“Good Lord! Look at them all!” Kurga exclaimed. The walls of the Last Caravanserai had come into view, surrounded as it were, by a great throng of people, livestock and sandboats. “What in the world brings them all to such a remote place?”
“Trade routes,” Prudence said.
“Trade? With whom? They are days and leagues from the Grand Bazaar!”
“Typical Westerner. You think you are the only people on the earth? The silk road may bend South around the Sand sea and come back up in the East but there are many living in the North who trade with the South and see no reason to sell their wares at your dealers’ markets. You merchants get fat on other’s labor. They have no need of the East's luxuries and can get a fairer price for their wares if they sell direct to the consumer so they come here, through the rim of the Sea as far away from the West as they dare. The Legion’s know, why do you think the Legions guard this godforsaken wasteland?”
“What do they trade?”
She shrugged. “What they have. Coal, grains, fish, smelted tools from the North. The Southern tribes trade in some minerals but mostly produce and livestock.”
“Those people,” Ch’Voga pointed to a pathetic bunch coming into greater detail, “they’re all chained!”
“As I said, ‘livestock.’”