"But you see, that's it exactly. My negotiations with the bandits leave only my caravans protected, driving up prices as the others encounter... difficulties." Lucian smirked as he drew his chalice to his lips. The cool wine splashed at his mouth, but he did not drink, choosing instead to keep his wits and simply inhale the dizzying aroma.
"But Lucian, a man of your wealth could afford to clear the roads. You don't need the profit, and you'd save the lives of good men. Men with families and children. You could-"
"Audric, I am a businessman, and as such I've little time for a fool's sentimentality. If not for our relation as bloodkin, I would have you removed. As forcefully as possible." Lucian's eyes flashed as he spoke.
"But Lucian, you-"
"Every time you open your mouth, you injure yourself more against me. I can hardly suffer your silence. Why then must you constantly endeavour to remind me that you are sadly not dumb?" His brow furrowed as it always did when his temper prepared to burst. His left hand had crumpled into a fist in the pocket of his bejeweled robe, and his right raised the wine again. Audric, mouth wisely closed, breathed deeply and found reason enough to try his half-brother's patience.
"Lucian, do- do you smell that?"
"I smell naught but the finest wine in the land, commingled with your odor of spoilt meat."
"No, Lucian, it smells like..." Audric inhaled again.
"Out with it!"