Merchant’s Scale
Merchant’s Scale

Merchant’s Scale

The Great Bazaar, Market Ward

This one’s easy to spot—on the edges of the Bazaar, look for a weighing scale three stories tall, with dishes on either end wide enough for a glabrezu to lie down and stretch out without sticking out over the sides. It’s got a wide staircase running up the central axis, from which a body can walk to either dish. It’s made of some metal, probably iron, that’s been magically treated to keep the rust away, and keep it running smoothly. It’s a mite over 600 years old.

Rumour has it that in the chaos after the Great Upheaval, some of the factions were controlled by opportunists who managed to grab the reigns of power in the scuffle. One such factol, Serro of the Mercykillers, issued a string of harsh commandments, which he managed to bully past the Fraternity of Order (this was before the Harmonium even existed). One involved mercantile fraud. Serro decided that if a berk sold false goods (paste gems, potions of delusion, and the like), his guilt would be determined by weighing him on a scale, with the amount of money he had made illegally on the other dish. Fortunately for the merchants, those who were crooked had a tendency to be those who ate too much and became overweight. Eventually, the Guvners repealed the ‘Merchant’s Scale’ as a method of judgement, deeming it ‘irregular and unpredictable.’ But the massive person-weighing scale remained standing, and was purchased by a private citizen.

Today, the scale serves a very different purpose — simply weighing goods. When very large orders are being bartered for in the Market Ward, merchants often pay a small fee to the current owner — a tiefling named Pex Erro (planar tiefling wizard [she/her] / Free League / N), who hauls the goods onto one end and large, precise weights (made in Mechanus and guaranteed accurate!) on the other.

The Merchant’s Scale is most popular when weighing goods like large quantities of fruit, raw metal ore, and other bulk wares. Though only the most affluent merchants deal in quantities large enough to really merit use of the Scale, many others do anyway, to try to appear affluent to others.

Just between you and me, though, the Scale has one other little titbit to entice investigators. To get to either dish from the centre, a body has to walk through a little passageway in the framework, right? Well, when you face the scale, the passage to the right has a portal. Most don’t know about because only Pex and her crew ever go in there, but it’s there all right. The chant goes that it leads to the Outlands, possibly near a Merkhant base, but who can tell the screed from the truth, eh? I couldn’t tell you the key, though a little jink here and a little magic there would surely get you the answer to that question.

Source: Belarius

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