Stockholm
September, 1635
 

The scent of tea wafted up from the tulip-shaped glass. The aroma made the older man smile in childish delight. He took the sugar cube between his teeth and lifted the piping hot cup by the rim, sipping carefully. The bitter hot liquid melted the sweet sugar in a perfect balance of flavor. He let out a deep sigh before quirking an eye at the tall young man across the table.

"Drink up, Hakob. You will have few chances to taste tea until you reach Astrakhan."

Hakob . . .

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