Alistair puffed on his cigar much the same way a hog appreciated its swills- noisily and greedily. As the end glowed red in the dimly lit room, a servant stirred the fire with a poker, rekindling the blaze. A new log was placed in the hearth releasing a sweet aromatic scent. Of course, Horeb thought, Alistair would pay for an aromatic wood for his fire place. Horeb paced the length of the table, poring over the various maps and charts that Alistair had spread out. He admitted that Alistair’s plan was very detailed, if ambitious.
“This is very…impressive,” Horeb said after deliberating.
“Impressive? You do me a disservice, sir. The plan, in my own estimable opinion is nothing shy of brilliant!” Alistair exclaimed. “The profit margins alone will make your company rich.” He kicked his feet up on the table and resumed smoking the cigar with a self-satisfied smirk.
“And yourself, I assume?” asked Horeb, glancing over his pince-nez glasses at the rotund man. Alistair’s smirk melted slowly into a look of facetious humility.
“Well, provided you and your company find my terms to your liking, the venture should prove to be proportionately profitable for all parties.” Alistair replied. Horeb shuffled the paperwork on the table to examine yet another sheaf detailed precisely with minutiae that had begun to blend together over the course of the meeting.
“I just find it hard to believe that you’re the only one who has figured this out. All the other major companies and most independent,” he paused to clear his throat and pick a more charitable word, “businessmen, such as yourself, have already written of Arathania. The Tusk Tribes alone have made all previous endeavours a total loss. I find it hard to believe that you’re the only man in all the Greater Kingdom to have figured out a solution to the myriad of problems that would plague starting up a profitable business in the new world, as rich with resources as the surveyors initially indicated it was.” Horeb laid the papers down on the table and rested his knuckles on it.
“Ahh, yes. The Tusk tribe,” Alistair said, a sneer of disgusting crossing his face. “Those savages very nearly put me out of business for good. Filthy as they are though, it was only a matter of time before they died off. Survival of the fittest, just like that one scientific chap theorized.” Horeb opened his mouth to correct the corpulent man’s mistake but thought better of it. “I’m the only bastard this side of the World’s Sea that bothered to send a personal cutter back and forth to keep an eye on that…appetizing…piece of land,” Alistair said, licking his lips; greed shining in his eyes. “As such, I am the only man who knows that those inbred savages have withdrawn from the coast. In fact, a scout even went ashore and found an entire village deserted. The time is ripe. We, Horeb, can be royalty in a new world. All it takes is a modest investment from your burgeoning employer’s coffer.”
Horeb doubted that The King’s Crown Trading Company was the first business the fat miser had solicited with this plan, but he knew that they were going to be the only ones not to laugh the man out of the room.
“Where do we sign?” Horeb asked.
Apropos of: Arathania