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“I had to take it in trade,” says Dulap, “he said Mistress always did before, and if I didn’t he’d stop bringing me his custom. I can’t afford to lose customers when half the city has fled to the hills!”

“Nor can anyone,” says Yael softly.

“But it wasn’t his to give?” says Silhouine, still trying to work this out.

“I don’t even know what it is, or why these other people want it,” says Dulap, rubbing his face. “Could you store it? Just until I can unload it?”

“What did he call the stuff?” says Silhouine.

“Ferrous alumen,” he says.