04. Life for a copper

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Ptolemaios
Approved Character
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:34 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Labourer
Renown: 0
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Wealth Tier: Tier 1

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04. Life for a copper

3 Ashan 718


After a second disgustingly uncomfortable night sleeping tucked away in a corner, Maios woke up with a sore back. The night had been restless and plagued with nightmares. The morning offered no relief. Ashan brought life to the flora, and flora brought forth Maios’ allergy. His nose had been soaping all night, and his snow had fallen in firm tendrils all over the outside of his cloak. With a clean portion of said cloak he’d wipe away his nose, grunt his way up his feet, and search his belt for his case of cigarettes. With a match he’d light the first of the three he’d smoke, like he did every morning.

It was barely dawn. The sun still hid in the east, but the twilight was enough for the birds. They already sang their repetitive hymns, just like the roosters announced the incoming day. The Duss Quarter was slowly coming to life as well. It never really died. Even in the darkest of nights there were always voices, always footsteps, always eyes piercing through mist or gloom. There were always those desperate enough to steal in attempts of escaping their poverty. There were also those that simply wanted to cause pain to others. Whatever their reasons, they all lived in the Dust Quarter. Just like Maios did.

He lacked the materials to build his own little shack of shit, so instead he had found himself a nice spot by the city wall, placed his bags behind him, as safe as he could from possible thieves, laid atop them and wrapped himself in his cloak. He had spent the night shivering. He couldn’t feel his toes, especially the left one. The boot had been pierced somewhere in the forest, and the draft had no qualms in invading the leather.

While he smoked, Maios checked his inventory. He had one golden nel and two strips of dry meat for the whole day. Coin had ran out faster than he expected, but he had expected it nonetheless. And now that it was low, he had many things to buy. New boots, for instance. Maybe a blanket of some sort, given that a room in some inn was far from his budget. He had enough tobacco for half the day. He also had to eat, and he had nothing to trade for it. He also needed a bath, urgently so. His stench was starting to penetrate even the barrier of snot. Mouse would need time to gather the information. This gave Maios no room to calculate his odds.

As he lit a second cigarette with a match, Maios left the smoke in his maws and took a hold of his daughter’s doll. It had gotten dirtier from the advance through the forest. Whenever he looked into those fake eyes he got inpatient. On the surface, he wanted to be done with this. He wanted time to unfreeze and to be on the road again, to find the man that could bring back his wife and daughters. His blood boiled at the thought. Then again, Maios was no fool. It would take time, and the notion killed him inside.

The labourer had actively avoided thinking of his village and the misfortune that had swallowed his family’s life. Now those feelings were beginning to surface. A dead body could only stay hidden for so long, he thought. In due time, old bones rose from the soil like maggots through the flesh. He felt guilty. He hadn’t been the father he would’ve wanted to be, nor the husband he had imagined himself to be. He had tried, but it was as if he and the roles of either father or husband were split by an invisible barrier. It was almost as if, as if…

Enough.

Maios returned the doll into his belt and gathered his few belongings. It would be painful to drag all he owned in life onto his back, but until his housing situation was fixed, he’d have to do without. He hoped luck was by his side, at least for this one time.
word count: 691
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Ptolemaios
Approved Character
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:34 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Labourer
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Wealth Tier: Tier 1

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Miscellaneous

04. Life for a copper

3 Ashan 718


Maios wasn’t a genius. He wasn’t the only one who had figured out that a job could bring in coin, and coin meant life. Half the Dust Quarter had figured that out - the other half being either whores or thieves. The dust market was the place to go if one wanted a job. Someone with coins to spare would arrive, stand atop a crate, and say what they were looking for. Stone cutters, peons, lumberjacks… Unskilled labour more revolving around strength than true skill. The skilled didn’t belong here. Cooks, carpenters, coopers or butchers were professions unavailable to the dusk market’s rabble.

The male made his way up to the market. A crowd was gathering, mostly composed of men. They shared many qualities with him; ugly, filthy, low on coin and low on standards. What they didn’t share with him was his handicap. Having only one usable hand would be a hard sell to possible employers, and his ‘charm’ would not help. If anything, it’d help him get his other hand chopped off. Maios took refuge against the wall of a shack, the quintessential example of the Dust Quarter’s architecture; more shit than actual house.

The morning was slowly coming, the sunrays already filtering through the layers of clouds. The market was getting busier, traders setting up in the ruined stalls. The stock they sold was sub-par, but it was stock nonetheless. To avoid any temptation of spending his reduced funds, Maios waited. He tried hard not to smoke what was left of his tobacco.

In due time, someone came. A farmer, by the looks of him. Old, but not that old. Strong, but not that strong.
“I need them strong men to plow me fields!” he announced.

Strong men or not, everyone gathered there rose their arms and began making their pitches. ‘I can do that’ some cried. ‘Count me in, boss!’ said others. ‘I’m th’ strongest man I know’. Maios too had raised his hand, trying to make his own pitch, but the crowd was too wild and loud to make room for his voice. Six men were selected, Maios not amongst them. The farmer took his chosen and marched them towards their place of employment. Those without luck were left waiting for someone else.

Maios smoked a cigarette, ten more remaining. He wiped his nose and crossed his arms. Waiting was not something he liked. Being idle was amongst his greatest discomforts. He needed something to do, always. Having a busy schedule and reduced free time was his way of life. Maybe that’s why he was a good crook in his youth; there was little time to indulge in pleasures if one was stealing fifteen hours a day. He could always steal a coin purse if things got bad, but the thought was immediately rejected. He didn’t want anything to do with that. He was more likely to go to the Pit and try his luck there rather than ending in prison once again, or, Illaren forbid it, lose his other hand. There would be no hope for him then.

Someone else came by, and the horde of unemployed swarmed around him. The man, a short and somewhat fatty man wrapped in a dark cloak hadn’t even told them what he was looking for, but he was already surveying the crowd and picking his employees. He did so with a finger and, as expected, the fingers were imprecise. Fights broke out in the crowd as to who was picked, especially in the back. That’s why everyone tried to slide into the front. Suffice to say, the mass of bodies was becoming a dangerous place, and everyone squished together so tightly they could’ve merged into one ugly, smelly, and filthy creature.

Maios’ voice was unheard, but the employer landed his eyes on him nonetheless. He said something, possibly something like ‘you, the ugly one with the stubble’, but the crowd would suffocate those words. And, even if they didn’t, those around Maios would’ve qualified as well. Nevertheless, Maios believed it was he who was selected. There was no way of knowing. The man on his right punched him as he fought to come forth. Maios elbowed him in the ribs in return. The man collapsed. Few could withstand his brutish strength.

Using said strength, Maios cleared his way. He pushed and shoved, trying to make space for himself and the bag he carried on his back. It was tight, and it was difficult, but he managed to get up to the front. He was selected, indeed, as the man beckoned him forward. Then he saw his right hand, changed his mind, and sent him away with a commanding hand gesture.

No cripples allowed, apparently.
word count: 805
User avatar
Ptolemaios
Approved Character
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:34 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Labourer
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Wealth Tier: Tier 1

Milestones

Miscellaneous

04. Life for a copper

3 Ashan 718

Another three men came before noon arrived. One asked only for women, but Maios tried to get hired either way. It had no luck, even for a cunt like him. Then came another which never even glanced at him. A third one came. This one Maios fought hard for. He pushed his way towards him, got his attention, and even his eyes pleaded for mercy. The man made him pull out his arm from the cloak, saw his handicap, and ignored him.

Maios now smoked his last cigarette. It wasn’t a pleasant smoke. Frustration had already collapsed his lungs. One golden nel. One. Maybe he could score some cigarettes, but his stomach already begged for food. Maybe he could afford a meal, but his back still ached from sleeping on the street. He was mad at the world, and he was at himself. He had no skills. He had no use. Even so, he felt as if the world was especially unfair with him, more so than anyone else.

In one arc, he had lost everything in life. His youngest, his eldest, and his woman. His house had turned into their cemetery, a place he could even brave to revisit in this life. Ptolemaios wasn’t one to complain - this life had yet to drain his stubbornness to survive. But he felt he was running on empty, like beaten old horse.

There was something disgustingly new about being a childless widower. The whole world had suddenly opened up to him, a freedom so vast it could reach the borders of Idalos and sent him down the edge. He could travel here and there. He could remarry, or find himself stumbling from cunt to cunt until his cock withered like a raisin. And the temptation was there, constantly nagging at him. Why bother? Why not just stop fighting the current and go wherever his feet took him?

Duty wouldn’t let him. Pride. Responsability. Stubbornness, too. Emotions ran deep from the veins of an angry heart. He had to wait on Mouse to deliver, so he couldn’t leave the city. Even so, there were plenty of employment available for him. He could always turn into a mercenary, or a bounty hunter. Taking or sparing lives was the world’s oldest profession. Maios, no matter how rotten of a past he carried, still refused to become a killer. Then again, he wasn’t cut out for the job. Two days prior he had almost turned into wolf lunch. Were it not for the unwilling sacrifice of his dog, he would’ve been.

What then? Become a Knight? The thought would’ve made him giggle were he not so surly. And if he stole he might get captured again, locked away. Goodbye, woman. Goodbye, children.

He craved a cigarette. He wanted one, right now, even if he still had the smoke in his lungs. Spitting on the ground, Maios looked up towards the city walls. There would always be those that went to their knees and prayed for a change in fortune. Not him. He’d rather arm wrestle fortune until either he broke or he got what he wanted.

Now he knew how.
word count: 536
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