Kortayal Trading Expedition
The Kortayal Trading Expedition had a short life of two years, ceasing all operations in late -2 EC. During that time, it had the pleasure of being the only trading company that transported goods to and from the cactus forests. In fact, the forests were where the company originated, though not with any focused intent.
17 people left from Iganefta in early -5 EC to begin studying the Rich Earth Cactus - this much is well known to any lay person. After reaching roughly 5 lele in, the expedition sat down for their first meal after the march... and discovered they forgot to actually pack said sustenance. So incensed with the untold bounties their research would discover, they had packed all manner of desert preservation equipment, all the while forgetting that an entirely different type of preservation was rather important.
The group nominated Kortayal, their intern, to "hoof" it back to Iganefta for supplies (this was a bit of a "Misery Loves Company" joke, as they forgot to pack horses too). Once arriving in town, he ran straight to the local market, loaded up on supplies and, upon receiving his total, pulled nothing but desert sand from his pockets. Being an intern, and with no monies to spend or kindness to expect upon his return empty-handed or not, he turned away from the cashier dejectedly. To Kortayal's surprise, the cashier inquired about the sand, which glimmered in a way he had not seen before, and offered to trade the groceries and a change of clothes for the intern's sand covered outfit. Days later, the market served an exotic special on sand "deep from within the ravages of time! Plucked from the eye cavities of sleeping forests!"
Upon Kortayal's return to the expedition with the foodstuffs, he found himself immediately setting off again for home, this time for napkins. And, being a useless intern who couldn't comprehend that wet napkins ("moist towelettes"), in a desert of blowing sand which becomes even more tenacious in the presence of wet fingers and wet mouths, was a bad idea, was sent out yet again to get the more traditional dry variety. Each time, he brought a little of the forest back home, and each time, a trade was arranged.
By the end of the expedition in -4/1 EC, Kortayal had given up his intern status and started his own company, the Kortayal Trading Expedition, the purpose of which was to export items from the cactus forests into Iganefta. The business grew quite lucrative, as most previously established and "comfortable" trading companies were still nervous about venturing into unexplored and dangerous territory. Income doubled when "avian spearing" grew in popularity, as did the company's employment, reaching nearly 40 people in early -2 EC.
Shortly after Rishbard Nonce, on -2/9/19 EC, disaster struck on the outskirts of Iganefta. Some border guards, on heightened alert due to Vemish sightings, saw a large group of cactii approaching from the distance. Readying their arms as the dread beasts came ever closer, they breathed a sigh of release (relief? release!) once recognizable Ghyllian physiology came into view.
Within yelling distance, the guards prepared a "well met!" but stopped short: the windswept and sandblasted Ghyllians of the Kortayal Trading Expedition had blonde stripes, tarnished by the harsh environment. Blonde stripes! Invasion! The defense of Iganefta began and no enemy survived: thirty traders, including Kortayal, died. The guards were awarded for their combat skills and reflexes, but fired to prevent a public relations nightmare over the accident and misidentification.
The Kortayal Trading Expedition went out of business -2/11/1 EC.
--Morbus Iff 14:21, 5 Aug 2005 (EDT)