Veles' player II

Chapter 1 | December 29, 2020.

The tailor’s house was cramped among buildings. It was not too different from them, except that it had a terrace with gendarmes. Green plants hung from it, going down to the wide door of the shop.

“Come in gentlemen, keep an eye on the threshold, it’s a little damaged,” the tailor warned.

In the shop, scattered clothes were laid on by a hunched woman. She looked at Zharkozel and his father in surprise with her gray eyes.

“This is my wife,” he introduced her. “Slavica, bring to our guests Zora’s tea and sweets.”

The wrinkled woman smiled and jumped to the kitchen.

Zharkozel never drank a strange hot drink with a bitter taste. In the villages, they usually gave him to drink a vodnyika or rakia. The Zora’s tea was only drunk by wealthy people in cities who could buy dried flowers of the Gafia plant. It grew only on the far southern island of Zora. He immediately concluded that the tailor intentionally wanted to show himself as a wealthy and sophisticated person.

“As we agreed, you can now get ten crowns for your wool,” he said as he drank the tea. “It’s good quality and very clean.”

Zharkozel remembered how he and his mother had been washing and tidying up that wool for days so it can look beautiful. The tailors greatly appreciated the wool that wasn’t dirty and didn’t smell like sheep.

“Thank you,” said Zharkozel’s father and strongly sipped the tea, which made the tailor disgusted.

“What rudeness,” he mutters to his chin, then smiles. “I also wanted to suggest that we sign a contract about wool delivery twice a year. I will be your only buyer and you will not sell wool to anyone else. ”

Zharkozel’s father choked and coughed. “Excuse me,” he said, and began to clean his face with his sleeve. “That kind of offer doesn’t sound bad, it’s just that I don’t know how to read and write.” 

The tailor laughed. “Don’t worry, it’s enough to just sign, you know?”

“I know, but I couldn’t read what you wrote,” he said.

“It’s just formalities, nothing special,” said the tailor carelessly. “There will be what we agreed, sixty stones of pure wool twice a year. Twenty crowns will be paid for each delivery. How do you feel about that? “

“Sixty stones of wool!” His father jumped. “That’s three times more than what we sold you today!”

“Is that a problem?” He asked.

Father leaves the cup on the table. “We can’t produce that much wool, we don’t have that many sheep. The emperor’s tax collectors take a third of the wool a year from each household. “

The tailor frowned. “Then I suggest you buy a new herd of sheep so you can meet the requirements.”

Zharkozel didn’t like what the tailor suggested. He wanted to use his father as much as possible for cheap wool, and he didn’t care about the painful wok involved in making such wool. He had no idea what rural life was like, that it required many tasks at a time and working in the field from dawn to sunset with one slice of bread and a cup of milk.

“We have no money to buy a new herd,” said his father.

“How have you not? I just gave you ten crowns! ”The tailor yelled. “With that money you can buy a herd of fifty sheep!”

Zharkozel’s father was a very patient and gentle man, but only to a degree when he became enraged. “That money is for my family to survive the winter, not to fulfill your selfish ideas!”

The tailor was trembling with anger. “How are you talking to me stupid fool?!”

“Listen to me moron! You will not exploit me and my family with your contracts and investments! I know such as you who have destroyed many villagers and shepherds! ”

“Primitivism!” Shouted the tailor. “Get out of my house!”

The guests got up briskly and headed for the door.

“Here, unload your wool with your hands!” The father yelled and threw the wool to the ground. The tailor cursed while Zharkozel and his father were leaving.

“Dad, why didn’t you try to convince him for more pleasing conditions?” Asked Zharzkozel.

“I may be a peasant, but I’m not an idiot!” He whimpered through his teeth. “I have the honor as knights have! That old fool wants to crush us like an ant, to sell him wool only to him! He wants to give us some contract that I can’t even read. So a bunch of peasants were ruined when two-faced fraudsters slaughtered them using their illiteracy. “

“Then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to learn to read and write,” his son suggested. “You would be safe when you make a deal.”

His father looked at him sharply. “Do I look like a person who would like to learn to read and write in these years?”

As much as he tried to convince him, his father didn’t want to be educated. Every time, he claimed to be old for that.

“If I had more money, I would send you to one of the city schools or Perunian monasteries to learn to read and write there,” the father said sadly. “Then you could become a real trader instead of me.”

Zharkozel liked that his father wanted him to study and write, but he didn’t want to be a salesman. He wanted to be a musician, to delight the masses and princes with his gig. Music was the only passion he knew of. So he remembered a strange boy and a play in the square. He was thinking where he could find him.

“Father, what are we going to do now, where are we going?” He asked.

He looked up at the sky. “It was already afternoon, if we went home now, we would arrive late into the night, which is not safe. We could spend the night in some cheap accommodation here. ”

“That’s not a bad idea,” he said. “I could just go around the city.”

“Do you like this place?” He asked.

Zharkozel said shyly. “There are such beautiful buildings and interesting people. Could I walk a little?”

“No!” he growled. “You will get lost and someone can hurt you! We are going to rest, tomorrow we have a long way to go to the village.”

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