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Contents Copyright by Bruce Durham unless noted otherwise
"I will take those," Asmadu said in broken Achaean, pointing at two goats in the half-crowded pen. "That one and that one." He displayed a pair of fingers. "Two."

The merchant, a slender Minoan, bobbed his head and smiled, displaying bad teeth.

Asmadu glanced over his shoulder. "Namhu, you have a firm grasp of their tongue. I want that male and that female."

Namhu stepped up, a younger version of his stocky parent. "Why not spin him one of your tales, Father? That should be good enough barter for these animals."

Asmadu placed a wrinkled hand on his son's shoulder. "If I was fluent in their tongue, I would. But I am not, and that is why I asked you to speak for me. Now, haggle with the man."
The boy nodded sheepishly before launching into an animated conversation with the merchant.

Asmadu watched the interaction for several moments before joining his wife Puduhepa at a stall piled high with an assortment of fabrics.

Gracing him with a warm smile, she fingered a bolt of cloth with work-hardened fingers. "Nice weave." She dropped it and pointed. "Oh, see that cloak? What an interesting color on the border."

Asmadu reached for the garment and touched the fabric. "Purple, they call it, produced from a mollusk local to Tyre. Much too expensive for us."

Puduhepa sighed. “Where are Namhu and Ninus?”

“One haggles, the other...” Asmadu shrugged.

Puduhepa smiled. Large boned and heavy set, she possessed a warm and friendly face. Her thick grey hair was drawn back and bound with a bronze circlet. “Could we leave soon? The odor of this place turns my stomach.”

Asmadu stroked his wife’s cheek. “Thera’s market always upsets you, my dear.” He faced the crowded wharves. Dozens of boats hailing from several cultures lay nestled within the great natural harbor of the Minoan Empire’s chief trading center. Incoming and outgoing traffic moved chaotically through the blue-green waters. “Yes, soon. Our ship is near full.”

Out of print.