smuggler / shop owner / member of the royal council; hears the complaints of the merchant guilds.
Nina had been the first city she had lost. The ocean, her ocean, had slipped away from the city and she could no longer bear to stay. She had tried to return years later, only to find that like herself, its people had abandoned it as well. Troy had been the second. She had loved to swim in the Hellespont, and she had been in the ocean the day that the ships from Greece came. They landed on the shore before she could return to the city. The city fell within ten years, though she had not been around to witness. Helieke in Greece sunk into the waters of the river and Thonis in Egypt sank into the sea and Nanshe blamed the humans for all of it. Why would they choose to build such beautiful cities in places where their longevity was not ensured? She truly believed Carthage would be different, but then came Rome.
She had to hand it to them, where once it would take trickery or a natural disaster to destroy what she loved, Rome did it with mere might. She wasn't the first to be displaced by their tactics as she would soon find out, and she would be far from the last.
It was by chance that she was granted permission to enter Atlantis. There had been a tribe of merpeople off of the shore, and as more and more bodies were thrown in the water, they had been forced to leave. It was the leader of the tribe who had told her where they were going and had invited her to come. Emissaries had been sent on a mission of rescue from Atlantis as Rome's might grew around the Mediterranean. Any sea dwelling mermaids or dragons were welcome to find refuge where the humans could not get to them ever again.
Nanshe left Carthage with only a small bag filled with jars she had sealed against the water. They held trinkets she had grown fond of over the years, memories from lifetimes ago. Her jewels, coins, precious metals, as well as carefully folded scarves of ornately dyed or embroidered fabric, anything she could fit. She then filled the jars with spices so if she was stopped, she could simply say she was going to the market to sell spices. Anything small and of value to her she managed to fit into the bag, everything larger would have to stay behind.
It wasn't until she got to the city of Atlantis that she learned that this second immigration was not one conducted out of altruism. The city had grown despite its isolation. It needed immigrants to work in positions that the residents no longer wished to. The tribe of merpeople that she had travelled with had nothing of value for the city, and thus they were pushed to the outskirts of the city and pressured to work in the shipwrecks, looking for things of value. It was dangerous work as they were not the only ones looking. Nanshe knew the tribe expected her to stay with them, to help them as they had helped her, but she knew that the only way she could truly help them was if she got inside.
Nanshe knew she had items of value, but she didn't want to simply give them up to enter the city, nor did she want them confiscated as they had heard from some of the other new immigrants who had had their valuables taken as 'tax' and then not let into the city. No, it wasn't enough to have useful items, one had to make themselves indispensable. Where the spices had gotten her out of Carthage without losing her jewels, they would now get her into Atlantis.
Atlantis had been out of touch with the outside world for long enough that some of her spices were brand new to the city, and thusly they were desired. As she took great care to ensure that she was the only one with viable seeds for them, she controlled the supply. It wasn't long before she made enough of a name for herself in the community, and made enough of a fortune, that she could bring the members of the Carthage mermaid tribe into the city with her. She hired a few of the stronger members as bodyguards, the children helped tend to the small garden she had, but some of the others kept their jobs in the wrecks, if only to help with Nanshe's side business, smuggling rare goods into and out of Atlantis. Exiles wanted their belongings, and were more than happy to trade for them. At first it had only been because her cumin crop had died and she needed new seeds, but it soon became about more than that. Of course there were new spices from the Americas and South East Asia, but there were also silks, perfumes, porcelain, honey and furs. Through strategic contacts and a few well bribed gate guards, Nanshe helped extend the Silk Road through the Mediterranean to Atlantis.
Setting up friends to front new shops, she provided different goods to each to be sold to the upper echelons of Atlantis, each with a fabricated backstory of how the goods were actually being produced in Atlantis. With her friendships with these other 'shop owners', it wasn't long before Nanshe found her way to the royal court, playing the part on the council of representing other merchants like herself.
So far no one who matters has suspected her of doing anything illegal, such as having contacts with exiled Atlanteans or of smuggling in general, but the newest ruler of Atlantis and his consort have been lately cracking down on even the smallest infringements against the law. It's only a matter of time before Nanshe might have to leave another city she loves, only this time, it'll be her own fault.