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Contacts and Item Purchase List for Cathay

prepared for Tarron K'andolas by Jianbua Wei Hu, Merchant Adept of the House of Jian Wen, the Traders In Wisdom

Arranged by Kingdom

For Dei

Jong Dong-po (male Human)
Dong-po is a customs inspector in the town of Aksu, at the trail head of the northern pass through the Phoenix Throne Mountains. For three gold and the Name of my trading House, Dong-po will wave you through the checkpoint and issue your group the appropriate documents without anyone looking at what you're carrying. You will still have to pay taxes on the declared value of your merchandise.
Hua Kuei-fen (female Elf)
The nethermancy special collections curator at the Sapphire Tower in Hon Wu, Kuei-fen has bought many volumes of esoteric lore from my House. She is wary of strangers, as is proper for a lorekeeper in a land beset by war and seething with spies. Gain access to the Tower as a visiting scholar, which will cost you thirty gold each day, then approach her in the library on the second level. Present her with your letter of introduction as a representative of the House of Jian Wen. She is unlikely to know my Name. If you have something of value to offer in return, or have proven yourself trustworthy and honorable, Kuei-fen can be a priceless source of information.

Shan Dei

Thum Tak-Keung (male Dwarf)
In a kingdom where there are no honest lawkeepers, it is good to know which ones will stay bought. Tak-keung will be offended at overt bribery, and at a bribe of less than twenty gold for a minor service, but will follow through predictably and not betray a source of income. Tak-keung holds charge of the dockside in southern Mu Li, the capital of Shan Dei, and can be readily found – if he is not in his well-appointed office, he will be in the brothel at the end of the street. Be aware that he has very little use for women other than his own pleasure and decoration.
Shen Mei-Chu (female Human)
A dealer in essential oils and perfumes, Mei-Chu maintains her residence in the northern end of Mu Li, with all the trappings that you would expect of such a place. Do not underestimate her based on her gracious manner and fluttery talk. Mei-Chu took over her family's business when her husband, and the woman he was sleeping with, were both found in several pieces. It is said that Mei-Chu was going over the books before the news of his death reached her house. Her business depends heavily on weather, travel conditions, and political arrangements, to obtain and move raw ingredients and finished products. As a result, she knows the climate of the land and its people better than many government officials. She does not like me for personal reasons, but will assist my business partners for the opportunity to offend Yei Bing-Zhong. Be aware that she will let him know of her activities on your behalf.

Feng Dei

Yap Jin-shan (female Dwarf)
Many years ago, Jin-shan was one of the masters of the Monastery on Mount Xan. Her counsel was sought by many in need of enlightenment, and her wisdom guided her students to inner peace. Twenty years ago, however, she left the Monastery, never to return, and settled in the village of Shuozou, midway between the Dragon Spine Mountains and Min Yan, the capital of Feng Dei. There, she keeps to herself, living in a small hut well outside the village, growing her own vegetables, and turning away most visitors with silence and a refusal to acknowledge their presence. I do not know why she left the Monastery, and went into retreat, but the rumors have it that there was a schism between Jin-shan and the other Masters over the fondness of Sen Ma, the king of Feng Dei, for the philosophies of Jih'pen. My mother, Jianbua Cai-yun, grew up with Jin-shan. They remained friends, corresponding regularly, until my mother's death two years before Jin-shan left Mount Xan. Perhaps, if her memory were tobe recalled, Jin-shan would speak with you. The wisdom of a Master of the Monk Adepts would surely guide you through even the most troubling of difficulties.
Niu Bang-xao (male Storm Child)
Having a priest on your side is always a good thing. Bang-xao took his race's quest for purpose to its ultimate end, and serves as master of the temple in Lianyungang, a coastal town halfway up the west coast of the peninsula from Min Yan. He steadfastly refuses to allow his temple to be drawn into the political turmoil of the Five Kingdoms, but offers refuge within its boundaries to anyone fleeing the war. Given his innate powers, and the strength he gains from his faith and the gods, only those wishing to risk the wrath of Heaven would dare to violate his sanctuary. Do not make any show of donating to the temple. Its protection cannot be bought, and even the appearance of trying to do so could result in your eviction.

Shui Dei

Fang Guo-quiang (male Po Na)
When you are in trouble, it is good to have a sharp advocate on your side. Guo-quiang's help does not come cheap, but he will argue the case of anyone who appears to have been wronged, or at least have the moral high ground. Two of his cases changed the laws of Shui Dei in minor ways. He lives in the town of Suzhou, on the eastern coast, a very short trip from Pe Lin, the capital. While reasonably wealthy from his endeavors, Guo-quiang does not have the sizable fortune necessary to live in the floating city. He also prefers solid ground under his feet, and a garden outside his window, where he can gather his thoughts by working in the soil.
Leong Kol-in-sen (male Troll)
Captain of Ruizong, a ship Named after a long-ago emperor, whose Name translates as Far Sighted Ancestor. Kol-in-sen owns his ship, and contracts to several trading firms up and down the eastern coast of Shui Dei for the transport of goods. Ruizong has passenger cabins, and Kol-in-sen is willing to sail anywhere there is the possibility of great profit and a story to tell. His home port is Fuzhou, a town caught between the Emerald Sea and the Jungle of Endless Wandering, where the island of Luxi can be seen from the beach. Look for Ruizong in any port within two hundred miles. You may not find it where you are, but someone will know where it might be expected.

Tiet Dei

Hsaio Chuk-yan
The House of Jian Wen is in Huan Wang, the old Imperial Capital, on Threadneedle Street, north-east of the Imperial Palace by eight blocks. If you need to deal with the House, ask for Chuk-yan. He's the assistant inventory master, which doesn't sound important, but he knows where every item purchased, sold, or currently held by the House can be found, and what it's worth on the current market. He also knows more about the personal lives of his superiors than perhaps is good for his health. Do not draw attention to yourself when you are at the House, or in Huan Wang for that matter. The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. Above all, if you are summoned to audience with Yei Bing-zhong, the Master of the House, be respectful, be brief, and be vague. Do not volunteer any information to him, and do not mention my Name unless he brings it up, as Bing-zhong despises women who involve themselves in business.
Shih Lin-wei (female T'skrang)
While the Daughters of Heaven roam all Five of the Kingdoms, Lin-wei has adopted Tiet Dei as her home. Caught as it is in the middle of the other four, Tiet Dei suffers the most from the War of Wu Xing. Lin-wei travels from village to village, working her way sunwise around the kingdom's border, seeing to those in need of healing and protection. She has no regular traveling companions, preferring to journey alone for speed and for safety (her would-be companions', not her own), but sometimes has another adept or two in her wake. Do not expect Lin-wei to turn aside from her path to assist you. She will do what she can for you and then move on to the next village on her route.

Items to Seek

  • Tea sets. We can always sell tea sets. The fancier the better. You can get brightly colored and gaudy tea sets cheap in any large city. The plain tea sets are more expensive, as the maker is selling the design of the pot and cups rather than hiding poor design under a lot of paint and glaze, but people in Barsaive do not understand this.
  • Small furniture. Night stands, little tables, writing desks. Lap desks only if they are the folding kind or the kind with sandbags attached to the underside.
  • Silk. Get the polished and gaudy kind. Cheap silk sells high in Barsaive. A few bolts of good silk, maybe with a subtle design, for the Prophet and people like him who understand that good fabric isn't loud. Burn a tiny scrap of the fabric. Real silk curls and melts when it flames up, and burns slowly when taken away from the candle, sometimes goes out on its own. Should smell like burning hair, and leave loose black grains for ash.
  • Toys. Cheap stuff for children, fancy clockwork items for adults.
  • Fans, both carved wood and silk. Avoid painted silk folding fans, the paint tends to crack and flake off.
  • Spices. Anything unfamiliar to Barsaive. If you've never seen it before, get a few recipes along with the spice. Small quantities are sufficient. A large amount of an exotic spice will not sell quickly enough and go stale.
  • Paper. This backward land still insists on writing on animal skins. Show them good quality paper and we will have more demand than we can supply, at which point we become brokers instead of retailers. Blank books, an assortment of fine stationery, and make sure that you get rice paper as well as tree paper. Writing sets would also do well.
  • Books, especially volumes of legends and childrens' books. Primers on the Cathayan languages would also be useful.
  • Small shiny items. Decorative metalwork, wood carvings, the usual eye catching items that we can sell for a few silvers and still realize a good profit from.

Agreements to Make

  • Find a source for tea in the north of the Dragon Spine Mountains or the Wailing Wall Mountains, in Feng Dei. You want a medium sized plantation that cures their own leaves, and has a tea master who is at least fourth generation. Do not fall for the “monkey picked tea” fraud. Tea should be picked with care by skilled Name-givers, not grabbed up by the handful by trained monkeys. Go back to the plantation three times for a tasting session before signing anything. We need a hundredweight per season each of black and green. Do not pay more than 30 silvers per pound for black, nor more than 35 silvers per pound for green, or we will have to mark up the price in the Promised Land higher than anyone can afford to cover the transport costs. Do not buy any tea that is offered for less than 20 silvers per pound, the seller will mix the leaves down with other plants or weight the bags with sawdust. Don't try to get seeds or cuttings. They'll kill you for it. Also, tea grown anywhere else isn't as good. For black, look for pu'er, dark tea. Aged less than three years is bad. Aged more than ten years is pointless. For green, anything with “dragon” in the Name. Green tea needs to be fresh.
  • If you reach the Tower of Secrets, start negotiations to place a Traveled Scholar and a Lightbearer or two there for research purposes. If we can present the Lightbearers and the Hall of Records in Throal with the requirements and a partially negotiated deal, we can take an agents' fee and win many friends.
  • The same applies to the Sapphire Tower in For Dei. A good deal of coin may be necessary to smooth the way for such an agreement. Be prepared to pay many fees.
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Page last modified on August 31, 2012, at 07:55 AM