Keraq wore his colorful silks loosely. His bronze skin was sticky with sweat from the withering sun. Winter could not be found here. The reds and yellows caused him to stand out amidst the crush of the Dornish poor in the Shadow City. He was no peasant. The silks belied his humble beginnings. He may have been born the son of smallfolk without a surname like the rabble surrounding him- but he wasn’t one of them. Not anymore. It was coin that brought him to the winding market and mud brick structures of the Shadow City. Coin, and a search for one man. He had reason to believe the man he sought was inside the two room building in front of him. The Last Well served drinks to all. As it sat nestled inside the Threefold gate inside the second wall, it saw traffic from travellers, nobles and smallfolk alike. It was said the man he sought enjoyed the company here. At the very least, he enjoyed the drink.
Keraq learned a valuable lesson. Having friends, important friends, was the key to power. And if you couldn’t find friends with powerful family names, at least find friends with coin. Keraq had found several such friends. His father was a spice trader from Volantis when he accompanied him to Plankytown and from there to the Martell court at Sunspear. His Rhoynish heritage instantly made him a welcomed guest in many Dornish homes. His father’s ship, the Salt Queen, opened even more. With the War raging in the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne was seeking commerce across the Narrow Sea. Goods that used to leave Plankytown for ports in King’s Landing and beyond now headed for the Free Cities. The Salt Queen made several runs for House Martell, but it also made runs for less-known clients as well. One such client was a Braavosi Merchant by the name of Prensimo. He plied his trade in weapons, and as such, still called in both King’s Landing as well as Planky Town. Prensimo approached Keraq about an important transaction.
Over some Dornish Red, the two discussed the Bastard of Redgate, a warrior of growing repute from the Red Mountains. Keraq informed his new merchant friend that he was well aware of the man, but couldn’t see why it would concern such an important man as himself. Prensimo had seen too many name days, he explained. His hair was graying and thinning, his belly more pronounced, and his strength lessened from his younger years. The stories of this bastard were a cautionary tale. It was said the man’s temper knew no bounds, and caused him to challenge a powerful lord from the Red Mountains- his leige lord in fact. When faced with overwhelming odds, he spat in the face of the lord, and drew a blade across his cheek. The bastard was thrown in irons, and called rightly to trial for his crimes. Yet the Seven favored this bold warrior. He defeated a gallant knight, leaving him bleeding in the snow and making his way to freedom down the snowy peaks of the Red Mountains.
Keraq gladly accepted another cup of Dornish Red, nodding at his new friend. He too had heard similar stories about this man. Still, he was confused why this mattered to a Braavosi arms merchant. Prensimo explained that he had been paid to find this man, but knew the danger. He needed a younger, more skilled, man to find him. In return, he would gladly share the finder’s fee. Prensimo told how the last he knew, the Bastard was in King’s Landing at the time of King Joffrey’s death. He had men looking for the bastard in the Capital, but had heard he often frequented the halls and hovels of Sunspear and the Shadow City. Keraq emptied his cup, and smiled.
He gladly reported he had seen the basard many times, and could easily find the man once more. In fact, he believed the bastard was in the Shadow City even now. Prensimo smiled. The two agreed on a price, and Keraq was sent to find Desmond Sand at once. Should he want to enjoy this treasure, he would need to be about his business quickly. Keraq was not the only man in the Shadow City Prensimo had approached.
Keraq took a deep breath. He had struck many a deal with many a man. But he did not want to earn the wrath of the Bastard of Redgate. He hoped to find the man in a forgiving mood.