THE NEPRISIAN MERCHANT IBBON ALNASRAY

APPEARANCE - BIOGRAPHY - IMPORTANCE

Ibbon Alnasray (492-580), also often refered to as Master Ibbon, was an important merchant and famous member of the council of elders of the small fishing village of Nepris at the Mossy Rocks Cove region in eastern Santharia. He deserves a special place in the village's history as the Neprisi believe that Master Ibbon ensured the continuing survival of Nepris, thanks to a trade deal with the Mitharim dwarves. Originally hailing from the desert continent of Aeruillin, Ibbon settled in Nepris in the early 6th century, where he earned his merits at the local fishermen.

Master Ibbon Alnasray

View picture in full size Picture description. An oil painting of the famous Neprisian merchant Ibbon Alnasray. Image drawn by Faugar.

Appearance. The only existing portrait of Master Ibbon was indeed painted much later after his death and is based on the descriptions found in various writings dealing with the merchant's personal preferences and particularities. The artist remains unkown, though it does seems to be of a Stratanian style, so the painter was most likely not from the village of Nepris himself. The portrait is dated at 540, some fifteen years after he arrived in Nepris. From earlier documents Ibbon was described as a slim man when he first appeared in the village. We can see that he had put a little weight on at this time and he was described as "heavy" in all descriptions after this time. We can only conclude he thrived in the village, which by all means seems like a very positive development for the village itself.

Ibbon Alnasray was noted for his love of the colour blue and wore no other colour. The Master (as he titled himself) said it brought him luck. He was also known to dye his hair red, using clay and water (very unusual!), right up until his death in 580. Ibbon believed the local clay was good for his scalp. It is definitely not a habit the village took too, and some passages in traded texts suggest that the Master was often seen as a crank for his weird customs. It is recorded that the elder (as Ibbon became eventually) stood around 1.8 peds, though various documents disagree.
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Biography. The early Years. Little is recorded of Ibbon's early years. Ibbon Alnasray was certainly born to Azhohrian traders in the small port of Nys at the continent of Aeruillin, in roughly 492. It is rumoured that he became successful in the slave trade (he preferred to trade them as 'pre-indentured servants') and later the perfume business, possibly both and was considered wealthy (by Azhohrian standards that is) in the year 515 a.S.

Records of his trading contracts can be found in many towns and steadings all over the continent of Sarvonia and in the Isles of Quois. In fact, a man called "Ibun Alnasri" is even found on an old contract has having been the honorary chief of a village on the island of Killyshmagost, though at this distance in time, it can only be speculation that this person is the same as the Master of Nepris. Be it as it is, Ibbon Alnasray had earned his name.

Arrival in Nepris. When Master Ibbon Alnasray, in his early thirties, appeared in the village of Nepris in the year 525 he told the astonished residents that he had been a wandering merchant all of his life and just wanted to settle down. This settling down had meant coming to one of the quietest places he could think of, the east coast of the Santharian province of Manthria. Possibly because it reminded him of his birthplace by the sea. The Master bought a good acreage of land and hired some servants from among the local people.

Of course, as an exotic stranger, he attracted all sorts of rumours: That he was a mage fleeing revenge, a master thief seeking to steal an entire village or even a true King in exile. Those were among the more sensible rumours that went around. The truth, or as close to the truth as we can get now, is that he was a simply a successful, slightly eccentric Azhohrian trader who had gotten tired of wandering around and had wanted to get away from the bustle of the market, the temptations of the purse, for a simpler life by the ocean.

The Expedition for the Gold. In 527, an event occurred that would give him a place in the history of the village. He had become restless. Although he had no taste for the machinations of a full market, Ibbon still felt the need to trade. He heard a rumour, from a half crazed prospector, of a vein of gold close to the surface and he organized an expedition to find it. Even he, it is said, did not expect to find riches, but he found the rumour intersting enough to persue. Gold, close to the surface of mountains, that was home to Mitharim? In truth it was little more than a diversion for a bored man.

The expedition soon reached Crazy Woman Pass, to a location where the prospector meant to have sighted the gold. For a few days, the expedition wandered around unsuccessfully. On the fourth day, the spirit of the Crazy Woman (who the pass is named after) herself is said to have shown up, screaming and shouting. The men of the expedition, though they said it was good luck to see the old lady, did not stay around and fled a few dashes out of the boulder field. If this part is really true, remains unclear. It is probable as well that the men had enough following the commands of Ibbon and left him after some arguments as they didn't find what they had hoped for.

Well, Master Ibbon did not flee from the apparition. Or he continued searching on his own. We can only piece together what happened from others who were witnesses. Master Ibbon himself never spoke of what happened next. The men who followed him say that they saw him waving his hands and doing little dances from afar, fearing that he had gone completely mad. A couple of hours later he came for the men and told them not to worry, for the Crazy Woman had told him were the gold was and that she would not bother them any more. This added to his reputation as a man of mystery. Anyway, the mad old woman must have not been very precise because it took many hours and many false leads to actually find the vein. But finally - they actually did!

The Deal with the Dwarves. Just as the first pick struck the rock, a group of Mitharim seemed to detach from the mountainside, claiming ownership of the gold as the gold was located in their mountains. Ibbon, being a wily trader, asked why? Surely dwarves lived under the mountains, but not on top of it? Ibbon had also demanded to see paperwork or deeds proclaiming ownership of the mountainside. It is said that Ibbon mentioned that it would be a shame if relations and trade suffered due to the ownership of one small vein of gold. Of course, Ibbon continued, if this exclusive trade agreement was not signed, rumours of lots of veins might get about and a gold rush might start up that would only strain human-dwaren relations further. Who knows? Dwarven self-sufficiency may not be possible in the future. Darker tales say he also mentioned the instability of the rocks and the possiblity that the Ravenwings Falls might get blocked off. This is disputed, however. What is known, is that the Gornegron of the dwarves (the clain chieftain) entered into furious discussions with his fellow-dwarves on how to deal with the issue.

It was eventually decided that, in exchange for a signed proclamation agreed by Ibbon on behalf of the villagers of Nepris, all veins of gold in the rock found anywhere 20 strals from the centre of Nepris would belong to the dwarves. In return, the Gornegron signed a contract stating that all fish and other marine products the dwarves needed should be provided solely by the village of Nepris. With a small percentage going straight to Master Ibbon, of course. Dwarven records state that Master Ibbon was a man to be reckoned with and no individual Mitharim should deal with him without the Gomegron's express permission.

Last Honours. Master Ibbon went on to become an Elder of the village as a result of signing the agreement in 528, ensuring good trade continued between Nepris and the Mitharim before he passed away from natural causes, in 580. He was considered a good contributor to the community. Ibbon Alnasray was chiefly an advisor on trading and financial disputes. There is little record of his giving advice on financial or military matters, except that he advised the hiring of mercenaries. Ironically, considering his main claim to fame, he advocated more diverse trading links than solely with the dwarves. There are many other tales depicting the wily Master. These stories are mostly legends of course; such as how he managed to persuade pirates to dig up his garden, but all these stories are passed down to us and are told in quiet tones around the fireplace today.
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Importance. Ibbon Alnasray was considered as the main reason that Nepris continued to have a stable economy while nearby villages failed. He instilled in the council an acute awareness that they should not become too insular and that they could only thrive through lively contact with the other parts of the kingdom.
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