Caste of Sutlers
Here are relevant references from the Books where the Caste of Sutlers is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
"Those are the only two," she said "I have given orders that our sutlers not peddle slave sluts in the camp."
I had hitherto avoided the more fit, busy portions of the camp, generally about the areas for tradesmen, suppliers and sutlers, and the storage, delivery and mess areas.
"I see," I said. I hoped earnestly that if these dealings were found out that any penalties which might be involved, in particular, such things as torturings and impalements, would be visited upon the sutlers and not on their customers, and particularly not on folks who might be traveling with their customers. To be sure, the rigors sometimes technically contingent upon such discoveries and exposures seldom actually resulted in the enactment of dismal sanctions, maimings, executions, and such, bribes instead, gifts and so on, usually changing hands on such occasions.
"What is your trade?" I asked.
"I am a sutler," he said.
"Excellent," I said.
"I used to think so," he said.
That had seemed not improbable to me. There were mostly wagoners, of one sort or another, here, or refugees. He did not seem to be a refugee. For example, he did not have a companion, or children, with him. Similarly, most refugees could not have afforded an inn. Too, he did not seem to have the refinement of a high merchant nor the roughness of the drover. Drovers, flush with coins, would be here, of course, returning from Ar's Station. On the journey there they would be with their animals, probably verr or tarsk.
"You are on your way to the Cosians' siege camp at Ar's Station," I hazarded.
"Yes," he said.
I had thought that, too, was probable, as he was at the inn. He would want its protection, probably, for his goods. Coins, or letters of credit, might be concealed about a wagon, but it is not easy to conceal quantities of flour, salt, jerky, paga and such, not to mention the miscellany of diverse items for the field supply of which one can usually count on the sutlers, such things as combs, brushes, candles, lamp-oil, small knives, common tools, pans, eating utensils, sharpening stones, flints, steel, thumb cuffs, shackles, nose rings, binding fiber, slave collars and whips.
"Will we enter the city?" asked Ina, eagerly.
"I have not decided," I said. "My main objective is to locate my friend, Ephialtes, and I think his wagon, and his goods, would be at the periphery of the encampment." Most of the sutlers' wagons would be in such a location, at least generally. They are sometimes allowed in the camps, during certain Ahn, to deliver or sell goods.
"Ephialtes!" I called.
A brunet in a brief, yellow slave tunic looked about the wagon. She saw me and immediately knelt, seemingly frightened, though for what reason I could not guess.
"Master!" she called.
In a moment Ephialtes, the sutler, came about the wagon, from the other side of it, where they were cooking, where they had their small camp.
"Tarl, my friend!" said he.
We clasped hands, then embraced.
"It is good to see you, my friend," I said.
"How have you been?" he asked.
"Very well," I said, "and yourself?"
"Excellent," said he.
"Splendid," I said. "How is business?"
"One tries, desperately, to make a living," he said.
"There is gold thread on your tunic," I said.
"Yellow thread," he said.
"Your pouch seems full," I said.
"Tarsk bits," he said.
"I think your fortunes have improved," I said.
"If that is so," he said, "I think you have made your contributions to such matters."
"And the needs of the troops of Cos," I said.
"Of course," he said.
"These are excellent times for a sutler," I said, "what with the numbers of men about, and the success of Cos."
"I speculate those with the troops of Ar are doing less well," he said.
"Some have probably brought their goods to Brundisium," I suggested.
"It is true," he whispered.
Wagons, of course, might be painted different colors. Accents could be feigned, and so on. Sutlers were, on the whole, fellows of business, and could scarcely be blamed for seeking favorable markets.
"Ah, Ellen!" called the portly vat master, one of the caste of vintners. "One can scarcely scrape the bottom of the vat! These loafing tarsks drink like desert kaiila! Hurry to the sutlers! Tell them to trundle a new cask to the vat of Callimachus!"
"Disguised as a half-blind sutler," he said, "I, together with others, peddlers, camp followers, and such, infiltrated the camp of Yamada. The camp is well-supplied."