Harbat - the tax collector

The Toll & Taxations Office is tucked away somewhere in the town centre, but the tax collector is only there at night to catch up on paperwork. During office hours, he walks around in the streets of Harbat, with his followers behind him. Everybody knows the tax collector.

A small contribution from anyone, results in a better society for everyone!

No one fully understands the standards that the Collector upholds. It seems that especially the poor have to give, to keep the rich, well...rich. Most of the people in Harbat don't like the sight of the stiff erect figure, with the cold blue eyed gaze. He is the subject of mockery in many pubs, and songs about his cruel extortions are known to almost everyone. But people don't sing in his presence.

The Collector doesn't bother to try to set aright certain misviewings concerning his ambt. In reality he gets his authority from the governor, and is enforced by city guards to execute his descisions. Contrary to what people think, the Collector is unscrutable. He taxes everyone, and is not afraid to stir a hornets' nest in order to get it. He is a man of principle, a man of the law and he detests corruption. This makes him all the more fearsome. He would squeeze the last penny out of a widow if she would forget to fill out form F4 (which you have to fill out when your spouse dies). He has no mercy and has heard your pitiful excuses a thousand times before.

Everybody has a story about the Collector, and just to spice things up, here is my favourite:

A large smoke-filled room displayed in front of him and all inside went silent. The tax collector stepped inside, all alone. The whole ambiance in the bar had left the room when the Collector entered.

"Bill the butcher?", he asked in a loud voice. Some started to stand up but the collector pinned them down on their chair with a gaze that could have frozen all the fiery pits of hell. Bill sat in the back with his entourage, leaned back, his legs on the table, and cleaning his fingernails with knife usually used for gutting animals.

"Step by my office tomorrow, and we will settle it then Taxman." Bill didn't bother to look up. The collector made his way through the crowd, untill he stood before Bill's table.

Everyone was following the spectacle with held breath, trying not to make a sound, and averting their eyes when the tax collector met them. "No Bill, other excuses, that's what I'll hear... look at me when I'm talking to you." At this Bill's eyes flashed and with a loud thump the knife landed inside a wooden beamer a few inches of the collectors head. "Don't you ever talk to me like that! NO ONE talks to me like that, not even you." he hissed. The collector didn't blink and held Bill's gaze.

Tension can become tangible at that moment, and everyone knew that this was a crucial facedown. Seconds seemed like hours, and then the collector moved his hand inside his tunic and took out a paper, a form it seemed. "Sign this Bill, and we're square." Bill held his gaze for a while longer and snatched the paper out of his hands. He read it and suddenly burst out with laughter. "Is this it?? He scribbled something under the form and walked towards the collector. He slapped the form against the taxcollector's chest and came very close to his ear. He smelled of beer and sweat and in a soft voice, only audible to the tax collector he whispered "I won't forget this, and mark my words, you, my friend, will pay triple for comming at me in public.." The collecor left and slowly conversation came back up. It is needless to say that Bill was in a foul mood for days...