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Import Duty  by DADGAD

This work has been a long time in the making, and I hope that completing it will unblock some of the other story ideas that have been floating around my head for a good few years now. It was inspired by, and is dedicated to a friend, Lee Conley. Lee writes Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery books (see and along with other multifarious talents, also participates in Mediaeval Combat and Reenactment. 

One day, a few years ago,Lee posted on Facebook about the difficulties he been having (post Brexit) in importing a rather special two-handed combat sword from Germany, and the questions in customs forms he had to fill out - 'was it an offensive weapon?' 'Well, yes, it very much was'.

In my early career, I had worked in import-export trading in the oil products business, and remembered all the forms and regulations rather well, so sympathised with Lee. I recall making a jocular comment along the lines of 'I bet Aragorn didn't have to fill out lots of forms when he 'imported' Anduril to Gondor', and then thinking 'hmm there might be a fanfic there...' What with Covid, lockdown, and other things, its taken quite a while to complete, partly because I kept remembering more and more procedures from my past experience. 

I also took a while investigating the history of the word 'million', wondering when it first came into common parlance - it must have seemed an incomprehensibly large number to people in pre-industrial times. Planudes of Umbar is based on Maximus Planudes, who lived and worked in Constantinople from 1260 to 1305, and was recorded as one of the first people to use the number one million: . In my imagination, Faramir is just the sort of person to enthuse about such interesting snippets of knowledge (a classic 'Resource Investigator'), and so I have him expounding on the topic of millions to Angren. 

The topic of numbers and logistics also comes up in the 'Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry' blog of Mediaeval/Roman historian, and life long fantasy enthusiast, Brett Devereaux. His page of 'Resources for World Builders' includes fascinating and absorbing pages of writing about pre-industrial food and weapons production, and includes detailed multi-section analysis of both the siege of Gondor and the Battle of Helm's Deep: - and basically he thinks Tolkien understood these things pretty well. I commend these pages to all Fan-fiction writers who wish to add even the smallest nod towards 'real life' to their writings. 

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