Thursday, November 02, 2006


No worries, Jeff. Enjoy the convention!

As promised, a final excerpt from "The Steam Magnate". Eson is meeting with someone who he hopes to include in one of his electrical power deals. This introduction to their encounter:

“There’s a waterfall running over the side of a particular building in Waters Rising, streaming down an indigo wall nearly like water itself. I’ve come here to convince someone of their need for me, and my energies rush out temporarily as do tidal waters before a great wave hits. I feel light and quick as I pass through the building’s high door into the dark, translucent interior. There is nothing I enjoy more than this, really. I’ve brought my contracts and ink, stowed in an immaculate and finely made case that has been my accomplice in many such ventures. There is often a thread of guilt in the moment of the inevitable agreement, but now, before the real negotiation begins, there is only the elated vault of possibility in my mind. The sea is very close at hand, and whether that will work to my advantage or to the other player’s is still unknown.
The cool woman I’d met on the lower slope of the Glass City, my ally, appears in an upper doorway of the translucent room and waits for me to ascend the shallow stairs to the upper floor.
With a sidelong glance, she assesses me before offering her invitation. “The other negotiator is already waiting. He will see you for only a short time, as it seems the venue does not suit his comfort for a long meeting—yet I wouldn’t rate him an easy mark for your purposes.”
Even though she has signed my contract, she will convince herself she is an impartial mediator for our consultation, will not admit to herself that she is on my side. I respect this in the utmost, though it matters little to the outcome of our gathering. I grant her the sense of honor, and respond to her as though she is indeed an impartial mediator.
“Please assure him I will waste little of his time.” I say it with care, not wanting to sound dismissive or overconfident.
“You may assure him yourself.” We approach a light door that swings outward at her touch. She gestures for me to precede her into the room, where there is a comfortable sitting area. A solitary occupant sits there, his back to the high wall opposite the door. The sea, visible beyond a great pane of glass, seems somehow to radiate expansively from him. He has the composure of one who knows the sea, who is a visiting dignitary when walking upon land. His face is broad and strong, polished by the ocean wind, a face from beyond the western sea. His age would be greater than mine, but not by much, I’m sure.
“You’re the tidal magnate, then.” His voice is solid and unquestioning, with no room accorded to doubts.”

What do you think will be the outcome of Eson's meeting with this Sea Trader?

More news tomorrow...


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