(As originally appeare in the World of Glorantha List September 11, 2012).
"Again and again with the hatred..." sighed the brown Vadeli Abdalcar, sitting on the waterfront while checking his ship's inventory of trade goods. Thirty-four prime quality young human slaves, no thirty-three, one had been too damaged by last night's rite to be presented for sale - but he'd provide a proper meal or two. Four hundred and fifty-eight ounces of Black Lotus dust. Always a sure sell, these little packages. The scent alone drove customers mad. Oh yes, and the four springblade jagged swords from Fonrit - truly weapons of choice for any self-respecting assassin. And his favorite, the illusory pocket paradise - worth a mortal king's ransom and with so little side effects. Today's market was promising.
The young man, obviously well-off, had enquired about passage to faraway Pamaltela. He looked like he held some promise of amusement on the long way back - but he had to be reassured, quieted, lulled even before agreeing to talk about business. Well, Vadel had taught His people to remain courteous, always, to mortals, pagans and other animals. So Abdalcar began talking.
"We were always a Logical people, one of Malkion's own. We did study the Laws as deeply and rigorously as any brithini. And then we acted on them, and remade the world a better place. Now all we want is to enjoy the fruits of our work and prosper - excuse me.
Yes, Sir? Indeed, we can and do help gentlemen down on hard times. How much would you need? Why, step on board to discuss the matter with my accountant. Collateral? Why, nothing more than a few of your hairs and, perhaps, a tooth, depending on the amount.
Sorry. Where was I ? Ah, yes. The hatred. We have helped so many to rise over the years... the stories I could tell you... but, we are also professionnals and never betray a customer's secrets to another. Vadeli service is Golden, they say. And we always provide what you need when in dire straits, or almost exactly (muffled scream from inside the ship).
(Aforementioned gentleman staggers out of the ship, blood trickling on his lower jaw, holding a hefty bag making metallic noises). "Well, Sir, there was nothing to it wasn't it? And now please do remember, if by great unluck you could not bring us back this sum with due interest before the next full moon, then the full penalty clauses will apply ! Good day and best of luck in your endeavours Good Sir!
Sorry again. As you can see, many come to the Honest, Hard-Working Vadeli to get what they need. As for our private rites - well, don't the brithini Tap anything alive ? Don't they ruin the Work of God? Don't stygians copulate with trolls? Doesn't dread Theoblanc the living saint indulge in arkati oysters to prolong his alloted lifespan? And would you care to guess who he turns to to supply him with the precious mollusks? Yes indeed, I can see that you know.
Now to your business, Kind Sir - and I must thank your for having the patience to have listened for so long to an old man's ramblings. What can you offer for my excellent ship and crew to carry you across Magasta's body?