Getting to Know Elweir
The Blindman’s Non-Bluff
We settled into rooms at the Abyzinian Night, which has a good reputation around town. After a few nights in regular rooms, Darkarus, Fiona and I were able to move into the suite. This city is huge! It’s the biggest place I’ve ever been. I went down to the wharf and watched ships coming in … and got a feel for the inspection and taxing process as well as the ways of the porters’ guild. The first afternoon, I had an interesting chat with a captain who sails back and forth between here and Abyzinia. Contrary to anything Darkarus has hinted at, he sees no looming tensions between Abyzinia and Valdoria. He told me their Witch Queen is something like 900 years old. (Darkarus later confirmed that. I think she’d be bored by now …)
While I was out and about, Fiona did some horse-training work and earned enough silver to pay for some new armor. The next day she wanted to go out and arrange for that. Darkarus also had some sort of shopping errand to run, so we set out for the part of town where the shops are. Along the way, we noted some toughs beating up an old guy with a cart full of books. No one else seemed to be doing anything, so we went over to intervene.
One of the weird things about this was. as soon as we headed towards the gang, they left the man they were beating and came to attack us. I’d expected them not notice us while they were doing their dirty work or – if they did notice us – to run off. It seemed a bit weird. But after a few good blows from all of us, they finally did run off and we went to assist their victim.
It turns out the man they were beating was an old man named Yully. He’s blind – his eyeballs are completely white with no hint of any sort of iris or pupil formation at all. And even though he’s blind, he sells (of all things!) books. He prices the books by their thickness. Since he can’t see, the books are all jumbled together. There’s no order or rhyme or reason to it. I thought maybe the street-toughs were after him because he had something they wanted. But Yully says they do it all the time. But if they do it all the time as part of some sort of shakedown scheme, I can’t figure out why they left him to take on the three of us.
It did set me to wonder if he had something more than he realized in his wagon of books he was taking to his shop, “ The Blindman’s Bookshop.” After all, since he can’t see the books he deals with, he doesn’t really know what he has. I looked around his load and found a really ornate volume titled Captain Meno’s Log of Wonders. One ship’s captain tried to grab it out of my hand, saying I couldn’t appreciate what it was … that it was all about his travels … and there was stuff in there about the Watchers. That did it! I reminded Yully that I helped him – and promised to come back and help organize his inventory. So I got the book.
I did keep my promise and go back the next day. After a good day’s work, I’d organized one section of shelving. Yully can’t understand the point of doing this. I tried to explain that if people could find things more easily, they would be more likely to visit his shop. But when I went back the next day, all the work I did was undone. At that point, I knew it was hopeless. So I went off to read my book.
It was interesting. It gave me a really good sense of the coastlines in that area. There’s something else about it, too. I’m not sure what just yet. But if I just let things settle a bit, I think it’s come to me … sooner or later.