“And are you come here from Aeith?”

“Again, lord, you are correct.” Tribald said his air restricted and his tone heavy in frustration.

“Can you sell?” Aaton inquired.

Jeorlis shifted on his knee. “Begging your pardon, lord. Can we sell?” Jeorlis asked in dripping indignation.

“Yes, good sirs. Can you sell?”

Tribald reached out and placed his hand across Jeorlis’ chest and signalled him to hold his tongue.

“Aye, lord. We can sell. And pardon me, but just what are you getting at?” Tribald asked.

“Very well. You can sell. And I need someone to sell. You will do my selling. Come back with me to Aatondale and I will set you up with a storefront where you will manage goods for the citizens of Aatondale and keep the workers stocked and since you’re so fond of the lake and its river here, we’ll call it the Ios Traders. Yes. I like that very much. Now get your ass and come along.” Aaton winked at Jeorlis. “Oh, and bring the mule too.”

And this was the birth of the Ios Trading Company.

Two Men, a Mule, and a Cart

Iskar Vale 5e IskarDM IskarDM