NaNoWriMo: Posted November 11@7:05pm
It never rained in Lynthia. Wind and sand storms were another story, but it never rained especially not in the spring. Birds of the First Blush sang before the morning sun rose, and the air smelled fresh from the breeze. Nom knew it was dangerous to leave her room’s window open. Her home was only two stories, but she loved the mixture of song and air that greeted her on those mornings. Unfortunately, neither roused Nom early that morning. The weeping did.
Nom blinked once slowly, opening and shutting her eyes but not seeing anything. She was awake enough to decide the noise came from the roads. It seemed distant. Nom rolled over onto her stomach and tucked her arms under her pillows, settling back in for more sleep. The weeping came again. More awake than before, Nom wrinkled her nose up and stuffed her face into her pillow. The noise seemed so much closer.
She flipped to her back. Her eyes open and staring at the ceiling. She didn’t want to get up, but the weeping wasn’t going to stop. It came and went like the wind took the sound then brought it back. Nom sat up, sighed heavily and acknowledged the morning.
Her walk to the window was a stiff, rigid shuffle. Her blonde bangs felt like they stood on end. Outside her window Chista paced looking like a drowned rat with black makeup splattered around her eyes. She walked the length of the Lynthian road outside of Nom’s shop, turned into the alley, wept and then walked back. She must have spent the night repeating the process.
If a Palace Guard caught her alone, she’d be lashed.
Nom twirled away from the window, grabbed her robe and hurried out of her room. She pounded on the doors of her assistants and Guardians, hoping one would awaken in case she got caught going out to pull Chista in.
Wind whipped up Nom’s robe as she left her shop. The breeze felt colder than she expected. Her body shivered, and she wrapped her robe tighter around her body.
“Chista,” she whispered. The girl’s back faced Nom as she followed the set path toward the alley. “Chista!”
Nom jogged to catch up, grabbed the girl’s wrist and pulled her away from the roads. The girl jumped at Nom’s touch. “You’re freezing,” Nom hissed with worry. “How long have you been out here?”
Chista walked dazed and automated. Nom worried about her core body temperature but felt comfortable enough knowing the girl had been walking. The movement helped keep her body warm, warmer.
Inside, a groggy assistant walked down the stairs rubbing her eyes. Whoever came down those stairs next would be making coffee. Nom snapped. The sound alerted the girl that work was needed. She immediately perked up. “Get me a blanket.”
She nodded, turned and ran back up the stairs.
Nom pulled over one of the display case’s stools and gently pressed on Chista’s shoulders signaling her to sit on it. The material was soaking wet. She needed to get that off and the girl’s head dry. Nom circled the stool. “Lift your arms up. This needs to come off. It’s too wet.”
Chista didn’t move. She looked like she was falling catatonic. Nom’s stepped forward and grabbed the shirt’s hem. If she couldn’t just pull it off, she’d cut it.
“What should I do with the blanket,” Nom’s assistant asked from the stairwell.
“Put it down and help me pull this shirt off. Then we’ll wrap her in it.”
Together the two herbalists managed to get the clothing off. Chista barely blinked. Nom wrapped the blanket around her body then instructed her assistant to hold it there. “Don’t massage or rub her,” Nom warned.
“What happened Chista?
Honor killing of mother
Head in toilet/water
Honor – sent to streets because she wanted to go to Port for university
“This place is menopausal,” Toivo complained as the crew stepped outside of Recess Keep into the Lynthian night. The temperature had plummeted from over one hundred to maybe four. Daytime was like hot flashes.
“It’s an ice box out here. I needed a coat and some long underwear to boot.” Toivo clung to himself for body heat. “If I was a guy, I’d go shopping.”
“You are a guy, dummy,” Kalle groaned.
“I meant if I was that kind of guy,” Toivo insisted. “Don’t you wear long underwear?”
“No,” Kalle said. “Of all people, why would you assume that I wear long underwear?”
“Any normal folk would reckoning by the amount of clothing you cover your body with.”
Kalle turned on his heel, walking backward down the sandy Lynthian street. His eyes narrowed from irritation. “Tov, this is a suit. I’m not layering for warmth. I know the concept is still foreign to you, but this,” he said, pulling the lapels of his suit jacket out, “is what a suit looks like.”
Toivo snorted like a bull at Kalle, who rolled his eyes turned again with a little shake of his head.
The group walked rounded a block corner. Toivo quickened his step to catch up to Bankim. He eyed the suspenders and the loose waistline of his brown pants. When he was close enough he pulled the pants away from Bankim’s skin. “You’ve got em, don’cha?”
“Oh my Brahman, get your own long underwear!” Bankim shouted, whirling around and punching Toivo in the face. Toivo’s eyes curled together, meeting at his nose, and the man stumbled backward a couple steps but caught himself.
A Palace Guard noticed the fight and shouted.
“We need a quiet corner,” Jaith said, his voice insistent, as he watched the Guard fall into a jog. “He’s heading in our direction.”
Jaith grabbed Toivo under the armpit and led the run. “This place would not be conducive to return to,” he shouted as he noticed a dark corner, the only one with an outlet. “Split up. Meet back at Recess Keep by morning.”
The only time Nom’s bells didn’t ring was when Destovl slammed through the door so violently that the set flew across the shop and shattered.
“Nom!” The gravelly deepness of his voice normally commanded attention, but it was the harsh crack in his words that pleaded desperately for help that took it.
Nom’s stomped out of her backroom, apron still wrapped around her waist. She wiped her hands on it but didn’t take it off.
“Child, calm down,” she scolded him. The boy was high maintenance. If he wasn’t killing someone, he was dying. After years of his antics, Nom knew how to handle him. “You make no sense when you’re all worked up.”
Destovl feet came to a halt. While he gulped for breath, his shoulders slumped over and his left hand grabbed a nearby shelf of elixirs to steady himself with. Whatever he was here for was serious. Blood covered his hand. That’s when Nom noticed the other stains. She stepped up to him, pulled at his shirt then quick checked his hand. The skin remained unbroken.
Nom’s heart fluttered into a panic hearing the princess’s name.
Destovl’s normally stoic manner cracked, his chest changed from heaving in breath from the exerted run to heaving as he tried to control an emotional breakdown. Nom looked up, finding his face contorting. She saw his tears welling. She’s never tell anyone his secret.
“He beat her.”
Nom’s mouth opened. She screamed for her assistants. All of them. Then whirled on her heel. Two girls were still in the backroom – probably attending a late night elixir lesson. They ran through the door. First to arrive meant first to get orders. Nom snapped commands. Anger encasing the room’s peaceful air. “Get my bag immediately. Wake all the others. I need everyone here. I need everyone sharp!”
Then Nom twirled again, facing Destovl.
“Say it!” she screamed at him. “You have to hire me!”
“I know we wanted to stay at a different keep, but this place is odd…even for Toivo’s taste,” Bankim complained, pointing at the zebra carpet and varying tables sizes – some very tall, some normal, some bar-like and this funky living room arrangement it the middle of the small room – with his bottle. Jaith, Bankim, Toivo and Kalle sat around a miniscule coffee table in the three poofy sofa chairs that were clustered around it.
“Apparently there’s a fireplace, but the area is too crowded to actually know it’s there,” Jaith said.
Toivo burped. “I wouldn’t want to use it, might start something on fire.”
“It’s a fireplace, Tov,” Jaith reminded him. “That’s the point.”
Kalle ignored the stupidity and pointed out another keep feature. “The windows are the best. I’m not sure exactly what design they are going for; perhaps it is supposed to be flames, but it looks like a bunch of sperm tails attacking a female egg.”
Toivo looked at the windows, tilting his head. He studied the features with an intoxicated supervision then added, “Just with all the sperm heads cut off.”
Jaith had his jacket off, leaving just his t-shirt. Even with the jacket off he felt warm, sleepy, which didn’t help complete the purpose of why the group came to the keep. The setting sun hit at just the right angle too. It was so bright that Chand had his sunglasses back on.
The sun would eventually wane. The chill would return, and the jacket would go back on.
The view inside the Keep was kind of lame. It was built a hop, skip and a jump away from Lynthia’s busy main road, but inside the travelers were locals – mostly younger men who groped the female servants. The smell of the place was rather sickening too. It had a fake sweet scent like the smell of a child’s scent-infused doll’s head or something. It most certainly did not appeal to the stomach. Not this male stomach at least, which was fine. I had no urge to ingest food. The beer was enough. Something was off in its recipe – though I can’t pinpoint what.
Maybe we should escape this joint,”  suggested, finally noticing that old-style music playing. Maybe it was the music crooning old lullabies that made  sleepy.
Plus the place has a number of intruding workers – a set of domesticated flies zipping around, occasionally attacking for attention, and a teenage boy a bit too interested in wiping down the window ledge – all of it including around me.
“Don’t plan on coming back,” said Jaith.
Toivo groaned. “I’m gonna miss the sperm tails.”
WORD COUNT: 1762
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Decided to break today’s work up into smaller, separate sections. So, I have little blips of later stories I can add to later in the month, complete and rewrite later or toss 🙂
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