Friday 2 September 2016

Moyra, Trader of Qeraf

Backers of Chariot will be glad to know that Cosmic Memory is finally on its way. This is one of my favourites from Malcolm's collection of supporting characters. It has a delicacy, a poetry to it. It felt right.

Moyra, Trader of Qeraf
Long ago when Moyra was a child, divine Anamanthalis gestured with ineffable grace, and the long, glass-shard sharp nail of her little finger caught a thread of silver cloth, pulling brocade askew on her sleeve. She retired to her chambers to change into something even more beautiful while the blind Sixth Master of the Wardrobe disposed of it in the usual method: by fire. Yet the furnace flue was open; strange winds carried burning rags out and down, down, until their fires died and they struck the dust, bright as beached trout. The sweepers took the scraps, but rag-pickers set upon the sweepers with knives for infringing on their due. The rag-pickers treated the scraps as currency until Vayun hoarded them all, at the cost of his other possessions. He starved when they stopped honouring his “coins-of-cloth”.

He was Moyra’s father. She put the rags into a smelter and got a chunk of silver out of them. She bought flowers that day, to trade. It was her first bit of commerce.

Thus, Moyra owes her life to knowing what’s truly valuable. Appearance? She dresses plainly, against the Qerafi culture. She has a pale, unadorned Atlantean face, and iron-coloured hair that barely contrasts with her tough grey robes. Fashion’s fickle; as far as she’s concerned, it lacks inherent value. She puts her faith in constant givers of life and death: food, arms, drugs. She manages her trading fleet so that it could survive on these alone. Greater profits are the fruits of irrational trade: an animal that might be a fad pet in Qeraf, slave-hewn idols to some new cult and other things that satisfy inconstant desires. She sells them, but doesn’t rely on them.

Beyond security and logistics, Moyra values information about when fads will rise and fall, so she can adjust trade and minimize her risk. Know her company by the sign that is its name: the Greylark. You can see it on buildings and ships at every safe Atlantean city, and emblazoned on a few way stations in the wild. In Qeraf itself, the company’s headquarters is despised as a plain square blight on a beautiful place. There, the sign of the Greylark has an eye of misshapen black silver.

One of a few master traders in Qeraf; an Atlantean
Suits: Cups 4, Pentacles 6, Swords 6, Wands 3
Attributes: Animal 3, City 6, Hands 5, Machines 4, People 6, Wilds 2, Will 6
Hand Bonus: 2