Ehlissa took the strange jar and placed it in her purse.
"Good!" Erac's Cousin said with a broad grin. "I know he'll enjoy it. Now, what story should I tell you...?"
Erac's Cousin had turned them around and walked them back up Craftsman's Way towards the Petite Bazaar. "Ah, I have it. How about the time Erac's family was entertaining distant relatives from Ket? That was a good year. They were rich merchants and had brought gifts for everyone..."
Erac's Cousin, Ehlissa had to confess to herself, was a good storyteller. He took ordinary events and infused them with humor, suspense, and witty asides. She barely noticed reaching the Garden Gate.
"Business within?" a sentry asked.
"Business with the Sage of the Tower," Erac's Cousin said.
"You may pass."
But they had not gone far when there was some excitement back at the gate.
"Keep that ugly dog out!" A sentry was shouting.
"Wait, wait!" Erac's Cousin shouted and he went back to the gate. "The dog is with me! Please, allow it through and *ahem* perhaps a small token of thanks for your patience..." he said as he pressed a gold orb into the hand of the two nearest sentries.
"Keep that mutt close by you..." one of the sentries grumbled, but the dog passed unhindered.
Ehlissa had been watching Erac's Cousin. She was not happy with how casually he bribed the authorities, but his concern for his dog was oddly touching.
"Now, where was I with that story? Oh yes..."