On Dealing With the Cavolon -- Lokai Perspective
Speech given by Trademaster Genrozh, Fourth Staff of the Padrian Transport Company to newly-hired Tradescouts -- preserved in Gourd in the Gentar Hall of Knowledge by order of Atrios Morafn
"The most important thing to fix into your mind about the Cavolon is that, even more than the other three species, they do not think as we do. Because they are upright, look into your eyes, and speak emotionally with an uncanny mimicry of Lokai gesture, the easy road is to imagine them as deformed Lokai in your dealings. That path is quicksand: Their motivations, methods, sense of fairness, and most other aspects of their lives are not usually the ones we share.
"If you think you know why a Cavolon is doing something, you are mistaken. They have more complex family structures, political organizations, spheres of friendly influence or competition, ancient rivalries, philosophical societies, and Altoos knows what else than you will ever understand. Any or all of which could have a hidden bearing or effect on their behavior.
"If you are positive you know not only why a Cavolon is making a certain deal, but are sure that you have the better of them in it, stop. Ask them to give you a moment for personal reflection (which they will always grant, we learned the trick of it when they asked for one). Think about the bargain. Then carefully count your money. Then your trade goods. Then your limbs. Then your relatives. Remember who you're dealing with, and return to negotiations with a slower, more tender stride.
"Hearing this, the next route most of you will chart is to think of Cavolon as without morals or the ability to strike a good and fair trade. There in the back, do not dip your head at me, I once stood where you stand now and considered the same way. It is obviously not true -- look at the records of our Company's dealings on their Eastern coast and you will see a very beneficial and profitable relationship for both sides. You will also see a trickling stream of times that we were bargained down to nothing but our Lifestave Khanjas and thought we had the better deal until reflecting on it currans later. Their behavior is not random or capricious, even when it seems so.
"You will see one time when we showed a clear profit at their expense, essentially cheating them out of goods and travel-rights in exchange for outdated maps and poorly-made instruments. The only other thing noted is that the leader of that expedition was banished from our company. What is not recorded, I will tell you now in the interest of keeping you on the good road: the large pink foul-smelling permanent fungal circles that appeared all over his body a on the return trip made it impossible for him to share journies with a social Company. I hear he is doing passably well, leaving new maps of the nydrus gorge area in a small cave in exchange for food delivered when he is far away.
"The way to bargain with a Cavolon is carefully. Choose your words as you would steps on a wet unbalanced stone, for they will recall every single one and hold you to it. They will sometimes want goods or services that you can easily perform, or that have very little value or meaning to you. I personally have been paid, and paid well, to watch a certain grove of trees at a certain time of day for a quarter-curran. I have contracted my trade expedition to take a slightly different route than we had planned, at double our profits. I'm not certain, but I think our presence as we passed may have stopped a battle. A fair number of agreements you make will be more standard; goods for goods, or for maps, or guidance. But some of your travels with the Cavolon will be much more interesting, and give you many stories to tell."
Last updated: November 14, 2004
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