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Bernard the Barterer

Bernard the Barterer This is Bernard the Barterer, and, as his name implies, he is the one of the masters at the art of the trade. Though his appearance is one of, shall we say, simplicity, he is actually quite shrewd. Recent information from reliable sources (i.e. Hieronymus the Hedge-mage) places Bernard with the heretofore unidentified clan of the Prickle Tops (identified by the buckeye husk helms, though what other attributes separate or otherwise differentiate one ‘clan’ or ‘tribe’ from another remains unclear, to this human, anyway!). Bernard is a quiet and unassuming hedge-boggle and is among the younger group of hedge-boggles, being a mere 150 years old. His outward appearance has often worked in his advantage, allowing him to fool others with whom he is dealing into believing they will easily have the advantage. And this has been much to the detriment of the other party! Such was the case with one of the more famous tribes of goblins; the hobgoblins.

Hobgoblins and gnomes are among the hardest of bargainers; one has only to look at the vast hoards of some gnomes or to be present at one of the infamous Goblin Markets to see this. Bernard once made a bargain with the Lord Merchant of the Hobgoblin Consortium - known today as the Hobgoblin Mercantile Corporate Syndicate - that is still binding to this day (this particular incident is often cited by the hobgoblins when they wish to convey how desperate and horrible any given situation that is not going in their favor has become). Bernard somehow convinced the bedazzled Lord Merchant (some have speculated that this was done with copious amounts of Firethorn wine) that a limitless supply of buckeyes was a fair trade to keep all members of the Hobgoblin Consortium, Market, and hobgoblin militia - including all hobgoblin affiliated private armies, official and unofficial raiding parties, or, indeed, any aggressive hobgoblin groups - from ever entering the Hedge. Of course, Bernard then instructed the somewhat confused Consortium that this limitless supply of buckeyes could be had every year during the autumn months at any place within the woods outside of the realms and dominion of the Hedge and Queen Trillium. In other words, they had agreed to completely spare the Hedge as far as any intrusions and/or invasions in exchange for items that could have been readily had by them without having to obtain anyone’s leave, items that were, to the hobgoblins, of no interest and nearly no use whatsoever (they were the only species of the various goblin tribes to have been tricked this way, much to their eternal embarrassment)! The entire entourage of goblin merchants left feeling as thick headed and dazed as a troll caught out of his cave by the early dawn light. No one was ever quite sure how the transaction had been achieved really, but shortly thereafter that particular Lord Merchant was found mysteriously floating in a vat of 'appropriated’ elfin elderberry wine, quite dead. Hobgoblins, however, are fanatical about ‘contracts’ and have never violated this one.

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