The purest prayer
The size of Duc was remarkable in this desolate rural region. It had several hundreds of houses and thousands of residents. Lord Dusti, the Mayor of Duc, was a Hittite nobleman. He also enjoyed the citizenship of the Great Empire of Ejypt, with all its privileges.
A town in the middle of nowhere had an excellent mayor for a reason. It was special. Duc was located at the southernmost tip of the state of Syah, which was famous for three of its products: iron, snow firs and parangons.
♪ Paragon Theme #2
They were the most important products that Hittite used to trade with foreign countries as well as the most precious tributes Hittite paid to the Empire.
Iron was used to make good weapons. Once refined by craftsmen, it could be made into the sharpest of swords and toughest of armors. It was a symbol of power, a useful tool to guard and seize treasure.
♪ Waking up/ Oblivion
Many countries on the continent produced iron, but with limited output capacity. The production and trade of iron was strictly controlled by the authorities. Although Duc did not produce much iron, its iron was refined and of the best quality in not only the Kingdom of Hittite, but in the entirety of the continent, making it rare and famous. Most adults in town were miners as well as blacksmiths.
The most important of Duc’s exports, however, was not iron. It was the [parangon]. Parangons, or [the Holy Gems], were the true rarity on this continent. Syah was one of the most important producing areas of parangon, and Duc produced almost half the parangons of Syah. Every country on the continent wanted parangons. The ones who wanted them the most were the masters of the supreme magics, the high priests of the various shrines to the gods.
Most of the ordinary folk and slaves did not understand the true usage of the parangons. They might have seen them on the scepters of the priests or on the armor and weapons of noble warriors. They seemed to be a symbol of power, wealth and divine force. Parangons themselves were also the most valuable currency across the continent. A parangon, which was indivisible, was twenty times as valuable as gold of the same weight.
The parangons used as hard currency were the most common ones, called standard parangons. They were completely identical to one another, with the same quality, size and shape. They were used as the standard unit of weight and length in the whole continent. The universal unit “paran” was named after the parangon. One paran meant the weight of one parangon. Some priests showed their extravagance by using parangons as the weights on the scales.
The sacred Nile River divided the Empire of Ejypt into two prosperous lands: Upper and Lower Ejypt. Gabriel was a warrior of the Isis Shrine in Memfis, the capital of Lower Ejypt. –
Strapped to her waist was a heavy long sword, which had a parangon set on each side of the crossguard. Though she detected no danger in the area, she still wore the silver armor in the most exacting manner.
When people saw Gabriel, the first impression may not be a beautiful woman. She did not try to hide her commanding presence made of confidence, pride and power.
It seemed as though this warrior from Memfis was not used to modesty. It was natural for her to display her power and aura publicly, which was normal considering that one part of her job was to make the majesty of the gods known.
It appeared that Gabriel did not know the true value of the sword she bore, since the way she bore it did nothing but attract admiration or envy. If she walked about alone, the first effect the sword would have was invite bandits rather than protect her from them. Moreover, she had walked alone from Memfis to Cape. Rod Drick was amazed by the luck she had had that allowed her to arrive safely. Maybe the bandits knew who she was and did not dare offend the Shrine.
Speaking of taxes, the parangons extracted by the inhabitants of Duc were to be turned in as tax to the state. The laws of the state said that they could keep one of every ten parangons they found as the reward of their work.
Parangons were currency. A parangon was worth twenty parans of gold. The same was true in Duc. However, Duc was rich and poor at the same time. Apart from iron and parangons, the only other product Duc had was the poor yield of barley from its barren land, which was barely enough to keep its inhabitants from starving. All other materials and luxuries in life had to be imported in from outside. Further, Duc was so remote that the cost of transportation was often much higher than the value of goods transported.
One thing that the people of Duc might not be aware of was that Duc was probably the richest town on the continent, but also had the highest prices and living cost. The tax on commercial roads to Duc was incredibly heavy, but a successful trade could still turn a decent profit.