Starday, Abadius 31 4713
Creduvian House, Magnimar
The hearth was still warm, but the embers were dying. Dinner had been welcome, but not very filling. Often, it wasn’t, these days.
Money was no longer flush in their home, but Roxanda and her parents had managed to finally get a place of their own again for the family. True, there had been better times in the past, but out of respect for her father, they didn’t bring up the past.
As it was, the family already found they had to remind him frequently he was now “retired” and any obligation to support his children had long since been met. It was his turn to be taken care of. With a muttered grunt and silent acknowledgement, he made it clear that while it may be true, it chafed him greatly. It had been a while since the day when Tobar was the patriarch of Creduvian Couriers, a successful and respected courier and shipping service. At times, some very wealthy merchants would trust nobody but him to get their shipments of goods to and from Sandpoint, Roderic’s Cove, or even Korvosa.
But then there’d been a dishonest driver, missing goods, and a soiled reputation. Competition for deliveries was fierce, margins were thin, and his competitors could sense blood in the water. All it took was a few anonymous innuendos and a few discounted offers from his competition, and his wealthy customers were gone. Too often loyalty is measured by the gold piece, and under the shadow of accusation, the business struggled and for all intents and purposes, succumbed.
Effectively, it was gone now. The business that Tobar had hoped to pass to his sons Vankor and Bevelek was nothing but a weight around their neck. The family name, a symbol of prestige for so long, was now a hurdle to overcome. “Creduvian, you say? Sorry, we have all the drivers we need.” Tobar and his wife of over 35 years, Ioanela, were, officially, among the poor.
Retirement. It may be a thinly veiled euphemism for her father, but it was not an option for her younger brothers.
These days, it was Roxanda who was the main source of income with her job as an assistant at The Old Fang. Vankor and Bevelek had been working hard at their father’s business when the bottom fell out and they found themselves unemployed, and unemployable because of their name. Thank the gods for Sandru, who never did follow the mainstream. While he couldn’t restore their good name, he helped them create a new one (Dalmuvian) and offered them a place on his team. Eventually, the plan was to establish new credentials, escape their old, and perhaps still become successful businessmen. In the best case, they might take up some of Sandru’s business when he retired.
They rarely accompanied the caravan to Magnimar for obvious reasons, so the road was their home these days. But business with Sandru was good, and they both sent a healthy percentage of their earnings back home to support their parents. Being associated with a delivery service still had one important benefit: letters home were delivered quickly. Those ‘in the business’ knew how important they could be, and personal messages from drivers and employees were delivered by whomever was going in the right direction, free of charge, as a professional courtesy.
Although it was barely twilight, Roxanda was willing to let the fire die and go to bed. But her gaze turned to a box overflowing with different kinds of parchment and paper. Bed often came early these hard days, but reading her brothers’ letters comforted her. She was closest with Bevelek, which was good because he was a much more frequent writer. On second thought, she threw a bit more fuel on the fire, lit a lamp, and started sorting through the letters.