Caravans and Grand Bazaar
21st day of Dornius 496
This year again, we join a halt of Grand Bazaar caravan to stock up on supplies and equipment. It will be an opportunity to gather some stories about the past year and check how the newcomers are doing. Grand Bazaar is one of the only caravans that secured the necessary authorizations to settle an annual gathering of this magnitude. This is the kind of appointment that can’t missed for those who need to trade and very few caravans can live in complete autarky.
We are already settled for two days, but most of the caravans are just getting here. The managers of the Grand Bazaar have a lot to do to place everyone quietly. There is always some captain to complain about his location, but the guys of the Grand Bazaar are used to dealing with the rebellious. Neighborhood leaders ensure that the rules are respected and everyone is treated fairly.
As soon as they got here, several caravan officials asked us if the office of the Golden Empire was already available. Many of them are coming here mainly to renew their Passes. Even if some people take a dim view of those who get their Pass by the official route, no caravan can go by without these precious sesames. This remains the surest way to get one, even if the tasks to be completed can weigh heavily on a man's conscience.
As usual, a refugee camp quickly grew on the outskirts of the Grand Bazaar. For the most part, some poor souls who lost everything to an attack by robbers. Sometimes their village was caught in a clash between rebels and imperial forces, sometimes an epidemic that ravaged the region. Their only chance is to be accepted in a caravan during the rally to avoid being stranded alone on the roads. No group of less than twenty heads survives long to the dangers of a wandering life.
It’s out of the question to go beyond the sixty individuals, however, or it is the Golden Empire who will, sooner or later, dismantle what they then call an 'armed group'. Everything is a matter of compromise and caravans must ensure that they have all the necessary arms and know-how without becoming outlaws. The Grand Bazaar itself is a tightrope walker who must constantly know how to turn a blind eye on one side and keep it’s own record clean on the other during these stops. One outbreak too much and it is the whole community that risks attracting the wrath of the governing authorities.
Let’s hope that this year still, this fragile balance can continue for the sake of us all.