And then there were Four...
Day Eleven, I worked on the new story a little and have a little of it posted below.
The Servants of Tournada- 2061 words
Tomorrow, more of the same, just better.
Jink stepped off of the airship and made her way along the platform to a barrel marked with the Haliford phrase for 'be sick here' and she obliged by emptying the contents of her stomach into that stinking barrel. Something about having her fate in the hands of the magician who was driving the airship up the cliff side made her tingle with fear and apprehension. The feeling was in no hurry to leave. That little guidance chain that held the airship to the cliff wall was of little comfort. She was happier with solutions that could be resolved with the proper application of steel or fire.
When she was sure she was done at the barrel, Jink looked around the zephyr landing and docks. It was her first experience with a city of that size as a nonnative. Her home town was similar, but so different too. The few written signs took her a minute translate into something she could understand. Jink had been traveling by herself for so long that she was unused to speaking. She was startled to have someone tugging on her gloved hand.
"I'll guide you anywhere you want to go, miss," a voice just to her side said. Her head snapped around to see a boy maybe three feet tall and filthy from the top of his head to the bottom of his bare toes. He had a light, tentative grip on her hand. "Are you hungry, lady?"
She studied the boy for a moment before speaking. Something about him made her heart ache with a sadness she had not felt since she left home so many months ago. "I'm a little hungry," she said. "Why don't we find a place to get something to eat."
The boy's face lit up and he pulled her through a crowd of stoic and heavily armed dwarves. He towed her past a one-armed man who was dipping from a barrel of ale and selling drinks to the passers by for a quarter coin. They went past a small group of the King's Archers in their red tunics. Finally, he stopped in front of a street vendor who was selling a more practical bit of nourishment. The boy made the deal, with three bundles in wide leaf wraps coming their way in exchange for one coin. He handed all three to Jink.
The vendor scowled at Jink first and then the boy and then back to her. Finally, with their business done, he sniffed and started searching the crowd for another customer.
Jink unwrapped one of the leaves and found a steamed bit of pasty dough with a small amount of cooked meat in the center. It was tasty enough and her stomach was recently emptied, so she finished one quickly. A little embarrassed, she looked at the boy who seemed to be enjoying her food almost as much as she did. She handed him a pastry and he tried to hand it back. When she insisted, he unwrapped the leaves and tried a little bite.
He looked guilty as he nibbled. After a couple of bites, he pointed down a wide paved avenue that led into town. With a grubby hand, he waived to some spot in the distance. "Try the Green Jacket Inn, lady."
Jink smiled and handed him a coin and the other leaf-wrapped treat. She rubbed her hand through his greasy locks. "Watch your back, little man." With a smile, she turned and disappeared into the crowd of foot traffic heading away from docks. Spinning once, she saw the boy was gone. On a hunch, she darted around the corner of the nearest building. She broke into a full run around the back of the building and doubled back the way she came.
Once he was safely away from the warrior woman, the boy re-wrapped the pastry. He tucked the coin under his arm and held it close. Around the corner of the nearest building and behind a row of crates, he met up with an older boy who wore a serious expression. He handed out the two leaf-wrapped treats. "She fed me."
The older boy was a foot taller and he wore a rusty blade in his rope belt. He was clean and his clothes were intact. "You didn't eat too much did you?"
The filthy boy pouted. "No, but I had to sell it to her."
The older boy slapped him hard in the face. "No eating." He hit the boy again so hard that the little one spun around. The force of the blow had shaken the coin loose and it clattered to the paving stones. It stopped a few feet away against a crate.
The filthy little boy saw the coin stop and curled up into a ball and gave out a pitiful squeal.
The older boy drew back his hand and made a fist. When he tried to swing his arm, he found it caught by something. Then he was jerked up into the air, the leaf-wrapped delights fell and landed with a muffled thud. He looked around to see that the warrior woman had lifted him up by the arm.
Jink smirked. "I thought that street vendor took me for a fool." He threw the older boy to the ground, being none too careful. She kicked one of the wrapped pastries over to the filthy boy.
The older boy bared his teeth and reached for the rusty blade he carried.
Jink chuckled to herself and pointed at the remaining treat. "Take that and go. Your young friend here is going to catch a beating." He scooped it up and darted away. When he was gone, Jink slammed her fist into the side of a crate. Then she hit it again, hard enough to crack one of the planks this time.
The filthy boy tried the pastry and watched her carefully.
"Why do you let him to do that to you?" She took one knee to be closer to the boy.
"He is bigger than me. And he killed a boy last year."
Jink reached into the back of one of her gloves and pulled out a tiny little blade, no bigger than a man's little finger. She handed it to the filthy boy. "Now you're the same size." Her heart broke at the sight of pure joy on the boy's dirty face. She played with his hair again.
"What about when I'm scared?" The boy was looking at the little blade.
She reached out and lifted his chin so that they made eye contact. Again something about the boy rang in her chest. "You have a tiger somewhere inside you, boy. Ride it." Jink stood back up and took a deep breath. "Now, how about that inn? What's it like?"
The filthy boy grinned, noticing the way the sunlight glanced off of the woman's short red hair. "They rob the travelers at night."
Jink cracked her knuckles. "Good to know." She toe-pointed at the coin where it had stopped. With a wide smile, she adjusted her cloak and pointed at the knife in his hand. "Begging is fine, but don't steal. If you steal, somebody will kill you with one of those."
She walked around the stack of crates and out into the loading area with a smile on her face. So far, Haliford was everything she hoped it would be just larger.