Memoirs of a Travelling Tolderian Salesman #1

Himordia, Elenchera

I’ve been exploring the world of Elenchera for more than a decade now. Over time I’ve been privileged to learn of some amazing events:- gods at war, voyages of discovery, near extinction of ancient races, the elevation of magic as the necessity of all, slaves breaking free of their shackles and inventions that changed the world forever. Chronicles of Elenchera are hard to come by with the legendary historian, Hawkswood, having written the most prized accounts of the Elencheran timelines. In my endless search I did manage to find one book that I have found most useful in sharing something of this very different world.

“Memoirs of a Travelling Tolderian Salesman” was written by a unique individual known as Norman Verne. Who is Norman and where does he come from you might ask. Well, Norman is/was a toldere from the island of Lemanto. Tolderes? You must have heard of them. They’re canine headed men, a jovial bunch that love buying and selling, you could say the Del Boy of their world though a little more successful. In 26338 of the Fifteenth Shard Norman Verne became the first travelling tolderian salesman when he boarded a ship and left Lemanto behind, not returning for 79 years. In that time he is said to have travelled throughout Elenchera, visiting familiar lands in the east and the fledgling colonies in the west. I intend to use this blog to share extracts of Norman’s journey. This book only covers the early years of his journey but if I happen upon any later instalments you’ll be the first to know. Take my hand and let us delve into the world of Elenchera together.

5th January 26338

I awoke in Zeanchi at dawn and readied myself for the journey north. I had hoped to have something of a send off when I boarded my ship at the harbour. I say ship, it’s almost as small as a rowing boat with my only company being its owner, Ignatius, a sour faced sailor more loyal to the money he can make chartering his vessel to the unsuspecting than the island’s principles that my decision to travel the world is foolhardy. I’ve borne many expletives from my fellow islanders who stand by the belief that we tolderes should remain reserved and isolated from the rest of Elenchera. We trade with overseas kingdoms and we’ve been involved in wars over the centuries but most seem content for us to be left alone these days. I don’t think that way. I haven’t for many years. It’s only now I’ve felt enough courage to back my convictions and leave Lemanto behind.

I waited on the harbour for an hour, mostly out of the hope that someone would come and say farewell but partly to annoy Ignatius. I didn’t imagine his face could become any more contorted than it already was so it was somewhat amusing to watch him pacing the wooden walkway, kicking at the moored rope to his boat which shifted heavily in the ocean breeze and occasionally causing Ignatius to miskick and lose his footing. He would curse at every failed kick but despite his grumbling he never directly asked me if it was time to leave.

I finally gave up and boarded Ignatius’ boat. He rolled his eyes and tutted before releasing us onto the open sea. I immediately felt the heavy ocean breeze flapping my droopy ears and drying the moisture at the end of my cold nose. Even as I sailed away from Lemanto I expected someone, anyone, to come rushing towards the harbour but, alas, my hopes were not forthcoming. Even Old Jethro, always too drunk to know who is friend or foe, didn’t stagger towards the harbour to relieve himself in the shallows at the end of the pier. Having grown so repulsed by the sight of Old Jethro every waking morning, I suddenly found myself missing that familiarity now I was leaving Lemanto for the first time in my life, not likely to see the island for many years.

Only when Lemanto was a mere speck on the horizon did I think about the start of my journey. I had decided late last night that my first destination should be Pargont in south Valadomiar. Being the biggest continent in Elenchera I could lose many months, maybe even years there, buying and selling goods. My decision to go to Pargont will be met with much discontent in Lemanto should they find out. I can only hope Ignatius chooses not to share word of my journey to Pargont with anyone.

My fellow tolderes’ issue with Pargont is thus: the Pargontians once invaded Lemanto in the Thirteenth Shard and made off with thousands of tolderian slaves who were sold and shipped to the colonies. It’s still a painful phase of history for us all but it was so long ago now, long before I was born, that I’ve decided to try and make some sales there. The Pargontians that live in that kingdom today will be very different to those that invaded our island all those years ago.

Checking through my backpack I realise I’ve probably packed inadequately for this journey. My reservations suddenly come to the fore with concerns about whether anyone will be interested in trading with me. Being a toldere I will certainly stand out in East Elenchera where humans are the dominant race though from kingdom to kingdom they couldn’t be any more different to each other. I am prepared for if this journey goes awry. In the bottom of my backpack is a small box with my emergency funds which I shall not touch unless I have run out of money or goods in my other ventures.

Surrounded by nothing but the ocean as I write this I do feel suddenly calm at the prospect of what lies ahead. I want to see as much of Elenchera as the constraints of chartering ships will allow. A tour of East Elenchera would be a journey of a lifetime but my main hope is to go even further, into the west, to the colonies founded by Eligantiar and Odrica at the expense of the natives that once ruled those distant lands. It’s an incredible opportunity for me but when I return home I expect nothing less than a passing glance from my fellow tolderes. You never know, maybe Ignatius will manage a smile should I have the good fortune of chartering his ship again for my return.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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