• Nick Richards

Chapter 9: The Magicians - Part Four

“Sure can,” she said, “though I can’t prove it right this minute. But it says right there that it will rain around here in two day’s time. If I come back in two days and I am wet, will you trade with me for this device?”

“Seems like magic to me,” the merchant said dubiously.

“Call it magic if you like,” said Jendi as she saw Tinno walking slowly around the shop looking at the products for sale. “Find something interesting?” she asked him.

“You know how I like farming,” the soldier responded without turning to face Jendi. “This is a nice shop with good quality equipment.”

“You swapping your magic for my plows?” asked the merchant.

“Nope,” said Jendi, “we want to give them to you to sell to your customers, and in return, we can arrange to trade for some of the crops that your customers grow. Where do they sell them now? In a market?”

“Each man keeps his own home, they say,” said the merchant. “Not much call for selling in a market. If any man has extra, he stores it for a lean year.”

“So there is no central market for crops?” asked Jendi.

“Why would there be?”

Jendi nodded slowly as she realized how far this planet had regressed. It was now on a farm-by-farm economy, each family looking only after themselves. Efficiency had given way to primitive conditions. This would be harder.

“How’s this thing work again? It weighs the air?” The merchant was poking at the instrument again.

“It measures the air temperature,” responded Jendi.

“That’s magic,” he repeated.

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