November 8 – It was good life

NaNoWriMo: Posted November 8 @11:10pm

November 8v2, start over –

Jaith’s crew gurgled with a laughter never heard before, each man talking over the other as they shared their favorite memories of Trigger in the larger of the two rooms they rented at Recess Keep. A name which Jaith deemed appropriate since it kept the men in at night. Why travel on the roads or through sand when one could drink themselves into a pickled stupor, stumble up a flight of stairs and hibernate the night away? It was a good life. One Trigger could appreciate.

Jaith wasn’t sure how Liana slept in the smaller room, but he had checked on her twice now. The only thing he found was her smiling in her sleep. Maybe it was just because she didn’t have to worry about being beaten when she didn’t expect it.

Kalle snorted, his voice cracking as it gave out and fell hoarse in his latest fit of laughter. He was as drunk as a Lynthian prince after the Bazaar. Without body fat, he didn’t hold alcohol as well as the other members of the crew. He normally never drank. Toivo normally tormented him when he did, but tonight they were on the same team. Tonight they sprawled out on the room’s floor with bottles of Trigger’s favorite wines and drank to him while on the other side of that floor the bar below roared with their own celebrations.

“For now,” Jaith said, breaking into the round of laughter from Toivo’s story. He raised his drink, kept in an inverted cone that was attached to a finely carved lion, into the center of the group. The others raised their drinks too, each with a different carved figure. “Let us toast the evening and honor the man who knew everything about the drink. We knock back this one for Trigger.”

“For Trigger!” The entirely of the crew hollered, toasting their friend.

Kalle engulfed his entire mug then fell rearwards, flat onto his back. He shut his eyes, waved his arm through the air and opened his mouth to say something that never came out.

“Think if Trigger does get his bar on Earth that he’ll host card games?” Toivo whimmed as he shuffled a deck expertly between his fingers.

“Mmm,” Bankim hummed, scraping the point of his dagger across the wooden floor with his left arm that slung around his left leg. His right arm propping up his weight. “Won’t have a choice when we get there.”

Toivo’s drunken face fell. “Wait, we’re not going there soon are we?”

Jaith smiled. “Maybe not until tomorrow.”

“Oh, good. Cause I promised a sweet hunny that’s I’d help keep her bed warm.”

“Not that bearded one I hope,” Bankim teased, a cringe overtaking his face.

“She had a beard?”

Toivo paused, mid-sip, and reconsidered his promise – promises meant little to him. Finally he shrugged and finished his drink. “I guess I don’t much mind body hair. These Lynthian nights are rather chilly.”

Jaith shook his head slowly then whispered to Ban, “You do realize he’s going to leave here and look for a bearded woman right?”

Bankim quirked an eyebrow as a mischievous look taking over his face. “Yep.”

Jaith downed the last of his wine then slid his lion cup into the center of the room. The gold painted wood clinked hollowly against the glass wine bottle. “Tomorrow we need to figure out how to get Liana out of here. Nom is going to the King tomorrow to notify him of Ensi’s passing.”

“Do you think they’ll arrest Mirrikh?”

“I don’t know the Lynthian laws. Some say the King is lenient to the men. Others say he’s just. Either way, Ensi’s husband knows we’re involved. He knows that Liana was at Nom’s with us. We can’t let anyone connect us to her.”

Ban tossed his dagger aside and scratched his shadow of a beard with the flat of his hand.

November 8v1 –

Toive hooted into the air with some sort of whooping.

“What was that?” asked Kalle, who tended to ignore Toivo as a whole. His gaze swept the room and his body tilted dangerously backward. “A mating call?”

“Yeah for that one,” Toivo snorted as he lifted his finger to point to a burly man at the back corner of Recess Keep. “That one right there.”

“Tov,” Bankim said as he leaned his weight on his friend, “that one might be a bit too manly for you.”

Toivo pushed Bankim away and squinted. “Not that one! The one under the table.”

The crew’s excitement quieted as they reexamined the bar. Sure enough, a woman squat under the table. Her lump of money waiting for her next to her drink. Jaith turned away from the exchange and cradled his drink while Toivo continued to grunts to himself as he watched.

“Might have to order a cold water for him,” Bankim suggested, sitting down on the stool next to Jaith.

Jaith smiled half-heartedly. “After this job we’ll take some time off. Some of us apparently need to tend to our urges.”

Bankim held his drink up, examining the design of the mug. Jaith twirled on his stool and examined the Keep. The bar was suffocating warm. Steam – probably from sweat – clouded the windows hiding the bar’s happenings from the outside world. Jaith liked this bar. It hired only bartenders, no woman serving drinks or children slugging alcohol during the late hours of the night – no one to happen by, hear your gossip and spread rumors. No one pried into your business. Most of the tables were filled with Bazaar merchants who rented rooms. Jaith eyes the set of men wearing red robes. They huddled together, their bald heads pressed together, over who knows what, but whatever it was glimmered when the light hit it right.

“So,” Bankim started then paused to guzzle the last of his drink, “you seem quite taken by this Liana.”

“And you haven’t?”

“Oh no, I have. She’s a good kid. I get that I’ve gone too big brother on her, but I have no intention of allowing her near that father of hers. I can’t, especially now that her mom passed. She doesn’t deserve it, but I get this feeling that your reasons are very different from mine.”

“I have to protect her.”

“She’s the one you’ve been looking for?”

“Without the book, I’m not sure.”

Bankim rapped his knuckles on the bar’s sticky wooden top, catching the attention of the bartender. With a simple motion, he rolled his wrist and pointed to his cup. The bartender nodded, setting aside the mug he was cleaning to fetch more alcohol.

“Then why is she so important if you don’t even know.”

“Do you know what Atman is?” Jaith asked, twirling back around on his stool and resting his arms on the bar top.

“Am I supposed to?”

“No, but you need to now. The Divine Lords of Earth predicted it’d come in our time. Actually, my dad predicted it, but his Foresight predicted Atman to be given to a god, not a mortal.”

Bankim’s face opened, his brows lifting. He didn’t turn his head though, just stared at the wall ahead of him. “Is it power?”

“The gods will try to use it like that.”

“I need to keep her on Atala, which is problematic because I can’t have her on jobs with us, but I don’t want to leave her with anyone.”

Jaith’s crew gurgled with a laughter never heard before, each man talking over the other as they shared their favorite memories of Trigger. Ban chuckled himself hoarse in what the Lynthians called a keep. Jaith deemed the title appropriate since it kept the men in at night. Why travel on the roads or through sand when one could drink themselves into a pickled stupor, stumble up a flight of stairs and hibernate the night away? It was a good life. One Trigger could appreciated.

One Jaith hoped he’d build on Earth.

“For now,” Jaith said, breaking into the round of laughter from Toivo’s story. He raised his drink, kept in an inverted cone that was attached to a finely carved lion, into the center of the group. “Let us toast the evening and honor the man who knew everything about the drink. We knock back this one for Trigger.”

“To Trigger!” The entirely of the crew hollered, toasting their friend. Toive hooted into the air with some sort of whooping.

“What was that?” asked Kalle, who tended to ignore Toivo as a whole. His gaze swept the room and his body tilted dangerously backward. “A mating call?”

“Yeah for that one,” Toivo snorted as he lifted his finger to point to a burly man at the back corner of Recess Keep. “That one right there.”

“Tov,” Bankim said as he leaned his weight on his friend, “that one might be a bit too manly for you.”

Toivo pushed Bankim away and squinted. “Not that one! The one under the table.”

The crew’s excitement quieted as they reexamined the bar. Sure enough, a woman squat under the table. Her lump of money waiting for her next to her drink. Jaith turned away from the exchange and cradled his drink while Toivo continued to grunts to himself as he watched.

“Might have to order a cold water for him,” Bankim suggested, sitting down on the stool next to Jaith.

Jaith smiled half-heartedly. “After this job we’ll take some time off. Some of us apparently need to tend to our urges.”

Bankim held his drink up, examining the design of the mug. Jaith twirled on his stool and examined the Keep. The bar was suffocating warm. Steam – probably from sweat – clouded the windows hiding the bar’s happenings from the outside world. Jaith liked this bar. It hired only bartenders, no woman serving drinks or children slugging alcohol during the late hours of the night – no one to happen by, hear your gossip and spread rumors. No one pried into your business. Most of the tables were filled with Bazaar merchants who rented rooms. Jaith eyes the set of men wearing red robes. They huddled together, their bald heads pressed together, over who knows what, but whatever it was glimmered when the light hit it right.

“So,” Bankim started then paused to guzzle the last of his drink, “you seem quite taken by this Liana.”

“And you haven’t?”

“Oh no, I have. She’s a good kid. I get that I’ve gone too big brother on her, but I have no intention of allowing her near that father of hers. I can’t, especially now that her mom passed. She doesn’t deserve it, but I get this feeling that your reasons are very different from mine.”

“I have to protect her.”

“She’s the one you’ve been looking for?”

“Without the book, I’m not sure.”

Bankim rapped his knuckles on the bar’s sticky wooden top, catching the attention of the bartender. With a simple motion, he rolled his wrist and pointed to his cup. The bartender nodded, setting aside the mug he was cleaning to fetch more alcohol.

“Then why is she so important if you don’t even know.”

“Do you know what Atman is?” Jaith asked, twirling back around on his stool and resting his arms on the bar top.

“Am I supposed to?”

“No, but you need to now. The Divine Lords of Earth predicted it’d come in our time. Actually, my dad predicted it, but his Foresight predicted Atman to be given to a god, not a mortal.”

Bankim’s face opened, his brows lifting. He didn’t turn his head though, just stared at the wall ahead of him. “Is it power?”

“The gods will try to use it like that.”

“I need to keep her on Atala, which is problematic because I can’t have her on jobs with us, but I don’t want to leave her with anyone.”

WORD COUNT: 1990


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