Wise, odd rickshaw driver

An older man under a jingasa in a dhoti, between the handles of a rickshaw.

Cheng, a member of the Rickshaw Guild, is often seen in odd places when not driving. His Riverspeak has a Low Realm accent, and he is often charitable to new arrivals who seem to like ‘his’ city. Cheng sometimes takes folk where they need to be, not where they ask to go, so getting in his ‘shaw is always a gamble. He’s not around very often, but when he is, he’s usually carrying a fare. He never seems to be in a hurry, but he knows all the backstreets. He is sometimes a poor ‘driver’ (more than one passerby has been dragooned into an alley to help him unwedge the rickshaw, which he can’t lift by himself), but he’s very reliable once he has a fare in the ’shaw, at least in seeing those within to a destination.

Cheng claims to support several large families, but no one’s ever met one of his relatives, much less his multitude of wives. He tells exaggeratedly outrageous tales about an array of them, though only to fares who like to hear that sort of thing. Little old ladies seem to love taking rides with him, and their chatter can sometimes fill the air on an entire block.

There are some subjects he is silent on, like his own story and most of his passengers’ destinations and purposes. Any story they tell him is fair game, though, and Cheng is a sink and source for gossip.

And sometimes he is silent. He seems to know when a fare wants quiet, and some end up with peaceful rides along streets no one (else) seemed to know weren’t busy this hour, if they need time enough to think.

Cheng’s rickshaw, like thousands in the streets of Great Forks, is wooden with a slightly doubly peaked rough muslin roof (treated with resin to shed the rain) , often repaired, wide enough for two or four if they are very friendly and sit low enough for balance. He once pulled more than a hundred acrobats for seventeen blocks in mid-day traffic, just ask him.


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